Hailey Snow Storage

Relocated snow is piling up at Hailey's snow removal site out Croy Canyon. Despite recent heavy snowfall, much of Blaine County is considered under serious drought conditions, possibly pointing to a dry spring.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 314 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 168,953. Of those, an estimated 91,637 have recovered.

The state reported no new coronavirus-related deaths today.

Blaine County gained just one new confirmed case today, leaving the local totals at 1,933 confirmed and 203 probable. The South Central Public Health District is monitoring 360 cases in Blaine County.

As of today, 80,389 Idahoans have received both doses of coronavirus vaccine. A further 124,763 state residents have received one shot and are awaiting their booster. In Blaine County, those numbers are 1,337 and 3,379, respectively.

Keep reading for updates on Blaine County’s COVID transmission risk level, a Senate bill targeting citizen ballot initiatives, the latest on the Ketchum Tribute Hotel project, and more top news from Friday, Feb. 19.

• While the local coronavirus situation is improving and Blaine County’s COVID-19 positivity rate is dropping, the local transmission risk level remains “critical,” based on the county’s own assessment model. This news comes as the South Central Public Health District continues to investigate an “active outbreak” in a local long-term care facility.

Greg Foley reports.

• A 30-year-old Montana man died in an avalanche in the Smiley Creek drainage this afternoon. He was snowmobiling when the incident occurred. His companions were unable to resuscitate him. This is a developing story.

Mark Dee has more information here.

• A state Senate committee is meeting to decide whether or not to advance a bill that would enact significantly stricter requirements on citizen ballot initiatives. If passed, Senate Bill 1110 would require signatures from 6% of voters in each of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts in order to get a citizen initiative on the ballot.

Gretel Kauffman has the details.

• The Ketchum City Council has once again granted approval to development plans for the approximately 130,000-square-foot Ketchum Tribute Hotel, slated to go on Main Street just across River Street from the Limelight Hotel. The Tribute project has had to go through the entire approval process twice due to a city noticing error last year.

Click here to read more.

• The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office is reminding motorists that Idaho’s hands-free driving law is being enforced, and violations can result in a fine of $75 for a first-time offense.

Click here for details.

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