Boulder Mountain

Express photographer Roland Lane has been exploring the natural majesty of the Wood River Valley (including this eye-catching view of the Boulder Mountains). View his new photo gallery here.

Another Blaine County resident has died of COVID-19, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported today. The Idaho Mountain Express has no further information on the deceased at this time. The 17th local coronavirus-related death was one of five statewide today, leaving Idaho’s death toll at 1,876. 

The state Department of Health and Welfare reported 452 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide today, raising the total since March 2020 to 172,288. Of those, an estimated 95,222 have recovered.

Blaine County gained six confirmed and one probable case today, raising local totals to 1,969 confirmed and 211 probable. The South Central Public Health District is monitoring 117 cases in the county.

A total of 136,027 Idahoans have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine. A further 121,561 have received their first dose and await their second. In Blaine County, those numbers are 2,583 and 3,147, respectively.

Read on for updates on COVID-19, area of city impact agreements between Bellevue and Hailey, a proposed bill to expand wolf-hunting across the state, and more top news from Wednesday, March 3.

• Blaine County’s recent downward trend in new COVID-19 cases has taken a turn, rising gradually as February gave way to March. The statewide trend is following a similar pattern, though Idaho is making progress administering its full vaccine allocation. On Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced it has awarded $39 million to Idaho to support vaccination centers throughout the state.

Greg Foley has all the details here.

• The Bureau of Land Management released plans to expand hiking, biking and camping opportunities on about 137,000 acres of public lands in Blaine County. This includes expanding trail networks out Slaughterhouse and Quigley canyons, east of Bellevue and Hailey, respectively.

Emily Jones reports.

• In what Hailey Mayor Martha Burke described as a “momentous occasion,” the Blaine County commissioners put their seal of approval on area of city impact ordinances passed by the governments of Bellevue and Hailey, finally resolving years of contentious negotiations between the cities.

Gretel Kauffman has the full story here.

• A bill recently introduced in the Idaho House Resources and Conservation Committee proposes to change gray wolves’ classification in the state from game animals to predators. If passed, the bill would enable hunters to kill wolves year-round without limits and do so from snowmobiles, ATVs, helicopters and other motorized vehicles.

Click here to learn more.

• Ketchum moved one step closer to approving a new master transportation plan this week. The lengthy document would replace the 2004 transportation plan and provide guidelines to “assist Ketchum policymakers and staff in making sound decisions for the city transportation system to promote a greater quality of life and provide a guide for future development.”

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.

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