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Alaska marks first Marmot Day

Feb. 2, 2010 at 1:59 PM

JUNEAU, Alaska, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Alaska officials said a recent law makes Tuesday, known as Groundhog Day in Pennsylvania and other states, a holiday known as Marmot Day for Alaskans.

Sen. Linda Menard, R-Wasilla, who sponsored last year's marmot bill, said the annual Feb. 2 Marmot Day will celebrate the state's three species of marmots, which do not include groundhogs, the Juneau (Alaska) Empire reported Tuesday.

"By way of introduction, Marmot Day, Feb. 2, passed through the House and Senate and was signed by Gov. (Sarah) Palin," Menard said. "As it happened, I filed this bill out of my love for tourism and local hire."

Menard said Marmot Day does not include Groundhog Day's weather forecasting -- Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil is relied on to predict the coming of spring -- but will involve a number of educational activities, including events at the Mat-Su School District and the Alaska Zoo.

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