Ducky race raises $12K but falls short of goal

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— On one of autumn's first brisk, foggy mornings when the smell of the air promises snow some 1,200 pink, blue and yellow rubber duckies were simultaneously dumped into the Yampa River at Dr. Rich Weiss Park. The cooling currents took the ducks to the Depot. At the end of the day, $12,000 was gathered by the fund-raiser for the Doak Walker Care Center and Grandkids nursery and playground equipment.
The Hospital Auxiliary and Kiwanis Club's goal for the 13th annual Rubber Ducky Race was to raise $15,000.
"We didn't quite meet our goal, but we never meet our goal," Hospital Auxiliary President Marjory Arbogast said. "We're very happy with the money we've earned. The community is so supportive, and so many people came out the morning of the race."
Just more than $600 was raised in rubber ducky ticket sales the morning of the race. And even though the final count was less than the projected goal, $1,000 more was raised this year than last.
"It went really, really well" Cathy Justice said. "It was a wonderful turnout."
The biggest difference between this year's rubber ducky ticket sales and the past 12 years' sales is that the Hospital Auxiliary and Kiwanis Club were not permitted to sell tickets at the Steamboat Springs' Post Office on Lincoln Avenue, as the clubs have during the past dozen years.
This was also the first year the Ladies' Auxiliary of Veterans of Foreign Wars were not able to sell poppies at the post office, and many auxiliary and club members found this new situation frustrating. Arbogast, who met with Steamboat Postmaster William Butler, said she understands the situation.
"I asked him, with details of the poppy situation in hand, if we could get permission to sell (rubber ducky tickets) at the post office. His hands were totally tied," she said.
In June, Butler said he would probably be able to help groups and organizations get the necessary legal permission to go ahead and sell at the post office for fund-raising events such as this one.
"I said I could try and get them through the system to see if it could be done," Butler said. "I referred the ladies to the regional council in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the people have the expertise and power to say yea or nay. I never heard back from (Arbogast), so I assumed they told them what I told them. Based on Title 39, a federal law that I have to live with, there was nothing I could do. I did try to push them up the ladder to get permission if at all possible to do so."
Gary Shapiro, the attorney at the regional council, was not available for comment. Arbogast said she never tried to contact him because she thought it wasn't necessary.
"(Butler) bought a ticket. He explained the situation. There was really nothing more he could do. It's not even a postal service law. It's a federal law," she said.
"I'm at my wits' end at how to communicate that most of the things I'm asked to do here, I just can't do. I wish as much as I could that I could help folks understand. I can't speak for my predecessor, what his rules were, but if I know better and still don't do what I'm supposed to do, I'm probably not the right guy for this job," Butler said. "I've tried to be as open and forthright as possible, and to sugarcoat the issue as much as possible, but there's not much that can be done to circumvent this."
Butler cites the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 39, chapter 1, part 232 to support his actions. The code explains soliciting, electioneering, collecting debts, vending and advertising on postal property is prohibited.
"I'll do what I can," Butler said. "I can put up posters, for example. I can help that way. But as far as people selling on sight, there are specific laws that I have to be accountable for."

To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4204 or e-mail bnadzam@amigo.net

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