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

1. There's $1 million in grants available for neighborhood improvements around Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. Details on how to apply for them will be revealed when the Seneca Nation of Indians and community leaders who are part of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Development Commission hold a news conference at 10 a.m. in the Valley Community Center, 93 Leddy St.

2. There is general agreement that there are no marquee players available as the National Hockey League trade deadline arrives today, but that doesn't rule out last-minute trades for players who have potential. Don't be surprised if the Sabres reach for one of them before time runs out at 3 p.m.

3. Amherst is perennially ranked among the most crime-free communities of its size in the nation, and Supervisor Barry Weinstein wants to remind everyone about that when they cross the town line. At today's Town Board meeting, he plans to introduce a resolution to spend $7,800 for four new signs that say: "Welcome to Amherst, 'The Safest Town in America.' Established 1818.' "

4. Shared services save money, that's what regionalism advocate Kevin Gaughan has been saying for years. Following his advice tonight will be the Town of Tonawanda and the City of Tonawanda. The Town Board is expected to approve a measure that would accept a shared service agreement with the city for an assessor. David C. Marrano, the Town of Lancaster's assessor since 2007, has been lined up and is expected to be appointed tonight, also. Marrano's annual salary of approximately $85,000, as well as the cost of benefits, will be split between the town and city. The two communities are expecting to share savings of $65,000 a year.

5. Beginning today, grade school students in Buffalo who routinely misbehave in class won't be suspended or sent home. A new district policy goes into effect requiring principals to call a conference with the parents instead of suspending students in prekindergarten through sixth grade as long as their offenses are nonviolent. Other measures will be taken in cases involving serious injuries, weapons or illegal substances.

6. Polar bears have a problem. Climate change is melting the sea ice where they prowl and hunt, which is threatening their very survival. To help them out on this, International Polar Bear Day, the Buffalo Zoo is joining the "Bundle Up for Polar Bears" campaign by the conservation group Polar Bears International in urging schools, businesses, organizations and families to turn down their thermostats by two degrees on two or more days between now and March 16 to alleviate global warming. After you've turned down the heat, you're invited to send photos of your bundled-up self to the Buffalo Zoo site on

7. Back in the 1970s, Buffalo's credentials as a literary city centered on poet Robert Creeley, who was a faculty member at the University at Buffalo. These days, they focus on renowned avant-garde poet and critic Steve McCaffery, who occupies the David Gray Chair of Poetry and Letters at UB. He gives one of his infrequent public readings at 8 p.m. in Hallwalls, 341 Delaware Ave. Admission is free.


Don't miss on

Join Wally Smith of AAA and reporter Stephen T. Watson for a live chat on gas prices at 9 a.m. Tuesday.