Photo by Ralph Katieb on Unsplash

Groundhogs Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania and North Carolina’s Sir Walter Wally apparently saw their shadows Wednesday, a prognostication of six more weeks of winter weather. But a stuffed-animal groundhog in Myrtle Beach, as well as live woodchucks (another name for groundhogs) in Georgia and New York, say spring is just around the corner.

And humans with actual degrees in monitoring the weather? A South Carolina meteorologist says warmer spring temperatures are also on the way, although there will be bursts of cold weather blended with warmer days over the next few weeks. (In other words, it’s still winter and the warmth of spring is headed our way — which is probably what you knew before listening to any marmots.) More: CNN, WPDE, WCBD, WSAV, 11 Alive, NPR, WRAL

In other headlines:

Premature birth rates rise in South Carolina. South Carolina’s premature birth rate rose from 11.5% to 11.8% in 2020 — leading to a failing grade on the 2021 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. Premature birth/low birthweight is the second leading cause of all infant deaths during the first year of life and the leading cause of infant death among Black infants. More: The Orangeburg Times & Democrat

Common ground being found in S.C. Senate’s proposal on school choice. A proposed law seeks to require every school district in South Carolina to offer some type of program to send children to a school outside their zoned areas and allow children to go to a school in a different district. It would make the popular program statewide. A Senate panel has the proposal under consideration, and it has lawmakers and educators finding common ground. More: AP News, The Post and Courier

Inside the trailblazing career of Judge J. Michelle Childs. The White House has confirmed federal judge J. Michelle Childs of South Carolina is under consideration for filling the vacant seat on the Supreme Court caused by the impending retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer. Her nomination is being pushed by powerful House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and has even drawn support of South Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who serves on the Judiciary Committee. Childs is one of a few candidates under consideration who lack Ivy League credentials. More: AP News

DHEC says Omicron has peaked in S.C. schools. Amid an unprecedented strain on keeping classrooms open nationwide, South Carolina health officials are reporting that the Omicron strain of the coronavirus has peaked with quarantines and case numbers are somewhat ebbing. More: The Post and Courier

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