Brace for traffic.


Welcome to the weekend.

It’s looking like it will be beautifully cool and clear here in Portland, but over in Finland the air is going to be hot with sick licks.

The World Air Guitar Championship kicked off in the city of Oulu today.  Reigning champion Matt Burns — who goes by the stage name “Airistotle” — told National Public Radio what it takes to make it to the top. He’ll be rocking out to a version of “I WIll Survive.”

Here’s Airistotle’s performance last year.  And here’s some news.

What we’re talking about

Get ready for congestion. Construction projects set to start over the weekend and next week are likely to snare traffic and cause congestion on the Portland peninsula.

– On Monday,  State Street between Park and Cumberland avenues will close as construction crews begin installing new storm drains. The work, which will include repaving the section of road, is expected to take about three months. People who live there will still have driveway access.

– On Fore Street, between India and Hancock streets, traffic will be down to one eastbound lane starting Monday. The lane reduction will be in place through the end of the year.

– Starting Sunday, the intersection of Park and State streets will be closed for work from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. and down to one lane in each direction the rest of the time, according to the city. The work and those closures are likely to last about two weeks.

– Crews will also be working along Congress Street installing new bus shelters as and rebuildings parts of the sidewalk, the Press Herald reports. Contractors will be working from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, but the city says this work shouldn’t affect traffic much.

Did you feel a bump yesterday? It might have been an earthquake. At noon yesterday, a quake jostled Cape Elizabeth and nearby communities. But it was so minor you might not have even noticed. The magnitude 2.2 quake had its epicenter off the coast from Cape Elizabeth,  more than three miles below the ocean floor. More than 20 people told the United States Geological Survey that they felt the quake, but a seismologist told the BDN that if people noticed it at all it was likely felt as little more than a bump.

Vote for the name of Portland’s new hockey team. The owners of the, as yet unnamed, hockey team that will be start playing here in October of 2018 is still looking for your feedback on what they should be called. Hockey fans can choose online between the Mariners, the Watchmen the Wild Blueberries, the Lumberjacks and the Puffins. The Press Herald reports that choosing a name can be a big deal in terms of cementing a fan base and Mainers only have a few more weeks to offer input. The team intends to announce its name by late September.

The time for summer sunrises is waning, so the BDN’s Troy R. Bennett got out to greet today’s with a camera in hand. Did you miss the crickets chirping among the blooming goldenrod in grassy verges all over the city this morning? Worried that sweater season is fast approaching? Take a gander at these glorious shots of summer.

Roma Cafe reopened last month. The Congress Street restaurant had closed in 2009, capping off an 85 year run of serving classic Italian fare. With its warm atmosphere, friendly service and comprehensive selection of traditional favorites, BDN food blogger Peter Blanchette writes that the new Roma can “stand with the big boys in the Italian food scene here in Portland.”

Tweet of the day

From CNET. We agree.

The Big Idea

Can we keep rebuilding on the water’s edge? While it’s supposed to be a lovely weekend here in Portland,  Hurricane Harvey is forecasted to bring as much as 35 inches of rain to parts of Texas — cities are being evacuated and major flooding is expected.

So we thought it would be a good time revisit this Time magazine piece from after Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of New York and New Jersey. “We need to think about what we can do to minimize the number of people and the value of the property that might be in the way of the next storm,” it warned.

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

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