Bob Mitchell: Groundhog predicting an early spring
Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog, saw his shadow Tuesday. Legend has it that the groundhog's prediction means an early spring.
There is absolutely no doubt that folks in this part of the woods are anxious to get out of winter and into some weather that gets them thinking about gardening, fishing or just getting out of the house into pleasant weather, some of which has been around during the cold weather season.
A shadow for the groundhog could have meant some nasty weather for a lot of activities, including the March 1 opening of Roaring River State Park, only four weeks away.
For several sections of the nation, February's weather might result in about anything happening any time of the month. There are winds and storms that are scheduled to arrive in about any region, any week of the month.
Could this possibly be because there is an extra day in February for 2016? Yes, this is a Leap Year.
There are folks around who will want to know that the best fishing days this month will be Feb. 9-10, 22-23 and 27-28, which should give them a running start into the windy month of March when they might have problems holding their boat over favorite fishing waters.
This month was once the subject of a lot of conversation. It's an old story that the late Joe Ellis and I tried our best to figure out a way to do away entirely with the month of February. Most people didn't realize that Joe and I were the best of friends, despite our political differences. There were many a hunting trip or fishing outing that we enjoyed more than anyone could realize.
Joe had a formula that would have taken the normal 28 days of February and divided them among the more enjoyable months, when there was more daylight in which outdoor activities could be enjoyed. It's sad that his heart transplant didn't last long enough to accomplish what we had in mind for getting rid of the shortest month in the year and the one that usually causes the least desirable weather.
One advantage, should we have accomplished what we set out to do, would have been rushing spring's arrival from the present March 20 date. But, one disadvantage, which we discussed from time to time, would have been gardeners rushing to make plantings that Mother Nature could easily nip with a cold snap. Another of those things we didn't figure out was how to let her know what we had done and secure her cooperation in bringing weather that would be conducive to early gardening.
Few people are around these days who will recall the days of the Cassville Industrial Development Corp., when Joe Ellis was its seldom-paid attorney. There were two occasions when his association with the late Congressman Gene Taylor proved especially beneficial to Cassville. These were the FASCO and Alvey, Inc. projects. Combined, they brought $1.3 million in UDAG grants from the federal government for infrastructure projects for the city. At the time, Ellis was Taylor's district chairman and had an easy access to the Seventh Congressional District's representative in Congress.
These funds have been used by city government over a period of years, probably served as a bank more than once to provide funds for projects outside their intend original use of economic development.
Don't forget the 14th
It would be a pretty good idea that men not forget Feb. 14, an important date -- possibly more so than some of the president's birthdays. This year, Valentine's Day is on a Sunday. Remember the time when sweethearts got a remembrance -- a heart-shaped box of chocolates. Not to remember this date with some show of love and appreciation might result in some real problems in some households.
If you have gotten away with forgetting this occasion in years past, you may need lots of luck this year.
Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.