Today's Top Picks: June 19, 2017

Gregory Antczak revisits the site of the old Anzon factory, to the right is a mound that residents call "Mount Wawa," a pile of toxic dirt that was capped with clean soil and grass to prevent exposure to lead.

Philadelphia once had 36 lead smelters – more than any other city in America. The plants are long gone, but their toxic legacy remains. In developing river ward neighborhoods like Kensington, Fishtown and Port Richmond, construction crews are churning up lead-poisoned soil that has sat dormant for decades, spreading toxic dusts across the neighborhoods and putting a new generation of children at risk. An Inquirer and Daily News investigation, testing soil in 114 places like parks, playgrounds and yards, found hazardous levels of lead contamination in nearly three out of four locations. Read more
The federal corruption trial for District Attorney Seth Williams starts today. As jury selection gets underway, we answer your questions about the fraud and bribery case against Philadelphia's top prosecutor, including: What are his alleged crimes? Why is the trial happening so quickly? How is Williams still in office? What will the prosecution and defense argue? Read more
Members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers are scheduled to vote tonight on the tentative contract the union has reached with the school district. If educators approve it, the pact would last through 2020. The contract includes some salary increases, lump-sum payments, and restoration of pay for years of experience and advanced degrees. "It’s a better deal than what I was expecting," said Michael Franklin, a math and science teacher at Chester Arthur. "They did a pretty good job on all sides finding something that meets the needs of a majority of the members, but it is a shame that there are now years that a number of us have worked that we essentially don’t get any credit for." Read more
A skirmish between members of a Brewerytown crossfit gym and residents living nearby has highlighted tensions in the changing neighborhood. What happened after an open gym door piqued the curiosity of some kids is up for debate, but the incident ultimately led to bats being drawn and a 14-year-old taken away by ambulance in handcuffs. "It was a horrible situation and it stems from the fact that we don’t know each other," said Kobie Xavier, a trainer at the gym. "There were two groups who did not understand each other." Read more
The state Senate's Local Government Committee will hold a hearing this week on Philadelphia's soda tax. To be held in City Council chambers, there's potential for political drama at the Friday hearing. But is the tax in danger? Read more
What We're Reading
Source: The Philadelphia Citizen
Source: New York Times
Source: Hidden City Philadelphia
Source: Al Jazeera
Source: Curbed Philadelphia