By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Peninsula Daily News
PORT LUDLOW — Scholastic music programs across the state will benefit from the sale of specialty license plants which proclaim “Music Matters,” to be approved by Gov. Chris Gregoire at a signing ceremony in Olympia at 1:30 p.m. today.
“Funding for school music programs have been cut dramatically so we are using this as an alternative,” said Danille Turissini of Port Ludlow, who lobbied in support of creating the custom plates.
“We are hoping this idea extends into other areas since lots of programs are getting cut.”
The plates are sponsored by Music Aid Northwest, a statewide organization that consists of musicians who support music education.
Turissini and her husband, former Jefferson Transit General Manager Dave Turissini, are members of the Music Aid Northwest board, which also includes record producer reek havoc and Yes drummer Alan White, who live in King County.
Turissini said there were several obstacles to getting the plates manufactured, beginning with a moratorium on fund-raising car plates imposed by the Legislature in 2006.
The organization had to raise $35,000 to cover the cost of manufacturing the plates and submit a petition signed by 3,500 people who said they would purchase them.
With the help of Rep. Marcie Maxwell, D-Renton, an exception to the moratorium was granted and a House bill was crafted to support the creation of the plate.
The plate will cost $40 extra for the first year and $30 for each additional year, with the money generated going directly to Music Aid, which will distribute them to music programs that request the help.
The expected minimum of 3,500 plates sold are expected to generate $140,000 for the program the first year and $105,000 each additional year.
“Music programs are always the first to get cut,” said Music Aid Northwest president Bob Tomberg.
“We want to raise awareness, and these plates will provide us with an ongoing revenue stream.”
Turissini hopes that the program will earn more as people hear about the plates.
“Schools can use them as a fundraising tool and sell them to people in their [school] district,” she said.
“In those cases, the money raised would go directly to that district.”
While a rough artist’s sketch of the plate has been used to generate support, the final design will be determined through a competition. The winning designer will be awarded a $500 prize.
Those needing more information or wishing to submit a design should go to http://tinyurl.com/pdnmusic.
The schedule for the availability of the plates will be determined by the state Department of Transportation, but Tomberg expects they could be available as soon as this summer.
Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.