Elk Penny Lake

As more and more elk head down to the valley floor, so do mountain lions. Fish and Game recently reported heightened cougar activity in the area. Read below for more on that.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 323 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total to 166,876. Of those, an estimated 88,672 have recovered.

The state did not report any new coronavirus-related deaths.

Blaine County gained eight confirmed and three probable cases today, raising local totals to 1,901 confirmed and 192 probable. The South Central Public Health District is monitoring 431 cases in Blaine County.

To date, 46,680 Idahoans have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and a further 120,460 people have received one dose and are awaiting their second.

The Health District updated its regional COVID-19 transmission risk assessment today, noting Blaine County at “high” risk and its seven other counties at “moderate.” Blaine’s own risk assessment put the county at “critical” again.

Keep reading for a wildlife-heavy Roundup, a proposal to legalize medical cannabis in Idaho, and other top news from Thursday, Feb. 11.

• The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is reviewing a joint proposal from Camas County-based Idaho Trappers Association and Bonner County-based Foundation for Wildlife Management that—if passed—would expand wolf trapping areas and seasons in the Wood River Valley. The commission is now taking public comment on the proposal.

Emily Jones reports.

• Fish and Game caught up with a sick cow moose in Hailey again this week, more than two months after department biologists first treated and radio-collared the animal. The moose is battling a severe case of conjunctivitis and her limited eyesight makes her more likely to charge, officials say.

Click here for details.

• And in still more animal-related news, Fish and Game reports a sharp uptick in the number of mountain lion sightings and encounters in the Wood River Valley, mostly in Hailey, following last month's heavy snowfall. As more elk and deer take to their winter ranges out of the mountains, the predators follow.

Read more here.

• A bipartisan bill to legalize medical marijuana has emerged in the Idaho House of Representatives. Co-authored by Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, and Rep. Mike Kingsley, R-Lewiston, the bill comes as a proposal to cement Idaho’s ban on marijuana and other psychoactive drugs in the Constitution gains momentum.

Gretel Kauffman has more on that here.

• Stanley’s 11th annual Winterfest kicks off tomorrow and runs until Sunday. Organizers have implemented appropriate COVID-19 precautionary measures, and most of the cornerstone events will go ahead with only slight restructuring.

Learn more here.

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

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