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Seven by Seven / Seven things you need to know by 7 a.m.

1. The Larkin Co. submitted plans in 1929 for a public area called Larkin Square, but it was never built. Now, with the former Larkin Warehouse revived as a classy office building and the neighborhood booming with new activity, Larkin Square has become a reality. Conceived by developer Howard Zemsky; his wife, Leslie; and preservationist Tim Tielman; and inspired by European public spaces, it includes picnic areas, lounge chairs, a sandwich operation in an Airstream trailer, a retro-style restaurant and play features for kids, including the city's first pickleball courts. A ribbon-cutting at Seneca and Swan streets will officially open it at 2 p.m.

2. Warming up for Flag Day on Thursday is BlueCross BlueShield, which is donating a new giant 30-by-60-foot American flag to fly on the Rotary Flagpole in Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park. A preview look at the flag will be given at 10 a.m., when it's unfurled from the eighth-floor balcony of the company's corporate headquarters at 257 W. Genesee St. Kindergarten through second-grade students from nearby Waterfront Elementary School will join company employees in the Pledge of Allegiance and receive free bike helmets.

3. There's progress aplenty at the new Independent Health Family Branch YMCA under construction on Tech Drive in Amherst next door to the Erie Community College North Campus. The walls are going up, and today officials from YMCA Buffalo Niagara will celebrate the laying of the cornerstone with a ceremony at 11 a.m. The 94,000-square-foot, $25 million facility, which will replace the Northeast Family Branch on Main Street in Snyder, is due to be completed by year's end.

4. Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Ellen Goodman, who appeared for many years on the opinion pages of The Buffalo News until she retired in 2010, is guest speaker for the Western New York Women's Foundation's annual "What She's Made Of" celebration at 5:30 p.m. in Kleinhans Music Hall. Goodman, who has written extensively about social change and the women's movement, plans to talk about how women's lives have been transformed in recent years more than the society around them. Tickets are $100. For info, visit

5. Summer's come early this year to the deck of the USS Little Rock in the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park. The summer concert series, which has been extended to 13 weeks of free music played by local bands, begins at 7 tonight with Chicago Jack Blues. The concerts continue every Wednesday through Sept. 5, except for July 4.

6. Six Buffalo-area charter schools have reached the 10-year mark, a milestone that will be celebrated at the first Charter School Gala at 6:30 p.m. in Adam's Mark Hotel. The accomplishments of each of the schools -- South Buffalo, Applied Technologies, Tapestry, King Center, Global Concepts and Westminster -- will be recognized. Providing the keynote address will be Bill Strickland, president and chief executive officer of Manchester Bidwell Corp., an innovative job-training center in Pittsburgh that mixes arts and vocational instruction. His approach has been adopted for programs offered by the Buffalo Arts and Technology Center.

7. More than 850 family members, friends, public officials and school officials will look on proudly as more than 100 students receive their high school equivalency diplomas in a ceremony at 9:30 a.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall on the Buffalo State College campus. Addressing the students, who earned their diplomas through Buffalo Public Schools Adult Education Division classes, will be one of their classmates, Elizabeth Jackson, named Student of the Year by the New York Association for Continuing/Community Education. A native of Jamaica, she worked full time to support her family while taking classes for her GED and certified nursing assistant credentials.