NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

December 11, 2012

Changes to our local scene

A few observations from the past week:

River retakes River Road

Last week Merrimac selectmen made official what we’ve long suspected would happen. A scenic stretch of River Road that hugs the bank of the Merrimack River will be closed permanently. This stretch of road ran from Merrimacport to a spot close to the Amesbury line.

It’s an unfortunate occurrence, but it makes financial sense. The road was built into the riverbank, held up by nothing more than unstable soil and force of habit. The Mother’s Day storm of 2006 badly eroded the riverbank and forced Merrimac to close the road. Ever since, it has served as a walking path, particularly popular with dog walkers.

The closure of that stretch of roadway interrupts what for decades has been a scenic roadside view of the Merrimack River that stretches from the Chain Bridge in Amesbury to Rock’s Village in Haverhill. Instead, motorists now must take a detour that swings away from the river for about a mile, then rejoins the riverside road network.

We agree with Merrimac selectmen that it’s not worth spending $4 million to rebuild this stretch of road, but we will also recognize that we’ve lost something that made this region unique.

Goodbye to grocery stickers

Yesterday, Massachusetts took a step toward ending that age-old teenage job, the much maligned grocery store price sticker applier. State officials held a public press event in Somerville demonstrating how price scanners work, in anticipation of a Jan. 1 law change that will no longer mandate that every item in a grocery store gets a pricetag slapped on it.

Our state is far behind the times on this issue. Most states no longer require price stickers. Instead, we’re expected to depend upon the accuracy of the unit price posted on the store shelf. For added safeguards, grocery stores that stop using stickers will be required to have a price scanner on every aisle so that consumers can check to make sure that the price on the shelf is accurate.

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