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WFAE's reporters, editors, producers and hosts worked tirelessly throughout 2021 to tell the stories that mattered most in the Charlotte area. Here's a look at some of our best work.

NC politics, purple lights, COVID-19 news are among the top-read WFAE stories of 2021

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In the year following the 2020 election, the news didn’t show any signs of slowing down. Among WFAE’s readers, some of the most-read stories centered around politics and the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are those stories.

NC Republicans keep saying 'Let's go, Brandon!' It's really a vulgar dig at Joe Biden

“Let’s go, Brandon!” became a common phrase among conservatives this past year following an NBC reporter’s misunderstanding of what NASCAR fans were chanting. This came after Mooresville’s Brandon Brown won first place at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Read more about just how widespread the phrase became.

Why are Charlotte's streetlights turning purple?

This past year several Charlotteans noticed their streetlights turning from white or orange to purple. WFAE’s FAQ City podcast set out to debunk some myths about the purple lights and what was causing them to change.

Here are the candidates running for U.S. Senate in North Carolina in 2022

Republican Sen. Richard Burr is retiring which has led to a wide-open race in 2022. Campaigns from Republicans, Democrats and Independents began popping up almost as soon as the 2020 election results were finalized.

Homeowners have to rebuild after gold mine collapses beneath Charlotte house

A house atop a long-forgotten gold mine shaft was demolished after the homeowner discovered a massive hole in her crawlspace in an apparent shaft collapse. With no help from her homeowners' insurance, the near uptown Charlotte needed to be replaced starting with the foundation.

Charlotte, Mecklenburg County mask mandates could take effect as early as Wednesday

As the delta variant of the coronavirus led to a surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, Charlotte and Mecklenburg County reinstated a mask mandate to curb local transmission.

Here's why hospital bills are so high in the U.S. health care system

Part 4 of WFAE’s health care series The Price We Pay took a look at why hospital bills are so high and what some employers are doing to curb those high costs.

Read this and more from the series.

As obesity takes a greater toll in COVID deaths, health officials are quiet

WFAE reporters looked into the impacts of obesity among those fighting COVID-19. Obesity was listed as a risk factor in 34% of COVID-19 deaths for patients under 65. The reporters also found many health officials were not speaking about this issue. 

In the U.S., a health care system rich in resources, poor in outcomes

Part 1 in WFAE’s health care series The Price We Pay looked at why Americans spend more than any other wealthy country on health care yet have much poorer outcomes.

Read this and more from the series.

North Carolina's new reading mandate makes weary teachers spend long hours learning

A state requirement for teachers can lead them to spending roughly 160 hours of added work over two years. That equates to an extra two hours of work each week of the school year. Here’s how teachers, already strained by the ups and downs of teaching through the pandemic, are responding to the requirement.

At least 7 arrested after capitol riot were from North Carolina

Next month will mark one year since the U.S. Capitol insurrection that was led by pro-Trump extremists to halt the certification of the free and fair 2020 election that led to the election of Joe Biden. At least seven people from North Carolina were arrested.

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