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Easter excitement: Multiple generations attend egg hunt in Auburn

AUBURN — For Brad Beardsley, the community Easter egg hunt in Auburn is a family tradition. 

Beardsley, who was at the annual hunt at Hoopes Park Saturday with his granddaughter Aurora Beardsley, said between taking his children when they were younger and now his grandchildren, he estimated he has been at the hunt for 28 consecutive years. Aurora, 5, held onto a stuffed rabbit she won at the event like it was a dear friend. 

"It's just a great family, community gathering," Beardsley said.

Children and adults swarmed the park for the event, which has been going for 70 years. The Owasco-Fleming Kiwanis Club hosted the festivities, which also featured appearances by Auburn Fire Department personnel and the Easter Bunny. 

Children ranging from toddlers to age 9 were able to take part in the search for candy-filled treasure, with different age ranges separated into different sections. Of the 9,000 eggs at the park, some were worth special gifts such as stuffed rabbits. The grand prize, a bike donated from Walmart, meant finding a special egg in each age section. Before the event began, Serenity Jones, 2, pointed at nearby eggs from behind yellow tape, shouting "Egg!" as she looked at different bulbs. Serenity's father, Wyatt Jones, said he believes the event is a tradition for people. 

"They've been doing this for the last 70 years, so it's pretty much part of the community," he said. 

Bridgette Greenfield's eyes ballooned as she said she came to the event for candy. Bridgette, 7, was armed with two Easter baskets and planned to bolt for the larger eggs. Bridgette's grandmother Jackie Couture said she loves watching children have fun at egg hunts.

"Their joy is my joy," she said.

At 10 a.m. the tape dropped to the ground as a siren signaling the hunt's start ripped through the air, with children making mad dashes for the goods scattered on the grass as adults cheered them on and helped out. Every single egg was gone in a matter of minutes. 

After the search, Lori Hadden helped granddaughters Londyn Humphrey, 5, and Arden Humphrey, 4, separate the eggs from the candy. Hadden's niece Tiffany Garrigan helped as well, as Tiffany's son Logan Johnson played with the stuffed rabbit he won. At one point, Logan, 9, dove the rabbit into his candy, as if his newfound furry companion was snacking on the goods.

Kiwanis Club president Willard Schwarting said 240 pounds of Tootsie Rolls were donated for the event. Club member Lee Brew said it took 15 hours for all of the eggs to be filled. Her said he believed multiple generations got in on the fun.

"It's like a family tradition, you know?" Brew said. "There's probably people here that took part in it when they were kids."

Gallery: 2019 community Easter egg hunt in Auburn

Kelly Rocheleau / Kelly Rocheleau, The Citizen 

Adults gather eggs at the community Easter egg hunt at Hoopes Park in Auburn Saturday morning.

Kelly Rocheleau / Kelly Rocheleau, The Citizen 

Colten Smith, 8, and Xymere Scott, 9, look at what they collected at the Easter egg hunt at Hoopes Park Saturday.

Some downtown Auburn business owners say back-in parking is causing problems

AUBURN — It’s been almost a year since back-in, on-street parking was installed along a downtown strip of Genesee Street in Auburn. The goal behind ditching front-angle parking was to cut the risk of accidents on the busy street. Some downtown business owners, though, feel as if they’re paying a toll for the new parking design.

In May of last year, C&S Companies, an engineering firm, informed the Auburn City Council that there had been 53 accidents on Genesee Street from 2011 to 2014. Fourteen of the accidents were directly related to front-angle parking, the firm said during a presentation on the city’s Genesee Street Paving Project.

Since the project received state funding, Auburn had to abide by New York Department of Transportation regulations which prohibit backing out into traffic. This meant the front-angle system had to be replaced.

“I would’ve rather seen parallel parking,” said Susan Waby, owner of Regenerations, a home décor shop on Genesee Street.

Waby believes the back-in parking outside of her store has something to do with a dip in business.

“I get a lot of feedback on it,” she said. “People come in and say, ‘what’s up with this parking?’ It’s affecting business.”

To correctly back in to a parking spot, vehicles must pull ahead of a space, and then back their vehicle in. Waby’s biggest concern is holding up traffic.

Sometimes, she sees drivers pull U-turns into spots, which means they cross the double yellow lines and park on the opposite side of the road.

Mike Sigona, who owns Thirsty Pug Craft Beer Market, located in the Genesee Center, has similar views of back-in parking. He said he’s seen vehicles behind parking cars get impatient and cross into the oncoming lane to get around them.

“We figured that once construction would be over — when it would no longer be a mess downtown — that it would get better. But with the back-in parking, it’s bad.”

Sigona said that his business has seen growth this year, but it’s incomparable to last year’s yield.

One alternative to parking on Genesee Street is the city’s parking garage on Lincoln Street, where the first two hours of parking on upper levels are free. For some older people, like Waby’s 88-year-old mother-in-law, parking in the garage, she said, is “easier said than done.”

Eye on NY:

U.S. Rep. John Katko has won three elections. Bob Honold has been behind the scenes of each victory.

Honold, a Syracuse native and political consultant based in central New York and Washington, D.C., produces television commercials for Katko's campaign. The Katko-Honold duo has been recognized before at the American Association of Political Consultants' annual Pollie Awards.

This year, the Katko campaign and Honold won two top awards.

Katko for Congress and Honold Communications won a bronze Pollie in the "Best in Show - Republican Series" category and silver in the "Best Television Campaign - Republican" category.

For both categories, Honold submitted the campaign's complete television campaign ad portfolio. During the 2018 election, the Katko campaign aired 10 television commercials in the Syracuse market.

The ads included a 30-second spot featuring Teresa Woolson, an Oswego County resident whose son died after using synthetic marijuana. She has supported Katko's legislative efforts to combat synthetic drugs. Another ad starred John Walsh, an Auburn native and the creator of "America's Most Wanted."

Honold and the Katko campaign competed against other GOP campaigns across the country. In the "Best in Show" category, finished behind Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey's campaign and Indiana U.S. Sen. Mike Braun's campaign. In the "Best Television Campaign" contest, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's campaign beat out Katko for the top spot.

Honold explained that several factors are considered by judges, including creativity, effectiveness, ethical integrity, strategy and uniqueness. Electoral outcome is also part of the assessment.

In many cases, winners of Pollie Awards won their elections last year.

Honold has enjoyed success as a political consultant assisting campaigns across the country. He told The Citizen that he's most proud of his work with Katko's campaign because of his central New York ties.

"John Katko is more than a client and a friend. He's my congressman," Honold said. "And if we had more like him, Washington would function better and America would be even greater. Way more important than the awards, helping John Katko improve the community I love has been one of the most rewarding achievements of my career."

Since Katko first ran for Congress in 2014, Honold has produced commercials for the Camillus Republican. The ads have been filmed in the 24th district and Honold's production work is in Syracuse.

He is planning to shift more of his work to Syracuse instead of splitting time between central New York and Washington.

Honold has been a go-to political consultant for New York Republicans. In 2010, he was the National Republican Congressional Committee's New York state director. His efforts helped Republican win six House seats in the state.

"In addition to his record of service, John Katko is especially well served by having Bob Honold, one of the best political consultants in the country, right in his district," former House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement.​