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

1. J. Craig Venter, regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century for his contributions to genomic research, returns to his alma mater tonight as part of the University at Buffalo's Distinguished Speaker Series. He will speak at 8 in Alumni Arena on the North Campus. Venter is the founder and president of the J. Craig Venter Institute, dedicated to human, microbial, plant and environmental genomic research, the exploration of social and ethical issues in genomics and seeking alternative energy solutions through genomics.

2. A cross-cultural splash of singing and dancing will take center stage during the St. Bonaventure University-Seneca Dance and Culture Event in Butler Gymnasium on the Allegany campus. The program, which gets under way at 7 p.m., features students of the Faithkeepers School from the Seneca Nation and Seneca Nation Youth Dancers, as well as performances by four St. Bonaventure clubs -- Asia Club dancers, Step Team performers, Hip-Hop Club dancers and Bonacoustics singers.

3. An interesting project starts today in Lewiston. Crews will be removing a cable car that runs across the lower Niagara River from Lewiston to Queenston, Ont. A 715-foot steel cable was installed in 1973 to monitor the flow of water in that section of the river. Since other means are now used to monitor the water flow, the cable is no longer needed. The fishing pier at the base of the New York Power Authority's Niagara Power Project will be closed today and Thursday so the work can be done.

4. The Gateway-Longview residential treatment program is dedicating a new cottage on its campus on Main Street in Amherst. The new Michael T. Dwyer Cottage will house 12 girls, ages 9 to 16, who need out-of-home care, counseling and support. The facility was made possible through a donation from Andrew B. Dwyer, a member of Gateway-Longview's board of directors.

5. For weeks -- maybe months -- we've been telling you that it's coming. Today it is here: "Wicked," the smash Broadway musical opens a nearly monthlong run tonight at Shea's. The wildly popular show filled the place to the rafters on its last extended stay here, and this engagement should be no different.

6. Plans to consolidate facilities for the U.S. Coast Guard in Buffalo will give the public access to a new section of the outer harbor, including the historic Buffalo Lighthouse. The details, including what to expect in the first phase of construction, will be made public this morning by Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo.

7. It's easy being green -- if, like Nichols School, green is your school color. This morning, the private school in North Buffalo will receive the first local Paw of Approval Award for its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint by introducing initiatives to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On hand for a ceremony honoring the school for its "Big Green Initiative" will be Donna M. Fernandes, president and chief executive officer of the Buffalo Zoo, and Robert W. Buchanan, president and chief executive officer of Polar Bears International, which gives out the awards to deserving businesses and organizations.

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