Reader Quick Hits: April 29, 2020

Idaho nears 2,000 cases of coronavirus, with 32 new confirmed and probable cases added Wednesday, April 29. Statewide, 60 people have died from coronavirus. Panhandle Health District reported no new cases Wednesday, keeping the total number at 65 confirmed cases district-wide. Bonner County still has only reported four cases of the COVID-19 virus. Bonner County Commissioner Dan McDonald wrote in an email to the Reader that county offices will go back to full staff in all departments effective Monday, May 4 as a result of a unanimous vote held at an “emergency” meeting on Tuesday, April 28.

Gov. Brad Little’s salmon workgroup met virtually this week to move forward with their next phase of brainstorming ideas to help salmon recover in Idaho. The group has met for months, identifying habitat, harvests, hatcheries, hydro-power and water in a broad base as identifying factors that need to be looked at to aid healthy salmon and steelhead returning to spawn in Idaho rivers. Idaho News 6 wrote more about the issue here.

Idaho State Parks officials want to remind visitors to pay park fees. State parks have remained open during the COVID-19 crisis, but park managers are saying a large majority of vehicles are not paying the $5 entrance fee. Officials estimated 75% of non-Passport visitors are skipping the fees altogether and accessing the sites free of charge. The fees help support parks, especially in times of financial upheaval such as the Great Recession or the COVID-19 pandemic.

One area of the economy not heavily affected by the coronavirus? Lottery tickets. Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson said Tuesday that lottery ticket sales were only down about 5% last week. Anderson believed buying a lottery ticket could bring a sense of normalcy.

Longtime Hope resident Jack Miller passed away April 26. Miller has been the face of Holiday Shores Marina for over 20 years. “Jack loved working at Holiday Shores and working with Marina guests,” the marina announced in a Facebook post. “He helped many people enjoy the lake that he loved.” You will be missed, Jack.

In an email to constituents on April 29, Idaho District 1 representative Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, continued to criticize Gov. Brad Little’s stay-at-home order. Calling Gov. Little’s actions “tyrannical behavior,” Rep. Scott also compared the coronavirus to the seasonal flu. She urged constituents to “identify tyrannical behavior of elected officials within your jurisdictions who are violating your rights,” and encouraged Idahoans to protest the order: “Rallies and protests raise awareness, get the attention of public officials, and are constitutionally protected. They are proving effective in some municipalities.” Scott finishes by noting there are “processes to recall bad actors in government,” and “Your Idaho House members can impeach the governor if they can be persuaded by their constituents to do so. It is politically dangerous to take on the governor, so they must fear the people more than the executive branch.”

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