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New Look for Chinook Elementary funds escape veto

Work to continue popular community effort will begin this summer

After being vetoed twice by former Governor Sarah Palin, this year the $20,000 Representative Bob Buch (D- Anchorage) secured to continue improvements at Chinook Elementary School in South Anchorage survived the governor's vetoes.

The money will go to continue the community effort called "A New Look for Chinook" by completing the entryway and landscaping upgrades started by the community. The funds will pay for new sidewalks and a new flagpole to complement the landscaping and painting done by student, school and community volunteers last month.

"The students, teachers and community really came together on this project, volunteering their time, hard work, money, materials and expertise," said Representative Buch. "I'm excited for them that the money is now there to follow through with what they've started."

On May 15, over 100 student and adult volunteers planted shrubs and flowers, painted the school sign, and built a raised flower box at the entrance to the school. The additional money will redo the sidewalks to better direct visitors to the proper school entrance, minimizing damage to the lawn and landscaping from foot traffic.

After the past vetoes, Buch initiated the "New Look for Chinook" efforts to empower the school and surrounding community to come together to get the job done. The PTA organized volunteers and raised money, and the Chinook Student Council voted unanimously to support "A New Look for Chinook." The Anchorage School District assigned a liaison to help coordinate the project, a local landscaping firm donated plans, labor and equipment, and Alaskan artist Ray Troll donated T-shirts commemorating the event.

Photos of the school grounds before and after the May 15 event are available at http://akdemocrats.org/gallery/buch.

For additional contacts in the community and more information on the ongoing project to create "A New Look for Chinook," please contact Madeline Lefton, aide to Representative Buch, at 907.269-0117.

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