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New Year, New Groundhog CT

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Longing for spring? There is hope and a new groundhog in town, well actually at the Lutz Children’s Museum in Manchester, the home of the official Connecticut state groundhog.

The nearly year old “Connecticut Chuckles VIII” will be the celebrity groundhog doing the honors at the museum’s annual Groundhog Day extravaganza on Feb. 2 beginning at 6 a.m.

The new guy’s prediction, spring around the corner or six more weeks of winter, is scheduled for 6:55 a.m. that day. The new celeb rodent will also be sworn in that day as the state’s official groundhog.

Staffers note “Chuckles VIII” moved into the museum after she was discovered injured and orphaned as a baby. The vet determined she would not be able to survive in the wild, setting the stage for her new career in meteorology.

She succeeds “Chuckles VII,” also known as “Molly,” who died in March from injuries suffered when she was hit by a car two years before.

For those who like the back story on Groundhog Day:

German settlers brought a tradition known as Candlemas Day to America in the 1700’s. It came at the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Tradition held that if the weather was fair, the second half of winter would be stormy and cold. The hedgehog had fulfilled these duties back in Europe, but finding none here, settlers turned to the native groundhog.