The Illinois Department of Transportation says about $1.45 billion in contracts have been awarded so far for high-speed rail construction.
Work on the project is in its fourth season, and most of the current construction focuses on sidings and design of an automated control system. Officials hope to have the high-speed rail service between St. Louis and Chicago up and running in 2015.
A Collinsville man who dresses up as an evil clown and plays in a band called "The Core of Your Nightmares" has been charged with producing child pornography. 31-year-old Martin Evanick pleaded guilty on Monday to taking inappropriate pictures and having a sexual relationship with a minor. The investigation started after the mother of a 16-year-old girl tipped off police about the relationship. According to the federal indictment, the alleged abuse took place over a two-year period. Evanick faces up to 30 years in prison.
A Shiloh, Illnois man has been jailed after being accused of causing injuries that sent his 4-month-old son to the hospital. Prosecutors have charged Randall Penn with five counts of aggravated battery to a child and two counts of aggravated domestic battery. The infant's injuries aren't considered life-threatening.