Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

Happy birthday to Frank DiGiammarino

leave a comment »

080303ashxA very happy birthday to Frank DiGiammarino of the National Academy of Public Administration. (Coincidentally, it was DiGiammarino’s wife’s birthday just last week.)

DiGiammarino is NAPA’s vice president for strategic initiatives and one of the people behind NAPA’s Collaboration Project, which seeks to help agencies work though many of these collaborative technologies. We recently had him on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris talking about some of the collaborative guidance that they are pulling together. (Hear that conversation here.)

On this date in history… in 1653, New Amsterdam, now New York City, was incorporated… in 2004, ricin was discovered in offices used by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist… in 1971, Idi Amin assumed power in Uganda following a coup… and in 1887, the first Groundhog Day. (More on that after the break.)… It is also the birthday of singerShakira (32), actress Farrah Fawcett (62), TV-film executive Barry Diller (67), Crosby, Stills and Nash’s Graham Nash (67), Star Trek TNG actor Bret Spiner (60), and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) (60).

Read more about Groundhog Day and more about what happened on this date after the break.

From the History Channel… more on Groundhog Day

First Groundhog Day

On this day in 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring.

Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal–the hedgehog–as a means of predicting weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State.

Groundhogs, also called woodchucks and whose scientific name is Marmota monax, typically weigh 12 to 15 pounds and live six to eight years. They eat vegetables and fruits, whistle when they’re frightened or looking for a mate and can climb trees and swim. They go into hibernation in the late fall; during this time, their body temperatures drop significantly, their heartbeats slow from 80 to five beats per minute and they can lose 30 percent of their body fat. In February, male groundhogs emerge from their burrows to look for a mate (not to predict the weather) before going underground again. They come out of hibernation for good in March.

In 1887, a newspaper editor belonging to a group of groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club declared that Phil, the Punxsutawney groundhog, was America’s only true weather-forecasting groundhog. The line of groundhogs that have since been known as Phil might be America’s most famous groundhogs, but other towns across North America now have their own weather-predicting rodents, from Birmingham Bill to Staten Island Chuck to Shubenacadie Sam in Canada. In 1993, the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray popularized the usage of “groundhog day” to mean something that is repeated over and over. Today, tens of thousands of people converge on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney each February 2 to witness Phil’s prediction. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club hosts a three-day celebration featuring entertainment and activities.

See the History Channel’s video about it here.

More events on this date:

1536 The Argentine city of Buenos Aires was founded.

1653 New Amsterdam – now New York City – was incorporated.

1848 The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, ending the Mexican War.

1870 The Cardiff Giant – supposedly the petrified remains of a human discovered in Cardiff, N.Y. – was revealed to be nothing more than carved gypsum.

1876 The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs was formed in New York.

1882 Novelist James Joyce was born near Dublin.

1971 Idi Amin assumed power in Uganda following a coup.

1979 Punk rock musician Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols died of a drug overdose at age 21.

1990 South African President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela.

1996 Dancer, actor and choreographer Gene Kelly died at age 83.

1997 The government released statistics showing deaths from AIDS fell by almost half during the first half of 1997, a decrease attributed to increased use of powerful combinations of medicines.

2004 Deadly ricin was discovered in offices used by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

2007 A grim report from the world’s leading climate scientists and government officials said that global warming was so severe, it would “continue for centuries” and that humans were to blame.

2007 Texas became the first state to require that schoolgirls get vaccinated against HPV, a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.

2008 French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former supermodel Carla Bruni were married at the presidential Elysee Palace.

Written by cdorobek

February 2, 2009 at 7:38 PM

Posted in birthdays

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: