The news never slowed in 2017, one of the most momentous years in memory. There were wars, and rumors of war; torrent, fire and intrigue; and one day even a blotting of the sun.
Close to home, there were windy storms and tempests, a darkness upon the face of the deep, and lawgivers whose works were made known from the dark.
There were lamentations by a former leader of the people. There was a digital scribe bearing witness, and a reproach rendered by a tribe in blue. There were beasts of the field, and at least one great fish.
And there was a young gladiator starting a scholastic sojourn, looking for a Solomonesque tribune.
At times, it seemed almost biblical.
From the chapters of a memorable year, we count down our 10 best-read stories of 2017:
10. UNC national championship team not visiting White House. By Andrew Carter, September 23.
UNC said the White House and the Tar Heels couldn’t agree on a date. Coach Roy Williams earlier had said, “You know, our president tweets out more bulls**t than anybody I’ve ever seen.”
9. No penalties for UNC, but NC State’s freshman guard ineligible for attending a class. By Joe Giglio, October 13.
The very day the NCAA declined to punish UNC after an investigation that lasted years, it said transfer Braxton Beverly had to sit out a year at N.C. State because he had gone to class at Ohio State. Wolfpack fans howled. The rest of the story? Beverly’s playing.
8. NC Zoo giraffe dies in accident. By Abbie Bennett, March 7.
In an “unusual and extremely rare” mishap, Jamili perished, leaving only three giraffes at the zoo.
7. McCrory, working as consultant, says HB2 makes some employers ‘reluctant to hire me’. By Colin Campbell, March 13.
A couple of months after leaving the office where he often touted the state’s economy, former Gov. Pat McCrory gave us a less rosy, more personal view of the job market.
6. He’s the Raleigh man behind the Twitter account outing racists – and ‘I’m not going away’. By Brooke Cain, August 14.
He’s Logan Smith of Progress NC Action, and after Charlottesville he shook up Twitter.
5. Great white shark nearly as long as a car spotted off NC coast. By Abbie Bennett, July 17.
If you drive a Camry or a Civic, that is. At any rate, a rather unnerving sight.
4. Update: Tropical low headed toward the Carolinas on Monday likely to become tropical storm. By Abbie Bennett, August 27.
“If it becomes a storm, it will be called Tropical Storm Irma.” It didn’t – and that distinction went to a far more destructive storm.
3. NC governor declares state of emergency ahead of ‘powerful’ Hurricane Irma. By Josh Shaffer, Abbie Bennett and Anne Blythe, September 6.
This one was the real thing, but it spared North Carolina most of its fury. On this day, though, things looked bleak.
2. At 3 a.m., NC Senate GOP strips education funding from Democrats’ districts. By Colin Campbell, May 13.
Democrats prolonged a budget debate well past midnight. Frustrated Republicans got the last word. Well, almost.
1. OBX blackout: Mandatory evacuation, state of emergency on Ocracoke Island. By Abbie Bennett, July 27.
It would be eight days before visitors could return – eight days the landlords and merchants on Ocracoke can never get back. The cause of the blackout will always be part of the story of the new Bonner Bridge.
Frederick: 919-829-8956. On Twitter: @Eric_Frederick