Let freedom ring. Hang up the phone.

Happy Independence Day Eve (is that a thing?), everyone.

Kudos to the Maine Department of Transportation for their clever Fourth-of-July-themed highway signs (“Let freedom ring. Hang up the phone.”) reminding everyone to keep their eyes on the road and drive safely during what’s a long holiday weekend for a lot of people.

If you still need help planning your holiday, here are some links:

If you’re looking to get an early start on the festivities and maybe not wait in quite as much traffic, Saco, Sanford, Rangeley and Jay are among the towns listed above as sending fireworks up tonight instead of tomorrow. And earlier in the day tomorrow in Portland, the Maine Historical Society is holding its annual reading of the Declaration of Independence by the venerable local historian Herb Adams, as well as a walking tour along the path of the city’s Great Fire of 1866, legendarily started by July Fourth fireworks.

What we’re talking about

The state government shutdown reached its third day today. Follow the BDN’s live blog from the State House, or follow our Christopher Cousins on Twitter as lawmakers continue pursuing a budget compromise that could reopen the government.

Portland’s restaurant scene, which has been among the country’s hottest for a decade or more, continues to heat up. The BDN’s Kathleen Pierce has a roundup of new spots set to open up in the downtown, including places to chow down on Vietnamese noodles, oysters and local meat, butchered whole on-site.

A “mass casualty incident” aboard a cruise ship in Portland Harbor was reported this morning, summoning emergency rescuers to the waterfront, according to the Portland Press Herald. But the term is a bit misleading in how alarming it is. Four cruise ship passengers had unrelated injuries and medical conditions and just happened to all need transportation to the hospital at the same time.

They shipped her home in a coffin. But she wasn’t dead. The BDN’s Troy R. Bennett has the amazing true story of the life of local woman Hazel Eaton, whose decades of derring do started with a swim from Portland to Peaks Island as a teen, and went on to include years defying death on the carnival circuit.

Tweet of the day

From the National Weather Service’s Gray office, which confirms that Maine was hit by four tornadoes on Saturday:

The Gray office’s seven tornado warnings issued Saturday broke the office’s record for tornado warnings for the whole year. The previous one-year record of six such warnings was set three times, most recently in 2014. Oh, and we’re getting hit with an unusually high number of earthquakes lately, too. #Mainepocalypse

The Big Idea

In another Independence Day item, albeit an unflattering one, a German historian with no particular allegiance to either the Americans or the British has written that the American Revolution was not necessarily always the civilized, morally superior fight we’ve come to recall it as. This article in The Economist passes along Holger Hoock’s research, which found that the Americans violently terrorized those they even suspected of being loyal to the Crown, destroying their businesses, choking them with pig manure and, in many cases, murdering them.

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

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