Pat Shingleton: "Phil and University Lake Frozen..."
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania attracts thousands on February 2. Tourism has become one of the leading industries for this community, directly related to this single event. Sunday morning, a groundhog will be “extracted” from his sleep, held before the crowd and then supposedly asked to make a prediction based upon his shadow. Each year, PETA or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals contend that this action traumatizes Phil and believe Phil should be replaced with an “animatronics model.” Representatives of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club believe Phil is treated better than the average child, kept in a climate controlled environment and annually treated by veteriniarians. An animatronics model is similar to the gopher that what was used in the movie Caddy Shack. Also of note, The end of January, 1966 was super cold in Baton Rouge. On January 29, 1966, the mercury slipped to 20 degrees for the coldest temperature for the date. On January 30, 1966, it dropped to 15, setting another record. The true freezing point of water is known as the ice point and in 1966 the final days of January found the daytime highs staying below the freeze or ice point. Years ago I worked with an engineer, John White, who filmed the freezing weather in ’66 on a frozen City Park Lake. I used the video in the 70s and 80s to commemorate the date showcasing many Baton Rougeans donning their ice skates for the skating extravaganza. Possibly some of our readers remember this event?
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