Ex-wife and mom of North Carolina couple accused of incest — and parenting a love child — breaks silence

The mother of a daughter who allegedly had an incestuous relationship with her father – leading to a love child – is speaking out about the controversial relationship.

Steven Pladl, 42, of Knightdale, N.C., and Katie Pladl, 20, were arrested Jan. 27 and charged with adultery and contributing to delinquency. The arrests came after the couple reportedly got married. Their baby boy was born in September.

Pladl and his wife, Alyssa, reportedly gave up Katie for adoption as an infant but they all reunited in 2016 after Katie tracked down her biological parents via social media.

Pladl and Alyssa divorced in 2017.

“There are no words to describe the sense of betrayal and disgust I’m feeling,” Alyssa told The Daily Mail on Tuesday. “I waited 18 long years to have a relationship with my daughter — and now he’s completely destroyed it.”

Alyssa told the outlet that she was particularly disturbed by the wedding between her daughter and ex-husband, especially because the ceremony was reportedly attended both by Steven Pladl’s mother and Katie’s adoptive parents.

“From what I know it was an official wedding, even if it was illegal,” Alyssa said. “They just didn’t disclose their father-daughter relationship. They were all there for an incestuous wedding and she’s pregnant with his baby. How they could be there celebrating is beyond me.”

Alyssa told The Daily Mail that she was tipped off about the relationship thanks to journal entries written by a younger daughter.

“Katie is pregnant. Dad says they feel like couples. Did they get a little too drunk that night? My dad is a slut,” the entry reportedly read. “He’s Satan. He’s f**king SATAN. He’ll go to hell but he won’t be the one getting tortured, he’ll be the one torturing people.”

When confronted with the journal entries, Steven allegedly did not deny the relationship or pregnancy.

Following their arrest last month, the father has been let go on a $1 million bond but his daughter is still at the Wake County Detention Center, awaiting a Feb. 28 extradition hearing.

“She’s a breastfeeding mother. She’s in there struggling emotionally and physically. But he’s used whatever financial resources he can get his hands on to get himself out, not her,” Alyssa told The Daily Mail. “That should tell you all you need to know about what kind of husband and father he is. There is no way I’m ever having him around his daughters again. I think he needs to go to jail and pay for what he’s done.”

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Bracket outlook for Duke, North Carolina

As Duke and North Carolina approach Act One of their annual passion play, something seems amiss. Neither is a No. 1 seed in Bracketology.

The Blue Devils, admittedly, were on the top line as recently as last weekend. Then they found a way to lose to a St. John’s team that was winless in the Big East. Suddenly everyone from the head coach on down began questioning Duke’s staying power.

North Carolina, meanwhile, has had a fairly bumpy ride with last year’s NCAA trophy. Not only did the Tar Heels suffer perhaps the worst-ever home loss by a defending champion — insert obligatory Wofford shout out here — but they already have five losses in ACC play. With four of their last six ACC games on the road, including the Duke rematch, more are likely.

Yet history suggests we ignore the present and focus on the big picture. The chance of the 2017-18 season ending without at least one of these teams making a sizable imprint is extremely remote. And by "sizable" we mean No. 1 seeds and Final Four appearances.

There have been 34 tournaments since the NCAA expanded its championship field in 1985. In 24 of those years, at least one of these giants has been a No. 1 seed. In two more years (1998 and 2005), both made it to the top line.

Think about that for a minute. In any given Duke-Carolina game, the odds we are seeing at least one No. 1 seed are over 70 percent. There isn’t a rivalry in any sport with that kind of sustained excellence and frequency.

In nine of those 34 years — more than a quarter of the time — the NCAA title has landed in either Durham or Chapel Hill. In 14 of them (41 percent), one of the two schools played in the championship game. Overall, since the 1985 tournament expansion, there have only been 11 Final Fours without either the Blue Devils or Tar Heels.

Those who call this an overrated rivalry do so at their own risk. And it’s not like either team is dead in the water.

How March might look

The Blue Devils boast the second-best offense in the country per possession despite only one team in the land — you’re right, it’s Kentucky — having less experience. They are not catching Virginia for the ACC regular-season title, but who’s to say winning a rematch in the ACC tournament is impossible?

On paper, Duke remains one of the five most talented teams in the nation. Our prediction from way back at the Champions Classic of both an upset loss to St. John’s and a Final Four trip are very much in play.

North Carolina
With seven losses, the Tar Heels are underperforming their metrics. While this is not a Final Four team, they should finish far above their current one-game-over-.500 ACC pace. The closing schedule is daunting, but a season split with Duke and a revenge win over N.C. State in Saturday’s rematch seem likely.

The end result of all that should be a top four seed and no worse than another Sweet 16 appearance. In other words, for Carolina as well as Duke, we’ll have another serving of the usual.

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North Carolina governor seeks offshore drilling exemption in Zinke meeting

North Carolina’s governor said he had a good conversation on Saturday with the interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, regarding plans to expand drilling for gas and oil off the state’s coast.

Roy Cooper, a Democrat, wants the Republican administration to give him an exemption similar to that offered to the Republican governor of Florida, Rick Scott.

Last month, Zinke told Scott Florida’s waters would remain closed under Donald Trump’s five-year plan, which would open 90% of the nation’s offshore reserves to development by private companies.

Interior officials later said Zinke’s promise was not a formal plan and the proposal was still under review.

At least 10 other governors from both parties have asked Zinke to remove their states from plans to expand offshore drilling from the Arctic Ocean to the Atlantic and Pacific.

Henry McMaster, the Republican governor of South Carolina, had a meeting on Friday with Zinke, his staff reported. Zinke did not meet with reporters after either meeting.

Cooper said he spent an hour talking to Zinke, telling him drilling could cause unrecoverable damage to the state’s $3bn tourism and fishing industries.

“We told him there is no 100% safe method to drill for oil and gas off the coast, particularly in our area off of North Carolina that sees nor’easters, that sees hurricanes,” Cooper said.

“We don’t call it the ‘Graveyard of the Atlantic’ for nothing, it would be catastrophic if there were to be an oil spill.

“As we were leaving the meeting I said, ‘Well, we will take the exemption now if you want to give it to us.’ And he did not quite go that far.”

North Carolina’s attorney general, Josh Stein, reminded Zinke the state was ready to sue if the Trump administration approves offshore drilling.

Cooper said he wants more time for the public to speak. Currently, the interior department plans just one public meeting on the proposal in Raleigh. Cooper wants more meetings along the coast in Wilmington, Morehead City and Kill Devil Hills.

The public can also have a say through comments to the department.

“I call on the citizens of North Carolina to be loud about this issue,” Cooper said.

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No. 19 North Carolina, No. 20 Clemson meet in rematch

Quite a bit has changed since the first meeting of the season, and so when No. 19 North Carolina faces No. 20 Clemson for the second time in a two-week period Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum, there could be different twists.

This time, North Carolina is trying to shed a surprising two-game losing streak and Clemson is dealing with a different lineup after an injury.

This matchup is between two of the four Atlantic Coast Conference teams in the national rankings.

"It’s a little bit of adversity right now," Tar Heels swingman Cameron Johnson said. "We need to keep composed and keep pushing."

North Carolina hasn’t lost three in a row in ACC play since the start of its conference schedule in January 2014.

North Carolina won 87-79 at home against Clemson on Jan. 16. In that game, the Tigers made a big second-half rally when they connected on 15 consecutive shots from the field. That helped Clemson rack up 56 second-half points, marking the most allowed by North Carolina in any half this season.

For North Carolina, part of the puzzling overtime loss to visiting North Carolina State on Saturday was that the Tar Heels shot 63 percent from the field in the second half after leading at halftime.

But long-range shooting has continued to be a problem for the Tar Heels, who made 4 of 19 3-pointers Saturday.

"I think making shots would definitely help," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I just want us to play better. We’re not ready to panic. I’m not ready to panic and abandon the ship and all that."

In the first meeting with Clemson, North Carolina bagged 15 shots from 3-point range.

North Carolina has yet to figure out how to sustain good rebounding stretches since going to a smaller starting lineup with Johnson in that role instead of freshman post player Garrison Brooks.

North Carolina is trying to wipe away the shock from Saturday’s overtime home loss to rival North Carolina State.

Among the oddities from the game against the wolfpack was that despite leading at halftime, the Tar Heels couldn’t pull out a victory despite shooting 63 percent from the field in the second half.

Part of the damage done was by the Wolfpack outscoring the Tar Heels 22-18 on second-chance points.

"It’s not a good feeling, but it’s the ACC and we have to see if we can bounce back," Williams said Monday.

Clemson picked up a 72-70 victory Sunday night at Georgia Tech, so this marks a quick turnaround for the Tigers, who lost last year at home in overtime to North Carolina.

Since North Carolina won the first meeting this month, Clemson lost forward Donte Grantham to a knee injury.

"We’ve obviously had to deal with a lot of things here with Donte, who is really our leader and probably our best player in terms of everything he does," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. "But our guys have continued to battle and we have to change some things in how we play, not drastically, but you know there are some subtleties that Donte brings to our team."

Roy Williams said it’s clear that Grantham’s absence is a detriment to the Tigers but pointed out that he was just 1 of 9 from the field in that meeting.

"He didn’t play that well against us," Williams said.

The Tigers are hoping for more contributions from senior guard Gabe DeVoe, who scored a career-high 25 points against Georgia Tech. He had a big first half against North Carolina earlier in the month.

"He’s a senior and he’s been in our program a long time," Brownell said. "He’s battled tested."

North Carolina leads the series 132-20.

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North Carolina Prisons Drop Ban on ‘New Jim Crow’

North Carolina’s prisons director said that inmates would be allowed to read a previously-banned book, “The New Jim Crow,” and that the entire list of prohibited publications was under review.

North Carolina’s prison system on Tuesday dropped its ban on a book about mass incarceration and will review other prohibited books after an objection from the state’s American Civil Liberties Union affiliate.

The decision makes North Carolina the second state this month to announce that it will allow its prisoners to read “The New Jim Crow,” a best-selling book by the civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander about the connection between racism and mass incarceration.

New Jersey, also prompted by a state A.C.L.U. affiliate, said on Jan. 8 that it would overturn a prohibition that two of its prisons had placed on the book.

North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety, which oversees the state’s correctional facilities, said in a statement Tuesday that its director of prisons, Kenneth Lassiter, had decided to immediately remove “The New Jim Crow” from a list of disapproved publications.

Furthermore, the department said Mr. Lassiter would review the entire list “to determine whether any other books will be removed from the report.”

A day earlier, the A.C.L.U. of North Carolina had sent prison officials a letter citing a New York Times report about prisons banning the book.

Chris Brook, the legal director for the North Carolina A.C.L.U. affiliate, said that Tuesday’s move was just one step forward on an issue that his organization has been grappling with for some time.

“There is a particular perverse irony about barring a book about racism and mass incarceration from prisons in our state,” he said. “But this is a broader problem.”

He added that prison officials were responsible for not violating the First Amendment when considering the books on the list and that it was incumbent upon his organization to keep abreast of the list, as well as the policies that informed it.

“We plan to do that,” he said.

Even where the book is not banned by prisons, inmates across the country have had trouble getting access to “The New Jim Crow,” which charts the way that the war on drugs has disproportionately affected black people, sending black men in particular to prison at a much higher rate than white men. The term “Jim Crow,” named for a racist theater character, refers to discriminatory laws aimed at black people after the Civil War through the first half of the 20th century.

It remains prohibited statewide by the Florida Department of Corrections. But that may soon change. Florida’s A.C.L.U. affiliate said Wednesday that it was in touch with the state’s corrections department about the book. It has asked for the ban to be lifted on First Amendment grounds and awaits a formal reply, said Gaby Guadalupe, a spokeswoman.

The Florida corrections department confirmed Wednesday that its representatives had met with the A.C.L.U. and that officials were “reviewing the book to ensure the status of the publication is appropriate.”

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Malfunction triggers sirens at North Carolina nuclear plant, authorities say

This June 14, 2013, file photo, shows the Shearon Harris nuclear plant in Holly Springs, N.C. AP

RALEIGH, N.C. — A malfunction caused public warning sirens to sound a false alarm Friday near a North Carolina nuclear power plant, authorities said. North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety said the sirens that sounded around 1 p.m. near the Harris Nuclear Plant were a false alarm.

"There is NO emergency at the Harris Nuclear Plant," public safety officials said in a tweet.

Duke Energy issued a news release saying the sirens malfunctioned, and that the plant southwest of Raleigh was operating safely. The sirens were heard near the towns of Apex and Cary.

"There is no impact to the public and no need for public actions. We will investigate the cause of the malfunction," plant spokesperson Brandon Thomas told CBS affiliate WNCN-TV.

The company said it was investigating the cause along with state and local government officials. Spokesman Brandon Thomas said it wasn’t immediately clear how many sirens went off and for how long. The warning system consists of 83 sirens within 10 miles of the plant.

While a test sounding was conducted earlier in the month, no tests had been scheduled for Friday, according to a Duke Energy website.

A Cary resident told WNCN-TV the sirens sounded on and off for three to four minutes.

Other residents took to Twitter to voice a mixture of concern and bemusement about hearing the power plant alarms days after a false ballistic missile warning in Hawaii.

Hawaii lawmakers were holding a hearing Friday to discuss a false alarm last weekend that warned of a ballistic missile headed for the island state.

The North Carolina plant, also known as Shearon Harris for its namesake power executive, has a massive 523-foot cooling tower that can be seen from surrounding highways. The plant in New Hill began generating power in 1987.

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Amtrak train collides with SUV in North Carolina, killing pastor, wife, officials say

A well-known pastor and his wife were killed Sunday after an Amtrak train crashed into their SUV in North Carolina, officials said.

The SUV attempted to go around a lowered crossing arm and cross the tracks just after 2:20 p.m. when an Amtrak train collided with it in Whitakers, about 10 miles north of Rocky Mount, WNCN reported. The couple, identified as Eugene and Dorothy Lyons, were pronounced dead at the scene.

“It bothered me because growing up here I’ve seen train wrecks before, it really touches close to home with people who grew up with and know,” Whitakers Police Chief Darrell Cofield told WNCN, adding the couple was well known in the community.

Eugene Lyons was a pastor in Whitakers, friends told the news station.

The Amtrak train 89 was traveling from New York City to Savannah, Ga. when the collision happened. No one aboard the train was injured, but service was temporarily suspended.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

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Trump tax cuts enable North Carolina bank to give out $1k bonuses

Aquesta Bank CEO Jim Engel says President Donald Trump’s tax cut is saving the company enough money to provide bonuses and hike its minimum wage for employees.

The passing of the President Trump-backed tax reform bill has resulted in corporations offering bonuses and pay increases to employees. The GOP-backed tax plan cuts the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and allows businesses to deduct the cost of depreciable assets in one year.

Aquesta Bank CEO Jim Engel on Monday said that President Trump’s tax plan was the main “driver” in helping the bank raise the company minimum wage to $15 per hour and giving $1,000 cash bonuses to all of its employees.

“The bank has had great growth over the last few years and pretty good earnings, but the tax cut should save us a significant amount of money, about $750,000 next year. We felt that now that will benefit our customers, It’s also going to benefit our community, we also we really wanted it to benefit our employees so we decided to do something a little bit different and give the bonuses out and the minimum wage increases,” he told FOX Business’ Liz MacDonald on “Risk & Reward.”

However, Aquesta Bank isn’t the only one company giving back to its employees, according to the list from Americans for Tax Reform, over 100 companies across the U.S. are giving out bonuses to their employees.

Some of the more notable companies include AT&T (T), which said that more than 200,000 of its employees, including union-represented and non-management workers, will be eligible for a $1,000 bonus. Comcast (CMCSA) also said that it would give $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 non-executive employees.

Engel said that a lot of the feedback he received from his staff was “tear jerking.”

“You just don’t understand what is going on in people’s lives. People have spouses out of work or children that are sick and just many stories and I tell yeah I did not expect it. I expected you know thank you or something like that, but the stories were just overwhelming,” he said.

Many naysayers to the bill including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), believe that the tax plan will only lead to more share buybacks and not wage hikes.

“I just really don’t understand what they’re saying. We need to use this money to continue to grow. We just hired two more people, who are going to lead our South Carolina efforts. We have another person that we have not even announced yet that we are hiring in Raleigh, so we’re expanding and growing. The tax cuts are largely allowing us to do it,” he said.

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Florida State 81, North Carolina 80

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Braian Angola scored 20 points and C.J. Walker added 18 as 24th-ranked Florida State held off No. 12 North Carolina for an 81-80 victory on Wednesday night.

The Seminoles (12-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) led most of the game but almost squandered it as they didn’t make a field goal in the last 2:57 and missed their last four free throws.

They were up 81-77 on Angola’s free throw before Joel Berry II made a 3-pointer off a turnover to bring the Tar Heels within 81-80 with 30 seconds remaining. After Phil Cofer missed both free throws, North Carolina (12-3, 1-1) had a chance to win. Berry drove the lane and missed a jumper which was rebounded by Terance Mann. Mann missed his free throws with 1.7 seconds remaining but North Carolina’s last second desperation 3 was no good, allowing Florida State to snap a seven-game losing streak to the Tar Heels.

Mann added 17 points and nine rebounds as Florida State extended its home winning streak to 28, which is currently the third-longest in Division I.

Berry led the Tar Heels with 28 points and Williams added 18.

North Carolina trailed by 11 at halftime but would rally back to tie it at 58 with a 14-2 run that featured five Florida State turnovers. The Tar Heels took a 65-63 lead on a dunk by Theo Pinson before the Seminoles regained the lead with a 13-2 run.

The game was close for the first 8 minutes before Florida State went on an 11-2 run to take a 31-18 lead with 9:49 remaining. Walker scored the first eight points during the run, including two 3-pointers.

North Carolina answered with its own run to get within 34-31 before Florida State scored eight straight points to push the lead back into double digits. The Seminoles would lead 51-40 at halftime.


North Carolina: Pinson took part in his 110th game as a Tar Heel and scored five points in 24 minutes.

Florida State: The Seminoles made 11 3-pointers, which is the third straight game it has made 10 or more. They came into the game second in the ACC in 3-pointers made with 123.


North Carolina: Travels to No. 8 Virginia on Saturday.

Florida State: Travels to No. 15 Miami on Saturday.

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The Latest: North Carolina eases heating fuel delivery rules

In this Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017 photo, a truck stopped at the top of a hill after heavy snow fell in Cassadaga, N.Y. The National Weather Service said that strong westerly winds over Lake Erie picked up moisture, developed into snow and converged with opposing winds, dumping snow in a band along the shore from Ohio to New York. (Greg Bacon/The Observer via AP) (Associated Press)

PORTLAND, Maine — The Latest on the bitter cold sweeping much of the country (all times local):

8:10 p.m.

North Carolina’s governor has signed an emergency declaration to allow heating fuel to be more easily distributed during a bitter cold snap gripping the U.S.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order loosens restrictions on drivers transporting heating fuels such as propane. It puts in extra measures to prevent price gouging.

Roads are being treated in South Carolina’s coastal counties because of a forecast of light freezing rain.

A winter weather advisory is in effect for counties along the North and South Carolina coasts with some freezing rain possible through Friday morning.

A dog has been found frozen solid on an Ohio home’s porch.

President Donald Trump says the East Coast could be facing “the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record” and could use some “good old Global Warming,” an apparent jab at scientists who say the earth’s climate has been getting warmer.


7:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the East Coast could use some “good old Global Warming” as bitter-cold temperatures freeze large swaths of the county and are expected to continue this holiday weekend.

Trump tweets, “In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record.”

He adds, “Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against.”

Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism about climate change science, calling global warming a “hoax” created by the Chinese. This year he announced his intention to pull out of the Paris climate agreement aimed at curbing greenhouse gases.

The U.N.’s climate agency says 2017 is on track to be the hottest year on record aside from those impacted by the El Nino phenomenon.


4:10 p.m.

A dog has been found frozen solid on an Ohio home’s porch as a bitter cold snap grips much of the United States.

Toledo humane society cruelty investigator Megan Brown tells The Blade newspaper she doesn’t know how long the dog was outside Thursday, when Toledo’s high temperature was expected to be in the teens (minus 11 to minus 7 degrees Celsius). A second dog was recovered shivering inside the home.

The dogs’ owner says utilities had been shut off but he had been providing for the dogs while living elsewhere. He says he doesn’t know how one dog got outside.

Forecasters warn of hypothermia and frostbite from arctic air settling in over the central U.S. and spreading east.

The temperature at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire on Thursday was minus 34 degrees (minus 37 Celsius), breaking a 1933 record of minus 31 degrees (minus 35 Celsius) atop the Northeast’s highest peak.


1:45 p.m.

Weather observers atop the Northeast’s highest peak say the temperature has hit minus 34 degrees (minus 37 Celsius), a record for the day.

The previous record at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire was minus 31 degrees (minus 35 Celsius) and was set in 1933.

The observatory has posted a Facebook video showing weather observer Adam Gill emptying a pitcher of boiling water into the air, where it immediately turns to snow in the cold and hurricane-force winds.

Bitter cold weather has taken hold of much of the northern United States. Wind chill advisories or warnings were in effect for much of New England, northern Pennsylvania and New York on Thursday.

Forecasters warn of hypothermia and frostbite from arctic air settling in over the central U.S. and spreading east.


12:15 p.m.

Firefighters have had to use a payloader to rescue someone in upstate New York who got trapped in her home by a storm that dropped a huge amount of snow.

The female resident of the town of Lorraine lived in an area at the eastern end of Lake Ontario that got about 6 feet of snow. The temperature in nearby Watertown plunged to minus 32 (minus 35 Celsius) on Thursday morning.

The snow was followed by a cold snap that is canceling events and leading officials to scramble across the northern tier of the U.S. to find help for the homeless.

Cleveland officials say four recreation centers will remain open as warming centers at least until Saturday.

A “polar bear plunge” in New Jersey in which hardy swimmers planned to jump into the Atlantic Ocean on Monday was canceled because of the cold. But similar events in other nearby towns stayed on the books.


10 a.m.

The bitter cold sweeping much of the country this week underscores a stark reality for low-income Americans who rely on heating aid: Their dollars aren’t going to go as far this winter.

The Department of Energy has projected energy fuel costs are going to track upward. That falls on the heels of two winters when costs were relatively low.

Mark Wolfe is an official with the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association. He says the good news is that President Donald Trump has released 90 percent of the energy assistance funding. Trump previously tried to eliminate the program altogether.

Wolfe says he is urging lawmakers to press to release the rest of the money.

The temperature without the wind chill factored in hit minus 32 on Thursday morning in Watertown, New York. Across the Northeast, homeless shelters are bringing in extra beds and staff members.

International Falls and Hibbing, Minnesota, set record lows Wednesday at minus 37 and minus 28, respectively.


12:20 a.m.

Bitter cold weather has taken hold of much of the northern United States and is expected to stay put for days to come.

Forecasters are warning of hypothermia and frostbite from arctic air settling in over the central U.S. and spreading east.

The National Weather Service reports International Falls and Hibbing, Minnesota, set record low temperatures Wednesday. International Falls, the self-proclaimed Icebox of the Nation, plunged to 37 degrees below zero, while Hibbing bottomed out at 28 below.

The freezing temperatures and below-zero wind chills come as people in Erie, Pennsylvania, continue to dig out from a storm that has dumped more than 65 inches on the city.

Meanwhile, wind chill advisories or warnings are in effect for much of New England, northern Pennsylvania and New York.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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