Hiking Carbonate March

As winter conditions subside, hikers have been enjoying the clear south face of Carbonate Mountain in Hailey. Saturday is the first day of spring.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 383 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 177,185. Of those, an estimated 98,694 have recovered.

The state's death toll rose by three today to 1,941.

Blaine County gained five cases today, leaving local totals at 2,005 confirmed and 209 probable. The probable case count decreased by one, likely because a case was reclassified as confirmed. The South Central Public Health District continues to monitor 42 cases in Blaine County.

Statewide, 225,158 people are considered fully inoculated against COVID-19. A further 136,077 have received one dose of a two-dose vaccine and await their second. In Blaine County, those numbers are 5,223 and 2,696, respectively.

Read on for updates on ISP’s investigation into the October deaths of two Bellevue residents, extreme drought conditions in Blaine County, local juvenile arrest stats, and more news from Friday, March 19.

• Idaho State Police detectives have concluded their investigation into the October deaths of Bellevue residents Ashley Midby and Jared Murphy in an apparent murder-suicide. ISP has now turned its findings over to Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback. Public details about the investigation remain scant.

Gretel Kauffman reports.

• Hydrologists warn of “extreme” drought conditions in Blaine and Custer counties heading into the spring. Snowpack has been below average in the Big Wood and Big Lost basins, likely yielding poor spring runoff and water shortages heading into the summer.

Emily Jones has the details.

• Youth arrests in Blaine County increased slightly in 2020, though felony charges among minors continued to decline. There were 77 minors arrested last year, compared to 42 arrested in 2019 and 67 in 2018.

Learn more here.

• House Bill 106, which would have eliminated August elections in Idaho, was voted down by the Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday. The bill faced fierce opposition from school districts, which largely rely on August elections to hold bond and levy votes after summer budget-setting.

Read the full story here.

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