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

1. WNGS-TV, Channel 67 on your antenna and Channel 5 on your cable box, turned into WBBZ-TV this morning, with a new lineup of vintage programs like "Perry Mason," "Family Affair," "My Three Sons" and "Rawhide" supplied by new network affiliate Me-TV; new studios in Eastern Hills Mall; and a fresh desire to provide local programming for local viewers in the not-too-distant future. We'll be watching.

2. Dan Brown, the author who wrote the controversial best-seller "The Da Vinci Code," comes to the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater for a lecture and question session at 8:15 p.m. The morning lecture series in the amphitheater this week focuses on the topic "Iran: From Ancient Persia to Middle East Powder Keg." First speaker at 10:45 is veteran journalist and foreign affairs analyst Robin Wright.

3. The Oregon-based folk-rock band the Decemberists kick off a string of four major concerts in four nights at Artpark in Lewiston. Fresh from an appearance at the Newport Folk Festival, the quintet takes the stage after fellow Pacific Northwesterners the Head and the Heart play at 8 p.m. It's not free. Tickets are $34 to $58. What's up the rest of the week? ZZ Top on Tuesday. O.A.R. on Wednesday. And rap star Wiz Khalifa on Thursday.

4. Two county fairs open today, and each is about an hour's drive from Buffalo. In Little Valley, the Cattaraugus County Fair begins a seven-day run with a goat show and a 4-H Western horse show at 8:30 a.m. The midway cranks up at 4 p.m., and there's a demolition derby at 7:30, which is included in the $9 gate admission. Meanwhile, the Livingston County Fair opens in Caledonia, just off Route 5 east of Le Roy. Admission is $10. Today's attractions include harness racing at noon.

5. Work begins today on one of Erie County's worst stretches of bad road -- the most deteriorated stretch of Eden-Evans Center Road in the Southtowns. Reconstruction of the 1.6-mile section will cost about $1.8 million and is to be completed by mid-September. The total reconstruction will take about four years and is estimated to cost more than $12 million.

6. Buffalo's newest walking trail debuts at 12:30 p.m. today in the most urban environment imaginable -- the plaza surrounding the 40-story HSBC Center downtown. Seneca One Realty, which owns and manages the building, has laid out a quarter-mile walking trail through the landscaped areas of the west plaza. Prizes will be awarded during the opening ceremonies.

7. The American government has banned travel to Cuba since the early days of the Fidel Castro regime, and for 42 years protesters have come from near and far to the Peace Bridge to protest the travel ban. They return to both sides of the international span today at noon, when the members of Venceremos Brigade are planning to return from their current trip to the island nation.


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