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

1. Today is Fat Tuesday, and Buffalo will strut its stuff, Mardi Gras style. The 17th annual Artvoice Mardi Gras Parade starts at 5 p.m. outside Albright-Knox Art Gallery and struts along Elmwood Avenue to Allen Street, down Pearl Street and Main Street and along Chippewa Street before heading up Delaware Avenue back to Allentown. Bars and restaurants across the region also plan to revel the night away.

2. Things are looking up for the Senecas in Salamanca. The proof comes this morning when they raise the last steel beam for the new hotel tower project at Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel. Plans call for the project to add approximately 200 hotel rooms at the resort, virtually doubling its current capacity. Robert Odawi Porter, president of the Seneca Nation of Indians, and Cathy Walker, president and CEO of Seneca Gaming Corp., will be on hand to discuss the project.

3. Why do the arts matter? It has been a subject open to debate during the last two county executive administrations. Today, two educators will give their views from noon to 1 p.m. during the Center for the Study of Art, Architecture, History and Nature lecture series in the Central Library on Lafayette Square. A video by Sharon Latchaw Hirsh of Rosemont College, "How to Look and Understand Great Art," will set up a talk by Ginny O'Brien Lohr, curator of education at the University at Buffalo Art Galleries.

4. Veterans will be on the minds of the Erie County Bar Association today as several key members release newly compiled information for veterans and announce that Buffalo has been selected to host the 2013 National Veterans Golden Age Games, an Olympic-style event for older vets expected to bring 2,500 athletes into the region next year. The announcement will be made at 1 p.m. in City Judge Robert T. Russell's chambers at Buffalo City Court.

5. Fresh off one of their most impressive wins of the season, Sunday's 6-2 thrashing of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Sabres hit the road today to take on one of the many teams they have to beat to have a chance at a playoff spot. They will be on Long Island for a 7 p.m. game with the New York Islanders. The Islanders are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference, two spots better than the Sabres, and both are in trouble since only eight teams make the playoffs. You can watch the action on MSG.

6. The Police Reorganization Commission is in the final stages of preparing recommendations to City Hall to improve safety and security for city residents. The commission hosts its last of three meetings to hear what the public has to say at 7 p.m. in Tapestry Charter School on Great Arrow Drive.

7. Sinead O'Connor is among recording artists with new releases out today. Hers is "How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?" The Chieftains also have a new release out in advance of St. Patrick's Day, "Voice of Ages." Leonardo DiCaprio leads the new DVD movie releases with "J. Edgar."

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Don't miss on buffalonews.com:

Chat Big 4 college hoops with Bob DiCesare at 2 p.m., then return at 7 p.m. for insights by our sports reporters into tonight's Sabres-Islanders game.