News·5 min read

Daily Skimm Weekend: East Palestine and Bare Minimum Mondays

A family in East Palestine OH
March 5, 2023

Eyes On: East Palestine

The Story

The fallout from the catastrophic train derailment in Ohio is continuing to grow.

This is about East Palestine?

Yes. In the weeks since a Norfolk Southern train carrying dangerous chemicals derailed in Ohio, the EPA — which handles, among other things, industrial pollution and its effects — has taken control of the cleanup. So far, that’s included collecting more than 700 tons of solid waste and approximately two million gallons of liquid wastewater. On Thursday, the EPA ordered that the rail company test for dioxins, aka pollutants that can cause cancer and weaken people’s immune and reproductive systems. In spite of those steps, things are still complicated.

Tell me.

Audio leaks about lax inspections in the rail industry are reportedly coming to light. Cleaned-up toxic waste still has to go somewhere…and waste disposal sites as far away as Michigan and Texas are balking at taking Ohio’s toxic mess. Meanwhile, residents and cleanup crews are continuing to report health issues (think: migraines, nausea). At a town hall last week, angry residents confronted officials. Some expressed doubt about the findings from tests on chemical levels. Others pleaded with officials to “do the right thing" and “get our people out of here” — since a true cleanup reportedly might take years.

What will happen now?

The pressure on the railway industry, and Norfolk Southern in particular, is headed to the Senate. This week, the company’s CEO will testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, answering questions about the derailment. Meanwhile, a bipartisan bill introduced last week would enhance railway safety precautions — and has been hailed by President Biden. But like cleanup, lasting changes to regulations are likely to take time.


In the past few years, there were reportedly at least 10 rail-related contamination events nationwide. East Palestine is the latest. As it sparks questions across the country about what happens when a company’s toxic mess affects your home and health, the lives and livelihoods of East Palestine’s 4,700 residents hang in the balance.

What's Happening

📰 In news…

Some say it’s the ‘end of a dynasty’ as disgraced former South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh got sentenced to life in prison. A very different kind of sentencing happened in Belarus, where a Nobel Peace Prize winner was given 10 years for financing protests and smuggling cash into the country — part of a recent crackdown on dissent. In other overseas news, the US is now saying it’s unlikely a foreign adversary was responsible for “Havana syndrome.” But didn’t say who, or what, might cause it. In a bummer report, research on the gender pay gap shows it’s barely budged in the last two decades. And amid another runway close call and more reports of scary turbulence, the future of President Biden’s FAA nominee may be up in the air.

🧘🏽‍♀️ In wellness…

Walgreens says it won’t distribute abortion pills in at least 20 states. A startup wants to be the “Bumble for surrogates.” AI could change the care you get from doctors and even therapists. Forget 10,000 steps, or even 5,000 steps — new research says you can get away with 11 minutes of daily exercise to step up your health. Looking for sweeter dreams? Maybe magnesium is the key. Oh and it turns out that friend envy is real and can actually be productive — as long as you’re honest about it. But telling a new mom to make more mom friends? Not so much.

🔬 In science…

SpaceX sent four astronauts on another out-of-this-world mission. The moon could be getting its own time zone. In a land less far away, Egyptian authorities found a sealed-off chamber inside a Giza pyramidRobotic body parts may start coming in handy. Plus, toothed whales apparently use vocal fry (yes, that vocal fry) to hunt prey.


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People Are Getting Pregnant on TikTok’s Trendy ‘On-demand’ Birth Control...a “revolutionary hormone-frees” gel may come with risks.

BIPOC! At the Disco: The Club Night Proving Emo Is for Everyone…a tiny New York venue has become a safe haven for BIPOC emo fans.

How To Find Joy in Your Sisyphean Existence…ever feel like you just can’t win? Here’s how you can.

Sunday Scaries, Who?

Here’s one tip for a better start to your week.

If you can turn down the pressure to be productive at the start of the week, Sunday will suddenly seem much more enjoyable. How do you do that? Enter: “Bare Minimum Mondays.” No, that doesn’t mean slacking off. Instead, it’s giving yourself permission to only do essential tasks on Monday. Here’s how to get down to (the necessary, and only the necessary) business. 

  • Take it easy. The goal is to get your work done — but in a more relaxed way. That may not look the same for everyone. If you’re self-employed, you may find it helpful to schedule a few hours of focused work, then take the rest of the day for yourself. Or, if you have a more traditional 9-to-5, it might mean cutting down on morning meetings and focusing on admin that’ll help you prepare for the week ahead. It could also just mean taking a longer lunch.

  • Refresh your to-do list. Not everything needs to be done first thing. So on Sunday, instead of writing down a weekly to-do list, only jot down what’s on your plate for Monday. Then, identify which of those tasks are actually “must do” and push the rest back. Chances are, there won’t be as many as you think — making both Sunday and Monday feel lighter. 

  • Distract yourself. Now that you’ve got a game plan, set it aside until tomorrow. Of course, that’s easier said than done, so find something you can really dive into. That could be cooking a big dinner, calling a friend, or watching your fave TV show.

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