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Seven by seven <br> <br> Seven things you need to know by 7 a.m.

1. As befits the Dyngus Day Capital of the World, Buffalo and the metro area will be abuzz with celebrations today. The big one is in the historic Central Terminal on Paderewski Drive, which is the destination of the annual Dyngus Day Parade. The party, with music, Polish food and beer, starts at 3 p.m. The parade starts at 5 from Corpus Christi Church at Clark and Kent streets near the Broadway Market. Meanwhile, Polka King Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra are in town play at 1 p.m. in the Sobieski Vodka Fest Hall (Father Justin Council 5670, Knights of Columbus), 2735 Union Road, Cheektowaga. A $10 Pussy Willow Pass gets you into more than 15 other Dyngus Day parties and rides on the Sobieski Vodka Shuttle bus.

2. The nightmare is scheduled to begin again today for late-night Niagara Thruway drivers whose routes take them over the South Grand Island Bridges. Due to construction work, weather permitting, one of the lanes on the northbound bridge will be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m. all week long. The Thruway Authority says motorists should expect minimal delays, but single-lane travel on that bridge is never a pleasure.

3. A meeting at 4:30 p.m. in Hispanics United, 254 Virginia St., will push for a plan to improve underperforming Buffalo schools through a federal program. Organizers say that the School Improvement Grant program can provide funding to reform low-achieving schools and that the Buffalo Board of Education should apply for one to fix persistently lagging schools like Lafayette and Riverside high schools, the Waterfront School and Schools 3, 33 and 45.

4. The GEICO executive who thought up company's hugely successful ad series will be here this evening to talk to a dinner meeting of the Buffalo Niagara Sales & Marketing Executives in Millennium Hotel, 2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga. Theme for the evening -- "The Gecko, the Cavemen and the VP Who Invented Them." There's a cocktail reception at 5:15, followed by dinner at 6:15. Cost is $35 for nonmembers, $15 for students. To register, call 662-2279.

5. The Bisons wind up their homestand today with a matinee as they try to even up their four-game series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. First pitch in Coca-Cola Field is at 12:05 p.m. It's a bargain Monday with $7 admission, $1 ice cream and $1 Coca-Cola products. After this, the Herd embarks on an eight-game road trip. They're gone until May 5.

6. There's nothing really X-rated about the New Pornographers, who play tonight in the Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. The indie rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia, long a favorite of critics, keeps its clothes on, and its lyrics rarely, if ever, have to be bleeped. If they have any excesses, it could involve their general braininess and the presence of vocalist Neko Case, who has one of the biggest voices in rock. Also on the bill is another brainy long-running indie rock band, the Walkmen. Tickets are $28. Advertised showtime is 7 p.m.

7. If shared interests are the secret to a happy relationship, the marriage of renowned cellist David Finckel and renowned pianist Wu Han must be joyous, indeed. Although they sometimes take separate paths -- he's a member of the Emerson String Quartet, she's co-artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center -- they also tour together frequently. Tonight finds them playing the final concert in this year's Ramsi Tick Memorial Concert Series at 7:30 in the Flickinger Performing Arts Center at Nichols School, 1250 Amherst St. The concert, called "Essential Elements: A Composer's Toolbox," begins with Bach and moves on to Schumann, Beethoven and Cesar Franck. Tickets are $40.

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