The ships are coming in.

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight Grandeur of the Seas comes to town; we’ve got BBQ tips; and a former employee alleges racism at USM.

What we’re talking about

Barbecue tips from SoPo’s hottest chefs — It’s June 1st. Time to fire up the barbe. Don’t have one? Good. The owners of Elsmere BBQ and Wood Grill share their steps to creating your own backyard smoker. On our live, weekly FB series Coffee with Cooks this week, Adam Powers and Jeremy Rush shared their tips to this prehistoric cooking technique. Take it low and slow. Wear shoes and grab hand mitts. Got pork butts? Yes, you’ll need em. — Kathleen Pierce  

First cruise ship of the year hits town this weekend  — Portland’s first big tourist hauler of the season, Grandeur of the Seas, with 2,000 passengers and almost 800 crew, will sail into Portland Harbor on Sunday. The city expects 103 ship visits this year, the largest number of ships the city has ever hosted, but second to Bar Harbor, which is expecting 163 visits this year. The 2016 season saw the arrival of 77 ships and more than 100,000 passengers in Portland between May and October. This year, the season spans from May to November bringing more than 125,000 passengers and almost 50,000 crew members. — Troy R. Bennett

Former USM staffer sues school, alleging wrongful termination — The former head of the Multicultural Student Office at University of Maine has filed a federal lawsuit against the school. In a suit, Susan Hamilton alleges that the university botched an investigation into the complaint, violating her civil rights and rights to due process under a labor agreement and that her firing “clearly illustrates why racism, and white privilege, is so prevalent at USM.”

Biddeford designer opens boutique in the Old Port — There’s another opening in Portland and this time no chef is involved. Suger, the bricks and mortar invention of Roxi Suger is packed with fashionable frocks and gifts from local makers. It opened today in the E. Swasey and Co. Pottery Building. Suger has turned a historic space into a buy local paradise. Take that Amazon. Her uptown athleisure wear, turning heads from coast to coast, is now available at 271 Commercial St., Portland.

Dogs lose two, hope to get back on track — Reading’s Fightin’ Phils swept a doubleheader away from the Sea Dogs on Wednesday night in Reading, taking the opener 6-2 and the nightcap, 4-3 in 13 innings. Tonight, in the series finale, Portland RHP Kevin McAvoy (1-3, 4.32) faces Reading RHP Mario Sanchez (2-1, 2.35). — Troy R. Bennett

City plans to spend $300K on skate park expansion The city is hoping to spend $300,000 — $100,000 to be raised through private donations — on the public skate park at Dougherty Field, the Press Herald’s Dennis Hoey reports. The park, which opened in 2008, often is maxed out with 60 to 70 skateboarders using it during peak hours, sometimes resulting in lines of skateboarders waiting to get in.

Tweet of the day

From your former Portland newsletter guru, Dan MacLeod:

The Big Idea

How a 5-sentence letter helped fuel the opioid addiction crisis — The L.A. Times reports how a letter to the editor that was written by officials with the Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program and printed in a 1980 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine came to the wrong conclusion about the risks of prescribing synthetic painkillers.

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

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