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

1. A public meeting on the future of farms and food in Erie County will be held at 7 p.m. in the Cornell Cooperative Extension office, 21 S. Grove St., East Aurora. The hosts, the Erie County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board and the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, are looking for suggestions on what can be done to support agriculture here. The county is in the early stages of a planning process that would set up rules to support farming and protect farmland in the future. Reservations are not required.

2. On the agenda at the Amherst Town Board meeting tonight is a rezoning proposal that, if approved, will revitalize the struggling TJ Maxx plaza on the northeast corner of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Sheridan Drive. Vornado Realty Trust, which purchased the property last summer, wants to install a BJ's Wholesale Club where the Media Play store used to be and refurbish the facades of all the other stores in the plaza.

3. The neighbors around Buffalo General Hospital will be looking to the sky and listening at 5 p.m. today as Kaleida Health officials stage a test flight to the hospital's 16th-floor helipad. Kaleida hopes the flight will convince the neighbors that noise from the helipad won't be too much of a nuisance. They expect that medical helicopters will be landing there only a couple of times a day.

4. Industrialist Jack Davis will submit his petitions today to become an independent candidate for the special election May 24 to fill the 26th Congressional District seat, vacant since Rep. Chris Lee abruptly resigned last month. A convoy carrying Davis' petitions, bearing more than 11,000 signatures, will leave at 10 a.m. from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency offices at 275 Oak St., right after the IDA votes on a $4 million plan to expand I Squared R. Element Co., Davis' factory in Newstead, and add 20 jobs. Davis, who previously ran for the seat as a Democrat, will challenge the Republican nominee, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, and the Democratic pick, Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul.

5. Lockport's new director of planning and development, R. Charles Bell, officially puts in his first full day on the job today. Formerly the No. 2 man at the Lumber City Development Corp. in North Tonawanda, and before that Empire Zone coordinator in the Town of Tonawanda, Bell sees a lot of potential in the Lock City. "I think it's a community with a ton of potential," he said recently. "You've already got a strong business community. I'm impressed with the direction city government is taking with the restructuring and making development more of a priority."

6. A boxing great, a model who survived an Indian Ocean tsunami and a grown-up "Karate Kid" will be hoofing it as the 12th season of "Dancing With the Stars" gets under way tonight (8, Ch. 7) Welterweight champ Sugar Ray Leonard, model Petra Nemcova and Ralph Macchio of the hit 1984 karate movie will be among 11 celebrity contestants. Also hitting the dance floor will be actress Kirstie Alley, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, professional wrestler Chris Jericho and talk show host Wendy Williams.

7. Two local talent showcases come to an end tonight. In Lewiston, it's the last Monday night in the current edition of the Toast & Jam open-mic series in the Brickyard Pub & BBQ, 432 Center St. Hosted by WJJL deejay Dale Campbell, it attracts 15 to 20 artists each week. It starts at 7. Meanwhile, also at 7, it's the down to the final five in the Chautauqua's Got Talent Competition in the Arena Club, 319 W. Third St., Jamestown. They include singer Joy Fanale from Silver Creek; Julie Cotter, a classical vocalist from Fredonia; instrumentalist Hank Elling from Forestville; Amanda and James, an acoustic duo from Jamestown; and Studio Dance Crew, a Jamestown dance troupe. Tickets are $7 at the door.

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View a gallery of the Jamestown boys basketball team's 62-51 loss to Section I's Mount Vernon in the Class AA State Championship game at galleries.buffalonews.com.

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