Pat Shingleton: "Phil and Phyllis..."
The movie "Groundhog Day", starring Bill Murray, depicts a Pennsylvania village in an accurate way. It's similar to the excitement of Mardi Gras in South Louisiana, complete with music, food and merriment. Punxsutawney comes from the Native American name for "ponksad-uteney," or "town of sand flies." Punxsutawney, Pa. east of Pittsburgh was settled by the Delaware Indians in 1723. The Delaware considered groundhogs honorable ancestors. The Pennsylvania Dutch, and their appropriate name "Deutsch" is of German rather than Dutch origin. They advanced the folklore of the groundhog when they settled the area in the late 1700s. A weather diary going back to Feb.4, 1841, had this entry. "Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow, he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy, he remains out, as the weather is to moderate." Our own Chief Meteorologist, Josh Eachus, is a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania and is on the Board of Selectors for future Groundhogs in Punxsutawney and is very familiar with this event. Josh will officially and exclusively announce the results on Tune-In at 5:00 AM on WBRZ, Channel 2. During my tenure at WIIC-TV/WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh our coverage included the festivities surrounding the event. During my weather presentation years ago, I noticed Phil being extracted from his coveted confines, placed before the cameras and noticing Punxsutawney Phyllis! The forecast then? Six more groundhogs!