Arborfest 2020 Seedling Hope Garden

A modified Arborfest took place at the Hope Garden in Hailey over the weekend. The Hailey Tree Committee distributed free seedlings to people while accepting donations for The Hunger Coalition.

The South Central Public Health District reported no new confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Blaine County, but five of the district's eight counties all saw their infection rates rise. Statewide, the case count saw its largest single-day jump in since early April.

Antibody tests administered in May have yielded surprising results for Blaine County. Read on for more about that, plus other top news stories from Tuesday, June 16.

• Results from recent COVID-19 antibody testing indicate that nearly a quarter of Blaine County residents may have been exposed to the virus. That equates to roughly eight times the confirmed and probable cases currently documented by the South Central Public Health District.

Within Blaine County, Ketchum appears to have been hit the hardest, with a likely 35 percent infection rate. Though results are not completely conclusive, the antibody test administered has a reported 99.9 percent accuracy, the city said.

• The Idaho State Police has concluded an investigation into former Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter, who was placed on administrative leave in late January and formally retired about a month later. The exact reason why he was placed on leave remains unknown.

The ISP has handed off its findings to the Blaine County Prosecutor’s Office, which will now deliberate on whether or not to press charges.

• Camp Rainbow Gold may have had to cancel its annual Share Your Heart Ball gala fundraiser, but the nonprofit, which supports children battling cancer, has found a new way to continue its mission.

Starting yesterday, people can bid on a number of items in a week-long online auction to benefit Camp Rainbow Gold. Among the items up for grabs is a private Zoom call with actor Keanu Reeves.

• The Idaho Transportation Department is considering widening a portion of Highway 75 south of Ketchum. Just a reminder, the ITD will be taking public comment on the matter until Thursday, June 18.

• The city of Ketchum entered into a $31,287 contract on Monday with Boise-based design firm CSHQA for the first part of a two-phased conceptual design of a new City Hall, which will be in an existing building at 191 Fifth St., to the north of the post office.

The city has been working for several years toward creating new facilities for the current operations at City Hall. The Ketchum Fire Department, now in the same building as City Hall, is scheduled to move to a new facility on Saddle Road in September 2021. Ketchum hopes City Hall operations will relocate to a new home in May 2021.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 3,540 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the state, an overnight increase of 78. That's the largest statewide single-day jump in cases since April 9.

For more top local and regional news, pick up a copy of tomorrow's Idaho Mountain Express, or visit at any time.

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