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Happy Marmot Day, Alaska!

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Well, today, Feb. 2, marks the second official Marmot Day in Alaska. The day celebrating the rotund chiselers was enshrined in law by the Alaska Legislature in April 2009. Alaska Sen. Linda Menard introduced the bill to promote "local hire" and Alaska-specific education instead of further supporting Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania groundhog who annually registers a prediction about the duration of winter on "Groundhog Day," as Marmot Day is known to the rest of the country. Don't look for any predictions from any of Alaska's marmots, however; they're still hibernating. Punxsutawney Phil punched the clock as usual Wednesday morning, and this year he predicted an early spring. But all the other local prognosticating groundhogs who managed to make it to work across the Lower 48, such as Buckeye Chuck, Staten Island Chuck, Jimmy The Groundhog, and General Lee Groundhog, predicted winter to last. Read a great deal about Alaska's celebrated (yet currently dormant) rodent workforce from the Juneau Empire, here. The Empire's Juneaublogger notes also that the Mount Roberts Tramway's 7-foot-tall stuffed marmot will make a Marmot Day special appearance, starting at 11 p.m. at the base of the tram.