ST3 tab increases causing Olympia gridlock in Washington state

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The ST3 sticker shock effect is real, and it is causing major upheaval in the Washington State House and Senate. Last November, the Sound Transit 3 Bill was passed by a narrow margin of approximately 55-45 percent, which approved the public funding of a massive extension of the public light rail system, costing the taxpayers of King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties around $54 billion over the course of the next 25 years. This extension has been approved because it will improve convenience of travel, help with Seattle’s historically bad traffic, and address environmental concerns. This $54 billion is being covered by higher property and sales taxes, but what has led to controversy (and multiple bills being looked at in Olympia) is the exorbitant car tab fees.

Natural beauty no longer free at an Washington state marina.

DES MOINES, Wash. — The Des Moines Marina and Beach Park has long been a natural beauty and hangout spot for kids, teenagers, and adults alike in a town that is otherwise lacking in both. For the first 25 years of its existence, the Beach Park had free entry. As of last month, that is no more. In June, the City Council instituted a paid parking system for the marina, both to help offset the cost of maintaining the marina and also help keep the environment clean and safe.

Rising tides lifting Florida tourist towns like Daytona Beach

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The sun set this past Fourth of July over Daytona Beach in much the same fashion as it has for years: accompanied by thousands of people, on the sand, in the water, and on the pier. An Eagles tribute band did stirring renditions of “Hotel California” and “Desperado.” The fireworks show was tremendous, chants of “U-S-A!” sporadically broke out amongst the inebriated Southerners, and the mood was joyous. It was, for a night, like the Recession of 2008 had never happened. “Tourism has definitely been on the upswing since the recession,” Kate Holcomb, the Director of Communications for the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, said in an email.

Change, not chains, growing in Seattle ice cream market

SEATTLE — For generations of Seattleites, like many around the country, Baskin-Robbins and summer have gone together like peanut butter and jelly. But, thanks to a switch in distribution method and unrest amongst local franchisees, Baskin-Robbins are closing and rebranding at an alarming rate in this major Pacific Northwest city. “I felt like Baskin-Robbins never had my back, and I didn’t want to pay the franchise fee when I didn’t think the name was helping me,” says Burien ex-franchisee Jae Naele. Naele, a Korean immigrant, had owned the location at the Five Corners in Burien for 14 years, when she chose to go independent and rebrand as the Meltin Spoon in February. The Baskin-Robbins in Burien has rebranded: it is independent and is now known as the Meltin Spoon.

U. of Washington frats are for-rent to all in summer

SEATTLE — As the spring quarter winds down at the University of Washington in Seattle, finals are taken, last hoorahs are undergone, and goodbyes are shared. However, some people don’t feel like going home for the summer. For young women, the options include dilapidated dorms, expensive Seattle apartments … or frat houses. “I hate going home and I have a job here, but you can’t get an apartment for three months in Seattle,” explains junior Sydney Smith, a Public Health major from Reno, Nevada. “I’m actually not even in [Alpha Chi Omega] anymore, but I still like to live in.” For $475 total for the three months of summer, Smith lives with the brothers of Phi Kappa Psi.