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Seven things to know before you start your day

1. The current Preservation Plus conference in Buffalo is bringing back one of the most successful features of last October's National Preservation conference here - the Museums by Moonlight tour. From 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., visitors can tour the Richardson Olmsted Complex, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo History Museum, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo State Art Conservation Lab and Forest Avenue Resource Center. Tickets are $35. According to Fred Schrock, education coordinator for Preservation Niagara, "Getting inside the Richardson is worth the price of admission by itself."

2. There are about 250 medical equipment makers and medical research centers in the Buffalo Niagara region, many of which have developed products that are ready to be marketed. To help them deal with regulations and make sales in the biggest market of all - China - a new program, set up with federal and state funding, will be introduced in a session from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, 701 Ellicott St. For registration and information, visit
3. The new novel by British author J.K. Rowling is scheduled to arrive on bookshelves today, but there aren't any wizards or witches in the pages of "The Casual Vacancy." The creator of Harry Potter has written a grown-up tale that's described as a darkly comic account of rivalry and duplicity in a small English town after a popular town official meets an untimely death.

4. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are on a mission to revive a musical tradition that's been lost since the early 20th century - the black string band. They won a Grammy Award for their old-timey 2010 album, "Genuine Negro Jig." Expanded to five members with addition of a cellist since their first Buffalo appearance last year, they bring songs from their highly acclaimed new CD, "Leaving Eden," to the Town Ballroom, 681 Main St., for an all-ages show tonight. Doors open at 7. Music starts around 8. Tickets are $22.

5. The United Way of Greater Niagara has a track record to live up to. In both of the two years since it was created through the merger of United Ways based in Niagara Falls and Lockport, it's exceeded its goal. Last year's 10-week campaign aimed for $1.31 million and brought in more than $1.4 million. This year's goal will be announced in a press conference at 2 p.m. in one of the United Way's recipients, the Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club, 725 17th St., Niagara Falls.

6. While city leaders rant about the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, the casino is going ahead with preparations for the opening of its redesigned facilities late next year. Casino officials will hold a vendor trade fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Larkin Center of Commerce, 701 Seneca St., where more than 30 local businesses will pitch their products and services, from food to landscaping and housekeeping.

7. There's more than book-lending taking place today at the Central Library on Lafayette Square in downtown Buffalo. At 10 a.m., officials from the library, Erie County and various community organizations will announce the details of "Bullying Stops Here" Month in October, which includes 30 community-wide events. Then, at 6 p.m., in the library's Damon Auditorium, the Buffalo Urban League holds its 85th annual meeting, which includes election of officers, a review of its services to 15,000 clients and an outline of future plans. There also will be a special presentation from the National Urban League recognizing the local organization on its anniversary.