Shark in dramatic photo not a great white, expert says

The shark that caused a sensation when a photo of its fin slicing through the waters off Cape Cod behind a frightened kayaker was distributed worldwide might not have been a man-eating great white after all.

The state’s top shark expert says the fin likely belonged to a harmless basking shark, a giant fish that feeds on nothing but plankton.

Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries says based on the fin’s shape and the depth at which the fish was swimming, he’s almost positive it was a basking shark.

He says a basking shark’s fin is more rounded at the top and basking sharks swim closer to the surface.

Of course, Skomal says, there really are great whites in Cape Cod waters.


Fireworks firm banned after leaving unexploded shells

State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan says a Pennsylvania fireworks company will not be allowed to operate in Massachusetts after workers mowing lawns ran over unexploded shells from Fourth of July shows.

Coan said Wednesday that the size of the lawnmowers protected the workers from exploding shells in Ware, Waltham and Stoughton days after the shows. Unexploded shells were also found in Wilmington and Worcester.

They were left behind by New Castle, Pa.-based Pyrotecnico, which produces about 600 fireworks displays across the U.S. around Independence Day.

Coan says an investigation will determine if the company violated the state fire code, which requires companies to search for unexploded shells the morning following a show.

Pyrotecnico representatives didn’t return a call for comment. They tell Coan that they received defective fireworks from China.


Comet roller coaster finally meets its earthly demise

Thrill-seekers in southeastern Massachusetts are in mourning.

Demolition crews on Wednesday started tearing down the crumbling roller coaster known as the Comet that was a centerpiece of the long-closed Lincoln Park in Dartmouth.

Spectators included the nostalgic fans who grew up riding the Comet and other attractions at the amusement park that closed in 1987 after a century in business.

Rita Pieper, 67, of Fall River, said she met her husband decades ago while roller skating at the amusement park and felt she had to watch the demolition.

“This is the end of it,” she told The Standard-Times newspaper of New Bedford.

The amusement park opened in 1894 by the Union Street Railway Co.

The 3,000-foot-long wooden coaster was built in the 1940s, had a top speed of 55 miles per hour and went as high as 65 feet.

The site is being cleared for a development that includes single-family homes, apartments and commercial space.

The fir wood used for the coaster will be used to make Adirondack chairs that will be sold for charity.


Driver dies of injuries after veering off ramp on I-95

Police say a New Hampshire man is dead following a crash on Interstate 95 in Portsmouth.

Authorities say 40-year-old George M. Stelmach of Barrington was driving on the northbound on-ramp when his vehicle veered off the road and hit a tree.

Stelmach was able to get out of the vehicle before it became engulfed in flames. He was taken the hospital, where he later died of his injuries. Police say alcohol appears to be a contributing factor in the crash, which is still being investigated.

Worker killed in brewery will have beer named after him

A New Hampshire brewery where an employee was killed in a keg explosion is preparing a special beer in his memory.

Portsmouth’s Redhook Brewery is working with the family of Benjamin Harris on the project.

Foster’s Daily Democrat reports keg labels have been designed for the brew, which has been named “Ben Harris Beer.”

The 26-year-old Harris of Newington was emptying a plastic keg with pressurized air when it blew apart at the seams in April.

The parent company of Redhook, Craft Brew Alliance, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the accident.

Harris was married and expecting a child in December. Three other breweries have held fundraisers to benefit his wife and unborn child.


Dogs’ owner blames faulty air conditioning as nine die

Nine show dogs have died at a private kennel in Westfield, and their owner says she believes a faulty air conditioner is to blame.

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it is investigating.

Brenda Coggin says her Australian shepherds were fine when she left them last Thursday morning. When she found them dead that afternoon, the air conditioner had tripped a reset button and was giving off mist and a chemical odor.

Coggin said she doesn’t know if the dogs were poisoned by leaking coolant or became overheated. She said she buried the dogs that night without calling authorities.

— From news service reports