Five questions: Tonganoxie Phil

Longtime Leavenworth County physician Dr. Phil Stevens talks about his alter ego, Tonganoxie Phil, and offers his prognosis for winter’s end. Enlarge photo

February 5, 2013

Longtime Leavenworth County physician Dr. Phil Stevens also is known as Tonganoxie Phil. Stevens explains how he got the name, which he’s known for each February with Groundhog Day.

Q: How did you take on the persona of Tonganoxie Phil?

A: Out of the blue, I received a phone call from Randy Miller, who was a Kansas City disc jockey. He wanted to compete with Punxsutawney Phil, and he needed somebody by the name of Phil from Tonganoxie, so I was drafted. Punxsutawney Phil is the Pennsylvania groundhog who comes out of hibernation every Feb. 2 and predicts whether there will be spring or six more weeks of winter.

Q: How many years have you been Tonganoxie Phil?

A: About 20 years, but it seems a lot longer. It’s a tough job.

Q: Do folks still ask you for prognostications?

A: All the time, and the questions have branched out into politics, world affairs, the economy, inflation and longevity.

Q: Have you been pretty accurate predicting the weather?

A: Just about as accurate as Punxsutawney Phil. In fact, we are running neck and neck.

Q: Are we in store for six more weeks of winter?

A: We’re certainly overdue. Time will tell. Let’s hope it includes lots of precipitation.

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