People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals thrust itself into the national spotlight last week by suggesting Punxsutawney Phil should be replaced with a robotic stand-in.
PETA's presence has raised awareness over the years on fair treatment of animals, but its position in this case should be dismissed.
PETA is concerned that Phil must face camera lights and thousands of fans when he emerges on Feb. 2 each year at Gobbler's Knob to declare whether we'll have an early spring or six more weeks of winter.
We agree with William Deeley, president of the Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, who said Phil is "being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania."
Indeed, Phil is treated like a king, surely the envy of all of his fellow groundhogs.
Visit Punxsutawney sometime, and you'll find Phil resting in a comfortable bed, along with his wife, Phyllis, at the library.
What the marketing and tradition of Phil and Groundhog Day have meant to Punxsutawney cannot be overstated in significantly benefiting the Jefferson County town's economy and enhancing community pride.
In fact, because he's in tune with the times, Phil will text his weather forecast this year for the first time.
Groundhog Day has been in existence since 1886.
Here's hoping it will remain that way for another 124-plus years, and for getting involved unnecessarily, thumbs-down to PETA.
Others worthy of thumbs-up, thumbs-down mention:
Thumbs-up to Chuck Greenberg, the former owner of the Altoona Curve, who led a successful bid to purchase a Major League Baseball team, the Texas Rangers. Greenberg drove the Curve to unprecedented heights, and the local franchise earned national recognition under his watch. Greenberg has spoken eloquently about what the experience here meant to him, and his latest acquisition is a positive reflection on Altoona.
Thumbs-up to Michael Reighard, who is retiring after 33 years as Blair County court administrator. Reighard has been a pillar of stability at the courthouse and has been credited with reducing backlog of cases, even as the total number of filings has increased. That remarkable achievement has helped keep justice on track.
Thumbs-up to the Odyssey of the Mind team from Hollidaysburg Area's Foot of Ten Elementary School, which is the only team from the United States invited to participate in a competition scheduled for March 5-6 in Germany. That's quite a distinction, and coordinator Mike Fitch along with team members Rachael Angermeier, Maddison Fitch, Audbrey Forlina, Avery Jones, Mikayla McCord, Kara Sease and Haleigh Zeiders - all sixth-graders - deserve our praise.
Thumbs-up to Operation Our Town, the local organization committed to fighting drug crime. Operation Our Town, which raises $300,000 annually from businesses, recently was awarded a $300,000 grant orchestrated by U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, whose ability to lure federal dollars has improved local law enforcement's ability to bolster education, prevention and treatment.