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

1. The Tonawanda City School District has gathered up a grab bag of upgrades in the $11.9 million capital improvement project it plans to ask voters to approve next Tuesday. A public discussion of the project, complete with displays, will take place at 3 and 6 p.m. today in the high school auditorium. Plans include a new stadium next to the high/middle school building, a new wing in the high school for art and music rooms, a new fitness center, additional parking and a new bus loop for the campus. The project also would fix up Riverview and Mullen schools, which need new roofs.

2. Five Guys Burgers has won "best hamburger" awards in Washington, D.C., for seven straight years and has gone on to take similar honors in other cities from Philadelphia to Seattle. What makes them so good? Could be the buns, which are sweeter than the ones we're used to. Could be the burgers themselves, which are never frozen. The first Five Guys in the Buffalo area opens today at 8248 Transit Road, north of Maple and Greiner roads, Amherst. Another one is set to open in Walden Galleria, Cheektowaga, in November.

3. Celtic Thunder, the immensely popular Irish singing group, has undergone some changes since the first time it played Shea's Performing Arts Center in 2009. Gone from the group that appears at 7:30 p.m. in Shea's for the first date of its new Heritage Tour of America are original members Paul Byrom, who's gone solo, and Damian McGinty, who's going to appear on "Glee" next season. In their places are Emmitt Cahill, replacing Byrom, and boy tenor Daniel Furlong, winner of the most recent "All Ireland Talent Show."

4. Dedication ceremonies will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Cheektowaga's Alexander Community Center, 275 Alexander Ave., for the new Detective Potienko Youth Media Center, where the town's Department of Youth and Recreation Services will tutor youngsters from second to 10th grade. It's named in memory of Cheektowaga Police Detective Wasyl Potienko, a juvenile detective who died on duty in car accident in 2002. His wife, Mary, raised the funds to establish the media center.

5. A Washington heavyweight kicks off this year's 25th anniversary Distinguished Speaker Series at the University at Buffalo. Appearing at 8 p.m. in Alumni Arena on the North Campus in Amherst is Robert Gates, who took over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006 when he stepped in as secretary of defense after the departure of Donald Rumsfeld. He also served as CIA director under the first President George Bush.

6. Bishop Edward U. Kmiec celebrates the first Mass for the new Blessed John Paul II Parish at 7 p.m. in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 2052 Lakeview Road, Lake View. The new parish is the result of the merger of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Vincent de Paul parishes. During the Mass, the congregation will be sprinkled with holy water that Pope John Paul II blessed during his pastoral visit to New York City in 1995. The offertory procession will include a relic of Blessed John Paul II, which will stay at the parish for veneration.

7. The Alzheimer's Association invites everyone to "Go Purple" today for Alzheimer's Action Day. The association will have tables from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in all the area's major shopping malls -- Galleria, McKinley, Eastern Hills, Boulevard and Fashion Outlets in Niagara Falls -- where volunteers will hand out information (for instance, Alzheimer's is one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S.) and offer free purple ribbons that declare "The End of Alzheimer's Starts With Me."


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