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Norfolk Southern to East Palestine residents: 'We're very sorry'

Aerial view of derailed trains lying in dirt beside railroad tracks in East Palestine, Ohio. An excavator and other trucks are parked nearby.
Ygal Kaufman
Ideastream Public Media
Derailed Norfolk Southern train cars lie in the dirt beside the railroad tracks in East Palestine on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023.

A representative of Norfolk Southern appeared at a town hall meeting last night where residents expressed fear and frustration over the fallout from the toxic train derailment there last month.

"We're sorry. We're very sorry. We feel horrible about what happened," said Norfolk Southern's Darrell Wilson. The crowd yelled back.

Meanwhile, both United States Senators from Ohio, Sherrod Brown (D) and JD Vance (R), are backing the bipartisan Railways Safety Bill. Among the recommendations in the bill, increased rail inspections, staffing a two-person crew aboard every train and requiring trains carrying hazardous materials to create an emergency response plan and alert communities to the freight passing through.

That will lead off the 'Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable" this week. We'll also discuss the corruption trial of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and Householder's testimony in his own defense.

Other fodder for the roundtable: Akron City Council missed a deadline this week to appoint members to the Citizens’ Police Oversight Board. Voters approved the measure last November. The push for police reform accelerated after officers shot and killed Jayland Walker last June. Despite a five-hour marathon council meeting, no consensus could be reached on the nominees to the board.

The Ohio Senate approved a bill this week stripping the Ohio School Board of its power. Senate Bill 1 creates a Department of Education and Workforce, which would be part of the governor's cabinet. The state school board, which includes eleven members elected by voters and eight appointees would lose control over curriculum and be focused almost entirely on teacher licensing and district property transfers.

-Marlene Harris-Taylor, Director, Engaged Journalism, Ideastream Public Media
-Conor Morris, Education Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
-Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV

Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."