Snow on Hailey Main Street

Hailey got plenty of snow Friday night to provide this wintry shot Saturday morning, but more fell on Sunday, amounting to about a foot of fresh powder for the city.

Idaho gained 3,546 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide since Friday, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Today’s increase of 1,099 brought the grand total to 83,344, of which health officials continue to monitor an estimated 47,051 active cases.

The state has reported a total of 763 coronavirus-related deaths, 11 more than on Friday.

Since Friday, the state has counted seven confirmed and three probable cases among Blaine County residents, raising local totals to 1,025 confirmed and 70 probable. The South Central Public Health District has not updated its data today to reflect how many of those cases are still being monitored.

In case you missed it Friday, Gov. Brad Little rolled the state back into Stage 2 of his rebound plan. Click here for details.

Keep reading for coverage of the weekend’s snowfall, Idaho’s unemployment rates, CARES money allocation in the school district and more news from Monday, Nov. 16.

• The first big snow storm of the season dumped around 20” on Galena Summit and throughout the Sawtooth, Smoky and Boulder mountains. As a result, the Sawtooth Avalanche Center is warning backcountry skiers and snowboarders of increased avalanche risk. Two public field reports noted strong gusts, unstable slabs, and isolated cracking and whumping in the Galena region.

Emily Jones reports.

• In addition to hammering the mountains, the snowfall also buried the Wood River Valley. Citizens broke out their shovels, snow-blowers and sleds to welcome the flurries. Meanwhile, our photographer Roland Lane got out his camera and documented the weekend’s weather.

View his photo gallery here.

• According to the Idaho Department of Labor, the number of Idahoans who filed a continued claim for unemployment insurance benefits held steady the first week of Nov. 7, with 8,143 state residents filing. Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose, however, by more than 1,000. The four-week moving average was also up by 10 percent.

Greg Foley has more on that here.

• The Blaine County School District has opted to use its federal CARES Act money to pay staff members a one-time stipend—prorated for part-time employees and totaling $1,600 apiece for full time staff members. Administrators will not receive a stipend. According to then-Superintendent GwenCarol Holmes, the payments are intended to acknowledge the extra work and risk teachers and school staff have faced during the pandemic. BCSD received $1,069,877 in federal CARES money on the condition the money be put to cover COVID-related expenses.

Gretel Kauffman has the details.

• With the 2021 legislative session rapidly approaching, recently re-elected District 26 legislators Sen. Michelle Stennett, Rep. Sally Toone and Rep. Muffy Davis have started weighing priorities. In a recent interview with the Mountain Express, the three discussed property tax relief, education, broadband access, transportation infrastructure and the funding of Medicaid expansion as key priorities for the January session.

Learn more here.

For more local and regional news, visit at any time and look for a copy of Wednesday’s Idaho Mountain Express newspaper.

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