- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Lots of big political names head to Rhode Island, Providence ex-Mayor Buddy Cianci backs off a campaign pledge and the state’s Liberian community grapples with the Ebola crisis back home. Here are things to know this week in Rhode Island:

BIG POLITICAL NAMES HIT STATE

With just over three weeks to go until Election Day, national Democrats and Republicans are sending in the big guns. President Barack Obama will visit on Thursday to speak about the economy. There was no immediate word on whether he would campaign with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo or any other candidate. Her rival, Republican Allan Fung, got a campaign support from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will also be in the state on Thursday to help Fung.

PROVIDENCE MAYOR’S RACE

While pitching voters on his comeback bid for Providence mayor, ex-Mayor Buddy Cianci told voters “I haven’t taken a dime from any city worker, nor do I intend to.” But after campaign finance reports showed he took thousands of dollars from them, he said he never took such a pledge. Cianci made the comment during a mayoral forum on Sept. 17. The Associated Press reported that campaign finance records show by the time he made the comment, he had already taken dozens of donations from city workers. He went on to take dozens more. Cianci brushed off the comment as “an offhand remark.” Cianci and opponents Jorge Elorza and Dan Harrop debate at Brown University on Wednesday.

LIBERIANS RESPOND TO EBOLA

The West African community in Rhode Island has been meeting frequently with state health officials about the Ebola outbreak. Health officials are asking them to monitor relatives who recently returned from Ebola-affected countries by checking their temperatures twice a day and calling a doctor if symptoms develop. They’re asking people not to panic. Rhode Island has one of the largest Liberian communities in the U.S. Meanwhile, a journalist from Providence who was infected with Ebola in Liberia is being treated in Nebraska.

NORTH PROVIDENCE CORRUPTION

The corruption trial of a well-known developer begins Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Providence. Richard Baccari and his company, Churchill and Banks, have pleaded not guilty to one count each of bribery and conspiracy. They’re accused of paying a $50,000 bribe in 2009 to several North Providence town councilmen through a middleman. The councilmen and middleman went to prison for the scheme.

WELDING CLOTHES

A Pawtucket firm is testing out an innovative way of making clothes for the U.S. Navy, bypassing the sewing machine and welding the pieces together. Propel LLC is testing the ultrasonic welding technique on a Navy parka to see if they can be made lighter, stronger and cheaper. The company’s owner says if the technique works, it could also help bring manufacturing back from overseas.


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