It has been a big year in Niagara County.
A year of big plans, which included the September opening of a $150 million Yahoo data center in the Town of Lockport, and within days, the news that a Somerset site was on the shortlist for a Verizon data center that will cost up to $4.5 billion to build and equip.
A year of big ideas, which included Baltimore developer David S. Cordish walking away from his interest in the vacant Rainbow Centre mall in downtown Niagara Falls, to make way for a Niagara County Community College culinary school, and the Ulrich City Centre project in the City of Lockport capturing the imagination of some who want to remake the Buffalo waterfront redevelopment effort into a "lighter, quicker, cheaper" enterprise.
And a year of big political change, including the loss in November of two incumbent state lawmakers who represent parts of western Niagara County and the lively attempt of a gubernatorial candidate who owns the second-largest building in Niagara Falls and wanted to bring "a baseball bat" to Albany.
Republican Carl P. Paladino, that Falls property owner, went down to defeat, along with two Democrats, Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte and State Sen. Antoine M. Thompson.
For a time, State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, said he was thinking about trying to overthrow Senate GOP Leader Dean G. Skelos of Long Island, too, if the Republicans won control of the Senate. They did, but after the election, Maziarz backed away from that plan.
These were among the biggest stories in Niagara County this year -- and most of them will continue to make headlines well into 2011.
But there was more. Lots more. And now it's time to see how well you followed events close to home.
As has been our tradition in Niagara Weekend in recent years, we invite you to take a trip down memory lane in the form of our annual year-end Niagara Weekend Quiz, compiled by our Niagara staff.
If you can correctly answer half these questions or more, you're probably a subscriber or regular online reader of buffalonews.com's Niagara County page; more than 20, and you're probably the smartest person around the water cooler at work.
For the answers, see Page NC6, the back cover of this section.
1. The Seneca Nation of Indians put the final touches on its first investment in Niagara County outside of the footprint of its Niagara Falls casino in 2010. What was it?
2. Why was former Lockport resident Christopher K. Crego dubbed "America's Dumbest Criminal" by one of the officers who helped track him down in the Midwest?
3. What political candidate agreed to enter a race for the Assembly, not knowing that party leaders had already cleared it with his wife?
4. Which county school district was hit hardest by the state budget crisis?
5. The future of a famous Falls attraction remained uncertain. Which one?
6. The News Niagara staff reported this year that the Niagara County District Attorney's Office allowed three people with connections to plead down charges of driving while intoxicated to non-alcohol-related offenses. What were those connections?
7. What events in North Tonawanda were canceled because of a lack of funding?
8. What former Lewiston-Porter School Board member ran for a seat on the board but lost?
9. Who was hired for a prominent county position after a search process Democrats thought was rigged before it started?
10. Gun rights activists turned their attention to Niagara County in the early part of the year. Why?
11. What municipality is planning to institute curbside recycling in 2011, a decade after the second-tardiest community in Niagara County?
12. The City of Lockport is seeking money from the New York Power Authority for what waterfront project?
13. A former Niagara Falls woman at the center of a 2008 drowning case involving a 12-year-old girl from the Bronx resurfaced in Niagara County this year. What happened after she got here?
14. What public official, along with members of his family, came to the aid of those injured after a skydiving plane crashed Aug. 1?
15. What town hung up on many of its cell phone users?
16. What former elected town official's apparent effort to lay the groundwork for a political comeback was slapped down by voters?
17. Former Niagara Falls Mayor Vince Anello originally was charged by federal authorities with depriving the good citizens of his city of "honest services" -- when he accepted $40,000 in loans from businessman Joseph "Smokin Joe" Anderson -- but he was sentenced to prison last Monday for 13 months on what other charge?
18. What North Tonawanda project is now facing its sixth lawsuit in a little more than two years?
19. What convicted murderer said during his sentencing that the judge who presided over his case was a "disgrace"?
20. What old street became new again in downtown Niagara Falls?
21. What quirky developer gave up his interest in the glass building in downtown Niagara Falls once known as the "flash cube"?
22. What elected county official resigned under a cloud in January?
23. What did a former Niagara Falls School District maintenance worker do to get himself noticed earlier this year?
24. What was Pinktober?
25. What did a Lockport firefighter out on workers' compensation do to jeopardize his job?