February 4 - 1664: Third comet seen here in a dozen years

1952: Groundhog Day Hurricane arrives here. 2007: Murray becomes first woman State Senate President. Patrick Kennedy expects congressional hearings on Narragansetts
The period engraving shows two of the comets from the era.

1664: The day Cape Cod saw the last of the Great Comets

On this day in 1664, as described in the book "Cape Cod Historical Almanac" by Donald G. Trayser, "the people of Cape Cod and other parts of New England saw the last of a great comet which excited fear and awe.

"It appeared November 8th last, and continued to this date, the third comet witnessed by early settlers in the space of 12 years.

"The first appeared in December, 1652, the second in February and March, 1661, and the third as noted above," Trayser wrote. "Comets were fearsome things to people in these days."

Trayser quotes Nathaniel Morton, secretary of Plimoth Colony, who wrote of the comet of 1663-64 that "it was no fiery meteor caused by exhalation, but it appeared to be sent immediately by God to awake the secure world."

"Night after night, 'the great blazing starre' was observed in the southern sky," Trayser wrote, "and for several years after it, all the calamities and evil things which occurred in the world were ascribed to it."

Art courtesy of Wiki Commons.

1952: A February surprise for Cape Cod and the entire East Coast

A "Freak Storm" three months after the close of Hurricane Season

On Groundhog Day, on the night of February 2, 1952, an unnamed tropical storm moved northeast across South Florida and what was left of the storm raced up the eastern seaboard crossing Cape Cod late on February 4.

The 1952 Groundhog Day Storm was the only Atlantic tropical cyclone on record in the month of February.

After leaving Florida, the storm continued rapidly northeastward, strengthening to peak winds of 50 mph. On February 4 it completed the transition into an extratropical cyclone off the coast of North Carolina.

Around that time, gale force winds extended 100 miles to the east of the center.  Later that day, it passed over Cape Cod, and early on February 5 it moved into eastern Maine.

2007: Therese Murray to become first woman Senate President


On this day in 2007 expectations were swirling at the Statehouse that Senate President Robert Travaglini will leave his post for the private sector, a shakeup that has triggered anxiety and opportunism on Beacon Hill. 

Sen. Therese Murray, one of Cape Cod's two state senators, is widely believed to have locked up a majority to succeed Travaglini when he decides to leave. Murray, chairwoman of the powerful Senate Ways and Means Committee, is a key member of Travaglini's leadership team.

Murray whose district includes Bourne, Falmouth and Sandwich, began lining up support last spring, when Travaglini initially told senators he was considering leaving. Travaglini decided to stay, but speculation is rampant that he will leave this term, possibly to take the vacant president's position at the Massachusetts Hospital Association...  Murray's ascension would make her the first woman to lead either the House or the Senate.

2007: Patrick Kennedy expects congressional hearings on Narragansetts

Tribe wants slots in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy (on right courtesy of Wikipedia) said Tuesday he's confident a congressional pediapanel will hold hearings on whether to overturn the Chafee amendment, which has prevented the Narragansett Indian Tribe from opening a casino on their Rhode Island tribal lands. 

"Its day is long overdue," Kennedy said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press after meeting with Narragansett Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas... 

The amendment being targeted was written by the late Rhode Island Sen. John Chafee. The amendment stopped the tribe from opening a casino on their tribal lands without getting state approval.  Under Chafee's 1996 amendment, when it comes to that federal gaming act, the Narragansetts' 1,800 acres in Charlestown are not treated as Indian lands.

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