ALTON - For the second consecutive year, Altonians will turn to Murray the Groundhog for answers to some of their most important meteorological questions: Will we see an early spring, or six more weeks of eagle-watching? 

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That question was posed by Alton Conventions and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Brett Stawar, who is putting together the event, set for 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, at the Alton Visitors Center, located at 200 Piasa St. Stawar said several area mayors, including Alton Mayor Brant Walker, Godfrey Mayor Mike McCormick, Bethalto Mayor Alan Winslow and East Alton Mayor Joe Silkwood, will be in attendance for a mayoral proclamation following Murray's predictions. 

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"We'll be celebrating either the beginning of spring, or else six more weeks of eagle season," Stawar said. 

The event's showcase - Murray the Groundhog - is one of the many animals permanently housed at the TreeHouse Wildlife Center, located in Dow. Stawar said Murray was found as an orphan, and has become imprinted to humans. He will be the deciding factor in the traditional weather-witching set to take place Thursday morning. 

Stawar said the entire event should not last more than 15 minutes. He said it would be a fun event to attend as a break from the day. Coffee and cookies will be provided. 

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