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License plate benefits Coupeville lighthouse

People will soon have a new way to show off their passion for lighthouses.

Beginning in January, a new license plate commemorating Washington lighthouses will be available to motorists.

The new license plate, which has artwork adapted from a watercolor produced by Coupeville artist Janet Orso, was authorized by state legislation passed last April.

A lighthouse is painted on the left side of the plate. Janet Hall with the WSU Cooperative Extension Office said the lighthouse image isn’t a specific lighthouse, but shows what a typical lighthouse in Washington looks like.

The new license plate, which was sponsored by the Admiralty Head lighthouse, will raise money for lighthouses in the state.

Hall said 25 percent of the proceeds raised will be available to other lighthouses in the state. Those lighthouses can receive money by applying for grants. For a lighthouse to qualify, they have to have volunteers and be open to the public.

The remainder of the money raised from the plates will go toward environmental programs and efforts to renovate the Admiralty Head lighthouse and the interpretive displays available for public viewing. An additional portion of the money will be placed in an endowment.

“Proceeds from this plate will support docent programs at lighthouses throughout the state,” said Gloria Wahlin, Admiralty Head Lighthouse coordinator in a written statement. “In Island County, the funds will support Keepers of the Admiralty Head lighthouse in developing high-quality exhibits and an interpretive museum, environmental education and creating an endowment for long-term funding.”

Hall said officials would like to move the offices for the Beachwatchers, Waste Wise and the Lighthouse administration out of the lighthouse and expand the interpretive center.

The new plates will be issued to car owners who ask for them and pay $40 plus any other applicable fees. When vehicle registration comes due, people will pay an additional $30 to keep the plates. Twenty-eight dollars of the original purchase cost and $28 of the renewal cost is a tax-deductible charitable contribution.

The remainder of the money helps pay for production of the specialty plates and the state Department of Licensing’s administration of the program.

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