Friday Morning Read: Iowa City startup raises $2 million, Sinclair smokestack might make a comeback, UI denounces the KKK

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Business hour limitation on Tower Terrace Road removed - The Marion City Council voted 5-2 Thursday to extend the hours of operation in a commercial district along Tower Terrace Road, a move opposed by those living in homes that abut the district.

The commercial district, south of Tower Terrace Road and between Third Street and Irish Drive, is owned by developer Mooney-Engle Land Co.

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Bret Michaels to headline rally for new downtown casino - Former Poison frontman Bret Michaels is slated to headline a rally and concert for Cedar Crossing, a casino proposed for downtown Cedar Rapids, days before state gambling regulators visit for a public hearing about three proposals next month.

Backers of Cedar Crossing — Peninsula Pacific Partnership, a Los Angeles-based casino developer, and Cedar Crossing Development Group, a coalition of local investors — are putting the event on Sept. 15 at the U.S. Cellular Center to showcase what it would be like to have an urban casino in Cedar Rapids, they said.

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Iowa City startup raises $2 million - An Iowa City medical device startup that emerged from the University of Iowa has raised $2 million in investment.

The money, iotaMotion co-founders said Wednesday, will help it continue to develop a robotic-assisted medical device to help surgeons with the installation of cochlear implants, used to improve hearing.

“Our aim is to develop devices that open up access to cochlear implant surgery for a wider audience of both surgeons and patients,” co-founder Marlan Hansen said in a statement.

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The possible return of the 'iconic' Sinclair smokestack - The old 193-foot-tall Sinclair smokestack — a landmark in Cedar Rapids for more than a century and one of the tallest smokestacks in Iowa — could be replicated as the new focal point of the planned Sleeping Giant pedestrian bridge over the Cedar River.

The smokestack stood at the old T.M. Sinclair & Co. slaughterhouse about a mile south of downtown and 100 feet from a railroad bridge knocked down in the 2008 flood. A 2009 fire destroyed the meatpacking plant, which had changed hands several times and ceased operations in 1990.

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'We denounce the KKK' - With at least nine U.S. cities bracing for far-right rallies this weekend after a widely-publicized event in Charlottesville turned violent and left three people dead, University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld on Thursday sent a message to his returning campus community stressing tolerance.

“In the wake of racist violence on a university campus not unlike our own, it is incumbent upon us to reach out to those who are new to our community,” Harreld wrote in his morning message. “To tell them we denounce the KKK, white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups who use public universities as a backdrop for their violent theater. To assure them that we will not be bullied into silence or turned against one another. To pledge once again that we will not tolerate anything but a safe and inclusive campus for people of all backgrounds, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

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