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2 Siouxland students heading to Des Moines for Poetry Out Loud competition

SIOUX CITY -- Two area high school students will be headed to Des Moines in March to compete in the state finals of Poetry Out Loud, a nationwide poetry recital competition. 

Foster Johnson, a junior at Bishop Heelan High School, and Grace Kiple, a senior at Sergeant Bluff-Luton, were the winners of Sunday's Northwest Iowa Poetry Out Loud Recitation Contest at the Betty Strong Encounter Center. If they perform well at the statewide competition March 3, one of them could head to the national competition in Washington, D.C. 

Johnson read Noah Buchholz's "The Moonlight" and Juan Felipe Herrera's "Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings." "The Moonlight" was originally written in American Sign Language, while "Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings" is a poem about poetry. 

"I'm kind of more drawn to dramatic poems, I just like the style more," she said. She just selected her poems last week, giving her only a few days to rehearse them. 

This won't be Johnson's first poetry rodeo in Des Moines -- she went during her freshman year of high school. 

Kiple read "The Wish, By a Young Lady" by Laetitia Pilkington and "Their Bodies" by David Wagoner.

"Their Bodies," dedicated to anatomy students at Indiana University, is about cadavers and how they should be treated. Written in the 18th century, "The Wish, By a Young Lady" is about women's role in society in that era. 

"I'm not trying to get political, but I just think it's very interesting how much our society has changed since then," Kiple said of "The Wish, By a Young Lady." 

Kiple has also been to the Des Moines contest before -- in fact, she won at state in her sophomore year and went to nationals. Last year, she got second place in the state competition. 

2019 Career Expo set for Tuesday

SIOUX CITY -- The Top Jobs Career Expo, a Siouxland tradition for 20 years, is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Stoney Creek Conference Center, 300 Third St. 

A total of 16 employers and four career service providers are taking part in this year's Career Expo, offering a wide variety of positions. The employers will accept applications through the Top Jobs Virtual Career Expo 24-7 from Wednesday through March 12. The virtual event can be found at

Parking is free and the conference center is handicap accessible. The public is invited. 

The following employers are taking part in the Career Expo: 

  • Boone Brothers Roofing of IA LLC
  • Blackbird Bend Casino, Onawa
  • Blackbird Bend Casino - Lucky 77 Casino, Walthill
  • Casey's General Stores
  • GCC of America - North Central Region
  • Jackson Recovery Centers
  • LifeServe Blood Center
  • Knife River Midwest
  • Mass Markets
  • Michael Foods
  • Mike Durfee State Prison
  • Owen Industries
  • Sioux City Ford Lincoln
  • Seaboard Triumph Foods
  • Sioux City Journal
  • Tyson

In addition, the following career service providers will be on site:

  • Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services
  • IowaWORKS Greater Siouxland
  • Job Corps
  • National Career Readiness Certificate/Skilled Iowa

Latest Woodbury County court report

Before Judge Jeffrey Poulson

Ashly Ann Erb, 35, Sergeant Bluff, forgery; sentenced Feb. 7, five years prison.

Nicholas Paul Cain, 37, Sioux City, exclusion zone violation by a sex offender -- second offense (habitual offender enhancement); sentenced Feb. 7, 15 years prison suspended, five years probation.

Jamaal Otis Ferguson, 19, Sioux City, carrying a dangerous weapon; sentenced Feb. 6, two years prison suspended, two years probation.

Jorge Leon, 28, Sioux City, possession of a controlled substance -- third offense, assault on a police officer; sentenced Feb. 6, five years prison.

Jackson Dean Seaton, 43, Sioux City, forgery; sentenced Feb. 6, five years prison.

Dustin Wayne Hill, 35, Sioux City, lottery theft, forgery; sentenced Feb. 4, five years prison suspended, three years probation.

Wesley Archie Euchner, 24, Ida Grove, Iowa, delivery of a controlled substance; sentenced Feb. 4, 10 years prison suspended, three years probation.

Before Judge Patrick Tott

Robert Anthony Steiner II, 26, Sioux City, third-degree burglary; sentenced Jan. 29, five years prison.

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Another 3-5 inches snow possible Monday into Tuesday

SIOUX CITY -- After a relatively mild snowfall Sunday, a more powerful snow system is expected to reach the Sioux City area by Monday. 

Lance VandenBoogart, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, said the system is expected to begin as a brief bout of freezing drizzle sometime in the late morning or early afternoon hours Monday. 

"(The freezing drizzle) still doesn't look to be a very big deal," VandenBoogart said, and total ice accumulation is not expected to be significant. 

The drizzle is forecast to become snow sometime in the early afternoon hours Monday, and the snow is anticipated to continue falling until the early morning hours Tuesday. 

A total of 3 to 5 inches is expected. The region will be under a winter weather advisory from noon Monday through 6 a.m. Tuesday. 

Wind speeds will be mild initially, though by Tuesday afternoon wind gusts could reach 25 to 35 miles per hour. 

"That could be enough to blow around that fresh snow," VandenBoogart said. 

Temperatures will remain mild on Monday and Tuesday, with high temperatures pegged at 27 degrees and 25 degrees, respectively. Monday's low temperature is forecast at 18 degrees, with a wind chill of around 7 degrees. 

The low temperature Tuesday night into Wednesday morning is pegged at a chilly 3 degrees. Wind chill would drag that down to 6 degrees below zero. 

No further snowfalls are expected for the next few days after the system dies down Tuesday morning. 

More weather information

Despite fierce weather, Nebraska avoids climate change plan

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska state lawmakers and conservationists who have seen a major drought, historic flooding and gigantic wildfires over the last decade are pushing to prepare the state for climate change, but if history is an indicator, legislators won't be warming to the idea anytime soon.

Nebraska is one of seven Plains states that haven't created a formal plan to confront the local impact of more extreme weather, bucking the trend of 33 others and the District of Columbia that have done so since the mid-2000s.

A 2016 report endorsed by a bipartisan legislative committee called on lawmakers to write a plan "based on empirical evidence and Nebraska-based data." But a bill that would have started the process died in the Legislature in 2017, leaving some supporters exasperated.

"I don't know if it's politics. I don't know if it's just climate deniers. I just think this is very serious for our generation and future generations," said Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, of Lincoln. "Just winging it is not a plan."

North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming also have no plans in place, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a Virginia-based nonprofit that tracks state climate plans.

Pansing Brooks has again introduced the measure, calling for the University of Nebraska to develop a plan for adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change. University officials would submit it to lawmakers and the governor by Dec. 15, 2020.

The plan would require university officials to estimate Nebraska's total greenhouse gas emissions, outline goals to reduce them, and identify the positive and negative impacts of climate change on the state economy.

They also would have to drill down on how it would affect specific state resources, including farms and ranches, water, public health and energy. The university would get up to $250,000 from a state environmental fund generated by landfill waste and tire sale fees.

Pansing Brooks will present the proposal to a legislative committee Monday with backing from Nebraska's state climatologist, university forestry officials and environmentalists, but its prospects are unclear.

Nebraska has endured several stretches of record weather in the last decade. Nebraska State Climatologist Martha Shulski said researchers can't conclusively tie any specific weather event to climate change, but the planet's gradual warming likely made those weather outbreaks worse and is expected to fuel severe storms, floods and droughts in the future.

In 2011, a giant snowpack in the Rocky Mountains led to weeks of flooding along the Missouri River, threatening Nebraska cities and leaving farmland deep underwater.

A major drought in 2012 killed trees throughout the state and caused a cattle feed shortage so severe that some ranchers had to harvest ditch weeds to keep their animals alive. State officials ordered more than 1,100 farmers to stop irrigating their crops to compensate for low water levels.

The drought also contributed to more than 1,600 wildfires that year that burned a total of 813 square miles — an expanse more than six times the size of Omaha.

Despite the weather extremes, some members of Nebraska's Republican-dominated Legislature remain skeptical about efforts to prepare for climate change.

Sen. Dan Hughes, who will review the bill as a member of the Legislature's Executive Board, said he was concerned about the proposal's $250,000 price tag and the potential cost of its recommendations.

Hughes, a farmer from Venango, said he questions whether man-made made climate change is real and noted that Nebraska has always dealt with droughts, floods and wildfires. He argued the state shouldn't spend money to prepare for problems he said may never materialize.

"I'm concerned it would be detrimental to our economy for no measureable benefit," he said.

The influential Nebraska Farm Bureau, which represents farmers and ranchers who routinely deal with harsh weather, said it doesn't plan to take a position on the bill.

"We are aware of it, but it's not a top issue for us," said Craig Head, a group spokesman.

The reluctance in Nebraska may be driven by the political polarization of climate change science, said Jon Christensen, an adjunct assistant professor at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

Christensen said the Nebraska proposal "appears to be a very sensible and cost-effective approach," but the issue too often gets hijacked by extreme positions on both sides — those who deny climate change and others who demand dramatic and immediate changes.

"It's so polarized because both climate and the environment have become identified with political parties," he said. "If you ask people whether they're concerned about potential changes in rainfall and crop productivity, I suspect you'd get a very different answer than if you ask if they're concerned about climate change."

All the states without climate plans lean conservative, but those that have approved plans include the Republican-led states of Arkansas, Alaska, Kentucky and South Carolina.

"Climate plans are a really important step because it shows states are serious," said Doug Vine, a solutions fellow at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

Shulski, the state climatologist, said developing a plan could help state officials mitigate some of the effects of climate change.

In the meantime, Shulski said she's working with individual Nebraska cities to develop their own plans. Some are looking to buy more snowplows and improve their storm drains to accommodate heavier precipitation, while others have identified shelters for the elderly and poor to escape extreme summer heat.

Shulski said scientists don't know exactly how much Nebraska's average temperatures will rise, but the state will likely experience more frequent flooding from intense rain and snowstorms and hotter, longer summers that could stress livestock and crops. River and groundwater levels could drop as well, requiring more conservation.

"The best time to plan for a tornado is not when you hear the sirens going off," she said.

Marriage licenses

Marriage licenses issued recently in Woodbury County:

Candelario Rodriguez Turrubiates, 84, Sioux City; Maria Pastora Villanueva-Orrelana, 63, Sioux City

Michaelangelo Castro Vega, 28, Sioux City; Patricia Ortiz Hernandez, 24, Sioux City

Kelsey Kay Pribil, 28, Sioux City; Hailie Morgan Risdal, 32, Sioux City

Justin Michael Derby, 39, Sioux City; Linnet K. Shults, 27, Pueblo West, Colorado

Donald Harley Paris Jr., 46, Correctionville, Iowa; Kimberly Rae Arens, 42, Correctionville

Zachary Briggs Morgan, 25, Nebraska; Michaela Kathleen Mahaney, 27, Nebraska

J. Banks, 30, Sioux City; D. Johnson, 34, Sioux City

Craig Alan Roths, 46, Rock Rapids, Iowa; Lori Lynn Gill, 48, Sergeant Bluff

Chad Michael Winter, 43, Sioux City; Amanda Jo Hiemstra, 37, Sioux City

Emanual Louis Pleitez, 33, Sioux City; Crystal Camille Miller, 30, Sioux City

Blake Ray Bruns, 28, Hinton, Iowa; Stephanie Ann Erwin, 25, Hinton