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Five Things You Need to Know Today, April 8

Eco-friendly concert, online shopping and collective buying.

1. Nothing like a sunny Friday to start your weekend off on the right note. Today expect sunny skies and highs around 50, accompanied by light winds around 5 -10 mph.

2. A will be held tonight at the promoting eco-sustainability through original piano music written and performed by Frank Horvat. The concert, part of a year-long tour, includes a continuous hour-long piano piece inspired by, and performed in the dark.

3. Something interesting is afoot on Beacon Hill that could impact those of us who like to shop online. E-commerce sites like Amazon and Zappos offer some amazing deals, but they also create an un-level playing field for local (small) retailers. A group of those local retailers are lobbying the Legislature to this end – and asking the state to collect a sales tax from online businesses. It’s a paradox for anyone who is a serious supporter of local business but who also likes to scan the web for bargains. There’s got to be some middle ground. Maybe this proposal at the Statehouse will get us closer to it. You can read more about the issue in the Globe.

4. Another hot topic among local retailers is collective buying. Sites like LivingSocial and Groupon offer amazing deals, but are they good for businesses? The Globe's article on the topic quotes several South End restaurateurs, including Tremont 647's Andy Husbands and Flour's Joanne Chang who has turned down numerous invitations from voucher sites.

5. Help the save more lives by voting for the South End non-profit to be a contestant in the $100,000 ASPCA Challenge. You can vote once a day, every day from April 4 – 15 at www.arlboston.org/challenge.

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