CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- With the calendar soon turning over to 2018, NBC Charlotte is taking a look back at the 10 biggest local stories from the year that was 2017.

From a Charlotte couple who lost their two children in a car accident to welcoming twins this summer to an elementary school teacher's handshakes that went viral, there were plenty of smiles, tears, and laughter in the Queen City.

These are the 10 most clicked-on stories from this year:

1. NC minimum wage to increase to $12 an hour

On March 8, North Carolina legislators and Raising Wages NC, a growing coalition of workers groups, advocates, businesses and faith leaders, participated in a press conference to announce new legislation that would increase the state's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $12 an hour by 2020; and $15 an hour by 2022.

The legislation was passed, effective January 1, 2018 the state's minimum wage will increase to $8.80 and will increase every year until $15 in 2022.

2. Charlotte couple who lost sons welcomes twins

A Charlotte couple who tragically lost their two kids in a car accident welcomed twins in July.

Gentry and Hadley Eddings spoke to NBC Charlotte back in February about their loss.

Two-year-old Dobbs was killed and Hadley, who was 38 weeks pregnant at the time, gave birth to Reed after the accident. Sadly, Reed passed away a few days later.

Gentry, a pastor at Forest Hill Church, wants people to understand the power of forgiveness.

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Via Eddings family Facebook

“Be willing to forgive others – that's been an important part of our healing is just to be able to forgive the driver that caused the accident.”

The twins Isaiah Dobbs and Amos Reed, received middle names to honor their older brothers.

3. Dress code, series of events lead to honor roll student's suspension

In May, a senior at Hickory Ridge High School was suspended for wearing a green shirt that rests just off the tops of her shoulders and exposes her collarbone.

The story grabbed national attention and went viral.

4. Man charged in connection with Mariah Woods' death

In late November, a search began for a missing 3-year-old North Carolina girl, Mariah Woods.

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Mariah Woods. Submitted photo.

An Amber Alert was issued, the FBI joined the search, and an overwhelming amount of volunteers turned out to help in the search efforts to find missing 3-year-old Mariah Woods.

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Memorial set up for Mariah Woods not far from her house in Onslow County. (Photo: WNCN)

Then days later, the search took a distributing turn. Investigators recovered remains believed to be 3-year old Mariah Woods in Shelter Creek along Shaw Highway in Pender County, North Carolina.

Earl Kimrey, 32, the boyfriend of Mariah Woods' mother, was charged in connection to her disappearance and murder. He faces concealing of death, obstruction of justice, 2nd-degree burglary, felony larceny and possession of stolen property charges.

Kimery's next court date is in April of 2018.

5. Military plane over Rock Hill rattles neighborhoods

A mysterious sight flew over Rock Hill one night in July; a military plane coming in so low, it rattled windows in several neighborhoods.

Neighbors who live near the small York County Airport say the plane circled overhead at least three times. Rock Hill city officials explained later it was a military plane from the Charleston air force base doing practice drills.


The city was flooded with calls about the mystery plane, so officials took to social media to explain.

Now the unexpected flyover, far less scary. And for some, actually kind of cool.

6. NC towns in top 20 nationally for opioid abuse study

Nearly 16,000 people die every year from prescription drug overdoses.

A February report mapped out the top 25 worst cities in the US for opioid abuse and North Carolina shows up 4 times on that list: Wilmington, Hickory, Jacksonville and Fayetteville.

Over the course of this year President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency.

Doctors and nurses in the emergency room are on the front lines, working to save people from car crashes, gunshots, and drug overdoses.

RELATED: CMPD officers to carry Narcan to combat overdoses, sources say

In November, NBC Charlotte was granted unprecedented access to a local emergency room to experience a day in the life of these real-world heroes as they battle the problem the opioid crisis is creating for so many young people.

7. CMS teacher connects to students with special handshakes

Most teachers start their day off with attendance, but a local teacher has found his own unique way to connect with students before they enter Room 219.

Barry White Junior teaches fifth-grade literacy at Ashley Park PreK-8 School.

The Title I school encourages teachers to find creative ways to engage with students. White says he wants his students to be excited about school. In an effort to bring joy and build trust, White began creating individual handshakes with students.

In the end, the handshake comes down to one thing: joy.

8. New reality show features seven 'sidechicks' of the Queen City

Move over housewives, the side chicks are here and are already creating quite a buzz in the Queen City.

Back in June, a new reality television show began filming in Charlotte called "The Real SideChicks of Charlotte" and features seven "side chick" women.

Show creators told NBC Charlotte the series is about women who are "side chicks and proud of it."

Merry Christmas!!! #therealsidechicksofcharlotte #sidechick #rsoc #instagood #happyholidays #merrychristmas #🎁

A post shared by The Real Sidechicks Of Clt (@therealsidechicksofcharlotte) on

NBC Charlotte has reached out to the creators of the show, no word yet on an air date for the show or where viewers can tune in.

9. Air traffic controller received homemade pipe bomb from roommate, police say

An air traffic controller at Charlotte Douglas International Airport was one of two men arrested in November, after investigators alleged he was in possession of a weapon of mass destruction.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 30-year-old Paul George Dandan was charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction. The FAA confirmed to NBC Charlotte that Dandan's access to the airport was terminated following his arrest.

Paul George Dandan mugshot
Paul George Dandan

CMPD officers responded to a 911 call on November 3 in reference to a person being in possession of a homemade explosive device in the 300 block of Minitree Lane. CMPD bomb squad agents confirmed that the object in question was a homemade pipe bomb.

Dandan was charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction, acquiring a weapon of mass destruction and transporting a weapon of mass destruction.

10. Community remembers south Charlotte teen found dead in Montgomery Co.

Nathan Kocmond was reported missing from his home on October 9. Kocmond was a junior at Providence Day School, where he played defensive back and special teams for the Chargers.

On October 11, he was found dead of an apparent suicide in Montgomery County.

A memorial service was held to remember the teen.