See old school tall ship races in Portland

Over the weekend, there was a lot of chatter about an upcoming Discovery Channel stunt which will pit 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps in a swimming race against a great white shark.

It’s unclear how they plan to conduct this race, but given that great whites can swim up to 25 miles per hour and Phelps can swim about 6 miles per hour, it seems like a more competitive race would be a great white shark versus a schooner.

And this coming weekend seems like it would be a swell time to race a shark against a schooner, as it’s likely both will be off the coast of Portland. Portland Schoonerfest begins this coming Saturday and will feature five traditional schooners racing and parading in Portland Harbor.

We know from previous reporting that the great whites are up here, too, so let’s drag some chum off one of these schooners and see who’s fastest.

(Hint: It would still be the shark. But it would be closer.)

And now, a bunch of things we think you’ll find interesting. A little news, a little history, a little food… check it out.

What we’re talking about

Landlord sentenced to jail for role in deadly fire denied a new trial — Gregory Nisbet, who was convicted last October of a single fire code violation related to a fatal 2014 fire at his Portland duplex, will not be allowed to stand trial again nor have his single misdemeanor conviction dismissed, Cumberland County Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren ruled.

Cocktail history: When Portland’s mayor gave the order to shoot — Here’s a nifty podcast, just out today, telling the sordid history of former Mayor Neal Dow, his war on booze and his culpability in murder. It features the familiar voices of local historian Herb Adams, folk band Schooner Fare and our own “banjournalist” (me). — Troy R. Bennett

Could you turn three pennies into hundreds of millions of dollars? — This Portland native did. When Cyrus Hermann Kotzschmar Curtis was 12-years-old, he asked his mother for money to buy firecrackers. Like any good mother, she said, “No.” So, he used the three cents in his pocket to buy three newspapers, which he sold on the corner at a profit. By the end of the day, he had nine cents. When he died, 71 years later, he was worth $174 million, which is $43.2 billion in today’s cash. He was the richest publisher in the world — and he was born in Portland 167 years ago this week, on June 18, 1850. — Troy R. Bennett

Man says BIW fired him because he coached kids while on medical leave — Brian Bennett is suing Bath Iron Works, saying the shipyard wronged him by firing him for continuing to coach Morse High School sports teams while on medical leave for bipolar disorder. BIW has argued that it wasn’t informed he planned to continue coaching, and if he could work his coaching job, he should have been able to work his shipbuilding job.

Islanders squeezed for parking — Casco Bay island residents tell the Portland Press Herald that development along Portland’s eastern waterfront is threatening the already limited amount of parking they have available on the mainland. Islanders leave cars on the mainland so they can move about the state when they get off the ferry here. WGME, CBS 13, reports that 250 islanders have parking permits, but there are only 55 spaces for them.

Hear from restaurateur Chad Conley during tomorrow afternoon’s episode of “Coffee with Cooks” on the BDN Portland Facebook page. Our Kathleen Pierce will talk shop on Facebook Live with the co-owner of Biddeford’s Palace Diner, who plans to open a new place in Portland, at 3:15 p.m. Tune in and see what he’s got going on. Palace Diner was one of several Maine eateries named among the state’s best by the national foodie website Eater.

Tweet of the day

From the National Weather Service in Gray, given the forecasts:

The Big Idea

A tale of two investigations — “The sheriff called it a suicide. When a state investigator raised questions, he became the investigated,” the New York Times’s Walt Bogdanich reports.

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

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