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Seven By Seven / Seven thing you need to know by 7 a.m.

1. Commuters who use the ramps connecting the Niagara Thruway (I-190) and the Youngmann Highway (I-290) already have a lane restriction headache. Those who regularly go on to the northbound South Grand Island Bridge are in for another one. Today the Thruway Authority will reveal the details of the next phase of the $48 million project to rehabilitate the south bridges. It is expected to say preparatory work on deck panel replacement on the northbound south bridge is supposed to begin next Monday, with the first panel going in on the night of April 12.

2. Golfers should expect to fork over more green to play Buffalo's municipal golf courses this season, especially if they don't live in the city. But first the Common Council has to decide what to charge. The Council's Finance Committee reviewed the fee structure for park facilities on Monday, but couldn't come to an agreement. Today the whole Council might resolve the issue. Or maybe not. Affected would be the Delaware Park, Cazenovia Park and South Park golf courses.

3. New DVD releases arriving in the stores today go from the ridiculous to the sublime. On the ridiculous side, there's "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel." Sublime is the Oscar-nominated "An Education." Somewhere in between is Guy Ritchie's pumped-up remake of "Sherlock Holmes" with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.

Meanwhile, over in the music section, the pace of spring releases is quickening. Today sees new CDs by Wu-Tang, Usher, Alan Jackson, Gretchen Wilson, Erykah Badu and the Barenaked Ladies.

4. Summer can't be far away if Darien Lake Theme Park Resort is talking about plans to expand.

Later today, the park is expected to reveal details about two new water rides, as well as new accommodations and cabins in its campground.

Bring on those lazy, hazy days.

5. There are two seasons: football season and waiting for football season. Buffalo Bills fans may still be in the waiting part, but the players are already looking ahead to the 2010 campaign. The team's offseason conditioning workouts begin at Ralph Wilson Stadium this morning.

6. The remaining 10 "American Idol" contestants will be mentored by Usher as they take on the genre of soul and R&B tonight. For the first time, the show has released the list of 125 songs from which the contestants can choose. The choices range from classics by Al Green, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding to fresh tunes from Bobby Brown, Rihanna and Ne Yo. To see the complete list of songs and give your opinion on what song your favorite singer should pick, go to the PopStand blog. Then join Anne Neville on the blog from 8 to 10 p.m. to chat live during the show.

7. She's been around the block a few times -- make that around the world -- and at 86, Annette Cravens has a lot to show for it: more than 1,100 ancient artifacts she began collecting in the mid-1940s and recently donated to the University at Buffalo. See more about "Cravens World: the Human Aesthetic," a new exhibit at UB's Anderson Gallery, on Page B1.


See the best images from The News' photographers with the Photos of the Week feature at

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