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

1. Oh, come all ye public service faithful! People Inc. invites all area elected officials -- regardless of party, faction or stance on any issue -- to a ceremonial swearing-in at 2 p.m. in the Museum of disABILITY History, 3826 Main St. Participants in People Inc. programs will do the honors. In keeping with the spirit of the season, the nonprofit is sponsoring the nonpartisan event for new and re-elected officials in a bid to put 2010 disagreements behind and start the new year on a harmonious note.

2. Should Amherst ban the sale of puppies in pet stores? Residents get to weigh in at 7 p.m., when WNY Citizens Against Puppy Mills and Amherst Town Council Member Mark Manna co-host a meeting in the Harlem Road Community Center, 4255 Harlem Road. Officials from WNY Citizens contend that the vast majority of pet-store puppies are obtained from Midwest "puppy mills" that breed dogs in "horrific" conditions. The organization is inviting any Amherst residents interested in supporting legislation to ban the retail sale of pet-store puppies in the town.

3. The first Matthew J. Schnirel Memorial Scholarship will be presented at 3:45 p.m. in the University at Buffalo Law Library in O'Brian Hall on the North Campus. The scholarship is named for Schnirel, a 2008 UB Law School graduate who represented UB in mock trial competitions around the country and helped prepare teams after graduating. The Doran and Murphy associate died in a 2009 plane crash that also claimed the life of fellow attorney Michael Doran. A plaque with Schnirel's picture will be hung in the library, and each year the scholarship winner's name will be inscribed on the plaque. The first scholarship will be awarded to Law School student Melissa Overbeck.

4. With all the snow still on the ground in parts of Western New York, tracking critters shouldn't be hard -- provided you know what you're doing. Teenagers will get the chance to learn animal tracking at 10 a.m. in a course being offered at the Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center, 93 Honorine Drive off Como Park Boulevard, Cheektowaga. It's one of three courses giving teens a chance to explore the winter months outdoors at the center operated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Sessions on cross-country skiing and outdoor winter survival are set for Jan. 8 and Feb. 24, respectively. Friends of Reinstein Nature Preserve, Reinstein Woods, will provide snowshoes and skis free of charge.

5. The fourth night of Kwanzaa will focus on "ujamaa" -- or cooperative economics -- in a program from 7 to 9 in Ha'niah Tabernacle of God, 900 Genesee St. In addition to the lighting of the fourth of the seven Kwanzaa candles, tonight's celebration at the midpoint of the weeklong African-American cultural observance will include gospel music, an open mic and a spiritual feast.

6. For those who can afford the $50 parking being charged at some lots, Finland takes on Germany at 3:30 p.m., and Canada skates against Norway at 7:30 in HSBC Arena as the World Junior Hockey Championship for players under 20 continues. The U.S. team has the day off but no doubt will be keeping an eye on the competition, particularly that team from up north.

7. The "Home for the Holidays" benefit concert series winds up with a Finale Jam at 6 p.m. in the Sportsmen's Tavern, 326 Amherst St. The series, which began Dec. 11, features Buffalo born-and-bred musicians who never left, expatriate musicians who have returned, transplants and others who are passing through on a holiday visit. Today's finale features the Twang Gang and a Herd of Buffalo Roamers. Admission is $10, with proceeds benefiting Compass House, which helps runaway and homeless youth. The series is sponsored by Good Neighborhood, and You and Who, two fairly new local companies that focus on helping others.


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