They inspired and touched us. They made us wonder, and sometimes wonder why. Read more about some of the most talked-about Observer stories of the year. We revisit the stories and the people behind them.

Hundreds of officers outside the church where a funeral was held for a policeman killed along with his partner in an ambush shooting turned their backs on the mayor as he spoke during Saturday's service.

Charlotte-area retailers on Friday said they were wrapping up a strong holiday shopping season, as stores around the country are expected to enjoy the biggest annual jump in sales in three years.

Charlotte City Council at-large member David Howard has formed a committee to raise campaign money as he mulls a run for mayor next year.

On the first day of each ninth-grade world history class he teaches, James Ford dims the lights to the classroom, puts on a stern face, and asks: Why are you guys here?

Full college football scoreboard

Today is the calm after the storm. It's time to reset and prep for New Year's Eve. On nights like...

Sip + Play

The stranding of thousands of starfish on the island northeast of Hilton Head was likely due to stormy weather Wednesday.

Thank you, readers, for coming through as never before at Christmas for thousands of needy childr...

Inside Story

Remember the other day, when I wrote that a few computer models were hinting that the much-public...

Weather Guy

The available, hourly spaces come at a higher cost than the cheaper, long term spots that started filling up last week, officials said Friday.

The Daily Edit 12.27.14

In early tournament action, Ardrey Kell's girls beat Davidson Day, 49-24. Keep up with Langston Wertz Jr.'s reports.

The Oklahoma City Thunder built a 27-point lead in the first three quarters to cruise to a 98-75 win Friday over the Charlotte Hornets.

NC State wanted a nice bowl win to cap off a turnaround season.The Wolfpack got that win Friday, stopping Central Florida 34-27.

The UNC Tar Heels provided a confounding, no-show performance in a 40-21 defeat to Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit.

Usually, you can look back at the most recent matchup and draw conclusions on the next game. But not with Sunday's win-or-go-home game between the Falcons and the Panthers.

Toppman: Tim Burton’s latest look at artistic outsiders – the much-reviled painting Keanes – is his weakest to date. Grade: D

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