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The skinny: Pennsylvania police to end tickets for cursing

curse is lifted

It's free speech once again in pennsylvania

Firing off a few four-letter words isn't a crime anymore in Pennsylvania. State police, who issued more than 700 disorderly conduct citations for swearing in a recent one-year span, have agreed to stop citing the public as part of a settlement Tuesday of a federal free-speech lawsuit. The American Civil Liberties Union represents Pennsylvanians who have been ticketed for cursing at an overflowing toilet, a swerving motorcyclist and a parking ticket issuer. Citations can lead to hundreds of dollars in fines and legal costs, not to mention the occasional jail stint. "Using profanity toward someone … is just not one of those things that you can put someone in jail for," ACLU lawyer Mary Catherine Roper said. "It may not be very smart, but you have a constitutional right to do that."

two-minute drill

Twins, but just one 2010 deduction

A northern Illinois couple welcomed their new daughter in the last minute of 2010 — and a twin son in the first minute of 2011. Ashley Fansler gave birth to Madisen Carin Lewis at 11:59 p.m. on New Year's Eve in Machesney Park, 85 miles northwest of Chicago. Aiden Everette Lewis was born a minute later on New Year's Day. The Rockford Register Star reported that Fansler wasn't due until the end of January, but doctors at Rockford Memorial Hospital scheduled a caesarean for Friday to avoid complications.

garbage strike

Jumper saved by uncollected trash

Authorities in New York City say a 26-year-old man who tried to jump to his death from his ninth floor apartment Sunday was saved by a heap of trash bags that had gone uncollected since last week's blizzard. Katharina Capatos told the New York Post her nephew was worried about being evicted from his rent-stabilized apartment. The city resumed garbage pickup on Monday for the first time since the Christmas weekend snowstorm dumped over 20 inches.

tree of life

Highway's sole tourist draw is vandalized

A landmark tree filled with dangling shoes, boots and sneakers that served as a popular stopping point for travelers in northern Nevada was chopped down by vandals, leaving merchants concerned that business would suffer in the isolated area. The 70-foot cottonwood tree along U.S. 50 in Middlegate was cut down late last week, the Lahontan Valley News reported. "There are a lot of angry people," bartender Travis Anderton told the newspaper. "That helps out business. People come out to see the shoe tree." The tree along what has been called the loneliest road in America has been an attraction for decades.

Compiled from Times wires.

The skinny: Pennsylvania police to end tickets for cursing 01/04/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 9:48pm]
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[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

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