|Sacramento School dedicates new garden
THE MID-COUNTY MEMO
April 18th was a triple treat day for Sacramento Elementary School, with three interlocking events and celebrations.
Community garden dedication
The garden was a group effort, with all grades as well as most of the staff and many of the parents contributing to the effort. They also received financial or in-kind assistance from Parkrose Hardware, Seven Dees Nurseries, The Home Depot, Lowes, George Morlan Plumbing, Rain Bird, Nevue Ngan Associates and the Parkrose Educational Foundation.
However, as Principal Stevie Blakely said at a community assembly, the biggest sparkplug and contributor to the project was counselor Paul Crowley. The intent, he said, was to create a learning tool, and an environment that is welcoming to the community.
Walk, bike to school/Earth Day
Last month much of the community was at Sacramento Elementary School to be welcomed.
The garden dedication coincided with Walk and Bike to School Day. Starting at various assembly points and accompanied by adult volunteers, 221 children walked to school that morning, according to organizer Anna Scalera. Another 38 rode their bikes, and at least three came by either scooter or skateboard.
The staff tied the event to the observance of Earth Day, which this year was celebrated on April 22. Scalera told the school assembly that using alternative modes of transportation was good on multiple levels. It provides the children with exercise that keeps your mind clear and your body healthy. Its also good for the earth. The school had activities planned to drive the message home throughout the month.
The school and Scalera are also working on practical ways to make walking or biking to school more attractive all the time. Sacramento this year was one of 19 schools selected for the citys Safe Routes to School Program. Funded through traffic fine revenues, the program invites school administrators and parents to map out the best routes for children to use to reach school by foot or bike. They also identify barriers that keep the routes from being as easy or safe as desired. Finally, they receive $20,000 each to correct some of these problems. (Prescott Elementary School, a Safe Routes to School last year, made some improvements and is working on others.)
The advantage here [at Sacramento] is that every kid can walk to school, Scalera said. The ground is flat, and there arent many busy streets nearby. She admitted there are challenges, though. Of course there arent sidewalks in some place. Also, its a culturally diverse place and, for some cultures, owning a car is the ultimate American dream. Once you have it, you want to take it everywhere. Theres a perception that its more convenient, even if it would take the same time to walk your kids to school and you could have more quality time with them.
The program at Sacramento has identified a menu of physical improvements. They include the following: re-signing of the street in front of the school, including more 15-minute zones, facilitating a smoother operation for drop-off and pickup making pedestrian activity safer; redesign of the parking lot; painting of driveways on Northeast Sacramento Street to provide for safe exits; extend the 20-mile-per-hour school zone eastward; speed bumps on Northeast San Rafael Street between 111th and 122nd avenues, on Morris Street between 111th and 117th avenues, on Knott Street between 102nd and 111th avenues and on Klickitat Street between 111th and 117th avenues; marked pedestrian crossings in front of the school, Knott Park and on Northeast San Rafael Street between 117th and 122nd avenues; and some new sidewalks on Sacramento Street near the Knott Park crossing. The total price tag is well above the $20,000 available, so choices will have to be made. Also, residents will be expected to pay 40 percent of the cost of new speed bumps, which are about $2,000 each. There will be a public meeting to discuss the proposal and get public feedback beginning at 6 p.m. May 3 at the school library.
The day had one final element, a sad one: the planting of a Japanese maple tree and placement of a memorial plaque in one of the planters as a memorial to former Sacramento student Josh Bonte, who died of complications from juvenile diabetes May 15, 2004. The tree replaces an earlier planting that died.
Bontes parents, Fred and Donna; the Powell family; friend Cole Miller and Sacramento coach Jerry Landreth carried out the planting during the assembly.
Before leaving, Landreth, barely maintaining composure, told those assembled, Josh was everyones friend. He played soccer and loved to run. There was a little part of Josh walking and running with you today. He was the greatest kid ever.
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