1. Donnell Rawlings is familiar to fans of Comedy Central’s “Chapelle Show” as Ashy Larry, the guy who tries unsuccessfully to be a class act. Rawlings shows class at 4 p.m. today when he visits Bulger Communication Center at Buffalo State College to talk with Buffalo high school students preparing for college in the Upward Bound program. “He has a background and upbringing very similar to our students,” says program director Don Patterson. “We thought it would be a great opportunity to have him speak with these young people. As a testament to his character, he was more than happy to do so.” Rawlings also performs at 8 in LUX Night Club, 75 W. Chippewa St. Tickets are $30 and $40.
2. Las Vegas entertainer Wayne Newton goes from lighting up the stage at Seneca Niagara Casino to lighting up the streets of Niagara Falls this evening. In a ceremony at 5:30, he will receive a key to the city from Mayor Paul Dyster and throw the switch for the Niagara Holiday Lights display along Old Falls Street downtown. Newton is in the midst of performing seven holiday shows from now through Sunday in the casino’s Seneca Niagara Event Center.
3. Somebody will walk out of the NEXUS Enrollment Center at 10 Central Ave., Fort Erie, Ont., today with more than that official ID card that speeds people across the international bridges from Canada to the U.S. NEXUS Niagara is enrolling its 100,000th member in the Buffalo Niagara region and will honor the lucky traveler at 10 a.m. with a commemorative certificate and a hockey jersey, presented by Buffalo Sabres mascot Sabretooth.
4. Roswell Park Cancer Institute holds its annual Tree of Hope ceremony from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., with Santa and Mrs. Claus greeting visitors in Kaminski Park and Gardens at Elm and Carlton streets, and the lighting of the tree in honor of all whose lives have been touched by cancer. New this year is the Tree of Hope Light Show, a display of nearly 30,000 animated LED lights orchestrated to music. The 13-minute show will run from 5 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 1. There also will be live ice sculpting, horse-drawn carriage rides, face-painting, and mascots. It’s too late to make a reservation, but you can see it live during the 6 p.m. news on WIVB-TV, Channel 4, one of the co-sponsors.
5. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, will be guest speaker at noon at West Seneca’s annual Pearl Harbor Memorial Service at West Seneca Post 735, American Legion, 35 Legion Parkway. Guests of honor will be local veterans who were stationed at the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii when it was attacked by Japanese planes on this date in 1941. The attack killed 2,386 Americans and drew the U.S. into World War II. Refreshments and chili will be served inside the post immediately after the ceremony. The public is invited.
6. Catholic Charities of Buffalo holds an open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to celebrate the recent move of its Tomorrow’s Youth Today program into new quarters on the first floor at 525 Washington St. The program occupies a space formerly used by Delta Development that has now been converted into a large classroom and computer lab for people who want to prepare for their high school equivalency exam or attend workshops on job-readiness preparation. Classes are free for Erie County residents 16 and older. Last year, the program saw 65 students earn high school equivalency diplomas and 60 students get jobs. For information, call 856-4494, Ext. 323.
7. Larkin Square, at Seneca and Swan streets, which concluded its evenings of live music, food concessions and vendor booths when summer ended, comes alive again from 4:30 to 8 tonight for Holiday Live at Larkin. The band Robot Holiday will be playing holiday music on the boardwalk, which is heated to ward off the chill. Proceeds from the sale of the band’s merchandise and its 10th anniversary CD will benefit the Food Bank of Western New York.