Every year, Washington State Parks has 12 Discover Pass free days in which people are able to visit any of the over 140 state parks or lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife for free.
Free days do not apply to Sno-Parks permits, which are available for purchase during the winter season, from November through April.
Below is a list of the Discover Pass free days in 2024:
Amtrak Cascades is adding two new round trips between Seattle and Portland, beginning Dec. 11, for a total of six in time to accommodate increased demand over the holidays.
Both Seattle and Portland will tack on two additional departures to their schedules — one from each city in the morning and one from each in the evening.
Under the current schedule, the earliest trains leave Seattle at 7:22 a.m. and Portland at 8:20 a.m. The new schedule will add a 5:52 a.m. from Seattle and a 6:40 a.m. from Portland. The 7:22 a.m. from Seattle will move up slightly to 7:08 a.m.
In total, 12 Amtrak Cascades trains will leave from the two cities all day, a 50% increase from the eight that leave under the current schedule. The trains stop in Tukwila, Tacoma, Olympia/Lacey, Centralia, Kelso/Longview and Vancouver, Washington.
Additionally, Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train has one departure from Seattle and one from Portland each day.
In the period between October 2022 and September 2023, the Amtrak Cascades saw a 71% increase compared to the same stretch of time last year.
“As we increase options for our Pacific Northwest customers, we are thrilled to expand scheduled service to meet customers’ rising demand for train travel,” said Amtrak President Roger Harris.
The 2023 Sports Awards, hosted by the Olympia & Beyond Sports Commission, was held at South Puget Sound Community College on November 9 to honor the outstanding achievements of local athletes with seven community sports awards.
The awarding ceremony was attended by 150 guests consisting of the nominees, their families, coaches, sports enthusiasts, and friends who witnessed the celebration of local men and across the field of sports.
According to Jeff Bowe, Vice President of Sales and Development for the Olympia & Beyond Sports Commission, leaders who advocate good mental and physical health through sports activity make a healthy sports community.
“ Sports Awards is a celebration of those accomplishments – from those who organize sports events to the athletes who participate in them,” Bowe said in a press release.
Sports Moment of the Year
The Sports Moment of the Year goes out to Kyler Ronquillo and the Yelm High School Football team.
Yelm High School won their first football state championship, sealed by a last-minute touchdown catch from Kyler Ronquillo.
This winning moment etched Yelm High School’s name in the championship record books, amassing over one million online views and securing a spot in the prestigious highlights of ESPN.
Police say they have traced a fake bomb threat against Yelm High School to a juvenile suspect in New York.
The suspect allegedly left a voicemail at the school Monday that indicated a “potential bomb threat by another student,” according to a news release from the Yelm Police Department.
Yelm Police School Resource Officers reportedly learned of the threat at 3 p.m. Monday. Detectives learned it was a hoax within two hours, then worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to trace the number to a New York address, according to the news release.
The detectives then devised a plan with New York State Police to contact a juvenile suspect at the address.
The news release says New York State Police “executed an operation” to contact the juvenile and successfully reached him at about 8 p.m. Monday. The Yelm Police post says the juvenile was “apprehended.”
Military Could Owe Billions to Service Members Involuntarily Discharged for Refusing COVID Shots
The U.S. military could owe billions in back pay and legal fees depending on the outcome of three class-action lawsuits filed on behalf of service members who allege they were wrongfully discharged for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.
Among the claims made by the plaintiffs are that the military could not legally mandate vaccines issued under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), as was the case with the COVID-19 vaccines, and that it was nearly impossible for service members requesting a religious exemption to have those requests approved
Dale Saran, who is the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, told Fox Business his legal team represents “basically everybody who got kicked out, discharged or dropped to the IRR [individual ready reserve] as a result of not taking the vaccine.”
This could include more than 100,000 former service members, according to the plaintiffs’ legal team, led by Saran and two other attorneys: Brandon Johnson and J. Andrew Meyer.
It’s unclear how many service members were involuntarily discharged for refusing the vaccine, but estimates range from more than 8,000 to just under 2,000.
Fox News last week reported, “thousands of troops unsuccessfully sought religious exemptions from the inoculation, including 8,945 soldiers, 10,800 airmen and guardians, 4,172 sailors, and 3,717 Marines.”
Regardless of the actual number, the U.S. Army is trying to get members who were involuntarily discharged to reenlist, according to an undated letter that surfaced last week.
Editor’s note: Newly elected Yelm city council members sworn in November 28 are Position 1’s Tracey Wood returning for a 4th term, and his colleague Trevor Palmer in Position 6. Wood won by 23 votes, Palmer won by 12 votes.
Roughly 1,200 voters in a city of 10,600+ residents voted for the 3 city council posts respectively. That’s pathetic!
The weather has stayed cool and dry this Thanksgiving weekend in the South Sound, and forecasts say the conditions are here to stay into the beginning of next week.
The National Weather Service’s Seattle office wrote on social media site X that if the weather stays dry until the start of December, it will be only the fourth time in 79 years that the last week of November is dry.
Dry weather will remain the norm at least through Wednesday, according to the NWS. Low temperatures will stay in the low 30s, with high temps in the mid-40s.
The next chance of rain will come Thursday, the last week of November, forecasts say. There’s also a chance for some snow Thursday night, and a greater chance of rain Friday.
S&P Global Ratings raised its long-term rating to ‘AA’ from ‘AA-‘ on Yelm, Wash.’s series 2012 limited-tax general obligation (GO) bonds outstanding.
“The raised rating reflects our view of the city’s recent strong financial performance, which continues to support its very strong cash-basis available fund balances, as well as our view of its improved income indicators and continuing economic growth, which we view as sustainable,” said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Cenisa Gutierrez.
The outlook is stable.
Yelm is a bedroom community for residents working in the surrounding cities of Tacoma, Olympia, and Centralia and is one of the fastest-growing cities in Washington State, with a population that management expects to grow from about 10,770 currently to nearly 25,000 by 2040. Ongoing development within the city has contributed to very strong assessed value growth, including a 30% increase over the last two years, reflecting the residential and commercial development.
Washington State, renowned for its lush landscapes and vibrant cities, unfortunately, harbors some less desirable places to live. Amidst its many appealing locales, a small city has emerged as a stark contrast, earning an unwelcome distinction. According to a comprehensive study by 24/7 Wall Street, Yelm, Washington, has been named the worst place to live in the state.
Yelm’s journey from a rapidly growing city at the dawn of the 21st century to its current status is a tale of change and challenges. Located in Thurston County, Yelm’s population stands at 10,617. This city, once a symbol of growth and potential, now faces issues that overshadow its development.
Interestingly, Yelm’s primary struggle isn’t with poverty or violent crime rates, which are common issues in many cities deemed less livable. Instead, Yelm’s challenge lies in its significantly high property crime rate.
Living in a city with high ratings doesn’t necessarily equate to personal happiness; however, factors like high crime rates, poverty, and limited employment opportunities can significantly detract from the quality of life. Yelm’s situation is a clear example of how a single predominant issue, like property crime, can drastically impact a city’s livability and reputation.
Washington: Yelm > Population: 8,425 [actually 10,680 says the Yelm Chamber of Commerce] > Median home value: $220,100 (state: $286,800) > Poverty rate: 13.4% (state: 12.2%) > Violent crimes per 100,000 people: 258 (state: 304)
Though residents of Yelm, Washington, are far less likely to live below the poverty line or be the victim of a violent crime than those in most cities on this list, other conditions in the city detract from quality of life. For example, property crime — a broad category that includes burglary and motor vehicle theft — is relatively common in Yelm. The city’s property crime rate of 5,750 incidents per 100,000 in 2017 was nearly the highest of any city in the state and well above the U.S property crime rate of 2,362 per 100,000.
Unlike most cities on this list that are growing relatively slowly or losing residents in recent years, Yelm is growing rapidly. Over the last five years, the number of people living in the city increased by a staggering 24.6%. Over the same period, the U.S. population expanded by just 3.8%.