1. Two hundred years ago today, President James Madison signed a declaration of war that had been passed by both houses of Congress, officially launching the War of 1812. The first significant military action didn't take place until July 12, when Gen. William Hull led a motley militia into Canada and seized part of what is now Windsor, Ont. It was a short-lived success. A month later, they retreated to Detroit and surrendered to British and Native American forces, who held on to most of the Michigan territory for the next year.
2. As a teenager in the late 1960s, guitarist Robert Cray absorbed a lot of soul music and a lot of Chicago blues, a combination that has served him well in a career that spans roughly 40 years and includes several Grammy Awards. Currently on the verge of releasing the 16th Robert Cray Band studio album, he brings his three longtime sidemen to the Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St., for an 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $32.
3. Buffalo-born jazz drummer and percussionist Carmen Intorre Jr., who studied in the jazz program at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City, introduced his new CD, "For the Soul," at Birdland in Manhattan on Thursday. Intorre follows that up with a free concert at noon in the M&T Plaza Event Series in front of M&T Bank headquarters in downtown Buffalo, across from Main Place Mall. Intorre also tours regularly with jazz guitar great Pat Martino.
4. Erie Community College tuition would be bumped up another $300, to $3,900, under the college's proposed new $111 million budget. The Erie County Legislature, which intends to contribute a flat $17.4 million to ECC, holds a public hearing on the spending plan at 5 p.m. in the fourth-floor Legislative Chambers in Old County Hall, 92 Franklin St.
5. The Buffalo Jewish International Film Festival hits its stride today with three screenings in the Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre at the Jewish Community Center's Benderson Family Building at 2640 N. Forest Road, Getzville. At 2 p.m., it's "Nicky's Family," a documentary about Britain's Schindler, Nicholas Winton, who saved hundreds of Jewish children in the former Czechoslavakia after the Nazi occupation in 1938. At 5:30 p.m., it's "For My Father," an Israeli thriller about a would-be suicide bomber. And at 8 p.m., it's "The Human Resources Manager," the Israeli contender for last year's Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
6. A proposal for a new six-story, 153-room hotel on Burgess Boulevard near Buffalo Niagara International Airport will be up for approval when the Cheektowaga Town Board meets at 6:45 p.m. in Town Hall, 3301 Broadway. Also on the agenda are replacement of the town's radio communications tower at 500 Losson Road at a cost of about $16,500 and a 10-year extension of the lease of parkland for Diamond Hawk Golf Course.
7. The Clarence Chamber of Commerce will host an official grand-opening celebration from 6 to 8 p.m. in Eastern Hills Mall for the studios of television station WBBZ, Channel 67, the local ME-TV affiliate, which shows a wealth of classic TV series in addition to its local programming. Ribbon-cutting will take place at 7.
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