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

1. There's more than the spirit of April Fools' Day that's making people giddy with joy today. In many municipalities, today marks the end of winter parking restrictions, which means that motorists are free to park overnight on the streets again. For sportsmen, it's an equally happy occasion. Today is the opening day of New York State's inland trout season.

2. The exhibit opening today in the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum, 25 Nottingham Court at Elmwood Avenue, serves as a reminder that all of us are writing new chapters in local history every day. "Buffalo: Through Their Eyes" is a selection of 25 images from a much larger collection of photographs taken by newly arrived refugees in a program sponsored by Journey's End, the refugee resettlement agency. Also on display will be handmade traditional garments from the Karen culture of Burma that have been donated recently to the Historical Society. It runs through June 26. There's a reception from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

3. One of this year's longest funeral processions is expected this morning when mourners pay their final respects to fallen State Trooper Kevin Dobson, 43, who died after he was struck by a pickup truck Saturday as he made a traffic stop on the Youngmann Highway in the Town of Tonawanda. It will start at about 10:30 a.m. outside Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive, Amherst, and head east on Sheridan and then turn north onto Harris Hill Road in Clarence, where it will continue up to the Harris Hill entrance to Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church. The service is scheduled to begin at 11.

4. Comedian Bob Newhart, who's now 81, was doing his "Button Down Mind" routines when the current crop of funny folks was still learning to crawl. And his stand-up -- his gentle, self-deprecating wackiness -- has stood the test of time. Star of two long-running television series bearing his name, he shows up in person tonight in the Mainstage Theatre at the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts on the North Campus in Amherst. Tickets are $45.50.

5. For 45 years, the Town of Cheektowaga banned dog walking in the town parks. An outcry from dog owners over the winter, however, persuaded town leaders to open 122 acres of municipal land to man's best friend -- on leashes, of course. The town's resident pooches get their new freedom today. Still off limits are the town's two crown-jewel parks, John C. Stiglmeier Park on Losson Road and Cheektowaga and Town Park on Harlem Road. And permission for the pooches is strictly provisional. The resolution allowing dogs in the parks expires Dec. 31.

6. Ricky Skaggs, who got his first mandolin when he was 5 years old, was a country music prodigy when he first appeared on the scene in the 1960s and has continued to be nothing short of amazing as an instrumentalist ever since. A perennial winner of country and bluegrass music awards -- including 14 Grammys -- he comes with his band, Kentucky Thunder, to perform this evening in the intimate Bear's Den in Seneca Niagara Casino, Niagara Falls. Music starts at about 8. Tickets are $50 and $60.

7. Movies opening today on local screens include "Source Code," a sci-fi suspense film starring Jake Gyllenhaal that has been garnering praise from the critics for its mind-boggling plot twists, and "Hop," in which cartoon characters and live actors unite in an Easter-themed story that charms youngsters but leaves adults, like News Critic Jeff Simon, not so thrilled.


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