Ground Haug Day lightens winter woe

RENVILLE, Minn. (AP) — Folks in this west-central Minnesota town inundated with snow are rejoicing that spring is around the corner because Renville Paul didn’t see his shadow.
Renville celebrated Groundhog’s Day on Sunday as “Ground Haug’s Day” by digging Paul Haug out of his parents’ earthen home, which has been repeatedly buried under 20-foot snowdrifts this winter.
Mayor Jimmy Hanson, sporting a “Ground Haug Day” T-shirt, officially welcomed Haug outside under cloudy skies, where no shadow could be seen.
The sky also was cloudy in Punxsutawney, Pa., where that celebrated groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, failed to see his shadow, meaning spring is nearly here. A shadow sighting would have meant six more weeks of winter.
The Renville home, which belongs to Florence and Curtis Haug, gained fame after the couple spent six days trapped inside last month. Their son had to dig a tunnel to supply his parents because the couple could not crawl out. They had to wait until Jan. 15, when heavy equipment could open a path.
Paul Haug said wind-driven snows have refilled it twice since the rescue.
Volunteers helped dig another path Sunday to the Haugs’ door. This time, only the son emerged. His parents have been staying with friends since their rescue.
Sunday’s event was the idea of Mark Chan and Steven Lindquist.
“Given how challenging the winter has been, we thought we’d put a little humor to it,” explained Chan.
Chan looks forward to putting this winter behind him. “Next year we may reminisce about this winter,” said Chan, adding, with some hope, “down in Mexico.”