The details behind two local tragedies

Late August is typically one of the slower news stretches, as public officials burn up vacation time and cancel meetings.

But today there was a lot of news breaking in southern Maine, some of it encouraging, some of it interesting, but much of it tragic.

That being the case, I won’t waste your time with any attempt at a witty introduction. Let’s just get straight into today’s headlines.

What we’re talking about

Portland-based tech startup CashStar was bought up by a California company for $175 million. The BDN’s Darren Fishell reports that CashStar will keep its Portland location, where 175 employees currently work, after the deal.

One survivor of the boating accident that claimed a life off the coast of Biddeford described the harrowing tale in an interview with WGME, CBS 13 television. The fishing boat capsized Sunday after a few big waves flooded the vessel, tossing the four passengers overboard. One, Elizabeth Douglass, 53, didn’t survive. “Her boyfriend said he had ahold of her. And the force pulled her out from his arms,” Phillip Langevin told CBS 13. “The last thing any of us heard her say is ‘I can’t swim.’ And we didn’t know if she had sunk or got washed off.”

The five-year-old Belfast girl who was fatally shot at a home in Scarborough on Monday night died of an accidental gunshot wound to the head after taking her father’s .45 caliber handgun from a nearby backpack, state police spokesman Stephen McCausland said Wednesday afternoon.

Confederate statues around the country have come under great scrutiny in recent weeks. But that statue in York Village isn’t a Confederate soldier, despite what you may have heard. Local veteran and historian Mike Dow said the statue, erected in 1906 to honor Union soldiers, actually looks most like an American soldier around the time of the Spanish-American War. So it’s not exactly a Union soldier, admittedly, but it’s not an accidental Confederate, as a persistent rumor claims.

The sister of controversial gambling developer Shawn Scott said she’s stepping down from the embattled campaign to convince voters to allow a casino in York County, Maine Public’s Steve Mistler is reporting. Miami resident Lisa Scott announced today that she’s disengaging from the campaign “given that it appears my past involvement has become a distraction.”

Gov. Paul LePage wants to call an emergency session of the Legislature in large part to amend a local food sovereignty law passed earlier this summer. Federal food and agriculture regulators told the governor that if the state doesn’t inspect meat and poultry slaughter, they will. The law aims to give communities the authority to allow farmers and local food producers to sell to their neighbors without all the government bureaucracy. With LePage’s proposed amendment, the law will at least keep the meat and poultry part of the program under state oversight, instead of attracting the feds to town.

Tweet of the day

From Life on Earth:

The Big Idea

Hurricane Harvey is what climate change looks like, Politico is reporting. An excerpt: “A warmer atmosphere enhances evaporation rates and increases the carrying capacity of rainstorms. Harvey drew its energy from a warmer-than-usual Gulf of Mexico, which will only grow warmer in the decades to come. At its peak, on Saturday night, Harvey produced rainfall rates exceeding six inches per hour in Houston, and its multiday rainfall total is close to the theoretical maximum expected for anywhere in the United States.”

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email us at or, or tweet @JZBleiberg or @SethKoenig.

If someone forwarded you this newsletter, click here to sign up. Or just text PORTLAND to 66866. As always, like BDN Portland on Facebook for more local coverage.