We seemed to be struggling with our Puritan heritage, thinking up new bans and undoing others. Brookline outlawed plastic bags and polystyrene food and beverage containers, while Concord barred the sale of single-serving plastic water bottles. Concord voters also narrowly rejected a bylaw regulating wandering cats. Needham loosened up on booze, voting overwhelmingly in November to allow the retail sale of alcohol. And Arlington decided to keep its seasonal ban on gas-powered leaf blowers for now, despite a concerted effort to bring back the buzz.

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