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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Governor Palin to Visit Auburn, New York on June 6

Governor Palin will be visiting Auburn, a city in upstate New York, to attend a Founder's Day event on June 6, the 50th anniversary of Alaska's attaining statehood. There had been an earlier miscommunication about the Governor's intentions to attend the event. However, everything has been ironed out, and there is great anticipation of Governor Palin's visit.

You betcha, Palin’s coming to Auburn

By Kathleen Barran / The Citizen

Friday, May 22, 2009 10:11 AM EDT

In a surprising turn of events on Thursday, the city manager and the director of Seward House learned that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be coming to Auburn.

Last week, city officials and representatives from Palin’s office informed The Citizen that Palin would not be attending Founder’s Day on June 6. Since March, they had been anticipating a commitment from her to attend the event, which takes place on the 50th anniversary of Alaska’s statehood.

Auburn city officials announced last week that Palin turned down the invitation. A representative from the governor’s office confirmed she would not attend the event, but would not disclose the reason why.

But Meghan Stapleton, one of Palin’s media coordinators, who had been working on the Seward House event for Palin’s office, called Mark Palesh, city manager, and Peter Wisbey, director of the Seward House, to inform them that Palin would definitely participate in Founder’s Day and the fundraising event at Seward House.

“We are going to work out and announce the details of the event soon,” Stapleton said. “We are incredibly excited to celebrate Founder’s Day in Auburn and to celebrate at the home of William H. Seward, who helped to put Alaska on the map.”

Stapleton said a mix-up in Palin’s offices, where Founder’s Day and Seward House weren’t connected as the same event, created the error. She said the governor did not change her mind. Stapleton had been working all along on the Seward House event, but the inundation of requests for appearances by the governor when people heard she might be coming led to some confusion about Founder’s Day.

Stapleton, who is a native Auburnian and daughter of Helene (Karpinsky) and David Stapleton, said she would also be at the event.

“We’re excited that she (Palin) is able to attend the Founder’s Day activity and the Seward House fundraiser in the afternoon. I’m walking on air,” Wisbey said.
He said he received the call Thursday.

“This will be a great boost of recognition and visibility to Seward House. It’s my understanding that she gets thousands of invitations.”

Palin will say a few words at the fund-raiser, which is a ticketed event. She will also have a private tour of Seward House, where she can view some Alaskan items acquired by Seward.

Palesh said he only learned Thursday that Palin was actually going to come. City officials and Founder’s Day organizers will have to re-focus some of their efforts on security and other aspects of the event for such a high-profile guest.

“We’re absolutely thrilled she would take the time to visit the birthplace of Alaska,” Palesh said.

Ticket sales for the Seward House fund-raiser have just started and Wisbey said the event would be held in the gardens, which can hold between 400 and 500 people. General level tickets can be purchased for $100, with a $250 ticket at founder’s level that will allow the ticket holder to have a photo taken with the governor as well as special access to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

People wishing to purchase tickets can call the Seward House at 252-1283. The office will be open on Saturday and Monday also.

- Staff writer Christopher Caskey contributed to this report.

Staff writer Kathleen Barran can be reached at 253-5311, ext. 238 or