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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Call for bids on next generation of locomotives

Friday, 09 August 2013 03:13 Published in Local News

   CHICAGO (AP) - A group of states forging ahead with plans for high-speed passenger rail have put out a call for bids for the production of 35 next-generation locomotives.

   The request for proposals released Thursday calls for lighter, cleaner-burning locomotives that can reach speeds of up to 125 miles per hour.

   Illinois is leading the procurement. The other states taking part are California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington.

   The Federal Railroad Administration has allocated $808 million for the new locomotives and for the construction of 130 bi-level passenger cars.

   Those cars will be built at a new plant in Rochelle, Ill., by the American subsidiary of Nippon Sharyo, the company that built Japan's bullet train.

   Illinois is working on 110-mph service on routes from Chicago to Detroit and Chicago to St. Louis.

 

   The State of Missouri may have to pay part of the costs for the school transfer program.  The unaccredited Normandy School District will spend between 15 and 18 million dollars to send hundreds of students to Francis Howell and other, better performing districts.  Missouri Education Commissioner Dr. Chris Nicastro told Fox 2 News that at that rate, Normandy will likely run out of money before the end of the school year.

"If Normandy cannot meet their obligations, then there's going to have to be some money come from somewhere," Nicastro said.  "The legislature's the only body I know of that can appropriate those funds." 

   Dr. Nicastro says the costs could go up next year.  That's when new education standards kick in across the state, which she believes will cause more districts to become unaccredited.  

 

   SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - A New York man charged with trying to extort money from embattled celebrity cook Paula Deen is scheduled to appear before a federal judge to change his plea.

   Thomas George Paculis was to appear Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Savannah, where he pleaded not guilty during his last hearing in July.

   Court records filed last week say 62-year-old Paculis of Newfield, N.Y., has signed a plea agreement with prosecutors. But details have not been released.

   Prosecutors and Paculis' defense attorney have declined to comment.

   Authorities say Paculis contacted Deen's attorney threatening to reveal damaging statements by the former Food Network star unless she paid him $200,000. That happened after documents became public that showed Deen acknowledged using racial slurs in the past.

 

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