Morning Headlines: How Safe Is Philly Water?

Council committees to examine whether we face a Flint-style lead crisis.

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:

A hearing today asks: Is Philadelphia safe from a Flint-style water crisis?

KYW reports that City Council’s joint committees on Children & Youth and Public Health & Human Services will hold a hearing today on water quality in the city’s homes and schools. Philly homes built before 1950 often have lead pipes, but the water department uses a treatment to keep the lead from those pipes from seeping into the water.  The school district has a had a lead-safe water program in place since 2000. Says one school official: “We’ve tested every drinking water outlet throughout the district, over 20,000 drinking water outlets, between 2000 and 2010 and all of those drinking water outlets had (lead) results that were below the EPA’s action level.” The committees meet at 10 a.m.

Donald Trump’s sister, a federal judge based in Philly, has been threatened over her brother’s campaign. reports that Maryanne Trump Barry, 78, received the letter on Friday. She judge for the U.S. Court of Appeal’s Third Circuit, based in Philadelphia. She received her letter a day after Trump’s son, Eric, received a threatening letter that included white powder. The incident is being investigated by the FBI and Secret Service.

A center City panhandler attacked Pa. Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty on Friday night.

Philly Mag’s David Gambacorta reports: State Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty and a SEPTA rider were separately assaulted in Center City on Friday night by a 26-year-old panhandler. The attack on Dougherty, the brother of electricians union leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, was the second of the evening. The justice was walking with his family near 15th and Market streets when they spotted Paulk panhandling in the street, Little said. Paulk allegedly approached Dougherty, blocked his path, and asked the justice if he had any money. When Dougherty said he didn’t, Paulk punched Dougherty in the face, Little said. Paulk bolted towards the nearby subway entrance as Dougherty’s relatives flagged down Philadelphia police officers for help.

SEPTA Police Chief Tom Nestel said transit police officers responded to Philly cops’ description of Paulk — in particular, the fact that he was wearing a dirty green t-shirt — and began searching video feeds and local subway stops. “We didn’t know who the victim was,” Nestel said, “but anytime a suspect flees into the subway, we alert officers downstream because a suspect can be across town in 12 minutes.”

There will be no new charges against the Temple prof once accused of espionage.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office has notified Professor [Xiaoxing] Xi’s defense team that there will be no new charges and that the government will return his seized property,” his attorney tells the Inquirer. The original charges were dropped last September amid reports that federal officials had misunderstood the technology they accused Xi of sharing with contacts in China. Until this week, though, the feds had left open the possibility of re-filing the charges. Xi is a naturalized U.S. citizen of Chinese descent.

Villanova is in the Sweet 16. St. Joe’s nearly made it, too.

Philly Mag’s Dan McQuade writes: The Villanova Wildcats scored 54 points in the first half en route to an absolute destruction of Iowa in the second round of the NCAA tournament, 87-68. Villanova led by as many as 34 in the second half.  It is the first trip to the Sweet 16 for Villanova since 2009, the year the Wildcats went to the Final Four as a 3 seed. The Wildcats had been eliminated in the Round of 32 the last two years despite being a 2 seed (2015) and a 1 seed (2014) They will play 3rd-seeded Miami on Thursday night in Louisville.

MeanwhileSaint Joseph‘s didn’t get a shot off on two late game possessions and lost to top-seeded Oregon in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, 69-64. The Hawks were down just two with just under a minute left, but they couldn’t beat the shot clock. Then, down three with 10 seconds left, DeAndre’ Bembry turned it over at the top of the key. The two possessions were the difference in the loss.Oregon advances to face Duke in the Sweet 16.

Get morning headlines in your inbox: Sign up here.