Punxsutawney Phil faces 'death' penalty' over forecast - New York News

Punxsutawney Phil faces 'death' penalty' over forecast

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File) (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

By AMANDA LEE MYERS and MARK SCOLFORO

CINCINNATI (AP) — Famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil might want to go back into hibernation.

Authorities in still-frigid Ohio have issued an "indictment" of the furry rodent, who predicted an early spring when he didn't see his shadow after emerging from his western Pennsylvania lair on Feb. 2.

"Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that spring would come early," Mike Gmoser, the prosecutor in southwestern Ohio's Butler County, wrote in an official-looking indictment.

Gmoser wrote that Punxsutawney Phil is charged with misrepresentation of spring, which constitutes a felony "against the peace and dignity of the state of Ohio."

The penalty Phil faces? Gmoser says — tongue firmly in cheek — is death.

Punxsutawney Phil does not have a listed phone number.

Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney club that organizes Groundhog Day, said Phil has a lawyer and would fight any extradition attempt by Ohio authorities.

Deeley defended his fur-bearing associate and said the death penalty was "very harsh" given the nature of the allegations.

"We'll have to plead our case one way or the other, but I think we can beat the rap," Deeley said.

The vitriolic backlash on social media to Phil's dead-wrong prognostication has not gone unnoticed in and around Gobbler's Knob, Deeley said, and special security precautions were in place.

"Right next to where Phil stays is the police station," he said. "They've been notified and they said they will keep watching their monitors."

Winter has been dragging on in the Buckeye State and surrounding areas, with daily high temperatures this week hovering in the mid-30s and no end in sight for about 10 days, said Don Hughes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio.

A storm moving into the region Sunday could bring between 4 and 8 inches of snow, he said.

"It's taking too long," Hughes said, adding that he's hearing plenty of complaints from colleagues and neighbors about the late spring. "Most people I've talked to say they've had enough. They want spring. They're looking for colors and sunshine and Easter lilies."

The frigid temperatures and snow might be particularly hard to swallow after last spring, when the U.S. saw the warmest March in recorded history. Highs in the Cincinnati area, for instance, were well into the 80s.

Hughes said this spring isn't nearly the coldest on record but that the area is about 5 degrees below normal.

Gmoser's indictment made no mention of a possible co-conspirator in the false prediction of early spring, Ohio's own forecasting groundhog, Buckeye Chuck.

Chuck also failed to see his shadow when he emerged from his burrow on Feb. 2 in Marion in north-central Ohio.

___

Scolforo reported from Harrisburg, Pa.

Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Record stores survive and thrive in Brooklyn

    Record stores survive and thrive in Brooklyn

    Friday, April 18 2014 10:59 PM EDT2014-04-19 02:59:51 GMT
    When you hear about a place that still sells records, located in a hip neighborhood in the borough of Brooklyn, you enter that store with certain expectations. One of them being: you hope the guy behind the counter talks about music the way Cory Fierman does."I think it's just like the most important thing to you," he says. "I don't know how to describe it. It's the most important thing to me. It's like another language."Cory manages Greenpoint's Academy Records Annex, where they want you ...
    When you hear about a place that still sells records, located in a hip neighborhood in the borough of Brooklyn, you enter that store with certain expectations. One of them being: you hope the guy behind the counter talks about music the way Cory Fierman does."I think it's just like the most important thing to you," he says. "I don't know how to describe it. It's the most important thing to me. It's like another language."Cory manages Greenpoint's Academy Records Annex, where they want you ...
  • Queens Beer Week kicks off

    Queens Beer Week kicks off

    Friday, April 18 2014 10:19 PM EDT2014-04-19 02:19:20 GMT
    Queens wants to be known as New York City's beer capital. Queens Beer Week kicked off on Friday to celebrate the borough's crafty breweries and the more than 60 venues that serve their beer. Dan Bronson of Crescent and Vine in Astoria is the bearded brains behind the inaugural Queens Beer Week. He organized it all. The nine-day celebration of beers brewed in Queens.
    Queens wants to be known as New York City's beer capital. Queens Beer Week kicked off on Friday to celebrate the borough's crafty breweries and the more than 60 venues that serve their beer. Dan Bronson of Crescent and Vine in Astoria is the bearded brains behind the inaugural Queens Beer Week. He organized it all. The nine-day celebration of beers brewed in Queens.
  • Woman wanted for baby snatch attempt in custody

    Woman wanted for baby snatch attempt in custody

    Friday, April 18 2014 9:57 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:57:17 GMT
    Police have taken into custody the woman believed to have tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. Tara Anne McDonald, 46, was being evaluated at a hospital Friday night. The attempted kidnapping occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, police said.
    Police have taken into custody the woman believed to have tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. Tara Anne McDonald, 46, was being evaluated at a hospital Friday night. The attempted kidnapping occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, police said.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices