Archive for Wednesday, February 6, 2002

Spring’s just around the corner, according to ‘Tonganoxie Phil’

February 6, 2002

After last week's winter storm, many Tonganoxie residents are looking for any indication of an early spring.

If the prediction that Dr. Philip Stevens made on Groundhog Day comes true, winter will make an early exit this year.

Every Feb. 2 since 1998, Stevens has been a guest on KBEQ radio station's morning show, posing as "Tonganoxie Phil." This year, however, Stevens was not on the program because Groundhog Day fell on a Saturday.

"The program is not on on the weekends, so they didn't call," Stevens said. "I'll just hibernate until next year."

Stevens then reconsidered that.

"Unfortunately, I think next year it falls on Sunday, and I won't have a job then either," he said. "I'll have to hibernate two years in a row."

Even though he didn't hit the airwaves this year, Stevens did take note of whether he saw his shadow on Saturday.

"It was here at the office," he said. "That's the official location in Tonganoxie. We don't have Gobbler's Knob, like they do in Pennsylvania, so we just use the office."

And unlike his counterpart Punxsutawney Phil, a Pennsylvania groundhog Stevens didn't see his shadow. So that means an early arrival of spring.

"We deserve it, after that ice storm," Stevens said.

The Groundhog Day tradition is based on a German superstition that an animal casting its shadow on Feb. 2 the Christian holiday of Candlemas means another six weeks of winter is coming. Otherwise, it suggests an early spring.

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