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Big debut for Washington apples next week

apelmweieeWith much anticipation, the Washington apples specialty license plates will make their debut next week.  Starting July 1, Washington drivers may order the plates for their licensed vehicles from the Department of Licensing website at https://www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/specialdesign.html.  Proceeds from the sales and renewals of the plates benefit the Washington Apple Education Foundation.

Late last year the Washington Apple Commission expressed their interest in a plate paying tribute to Washington apple growers to Wenatchee-area state Senator Brad Hawkins.  Senator Hawkins took the lead sponsoring SB6032.  The bill had broad support from senators and representatives from fruit growing regions.  With a good deal of effort, the bill passed the legislature in early March.  It was signed into law by Governor Inslee on March 19.

Specialty license plate pricing is established by the state Department of Licensing through the legislative process.  The purchase price of the Washington apples specialty plate is $77.25.  Annual renewal will be $30.  For each sale and renewal, WAEF receives $28.  The foundation will utilize the funds in support of its scholarship and student outreach activities.

“We anticipate seeing thousands of Washington apples specialty plates on our highways,” said WAEF Chairman Chris Willett.  “The plates provide deserved recognition to growers, employees and all that have helped make Washington’s tree fruit industry world-class.  They also represent dollars that will be spent providing educational resources to kids raised in the industry.”

Annually WAEF awards over $1 million in scholarship assistance to children from Washington’s tree fruit industry.  About 80 percent of the foundation’s scholarship recipients are first-generation college students.  Many of the parents are WAEF scholarship recipients are employed in farm and warehouse labor jobs.

“WAEF is unique in our approach to scholarships.  Our goal is not to get kids to college.  Our goal is for them to thrive in college and graduate on-time with the skills and connections to launch their careers,” Willett further added.  To achieve that goal, WAEF provides ongoing outreach and services to students year-round.  Much of the programming provided to WAEF students is created and executed by volunteers.

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