Jan. 30-Feb. 5, 2013

The WoodsTock IndependenT


Thursday 1-31
welcOMINg Of THe gROuNDHOg Woodstock Opera House 121 Van Buren St. 6 p.m. 815-334-2620 gROuNDHOg TRIVIA Stage Left Café 125 Van Burent St. 6:30 p.m.

GRo U n dh o G do In Gs » HONOREE

Schuette to be honored for school service
Former principal will receive annual Award of Excellence at Groundhog Day dinner
By RHONDA MIX The Independent Greenwood resident Bill Schuette will receive the Award of Excellence at the District 200 Education Foundation Groundhog Day Dinner/Auction Saturday, Feb. 2. The award has been presented for the last three years and has been given to a select community member as acknowledgement of his or her outstanding contributions to the school district. Schuette moved to the area in 1961 from La Crosse, Wis., where he had been a sixthgrade teacher. He continued teaching sixth grade at Greenwood Elementary School during his first year there. He was a full-time principal his second year – a job in which he remained for 29 years. He also filled in as a substitute bus driver on occasion. During a recent interview, the 80- year-old fondly remembered and spoke of his first day on the job as principal. “It was my daughter’s first day of school,” he said, referring to his only child, Chris. “We walked to school together, and she fell into a puddle,” he said, laughing. Schuette spoke positively of his years at Greenwood, the school board and the community. He said he often thinks about the trials schools face today and is grateful Greenwood School has experienced very few problems when he was a teacher and the principal and even now. “It was a wonderful school. We had remarkable teachers and parents,” he said. “The parent cooperation was unbelievable.” Schuette retired in 1990. The self-professed Green Bay Packers fan said he decided to make the most of his retirement. “After 29 years, I thought I’d just relax,” he said. However, he also said he continued to remain involved with the school without “hovering over the new principal’s shoulder.” Schuette expressed gratitude for his time spent at Greenwood and said the job has been a blessing in his life. He also expressed his enjoyment at attending the Woodstock Groundhog Days events with his family and said he and his wife, Mimi, feel lucky to be part of the area. “Woodstock is a beautiful, wonderful community,” he said.

Friday 2-1

sHAke Off THe wINTeR Blues celeBRATION Woodstock Moose Lodge 406 Clay St. 6 p.m. $15

Saturday 2-2
gROuNDHOg PROgNOsTIcATION Woodstock Square 7 a.m. 815-334-2620 OffIcIAl gROuNDHOg DAy BReAkfAsT Woodstock VFW 240 N. Throop St. 7:30 a.m. $15 per person 815-334-2620 gROuNDHOg BOwlINg Wayne’s Lanes 109 E. Church St. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. fRee sHOwINg Of ‘gROuNDHOg DAy’ Classic Cinemas Woodstock Theatre 209 Main St. 10 a.m. 815-224-2620 JIM MAy’s gROuNDHOg TAles Home State Bank 124 S. Johnson St. 10 a.m. gROuNDHOg DAy BAgs TOuRNAMeNT Ortmann’s Red Iron Tavern 101 E. Church St. 1 p.m. $30 per team by Jan. 30. $40 day of event 815-334-9020 cHIlI cOOk-Off Stage Left Cafe’ and Woodstock Opera House Community Room 121 Van Buren St. Noon to 1:15 p.m. Donations accepted 815-334-2620 wAlkINg TOuR Of fIlMINg sITes Stage Left Cafe’ 125 Van Buren St. 1:30 p.m. 815-334-2620 gROuNDHOg DAy MOVIe syMPOsIuM Stage Left Cafe’ 125 Van Buren St. 3 to 4 p.m. 815-334-2620 D-200 eDucATION fOuNDATION ANNuAl BANqueT & AucTION Donley’s Village Hall Banquets 8512 Union Road, Union, IL 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. $50 per person 815-337-5147

Bill Schuette, right, poses with his wife, Mimi, left, and his daughter, Chris. He will receive the District 200 Education Foundation Award of Excellence.
Courtesy Photo

“I want to congratulate all the leaders in the community …. Woodstock has some special leaders.” Schuette will have the honor of receiving the Award of Excellence at the annual D-200 dinner and auction this year for his service, commitment and support to Greenwood Elementary. Schuette believes the dinner and auction will be very beneficial for the district while also being fun. “People especially enjoy the opportunity to bid on the auction items available,” he said.

“[And] maybe [my old students] will want to come and see their old principal.” Though he said he is very happy with the honor and the acknowledgement of the Award of Excellence, he does not necessarily feel he deserves it. Education Foundation chairman Rick Amundsen said otherwise. “He is just about as classy as a man can get …. [Even though] he is a Packers fan but I will forgive him for that. “He will have quite a little gathering of fans at the event.”


Groundhogwash and facts
As Groundhog Day approaches, I find it fitting to talk about the groundhog. As if this has not been done before. My first dealings with groundhogs came during my childhood. I have fond memories of Mr. Groundhog (dubbed thus by my father), who lived in a hole in our backyard and loved to wander aimlessly around the yard. I’d sit on the sunporch and watch him meander out into the sunlight before he disappeared back into his den. That was the grand extent of my groundhog encounters until now. Like most people, I’m sure, I do not really think much about groundhogs until Groundhog Day. But groundhogs are actually quite interesting creatures. How the groundhog lost its tail According to a Cherokee legend, the groundhog once had a tail. The story goes that seven wolves once caught a groundhog and threatened to eat it. But the groundhog came up with a brilliant plan. He convinced the wolves to participate with him in a song and dance session before eating him up, as singing and dancing were a traditional way to celebrate coming across a feast. The wolves and groundhog frolicked around several trees. The groundhog leaned against the trunks from time to time and watched the wolves dance out in the open. As the dance continued, the groundhog edged closer to one particular tree stump, under which was his house. After the seventh round of the dance-off, the groundhog turned and quickly jumped into his hole. However, one of the wolves grabbed the groundhog’s tail and yanked on it, breaking it off. And that is why the groundhog has such a short tail today.

I’m sure they would like a day of their own too. A few groundhog facts A groundhog and a woodchuck are the same animal, and, according to National Geographic, a groundhog is actually a large squirrel – the largest member of the squirrel family. I will admit I did not know this. Nor did I know groundhogs are capable of climbing trees and swimming. Groundhogs also can be very vocal and when threatened will grind and chatter their teeth. They also sometimes bark, squeal or whistle. They live primarily in the Northeastern United States and Canada but also have been found in Alaska. When a groundhog hibernates, it goes into a coma-like state in which its body temperature drops to a few degrees above freezing and its heart barely beats. The groundhog’s internal clock, run by responses to a sleep-related hormone, signal the wake-up call sometime in February. Legend says that if the groundhog (or any other hibernating animal) sees its shadow, it runs back into its den and stays there until six more weeks of winter pass. Whether this is true or not, only the animals know. I, for one, am ready for spring. Here’s to hoping Woodstock Willie does not see his shadow this Groundhog Day. For more interesting facts about groundhogs, visit www.groundhog.org.

Rhonda Mix
Mix Messages

Sunday 2-3
fRee sHOwINg Of ‘gROuNDHOg DAy’ Classic Cinemas Woodstock Theatre 209 Main St. 10 a.m. 815-224-2620 wAlkINg TOuR Of fIlMINg sITes Stage Left Cafe’ 125 Van Buren St. 1:30 p.m.

The truth about Punxsutawney Phil The official Punxsutawney Groundhog Day website states there has only been one Punxsutawney Phil, and he has been alive for more than 125 years in Puxsutawney, Penn. Some people say he drinks a special potion which prolongs his life. This is obviously a lie, unless, of course, he is friends with a fairy and has access to fairy dust. Then, I might believe it. What some people also may not know is one of the original animal prognosticators of the weather was not a groundhog. The groundhog is actually an imposter. Before coming to the United States, the Pennsylvania Dutch – a group of German immigrants who initiated Groundhog Day in our country – actually relied on badgers to predict the end of winter. Badgers have been grossly wronged.

Rhonda Mix is a staff writer for The Woodstock Independent.