The Gleaner
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Local groundhogs buck trend and predict an early spring 

PHOTO Heritage Elementary School

The annual February 2 tradition of pinning our hopes for a swift transition to spring on some lovable groundhogs resulted in conflicting predictions. The first furry forecaster to emerge from its burrow was Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam, who was spooked by his shadow. Ontario’s Wiarton Willie did not see his shadow, suggesting an early spring is in store. Manitoba Merv, a sock puppet located in Oak Hammock Marsh, saw his shadow, while Balzac Billy, a man dressed as a groundhog in Alberta, did not. The status of spring was undetermined in Quebec after Fred La Marmotte was sadly discovered to have died while hibernating in Val-d’Espoir. A child holding a stuffed groundhog as a stand-in forecast a lengthy winter. Across the border, Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil also predicted six more weeks of cold temperatures. Luckily, the four-year-old kindergarten class at Heritage Elementary School in Huntingdon took to the snow with their hand-crafted critters without a shadow in sight. Following a frigid weekend of -25-degree temperatures, we’ll happily take the local prediction for an early spring!  

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