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Published October 11, 2013, 10:02 AM

Missing duck decoy comes home to boost charity auction for libraries in Lakota, Michigan

Whoever ducked out of the SunLac Inn Monday with a UND-themed duck decoy apparently ducked back in Thursday night and secretly returned the prized souvenir.

By: Kevin Bonham, Grand Forks Herald

Whoever ducked out of the SunLac Inn Monday with a UND-themed duck decoy apparently ducked back in Thursday night and secretly returned the prized souvenir.

Now, the duck can take its place in a Duckfest charity auction Saturday evening to benefit the public libraries in Lakota and Michigan, N.D.

The decoy, painted in UND green and white, is autographed by 11 present and past members of the UND hockey team, some of whom now are playing in the NHL.

“We are so happy,” said Maria Vasichek, a member of the Michigan Community Club and one of the Duckfest organizers.

The Herald reported the duck theft in Thursday’s edition. A $150 reward had been offered.

The decoy was returned by about 8 p.m. Thursday. It was left in the men’s restroom at the SunLac’s Sundowner Lounge, located in Lakota.

“Whoever it was felt pretty doggone guilty,” said Rita Hjelseth, another event organizer. “We don’t know who returned it, but we got it.”

The UND souvenir is one of 87 plastic duck decoys that will be sold at a Duckfest Auction at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Lakota Community Center. A social hour precedes the event at 6 p.m.

Local businesses and residents paid $25 to adopt one of the decoys and to decorate it for the fund-raising activity.

Proceeds will go to the community clubs in the two Nelson County towns, located each community to support expansion projects at the A.M. Tofthagen Library and Museum in Lakota, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Michigan Carnegie Mini Library.

Lakota, with a population of about 650, is about 60 miles west of Grand Forks. Michigan, with about 290 residents, is about 10 miles east of Lakota.

Saturday night’s open auction has been preceded by a silent auction. The UND-decorated duck decoy had been one of the early leaders, with a top bid of about $250.

The UND hockey players whose autographs adorn the decoy are: Matt Greene, Mike Commodore, Jake Marto, Matt Watkins, Robbie Bina, Andy Kollar, Mike Prpich, Lee Marvin, Andy Schneider, Jay Panzer and Chay Genoway.

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