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Local teen raises funds to see inauguration

LAKEWOOD — Jessica LaPlante won’t be old enough to vote in November, but if she can raise enough money she’ll get to see the new president getting inaugurated in person in January.

The 17-year-old Lakewood High School senior has been invited to Washington, D.C., Jan. 17-21, as part of the 2009 Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference, but she has to pay her own way, including an estimated $700 in plane fare.

LaPlante has already raised $1,089.30 through bake sales, garage sales, car washes and even helping neighbors with housework, but with an estimated price tag of as much as $4,000 for the trip, she’s still got a lot of fundraising left to do.

She’ll be getting a helping hand from the Local Scoop in Arlington, Oct. 26, when they’ll be letting her use their facilities for a spaghetti feed and silent auction to pitch in for LaPlante’s trip.

“Ace Hardware donated a fishing pole, and the chiropractors on Olympic Avenue donated a pillow,” LaPlante said. “Downtown pet groomers have given us gift certificates, and Flowers By George has given us mocha cards.”

In addition to the bid items, Local Scoop patrons can buy dinners of spaghetti, salad and bread, prepared by Local Scoop and Bluebird Cafe cook Lenora Fenstermaker. Tickets for the dinner are running at $5 per person and can be purchased at Hook, Line and Sinker, in Suite 18 on 17306 Smokey Point Drive.

LaPlante is looking forward to seeing the White House, the Capitol Building, the area’s many memorials and the “private access” tour of the Smithsonian that comes as part of the trip. The trip also includes a meeting with Lance Armstrong, an invitation to the black-tie inaugural gala ball, and a place at the Jan. 20 inauguration itself.

“It sucks that I won’t be 18 in time to vote,” said LaPlante, who earned herself a spot on the trip by being recognized for her community service at the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine. “But I turn 18 nine days before I leave on this trip.”

The Local Scoop is located at 434 N. Olympic Ave. in Arlington.

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