COLUMBUS, Ohio – A few weeks before their prom king’s death, students at an Ohio high school had attended an assembly on narcotics that warned about the dangers of heroin and prescription painkillers.
But it was one of the world’s most widely accepted drugs that killed Logan Stiner – a powdered form of caffeine so potent that as little as a single teaspoon can be fatal.
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The teen’s sudden death in May has focused attention on the unregulated powder and drawn a warning from federal health authorities urging consumers to avoid it.
“I don’t think any of us really knew that this stuff was out there,” said Jay Arbaugh, superintendent of the Keystone Local Schools.
The federal Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it’s investigating caffeine powder and will consider taking regulatory action. The agency cautioned parents that young people could be drawn to it.
READ MORE: Should officials ban cigarette sales to new smokers?
An autopsy found that Stiner had a lethal amount of caffeine in his system when he died May 27 at his home in LaGrange, Ohio, southwest of Cleveland.
Stiner, a wrestler, had more than 70 micrograms of caffeine per millilitre of blood in his system, as much as 23 times the amount found in a typical coffee or soda drinker, according to the county coroner.
His mother has said she was unaware her son took caffeine powder. He was just days away from graduation and had planned to study at the University of Toledo.
Caffeine powder is sold as a dietary supplement, so it’s not subject to the same federal regulations as certain caffeinated foods. Users add it to drinks for a pick-me-up before workouts or to control weight gain.
A minuscule amount packs a punch.
A mere 1/16th of a teaspoon can contain about 200 milligrams of caffeine, roughly the equivalent of two large cups of coffee. That means a heaping teaspoon could kill, said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill ?Hospital in New York.
The powder is almost impossible to measure with common kitchen tools, the FDA said.
READ MORE: Candy-flavoured tobacco products enticing Canadian students to take up smoking, survey says
“The difference between a safe amount and a lethal dose of caffeine in these powdered products is very small,” FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Dooren said.
Glatter said he’s seen several younger patients experience complications from caffeine in the last few months. Some arrive with rapid heart rates.
“They’re starting to latch onto the powders more because they see it as a more potent way to lose weight,” Glatter said.
Health officials worry about caffeine powder’s potential popularity among exercise enthusiasts and young people seeking an energy boost.
Dr. Henry Spiller directs a poison control centre at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Over a week or so this month, the centre took reports of three people hospitalized for misusing caffeine powder.
“I can’t believe you can buy this,” Spiller said. “Honestly, I mean, it’s frightening. It makes no sense to me.”
Federal investigations have recently prompted some companies to pull products with added caffeine.
Last year, Wrigley halted sales and marketing of Alert caffeinated gum after discussions with the FDA. In 2010, the agency forced manufacturers of alcoholic caffeinated beverages to cease production of those drinks.
Authorities have also pledged to take action if they are able to link deaths to consumption of energy drinks. Hospitalizations from those drinks have been on the rise.
The number of emergency department visits involving energy drinks doubled – from 10,068 visits in 2007 to 20,783 visits in 2011, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Most of the cases involved teens or young adults.
A full teaspoon of caffeine powder could contain 3,200 milligrams of caffeine.
In that concentrated amount, a person can experience adverse effects in a matter of minutes, said Dr. Bob Hoffman, a New York University medical toxicologist.
The brain becomes alert, then agitated and confused. The heartbeat picks up and can become dangerously irregular. A person can suffer nausea, vomiting and potentially a seizure.
“The thing about caffeine is just because you see it every day, just because it’s naturally occurring – it comes from a plant – doesn’t mean that it’s safe,” Hoffman said.
Back in Ohio, the superintendent of the district where Stiner attended school plans to take steps of his own. He wants to add the dangers of caffeine powder to drug and alcohol awareness programs.
TORONTO – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was caught off guard during an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace after Kerry was recorded speaking to one of his aides before the on-air segment.
“While you were on camera and while on microphone,” Wallace said, “you spoke to one of your top aides between the interviews about the situation in Israel.”
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Kerry who apparently forgot his microphone was hot was speaking with one of his aides about a recent operation in the Gaza Strip. Wallace presents the clip in reference to “14 Israelis” killed in the operation, but recent reports suggest that number is actually 13.
During the recorded conversation Kerry keeps repeating “it’s a hell of a pinpoint operation,” which seems to reference Israel’s expanding invasion in Gaza.
“It’s escalating significantly and underscores the need for ceasefire,” Kerry’s aide says.
READ MORE: Death toll tops 500 in Gaza as diplomatic efforts increase
Kerry responds saying “we’ve got to get over there. I think we should go tonight,” noting that it is “crazy” to be “sitting around.”
The statements appear to contradict the country’s previous unwavering support for Israel in the ongoing conflict.
Wallace asks Kerry if he is “upset that the Israelis are going too far?”
“It’s very difficult in these situations, obviously,” Kerry said. “You have people who have come out of tunnels, you have a right to go in and take out those tunnels. We completely support that, and we support Israel’s right to defend itself against rockets that are continuing to come in.”
CHICAGO – Disadvantaged teens may get more than an academic boost by attending top-notch high schools – their health may also benefit, a study suggests.
Risky health behaviour including binge-drinking, unsafe sex and use of hard drugs was less common among these kids, compared with peers who went to mostly worse schools. The teens were otherwise similar, all from low-income Los Angeles neighbourhoods who applied to top public charter schools that admit students based on a lottery system.
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The researchers compared behaviour in almost 1,000 kids in 10th through 12th grade who were admitted to the high-performing schools and in those who went elsewhere. Overall, 36 per cent of the selected kids engaged in at least one of 11 risky behaviours, compared with 42 per cent of the other teens.
READ MORE: Millennials facing increased rates of stress compared to other generations
The study doesn’t prove that the schools made the difference and it has limitations that weaken the results, including a large number of students who refused to participate. Still, lead author Dr. Michael Wong said the results echo findings in less rigorously designed research and they fit with the assumption that “better education will lead to better health.” Wong is an internist and researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The study involved mostly Latino students who applied to one of three top-performing public charter schools from 2007 to 2010. About half of the kids had parents who didn’t graduate from high school and most didn’t own their own homes.
Results were published online Monday in Pediatrics.
Teens were given computerized questionnaires to answer in private, to improve the chances for accurate self-reporting. Standardized test scores were obtained from the California Department of Education.
The results aren’t a referendum on charter schools but the lottery system they use for enrolment made the comparison fairer, Wong said.
Despite the limitations, the study “is a beautifully conducted natural experiment” that could occur because there’s more demand for high-performing schools than there is space available, said Kelli Komro, a professor of health outcomes and policy at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She was not involved in the research.
READ MORE: Stress, anxiety plaguing Canadian youth
Because the Los Angeles schools’ lottery system selects students randomly, not on grades or other differences, the study design “mimics a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard in health research,” Komro said.
Most of the selected kids chose to attend those schools, while 83 per cent of those not picked went to schools with worse performance records. Math and English scores after freshman year were higher in selected kids than the other teens. Moreover, just 9 per cent of the selected kids dropped out of school, versus almost 1 in 4 of the others.
Prof. Harold Pollack, a University of Chicago public health researcher, said the study is important and highlights the challenge – and need to – create “a much larger number of schools that serve kids well.”
Pollack said better academic performance among the charter school kids is likely more important for their long-term health than their risky behaviour choices.
“Educational outcomes are just so critical for people’s well-being,” he said.
AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner can be reached at 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活twitter杭州夜网/LindseyTanner
TORONTO – A new survey says Canadians, on average, expect to be mortgage-free by age 58, one year later than in a similar poll a year ago.
But the survey, conducted for CIBC by Angus Reid, found some big discrepancies across the country.
For example, homeowners in British Columbia thought they wouldn’t be able to pay off their mortgages until they hit 66, while those in Alberta expected to be mortgage-free more than a decade earlier at 55.
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READ MORE: Will a sharing economy change us from buyers to bartering borrowers?
The survey also found that just over half of those polled were taking advantage of the current low interest rate environment to pay down their mortgages faster.
Fifty-five per cent said they were putting in extra effort into repaying their mortgages, although that was down from 68 per cent last year.
Of those paying off their mortgages quicker than necessary, 32 per cent said they were making payments more often, 28 per cent were increasing the amount they pay while 18 per cent said they had made either an additional prepayment or a lump sump payment.
Beyond Alberta and British Columbia, the survey found the average age respondents expected to be mortgage-free ranged from 56 years in Quebec to 57 years in Atlantic Canada and Ontario and 58 years in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
READ MORE: Many Canadian lenders ‘concerned’ about housing ‘bubble’
CIBC says even small efforts can lead to big savings for homeowners in the long run.
For example, someone paying 4.99 per cent interest on a $250,000 mortgage with 25-year amortization can expect to save nearly $35,000 of interest if they add $147 to their $1,453 monthly payments.
The same homeowner can save as much as $30,000 on interest if they make $726 payments every two weeks, instead of waiting until the end of the month to make a payment.
The bank pointed out that even making a lump sum payment every year — for instance, putting the average $1,600 tax refund towards the mortgage — would shave off $33,103 of interest.
READ MORE: Growth of mortgage debt slowed in Q1
“Employing one or more of these strategies does take some planning and discipline,” said Barry Gollom, vice-president of secured lending and product policy at CIBC.
“If becoming mortgage-free sooner is something you want to achieve, it’s important to look at your mortgage as part of your overall financial picture and to balance your mortgage payment plan against your other goals.”
The online poll was conducted by Angus Reid Forum with 1,509 Canadian adults between May 21 and May 22.
The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.
©2014The Canadian Press
Watch: Chef Jonathan Nguyen from Le Boucan Smokehouse stopped by the Morning News to show her a few delicious camping food recipes.
MONTREAL- You don’t have to sacrifice your taste buds and appetite when you go out camping.
That’s what Chef Jonathan Nguyen with Le Boucan Smokehouse says.
On the Morning News, he shared some simple recipes to prepare delicious meals when you’re out in the wild.
BREAKFAST : French toast with apple-maple coulis
French toast with an apple-maple coulis
French toast with an apple-maple coulis
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 people
Ingredients for the French Toast
8 Slices of bread
250 ml milk
30 ml Sugar
1 L of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal , crushed
8 knobs of butter
Ingredients for the Apple-Maple Coulis
2 apples diced in cubes
500 ml maple syrup
60 ml of butter
Directions Apple-maple coulis:
On medium heat, melt the butter into the pan.
Once the butter is melted, add the apples and maple syrup.
Stir every once in a while, cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
Set aside to rest.
Directions French toast:
In a bowl, add the eggs, milk, and sugar, beat with a whisk vigorously.
Soak the bread in the egg mixture for 10 seconds per side, removing any excess.
Cover bread slices with cinnamon cereal.
In a non-stick pan, over medium heat, melt a knob of butter.
Once melted, place each piece of toast in the pan and cook until golden brown and crispy (approx. 2 mins per side).
Plate up each piece of French toast with a couple spoonfuls of the apple-maple coulis.
LUNCH: Porc Banh mi (Vietnamese style submarine sandwich)
Porc Banh mi
Porc Banh mi
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 people
150 ml Sauce Hoisin sauce
8 crushed garlic cloves
4 10inch submarine sandwich buns
16 pieces of pork belly
Handful of honeydew melon roughly chopped, ¼ inch thickness
Small red chilies (add to taste), finely chopped
Put all the ingredients of the marinade in a bowl and mix well together.
Add the pork belly slices and make sure that they are evenly coated with spices.
Let sit for at least one hour to marinate.
On medium to low heat, cook the pork belly slices in the pan until golden brown (2-4 minutes per side).
In each bun, add the mayo, hoisin sauce and 4 slices of pork, the pieces of honeydew melon, coriander and a sprinkle of chili peppers.
WATCH ABOVE: Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Security Council this morning and says he will use his influence to insure a full and proper investigation. But not everyone is buying it. Susan McGinnis has the story.
Senior U.S. intelligence officials have no evidence of direct Russian government involvement in the crashU.S. President Barack Obama assures Dutch people that that the U.S. will aid them in bringing those responsible to justice. The Netherlands lost 193 citizens in the crash.EU imposes new sanctions against Russian officials Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow will do everything in its power to facilitate the investigation into last week’s Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crash.There are charges that Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine have tampered with the wreckage.The remains of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash arrived in territory held by the Ukrainian government on Tuesday on their way to the Netherlands.
BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Union agreed Tuesday to impose new sanctions against officials deemed responsible for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, amid mounting international anger after a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over rebel-held territory.
European foreign ministers stopped short, at least for now, of more forceful sanctions that would hit full sectors of the Russian economy.
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Flight MH17: Obama demands investigators be allowed access to crash site
The decision came soon after bodies of those killed in the crash reached Ukrainian government-controlled territory, leaving a war zone en route to the Netherlands after delays and haphazard treatment that put pressure on the Europeans to inflict tougher pressure on Russia.
The crash last week in eastern Ukraine has heightened diplomatic tensions over the conflict in Ukraine and focused anger at Russia, from Washington to EU headquarters in Brussels to Malaysia. But Russian President Vladimir Putin remained combative Tuesday, lashing out at Ukraine’s military Tuesday for trying to dislodge the rebels.
WATCH: Trains carrying victims’ remains arrives in Ukraine-held city as key pieces of evidence are handed over to Malaysian officials.
The EU agreed to impose visa bans and asset freezes on more Russian officials, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said. He did not say how many officials were targeted or reveal their names.
He said the ministers also asked the 28-nation bloc’s executive arm to prepare for more sweeping sanctions – including targeting the arms, energy and financial sectors – if Russia fails to back down from destabilizing Ukraine.
“Russia has not done enough to contribute to a de-escalation of the conflict,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.
The crash site itself, in farmland held by the pro-Russian separatists whom the West accuses of shooting down the plane, remained unsecured five days after the disaster – another source of frustration for officials around the world eager to establish what happened.
READ MORE: Crash victim’s father pens heartbreaking open letter
After a 17-hour journey from the town of Torez in rebel territory, the train carrying the bodies pulled into a station in Kharkiv, a government-controlled city where Ukrainian authorities have set up their crash investigation centre. The train gave a low-pitched blast from its horn as the grey corrugated refrigerator cars slowly rolled through weed-choked tracks onto the grounds of a factory where the bodies were being received.
Government spokesman Oleksander Kharchenko said Ukraine “will do our best” to send the bodies to the Netherlands on Tuesday. Of the 298 people who died aboard the Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight, 193 were Dutch citizens.
READ MORE: UN approves resolution demanding access to crash site
But Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says his government aims to have the first bodies returned on Wednesday. “It is our aim – and at the moment our expectation – that sometime tomorrow the first plane carrying victims will leave for Eindhoven,” he said.
Rutte said that the identification of some bodies will be quick. But he has warned grieving families of victims of Thursday’s crash that the identification of some others could take “weeks or even months.”
WATCH: Raw video of Malaysian investigators visiting crash site for first time
In Brussels, European Union foreign ministers were discussing Tuesday what action to take response to the disaster. Europe and the United States have imposed targeted economic sanctions against Russia for supporting Ukraine’s five-month insurgency that began after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by protesters in February.
In Moscow, Putin said Russia would do “everything in its power” to facilitate the investigation including putting pressure on the rebels. But he said that “was not enough” to resolve the situation. During a meeting with Russia’s Security Council, he again criticized Kyiv for its military offensive to dislodge the rebels.
Putin again challenged the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government, saying, “people came to power in an armed, anti-constitutional way.”
“Yes, after the coup there were elections, but strangely, for some reason, those who either financed or carried out that coup became leaders of the government,” he said.
WATCH: The Dutch foreign minister said the EU is imposing sanctions against officials deemed responsible for Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
Yanukovych was declared removed by vote of parliament after fleeing the country. A special election was held May 25 to replace him, won by candy company owner Petro Poroshenko.
The rebels control a swathe of territory in two eastern provinces, and have battled Ukrainian troops with heavy weapons including tanks and missile launchers that the West says came from Russia. Russia denies supporting the insurgency.
Sanctions so far have focused on individuals instead of entire sectors of Russia’s economy, though the EU was moving already to broaden them before the downing of the plane. British Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that the jet’s destruction has drastically changed the situation, and that the Russians cannot expect continued access to European markets and capital if they continued to fuel a war against another European country.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said in Brussels on Tuesday that “it’s about bold actions from the European Union, not just about sanctions.”
WATCH:After four days, the bodies of 298 people on board have finally been collected. They’ve been loaded into refrigerated rail cars and are being transported to eventually be identified. But there’s international outrage over the way rebels handled the remains and contaminated the crime scene. Mike Armstrong reports.
He insisted that the insurgency is made up of members “of Russian security services, who were trained with Russian money with Russian weapons to destabilize the eastern Ukraine and at the end of the day, the whole Ukraine.”
“If it succeeds, it will be a blow for the whole continent,” he said.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius blamed “terrorists supplied by Moscow” for shooting down the airliner, killing all aboard. He called for an arms embargo, in a direct challenge to France, which is building two warships for the Russian navy.
©2014The Canadian Press
TORONTO – Six South American soccer players are refusing to return to Ukrainian football club FC Shakhtar Donetsk amid the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Brazilian stars Douglas Costa, Dentinho, Fred, Alex Teixiera, Ismaily, along with Argentine forward Facundo Ferreyra, stayed behind in France after the club played a friendly match against Olympique Lyon on Saturday.
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READ MORE: Bodies from downed jetliner piled in boxcars, West condemns crash site tampering
Shakhtar Donetsk’s owner Rinat Akhmetov released a statement on the team’s website threatening the players with financial penalties if they do not return.
“Players have contracts that they have to abide by. If they do not come, I think, they will be the first to suffer,” Akhmetov said in the statement. “Each of them has a minimum release clause, which is tens of millions of euros. If someone wants to reduce this amount by a million, then such a decision is our right. There won’t be [a]clearance sale!”
Donetsk has been at the centre of the recent conflict between Ukraine’s military and pro-Russian rebels, who are battling for control of the city.
Akhmetov says despite not being allowed to play in Donetsk stadium the team is ready to provide security and will not bring players to dangerous places.
The Ukrainian Premier League season starts this Friday. The two teams have left the league reducing it from from 16 teams to 14 after two Crimean clubs withdrew after last season following Russia’s annexation of the peninsula.
The Ukrainian Football Federation has yet to decide where FC Shakhtar Donetsk will play its home games during the ongoing conflict.
Last week a Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down near the pro-Russian separatist controlled region of east Donetsk.
UPDATE: Narinder Kalsi, who was brutally assaulted in her Surrey home more than a week ago, has now died. She was taken off life support yesterday afternoon according to IHIT. The homicide team has modified the charges against Narinder’s husband, who was charged with attempted murder, to second degree murder.
VANCOUVER — The president of a Surrey temple is now facing charges of attempted murder after his wife was taken to hospital on Sunday in serious condition, according to the Surrey RCMP.
66-year-old Baldev Singh Kalsi is the president of the Brookside Sikh Temple. He was previously facing assault charges, but they were upgraded to attempted murder on Tuesday afternoon.
Aggravated Assault charges for Baldev Singh KALSI have now been upgraded to Attempt Murder. Hard work done by #IHIT
— IHIT (@HomicideTeam) July 15, 2014
Authorities received a call at around noon Sunday that a woman was in distress at a home in South Surrey, near 194 Street and 32 Avenue.
When they arrived to the scene, they found the woman with life threatening injuries.
She was transported to the hospital by a British Columbia Air Ambulance.
Authorities say she is currently on life support.
Kalsi will appear in court July 16, 2014 in Surrey. IHIT has taken over the investigation.
WATCH: A strong field led by 16 Canadians including Graham DeLaet tee it up at Royal Montreal this week
With a date following the British Open and just ahead of the PGA Championship, the RBC Canadian Open at times struggles to lure the best players in the world to Canada.
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Live coverage of the 2014 RBC Canadian Open
Top players, course the lure for fans as RBC Canadian Open returns to Montreal
That hasn’t really changed this year with the announcement of the tournament’s field, but there are still enough stars – from World No. 5 ranked golfer Matt Kuchar to bomber Dustin Johnson, as well as Canadians Graham DeLaet and Mike Weir – coming to Royal Montreal Golf Club this year to make the tournament compelling for spectators.
The RBC gang: Jim Furyk, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Hunter Mahan, Matt Kuchar and Ernie Els
RBC, the key sponsor of the Canadian Open, decided a few years ago that the easiest way of luring players to Canada for the tournament the week after the British Open was to enter into deals with them to make the golfers part of “Team RBC.”
That means you’ll see British star and former World No. 1 Luke Donald, multiple major winner Ernie Els and Matt Kuchar – the top-ranked player in the world – show up in Montreal.
Tour stars: Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel
Could Dustin Johnson’s second appearance in Canada have something to do with his relationship status? Johnson is engaged to Paulina Gretzky, the daughter of “The Great One,” hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. He had a near miss at Glen Abbey last year when he held a share of the lead on the 17th hole, but couldn’t close the deal. Royal Montreal should set up well for Johnson, one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour.
Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters winner from South Africa, has also made a few appearances in Canada. He’s also among the top-ranked players who will tee it up in Montreal.
The Canadians: Mike Weir, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn, Stephen Ames, Brad Fritsch
Both Graham DeLaet and David Hearn played this past week in Liverpool at the British Open. Hearn made the cut while DeLaet’s struggles in golf’s major championships continue. They’ll be among a large contingent of Canadians at Royal Montreal.
Others to watch for include amateur Taylor Pendrith, PGA Tour Canada star Mike Gligic and mid-am champ from Victoria, Kevin Carrigan, who works as a financial consultant.
Notables: John Daly, Vijay Singh
Troubled John Daly remains one of the most noted names in golf, despite the fact he hasn’t been a competitive player in years. However, Daly did have one of his best tournaments on the PGA Tour in nearly a decade when he contended at Shaughnessy in Vancouver three years ago.
On the other hand you have previous Canadian Open winner Vijay Singh, who beat Mike Weir in a playoff in 2004. Singh now plays part-time on the Champions Tour, which features golf’s stars over the age of 50, and is involved in a high-profile lawsuit with the PGA Tour over allegations he used a banned substance last year.
What: RBC Canadian OpenWhen: Practice rounds start Monday; tournament starts ThursdayWhere: Royal Montreal Golf Club, 25 South Ridge Road , Ile Bizard, QuebecTelevision: Pre-game show on Global Television at 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. July 26-27 – Tournament coverage follows until 6 p.m.Online: Complete coverage on Globalnews桑拿按摩
CHATHAM, Mass. – In “Jaws,” the fictional mayor tried to protect the summer tourism season by keeping a lid on reports of the man-eater lurking offshore. As sightings of great white sharks mount off Cape Cod in real life, however, businesses in the Massachusetts town of Chatham are embracing the frenzy.
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Shark T-shirts are everywhere, “Jaws” has been playing in local theatres and boat tours are taking more tourists out to see the huge seal population that keeps the sharks coming. Harbormasters have issued warnings but – unlike the sharks in the movies – the great whites generally are not seen as a threat to human swimmers.
READ MORE: Is this a shark in Lake Ontario? No, it’s a PR stunt
Among the entrepreneurs is Justin Labdon, owner of the Cape Cod Beach Chair Company, who started selling ‘Chatham Whites’ T-shirts after customers who were renting paddle boards and kayaks began asking whether it was safe to go to sea.
“I mean, truthfully, we’ve probably grown about 500 per cent in terms of the sale of our shark apparel,” he said. The T-shirts, hoodies, hats, belts, dog collars and other accessories bear the iconic, torpedo-shaped image of great whites and sell for between $10 and $45.
He said his store brings in thousands of dollars in sales of the shark-themed merchandise.
Tourists peer through coin-operated binoculars in hopes of catching a glimpse of a shark fin from the beaches of Chatham. The posh resort town is on the elbow of the cape that has a large population of grey seals – the massive animals whose blubber is the fuel of choice for great white sharks. Local shops sell jewelry, candy, clothes, stuffed animals and beverages with shark motifs.
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A study released last month by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found the number of great white sharks off the Eastern U.S. and Canada is surging after decades of decline. Conservation efforts and the greater availability of prey such as Massachusetts’ seals, are credited with the reversal.
Shark sightings have soared from generally fewer than two annually before 2004 to more than 20 in each of the last few years off Cape Cod, where the economy depends heavily on the summer tourism season. Despite notices urging boaters and swimmers to use caution, the official reaction has been nearly the opposite of the panic depicted in “Jaws,” the 1975 film shot mainly on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard.
“White sharks are this iconic species in society and it draws amazing amounts of attention,” said Gregory Skomal, a senior marine fisheries biologist who also leads the Massachusetts Shark Research Program, who said people are coming in hopes of witnessing the animals in their splendor. “I have not been approached by anyone who has said to me ‘let’s go kill these sharks.”‘
Skomal said sharks have been coming closer to shore to feed on the seals, which he said have been coming on shore in greater numbers because of successful conservation efforts.
READ MORE: 10 movies to avoid before going into the water
Confrontations with people are rare, with only 106 unprovoked white shark attacks – 13 of them fatal – in U.S. waters since 1916, according to data provided by the University of Florida.
Still, officials are wary of the damage that could be done to tourism if one of the predators bites a person. Brochures have been distributed to raise awareness of sharks and safe practices in the event of a sighting.
“You have to make sure people understand,” Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO Wendy Northcross said, “if they go to the beach and they see a family of seals there, that’s probably not the best place to hang out.”
Laurie Moss McCandless of Memphis, Tennessee, has vacationed on Cape Cod every summer since she was a little girl and doesn’t remember hearing about sharks back then. But her son is obsessed with sharks, she said, and she’s hoping to hear more about them on their vacation in Chatham.
“He loves all his sharks paraphernalia,” McCandless, 39, said as she bought a shark-themed sweatshirt for one of her three children.
©2014The Associated Press