Insects, wildfires, and Philly’s 100th mayor: Here are WHYY News’ most read stories of 2023

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A lot happened in 2023.

In the Philadelphia region, we saw history-making elections, wild public health emergencies, and championships that could have been.

And, of course, we had some fun along the way.

Here’s a look back through the lens of this year’s most read stories from WHYY News.

Cherelle Parker makes history

One of the biggest storylines this year was Cherelle Parker being elected as the city’s 100th mayor — the first woman and first Black woman to hold the post.

Rue Landau also became Philadelphia’s first-ever openly LGBTQ City Council member, and Kendra Brooks and Nicolas O’Rourke won at-large seats on Philly City Council, marking a historic win for the Working Families Party.

Philly grapples with an unfamiliar threat: wildfire smoke

The Delaware Valley was blanketed with wildfire smoke from Canada, prompting (for some) a newfound understanding of how wildfire smoke impacts our health.

Other climate-related threats were seen in the form of extreme rain, as with the deadly flooding in Bucks County and extreme heat that closed Philly schools.

And a water contamination mishap

A Delaware River spill shed light on the art of emergency preparedness (or lack thereof) and the prevalence of tap water trust issues in Philly.

The Chinatown Coalition to Oppose the Arena walked members of the media to the site of the proposed 76ers basketball venue in Philadelphia on January 9, 2023. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

To arena, or not to arena?

Questions (and plenty of feelings) over the Sixers’ proposed arena were a near constant.

Intrigue in health and science

In the health and science realm, Philadelphians were stunned over the sudden eviction of the Insectarium. Months after its closure, the fallout continues.

At Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum, missing YouTube videos and online exhibits reflected tough conversations both at the institution and across the U.S. over displaying human remains.

  • December 21, 2023
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