BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - 2011 was a year of big changes and big stories that gained national attention.
The year kicked off with some exciting sports news. Longtime Buffalo Sabres fan Terry Pegula bought the Buffalo Sabres and pledged to help Buffalo win a Stanley Cup.
"Starting today, the Buffalo Sabres reason for existence will be to win a Stanley Cup," exclaimed Pegula.
In February, political scandal rocked western New York when Chris Lee abruptly resigned from his 26th Congressional seat after a shirtless picture of him surfaced on the internet. Former Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul later won a special election for that seat.
There was also a major political upset in the race for Erie County Executive when Democrat Mark Poloncarz beat incumbent Chris Collins.
Erie County Executive-elect Mark Poloncarz said, "I may not be able to self-fund my campaign, but I feel like the richest man in Erie County."
This year the western New York Community also dealt with some tragedies. In September, 14-year old Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide and bullying was blamed. His story and his "It gets better" YouTube video gained worldwide attention.
"That's all you have to do, just love yourself and you're set. And I promise you, it'll get better," said Rodemeyer.
Earlier in the year, New York State Trooper Kevin Dobson was struck by a car and killed as he was writing a speeding ticket on the 290. The tragic accident served as a reminder to drivers of the new "Move Over Law" that had just gone into effect.
In September, a van smashed into Cheeburger, Cheeburger on Niagara Falls Boulevard, killing two parents and injuring their son. This was just one of a string of accidents this year where a car hit a building.
We followed the tragic story of Sergeant James Hackemer, an Iraq War veteran who lost both of his legs to a roadside bomb. Sergeant Hackemer's life tragically ended when he fell out of a roller coaster at Darien Lake because he had no legs to hold himself in.
On July 13th, Niagara Lubricants went up in flames in an industrial area that had been plagued by fire in the past. And in December a massive fire burned the Elks Lodge, a North Tonawanda Landmark, to the ground.
The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office says a tractor trailer crashed on Route 39, in the Town of Eagle.
One letter was about the violent altercation between Jim Ying and another employee, and in the other letter Ying described why the restaurant is closing.
A Good Samaritan died Wednesday while trying to assist the driver of a tractor trailer who got stuck in the snow.
Lake Effect Snow Warnings today with the chance for an additional foot for some areas.
There is another Lake Effect Snow Warning in effect for Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties from Thursday through early Friday.
Four brothers were playing Thursday morning in Cattaraugus County, when an eight-year-old boy was struck by gunfire.