Geese Heading South

Though the forecast predicts warmer temperatures for the first week of November, sights like these Canada geese heading south are sure signs that winter is coming.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported yet another near-record single-day increase of statewide COVID-19 cases today, with 1,064 new confirmed and probable cases raising the grand total to 63,810. Of those, an estimated 33,628 are considered active. According to state health officials, coronavirus has contributed to the deaths of 626 Idahoans, 11 more than yesterday. Since last Friday, the state has reported 64 coronavirus-related deaths.

The state confirmed nine new cases among Blaine County residents today for a total of 909 confirmed and probable. As of last night, the South Central Public Health District was monitoring 127 active cases in Blaine County.

Keep reading for information on a suspected murder-suicide in Bellevue, the search for a missing hiker north of Ketchum, a fatal shooting in Custer County, tips for a safe Halloween and more top news from Friday, Oct. 30.

• Details remain sparse as the Idaho State Police continue to investigate the deaths of Bellevue residents Ashley Midby and Jared Murphy in a suspected murder-suicide. According to call logs obtained by the Mountain Express, the Bellevue Marshal’s Office responded to an address county records identify as Murphy’s Bellevue home for a “domestic verbal” incident on Monday, Oct. 19, three days before Murphy and Midby's bodies were found.

The city of Bellevue is assisting Midby’s family in organizing a candlelight vigil tonight at 6:30 p.m. in her memory.

• Park City, Utah, woman Fern Baird went missing while hiking out Prairie Creek last Monday, Oct. 19. Authorities are still searching for her. Today’s operation involved multiple teams of K9 units and a helicopter. Anyone with any information that may assist in the search for Baird should reach out to Lt. Mike Abaid at 208-578-3371 or email sheriff@co.blaine.id.us.

• The Custer County Sheriff’s Office has released a report detailing witness accounts of a fatal shooting of a Boise man by the Bonners Ferry Police Chief at a campground in Custer County in August. No decisions have yet been made by the county prosecutor.

• The Idaho Department of Lands is poised to grant a lease of land to AT&T to build a nearly 200-foot-tall communication tower near Redfish Lake, but the Idaho Conservation League and several other groups have requested a hearing on the matter, urging the Idaho Land Board to consider alternatives to the tower.

• The general election is just around the corner and Blaine County residents have several options at their disposal for how, where and when to vote. Click here to learn about early voting, absentee ballots, in-person options, registration and more.

• SKI magazine’s annual “Reader Resort Survey” has recognized Sun Valley as the top ski resort in the West for the 2021 season. This is the first time Sun Valley has been named No. 1, having ranked in the top-10 several times in the past two decades and notching the runner-up position last year, in 2017 and in 2015.

• Planning to go trick-or-treating this Halloween? The CDC offers plenty of recommendations for doing so safely. The agency also offers insights on safely celebrating Día de los Muertos. Click here for more.

If you’re staying inside for Halloween, consider tuning in to the Wood River High School drama department’s livestreamed and radio presentations of Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” broadcast. Click here for details.

For more local and regional news, pick up a copy of today’s Idaho Mountain Express, or visit mtexpress.com at any time.