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

1. Not every costumed creature ringing doorbells this evening will be aiming to fatten up their supply of Snickers bars. In the neighborhood around the University at Buffalo North Campus in Amherst, about 125 costumed students will be collecting nonperishable food for the Food Bank of Western New York. Last year, they gathered 3,000 pounds of food. This year, they're shooting for 5,000. Meanwhile, in the Town of Tonawanda, third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students from Hoover Elementary School will be doing a Trick or Treat for UNICEF. They hope to top last year's collection of $1,019.

2. Providing a safe alternative for Halloweeners is the Parkside Community Association, which holds a party for kids under 6 from 5:30 to 6 p.m. in Church of the Good Shepherd, Jewett Parkway and Summit Avenue, then follows it with a party for kids up to 12 years old accompanied by a parent or guardian from 6 to 7. Love Joy Church, 5423 Genesee St., Lancaster, hosts "Slime Time" from 6 to 8, also a free family event. And in Lockport, seven area churches have teamed up to present Hallelujah Night, with carnival game booths, bounce houses, live entertainment, giveaways and candy from 6 to 8 in the Kenan Center Arena, 433 Locust St.

3. Kids get treated to free meals today in all the Applebee's restaurants in Western New York and after 5 p.m. at Old Country Buffet, 3048 Sheridan Drive, Amherst. Costumes are optional at Applebee's, where kids 10 and younger can choose from half a dozen kids menu items. Costumes are required to get the deal at Old Country Buffet. Up to two kids can eat free for each adult meal purchased in all of the restaurants.

4. Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, a chain with 31 locations, opens its first New York State outpost at Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga today in a stand-alone building near Dick's Sporting Goods. The restaurant features an on-site brewery and hosts a keg-tapping party every time it unveils a new seasonal beer. The restaurant seats 266, with room for another 71 in an outdoor beer garden, and the menu features American cuisine made from scratch. The chain, which opened its first restaurant in Palo Alto, Calif., in 1988, has branches in 20 states.

5. One block long and just west of Richmond Avenue, Essex Street was depressed and deteriorating not so long ago. Today it's one of the success stories on Buffalo's West Side. In recognition of the way Essex Street and surrounding streets are getting spruced up, the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors will join with the West Side Community Collaborative for a news conference at 11 a.m. and a walking tour of the neighborhood.

6. The area around the Union Ship Canal off Fuhrmann Boulevard has been desolate and deserted ever since the industrial buildings that once stood there were torn down. But not any more. At 2 p.m. today, Mayor Byron W. Brown, County Executive Chris Collins, State DEC Commissioner Joe Martens and Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, will help celebrate the completion of the 22-acre Ship Canal Commons, Buffalo's newest waterfront park. Developed as a brownfield remediation project, it provides green space for the adjacent business park.

7. The battle to keep Erie County Medical Center from closing two longtime drug and alcohol clinics steps up a notch today. ECMC's Division of Chemical Dependency and the CSEA, the union that represents clinic workers, will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. outside the Downtown Alcoholism Clinic, 1280 Main St., to highlight the arguments for keeping the clinics open. For one, the clinics provide treatment for anyone without a waiting period and regardless of whether they can pay. Furthermore, the Downtown Clinic is the only area clinic that provides services in Spanish.

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