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Newscast 12.20.2023: Student charged with felony for allegedly having gun in Sioux City school; Woodbury County will direct $400K to Moville project; Proposal would remove gender balance requirement on Iowa boards

School bus
School bus

The student who was taken into custody on Tuesday for allegedly having a gun at East High School has now been charged with a felony and placed in juvenile detention.

The Sioux City Police Department spokesman on Wednesday told Siouxland Public Media News the male student was 15 years old and did not threaten anyone with the gun, which he had in school for much of the day. An East High Resource Officer located the boy right after receiving information that the student may have a firearm in school, and the gun was detected.

The Class D felony charge is for carrying a firearm on school grounds.

On Tuesday, a Sioux City School District spokeswoman in a release said no one was harmed as administrators responded to the incident, and the investigation was handled by the Sioux City Police Department.

The release said, "At the very end of the school day, a student was found to be in possession of a firearm on school grounds. Building administration acted immediately to ensure that students and staff were safe, and the student was taken into custody."

The student also faces some school discipline, with policies showing the options from immediate suspension to expulsion.

In other news, the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday set the funding mechanism by which they will direct $400,000 to the city of Moville for infrastructure work along a growing street for businesses.

Moville city officials and the county board members since at least 2017 have discussed ownership and funding options for the Frontage Road in Moville that parallels U.S. Highway 20.

That road has seen a huge growth in the number of businesses in recent years, with a new bank that just opened in November, plus a funeral home, pharmacy, coffee shop and Dollar General. A new medical clinic should be placed there within a year, and Moville council members have wanted to place needed new water and other infrastructure along the aging road at the same time the clinic goes up.

Woodbury County owns part of Frontage Road, while the city has ownership of the rest. Moville paid $650,000 in infrastructure along the road in a Phase One of improvements in 2022, and asserted that the county should provide some funding for upcoming phases.

The county supervisors in their Tuesday weekly meeting voted to use existing money in the Capital Improvement Plan of the current fiscal year. With that step, Moville officials can pursue the project as soon as May 2024.

Moville officials had most recently spoken in a county board meeting about the project on December 12. County Supervisor Keith Radig said it was good that the county and Moville could reach an agreement of financial cooperation on a project that could cost about $874,000 total.

Additionally, Iowa lawmakers will likely in 2024 consider repealing a law that requires state boards and commissions to have an equal, or nearly equal, number of men and women.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver said it’s sometimes difficult to find people to serve on state boards, especially those that oversee professions dominated by men or women. Whitver said the goal should be to get the best people to serve on boards, regardless of gender.

The law passed in the late 1980s requires state boards and commissions to have an equal number of men and women.

Democratic House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst said state officials should work harder to fill those positions instead of giving up. Konfrst asserted that gender balance is important, that a diversity of perspectives on Iowa boards and commissions is important.

In a related topic, Republican leaders are considering moving a measure to eliminate more than 40-percent of the state’s boards and commissions next year.