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Block Islanders threaten to secede over moped issue

Residents of the tiny resort of Block Island voted Wednesday to seek permission to secede unless the state grants them the authority to regulate the mopeds they say are destroying the town's tranquillity.

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Block Island officials had asked some 200 residents who crowded Tuesday night's town meeting only to decide whether the council should study secession, but the voters went one step further.

Many of the island's 620 year-round residents have complained since the late 1970s - when the first moped rental shop opened - that the two-wheeled vehicles were noisy, caused accidents, and were destroying beaches. The island can be reached only by plane or boat.

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