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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The deaths of three North Carolina icons and a superstorm that left a lasting impression are among the Tar Heel State's top stories of 2012.

Andy Griffith, folk musician Doc Watson and University of North Carolina system President William Friday all died this past year.

Another well-known North Carolina figure went through an embarrassing criminal trial last spring but avoided prison time. A jury acquitted former Sen. John Edwards of a campaign finance charge and deadlocked on five other felony counts, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial.

Superstorm Sandy didn't come ashore in North Carolina, but it chewed up N.C. Highway 12 on Hatteras Island, shutting down the highway for almost two months and leaving taxpayers with a tab of $8 million to $10 million for a temporary fix.

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