1540 WADK.com Updates

>>Columbus Statue In Providence Taken Down

(Providence, RI)  --  The Christopher Columbus statue in Providence is taking at least a temporary break from public display.  Crews removed it on Thursday as Mayor Jorge Elorza announced the Special Committee for Commemorative Works will get community feedback and advise the city Board of Parks Commissioners, which will determine the statue's future.  Those who wanted the statue removed say the real history of Columbus warranted the action.  Last year on Columbus Day, a sign that said "stop celebrating genocide" was placed on the statue in the city's Elmwood neighborhood, one of several times it has been recently vandalized.

>>Burrillville Declares Itself Sanctuary From State COVID-19 Orders

(Burrillville, RI)  --  Burrillville made headlines previously for becoming the first town in Rhode Island to become a "Second Amendment sanctuary town".  Now, it's the first RI municipality to make the same declaration with the First Amendment.  The Town Council voted 5-to-2 on Wednesday to pass the resolution which was introduced in response to Governor Gina Raimondo's coronavirus executive orders and restrictions.  It asks the town police department to use discretion in enforcing the state directives and says town funds will not be spent on them.  A spokesperson for the Raimondo administration says the measures that have been taken are fully constitutional and have drastically slowed the spread of the virus.

>>Johnson And Wales Closing Two Campuses

(Providence, RI)  --  Johnson and Wales University is closing its campuses in Florida and Colorado at the end next school year.  University Chancellor Mim Runey says students at the North Miami and Denver campuses will have the option to transfer to the main campus in Providence, Rhode Island and the other one in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Runey also says JWU is working to attract a broader reach of students while maintaining its hospitality and culinary arts offerings.  She says the coronavirus pandemic was not the deciding factor in all of this.

>>Candidates Must Be Allowed To Skip In-Person Signature-Gathering

(Providence, RI)  --  A federal judge is ruling that Rhode Island must allow alternate methods of signature requirements for state legislative candidates.  Six candidates for state Senate, including incumbent Gayle Goldin, sued the RI Secretary of State, Board of Elections and the state's canvassing boards, arguing that collecting in-person signatures would put them at risk for coronavirus exposure.  The ruling indicates for this year only, the candidates must be allowed to collect signatures electronically.

>>State Republican Party Pulls Endorsement Of Senate Candidate

(Warwick, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Republican Party is revoking its endorsement of a U.S. Senate candidate.  The decision not to support Allen Waters, who is running against Democratic incumbent Jack Reed, is due to reports of Waters being involved in a domestic disturbance last year.  RI GOP chairwoman Sue Cienki says Waters will still be able to run as a Republican if he gathers the required signatures, but he will not have the backing of the party.

>>Illegal Fireworks Task Force Assembles In Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  Authorities will be looking for illegal fireworks in Providence this weekend.  The city police and fire departments are teaming up with the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal's Office on a task force in response to complaints about the activity.  Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements says an uptick in illegal fireworks is connected to the cancellation of many displays and other celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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