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

1. The snowstorm that paralyzed South Buffalo and Lovejoy back on Dec. 2 and 3 won't soon be forgotten. It's the main topic at 10 a.m. on the 13th floor of Buffalo City Hall as the Common Council convenes a special meeting of its Committee on Legislation. Discussion will center on the city's response to the storm and how it could be improved the next time lake-effect snow comes to town in a big way. Comments from residents are welcome.

2. Two holiday blockbusters get the jump on Christmas by opening today in local cineplexes. On the light side, there's "Little Fockers," the third installment in the holiday comedy series that started back in 2000 with "Meet the Parents." Once again, Robert DeNiro, Blythe Danner, Ben Stiller, Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman are involved. On the dark side, there's the Coen Brothers' remake of the 1969 Western vengeance film "True Grit," with Jeff Bridges in the John Wayne role, along with Matt Damon and Josh Brolin.

3. Monday was the busiest day for the U.S. Postal Service. Today is the busiest day for UPS, the package handlers. But don't wait until Thursday to avoid the rush. It's the last day to ship something via UPS or FedEx and get it there before Christmas. Same goes for the post office's Express Mail.

4. This is the first of the three busiest days of the holiday season at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, according to C. Douglas Hartmayer, spokesman for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. Leave a little extra time to navigate the longer-than-usual lines at the security checkpoints, be ready to remove your belt as well as your shoes, and one more thing -- don't wrap those Christmas presents you plan to pack in your luggage. Security will want you to open them.

5. The Erie County Prisoner Rights Coalition will express solidarity with striking inmates in five state penitentiaries in Georgia when it gathers for its weekly protest rally from 5 to 6 p.m. outside the Erie County Holding Center on Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo. Afterward, members will write letters and make phone calls to Georgia to help the struggle for better conditions for prisoners there, too.

6. Two of the Big Four men's basketball teams see action tonight. Canisius (4-6) is at Lamar University (5-5) in Beaumont, Texas, at 8 p.m. Meanwhile, Niagara's struggling Purple Eagles (3-8) return home to the Gallagher Center for the first time in a month to face charged-up Quinnipiac (7-2), which is coming off an impressive win over Rhode Island (7 p.m., 550 AM).

7. It's the first night of skating in Delaware Park. It's not yet safe to be out on Hoyt Lake, but the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has a new ice-skating rink adjacent to the Parkside Lodge at 84 Parkside Ave. Skating is open only to patrons of the Olmsted Nights Winter Lights light show. Those wishing to use the rink must pay admission to the event and bring their own skates.


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