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Newscast 6.11.2024: Texas college VP Draud named new president of Briar Cliff University; Changes for area near Sioux Gateway Airport in offing; Iowa agency monitoring bird flu in agriculture businesses

Matthew Draud was announced as the 13th president of Briar Cliff University in Sioux City on June 11, 2024.
(By Bret Hayworth)
Matthew Draud was announced as the 13th president of Briar Cliff University in Sioux City on June 11, 2024.

A Texas private college academic vice president was announced Tuesday as the new president of Briar Cliff University in Sioux City.

Matthew Draud is the new president, after being selected by the Briar Cliff Board of Trustees. Draud will be the 13th president in college history, for the college created in 1930 and which now has about 940 students.

The event was in the BCU Stark Student Center, as college employees and some students looked on. Draud begins the presidential post on July 1.

He said he aims over the first 100 days to engage in sound two-way communication with many college constituencies and the wider Sioux City community. Draud also mentioned meeting the Franciscan ideals that have guided Briar Cliff as an institution founded by Catholic Church sisters.

BCU Board Chairman Steve Stouffer said Draud’s “extensive experience in academic leadership and his commitment to innovation make him the ideal choice to guide Briar Cliff into a promising future.”

Previous President Patrick Schulte was installed in 2023, and left less than a year later to work at another college in Missouri. An interim president, Steve Freeman, has led the college the last half year.

More than 60 people applied for the BCU presidential post, and Draud was selected after being one of four finalists.

*Another step has been taken towards a possible reworking of the area near Sioux Gateway Airport in Sioux City for a possible new hotel, convenience store and warehouses.

The Sioux City Council on Monday approved the second reading of a plan to vacate airport area streets in order to clear room for the $20 million project planned on 14 acres by Midwest Hotels LLC.

The next council meeting on June 17 will involve the needed third and final reading on the plan to vacate streets of Niobrara, Meek, Newell, Marquette, and McArthur.

If approved by the council, and once Midwest Hotels demonstrates to have the needed financing, the area near the airport would greatly change, with the streets and 43 houses to be demolished.

Last week, Iowa became the 10th state with confirmed bird flu infections in dairy cows. Both herds are in Northwest Iowa where, a few weeks prior, there were also two outbreaks in commercial poultry flocks.

Iowa Department of Agriculture officials plan to test dairy farms around infected poultry sites. Public health officials are also monitoring the H-5-N-1 virus. Two dairy workers in Michigan and one in Texas have tested positive since March, but the federal Centers For Disease Control says the risk to humans remains low.

Teri Bos is the director of Community Health Partners in Sioux County. Bos said her team follows up with farm workers after there’s been a confirmed livestock infection.

“We want to identify the people who are at risk, which is those who’ve been exposed to an infected flock or herd and monitor them for new symptoms. But really for the general public, the general public’s at very low risk," Bos said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the national milk supply remains safe.

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