Saturday, September 19, 2020
Free Dinners go Curbside, Brides Jump County Lines
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This group of master dinner makers will hang out in the wings while St. Thomas Episcopal Church prepares and distributes take-and-bake meals for Ketchum Community Dinners.
   
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Ketchum Community Dinners is going curbside!

The free dinners—Ketchum’s version of Hailey’s Souper Supper—were forced to shut down in March due to COVID-19. And it is not able to operate at Church of the Big Wood at this time.

So, St. Thomas Episcopal Church has stepped up to the plate offering its parking lot for people to pick up free take and bake dinners to go. On the menu for this Wednesday is a Mock Lasagna made with ground beef, tomatoes, pasta and cheese. A Chicken, Sausage & Rice Casserole made with mushroom soup and cream cheese will follow on Aug. 26.

Helen Morgus, Liz Hickey and Sara Gorby will lead the effort, lending a hand to Beth Ward who has overseen the effort almost since its inception 13 years ago.

Meals will be offered from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays beginning Aug. 19. Meal pickups start a half-hour earlier than in-person dining did.

Those picking up meals are asked to mask up and maintain social distancing.

For now, a small group—otherwise known as a pod—is cooking in the St. Thomas kitchen, using Centers for Disease Control and Health Department guidelines for preparation, storage and distribution.

“We will continue to monitor the virus and adjust as we can,” said Gorby. A small group will distribute the meals for the first few weeks. Then the groups involved at Church of the Big Wood will be invited to distribute later in the fall once we get the details down.”

FIRE UPDATE

The Muldoon Fire  near the Star Hope Campground near the Copper Basin grew to 412 acres on Monday but is 20 percent contained. Ninety-seven firefighters are working it. Firefighters warn a Red Flag warning today could lead to increased fire activity.

Meanwhile, Anne Jeffery, who long worked as a wildlands fire information officer, warns we could see lots of smoke in our rearview and front view mirrors over the next couple days as smoke from an Eastern Sierra fire that shut down I-70 west of Reno heads our way.

There are a couple fires burning in eastern Washington near Cheney, Clarkston, Williams Lake, as well as the Yakima Training Center Firing Range.

CAFES TAKE WEEKEND OFF

Meanwhile, two popular Ketchum eateries—Maude’s Coffee and Rasberrys Bistro—remained closed over the weekend. Notices on their doors said staff had elected to quarantine and close out of an abundance of caution after an employee became sick or was told to quarantine.

BACK TO PHASE ONE

Malheur County in eastern Oregon is moving back to Phase 1 of Oregon’s reopening plan. It has become the third eastern Oregon hotspot to have restrictions tightened over the coronavirus

The county has 266 cases per 10,000 people and a positivity rate of 26 percent with 15 cases per day over the past two weeks.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has ordered swimming pools, movie theaters, bowling alleys and recreational sports leagues shut down for at least three weeks because of the surge in cases during the past month. Outdoor gatherings are being capped at 50, down from 100. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10, provided physical distancing can be maintained.

Tightening things down is necessary to prevent further illnesses and death, Brown said.

The county has recorded nearly 900 infections since the pandemic began and 15 deaths, according to The Oregonian. It has the third most infections per capita behind Umatilla and Morrow. Many southern Idahoans frequent Ontario to avoid sales taxes on purchases and to buy marijuana, which is legal in Oregon.

BAND, FOOTBALL BEGIN

Band practices are being held outdoors as the West Ada School District prepares to return to school on Sept. 8. Boise schools began online on Monday, Aug. 17. They are slated to resume in-person classes Sept. 8 at the earliest.

The town of Moscow, meanwhile, shut down a soccer tournament and a baseball tourney after players and fans were observed unmasked and in too-close proximity to one another.

Football players in Herriman, Utah returned to the gridiron on Thursday night with stands at 25 percent capacity and fans wearing masks. Players drank from their own water bottles instead of sharing in what was the first pigskin matchup in the nation.

Ticket sales were scanned so the school can do contact tracing down the road if necessary.

WILL VISITORS END UP STAYING?

The number of visitors stopping by the Twin Falls Visitor Center is down only 20 percent from last year, even though it was closed from mid-March to mid-May. But this year there are no international travelers and tour buses headed to Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, according to KMVT.

Many of the visitors inquiring about making Idaho home, according to Shawn Barigar, the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce president.

MASKS PAYING OFF

Central District Health authorities believe Ada County’s mask mandate is working. Since it was implemented on July 14 new confirmed cases have remained under 200 all but two days. The highest day was 234 cases on July 24. Prior to that the highest daily case count was 428.

KTVB says that a 14-day average for the two weeks prior to July 14 shows an average of 206 daily cases. Since the mask order, the average dropped to 137.

But Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo worries that neighboring Canyon County has no mask mandate and 28 cases per 100,000 population compared with Ada County’s 15 cases per 100,000 population. So, it’s possible there could be some spillover.

After Ada County rolled back the number of persons permitted in any one place to 10, Canyon County wedding planners said they heard from several brides who asked about moving their weddings.

CDH wants to see the number of daily cases in Ada County go to at least 70 or 80 new cases per day before addressing other restrictions in place, such as the closure of bars.

IDAHO STILL SLOW TO TEST

The United State’s virus testing has fallen for the first time since the start of the pandemic, a sign the nation’s response has stalled, according to the New York Times.

Idaho is doing only 25,000 weekly tests a week—well below the 151,000 tests the coronavirus task force recommended in late May, according to the Idaho Statesman. The state has not been below the desired positivity rate since June 6.

Even skilled personnel to run the tests have been in short supply. Asked what was limiting its test capacity, one North Idaho hospital wrote: “Staff, swabs, reagents, media, sleep.”

Crush the Curve—Tommy Alhquist’s initiative—shut down its testing sites in mid-July after two weeks for financial reasons and the lack of state support.

It contracted with the state to provide rapid response testing but went unreimbursed for multiple deployments without state approval after determining that the approval process would take too long to prevent an outbreak, The Statesman said.

It goes without saying that testing will be crucial this fall as schools try to determine whether they have an outbreak of the flu or COVID.

The Idaho Bureau of Laboratories was only able to run 20 tests a day during the early days of the pandemic. Now it runs about 600 a day and its 47 employees expect to double testing capacity some time in the next several months, according to KTVB.

THE CURVE CONTINUES TO CLIMB UPWARDS

The state of Idaho reported only 282 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, down from 542 on Friday. It now has 27,942 cases.

But the state gained 11 new deaths on Friday—four in Ada, five in Canyon, one in Twin Falls and one in Bonneville counties. Three of those fatalities were under age 60, with one in their 40s. Seventeen of the state’s 267 deaths have been among those under 60.

The state recorded another four deaths on Monday for a total of 273.

Blaine County has added one new case each day for the past three for a total of 586.


 

 

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