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Massachusetts town to vote on $20 fines for cursing in public

Mimi Duphily was hanging baskets of pink geraniums on antique street lamps downtown for the Middleborough Beautification and Activities Group when she noticed something else that needed cleaning up -- citizens' mouths.

"The cursing has gotten very, very bad. I find it appalling and I won't tolerate it," said Duphily, a civic leader in the otherwise quiet New England community, which calls itself the Cranberry Capital of the World. "No person should be allowed to talk in that manner."

Soon, Middleborough residents who do could risk a $20 fine.

Duphily, 63, tried scolding the cursers -- whom she describes as young people shouting the "F-word" back and forth -- with a stern, "Hey kids, that's enough!" Then she conferred with the Beautification and Activities Group, which informed the Middleborough Business Coalition, which then called a summit with Middleborough Police Chief Bruce Gates, who now, in his sworn role, is trying to stomp out swears.

He is asking citizens to vote at the annual Town Meeting on Monday to flush potty mouths by granting police the power to issue $20 civil tickets to anyone who publicly "accosts" another person verbally with profanity.

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal.