Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Staten Island Chuck Predicts Early Spring

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Staten Island Chuck and his Pennsylvania pal had some conflicting views on the future weather this Groundhog Day.

After some prodding from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a reluctant Chuck the groundhog finally came out of his home and made his annual prediction.

According to the mayor, the three-year-old, 10-pound Chuck did not see his shadow – meaning spring will come early.

Onlookers said they were happy with Chuck's forecast.

"This was [my son's] first Groundhog's Day and I was just excited to see it and we're expecting and praying that it's an early spring," said one Staten Island resident.

"I really wanted it to be spring because this winter has been really cold," said another.

While Groundhog Day is a fun tradition for grownups and children, its roots go back to agriculture.

"It's based on farming," explained zoo keeper Douglas Schwartz. "They wanted to know if they could plant or not, so they turned to the groundhog for advice."

However, there were conflicting groundhogs this year. In Pennsylvania, Punxatawney Phil did see his shadow, calling for six more weeks of winter.

According to his keeper, Chuck has been right 84 percent of the time compared to around 40 percent for other groundhogs.

"I go with Chuck, not just because I'm a Staten Islander but because Chuck's been right most of the time; Phil's been wrong most of the time," said a third local resident.

City residents hope their rodent is right.

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