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Biggest WFAE Stories Of 2017

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Tasnim Shamma
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A sheet is wrapped around a female dummy to demonstrate the washing and shrouding process for a Muslim burial at the Islamic Society of Greater Charlotte.

From remembering the pop culture legacy of Andy Griffith to following the fall-out from Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, here's a look at the biggest WFAE stories from 2017 (as determined by pageviews on WFAE.org).

7. Cardinal's Board Slashes CEO's Pay In Response To Audits

After multiple state audits uncovered high salaries, severance packages and overspending by Cardinal Innovations Healthcare (which manages Medicaid-funded mental health and drug treatment services in the Charlotte area), the board of Cardinal voted to significantly cut the CEO’s salary. 

6. To Curb Opioid Use, Carolinas HealthCare System Using Alternative Treatments

This fall, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, but not a national state of emergency (which would free up government funds to dedicate more people and resources for treatment). Here in Charlotte, Carolinas HealthCare System is trying to reduce the chance of opioid dependency with the help of “comfort carts.”

5. NC Audit Faults Cardinal Innovations For Excessive CEO Pay, Lavish Trips

Hoarding $70 million in Medicaid money that should be spent on patients while spending lavishly on CEO pay and luxury board retreats. These are just some of the findings laid out in a state audit of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, and the start of WFAE’s Cardinal coverage.

4. Law School Official: Bar Passage Would Have Been in 20s If Not For Paying Students Not To Take Exam

In recent years, the Charlotte School of Law has drawn scrutiny for having the lowest bar exam pass rate in North Carolina, ranking it among the worst in the country. In reality, the pass rate would have been worse were it not for a program that paid struggling students not to take the bar. 

3. Legacy of Andy Griffith Keeps Hometown Thriving

Actor, singer, and comedian Andy Griffith grew up about two hours north of Charlotte in Mount Airy. And even though he passed away in 2012, his legacy is still very much alive in the city commonly known as Mayberry. So much so, the museum there that bears his name received a major renovation.

2. Charlotte Homicides In 2017 - A Look At The Victims

Homicide in Charlotte is on the rise. This past year, WFAE has tracked Charlotte’s homicides, and remembered the victims, through an interactive timeline.

1. Christian Radio's 'Bible Answer Man' Finds New Faith Home, Deals With Fallout

For nearly three decades, Hank Hanegraaff tackled conservative and evangelical Christian questions as Protestant host of the nationally-syndicated "Bible Answer Man" radio show. But things changed this past April when Hanegraaff joined the St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in South Charlotte.

BONUS! Because WFAE.org's #1 most viewed story of 2017 was, in fact, originally posted in September 2013: How Muslims Wash, Bury Their Dead

“I was surprised by all of the positive feedback back then. I never imagined this story would continue to get so many clicks four years later, but it does provide useful reference information on what to do when you run into a dead Muslim! It’s still one of my favorite radio stories, and I’m grateful WFAE allowed me to report it. It was an attempt at demystifying Muslims a little bit for the Charlotte community by providing an intimate look at the theology through the practice of how we honor our dead." – Tasnim Shamma

As we cap off 2017, WFAE's producers and programs share their most memorable moments of the year. Find each of our Best of 2017 posts at http://wfae.org/term/2017-favorites.