ILLINOIS AMTRAK TRAIN HITS 111 MPH IN TEST RUN: JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — For the first time on a key Midwestern route between Chicago and St. Louis, an Amtrak passenger train topped 110 mph Friday, ripping through fog-shrouded farm fields and blowing past cars on a parallel highway.
The test run on a special train packed with journalists, politicians and transportation officials was a milestone in President Barack Obama's vision of bringing high-speed rail to the United States and transforming the way Americans travel. It also was a welcome morale booster for high-speed rail advocates who have watched conservatives in Congress put the brakes on spending for fast train projects they view as expensive boondoggles.
The silver five-car, two-engine train held the high speeds for about five minutes along a 15-mile stretch of track between the central Illinois cities of Dwight and Pontiac before braking back below its usual top speed of 79 mph. Paying passengers on the route will start experiencing the faster speed on that short segment by Thanksgiving. Most of the route will get the higher speed by 2015.
ACLU WANTS VETERANS' GROUP REMOVED FROM CROSS CASE: SAN DIEGO (AP) — A veterans' organization should have no say in legal talks on how to modify a war memorial cross that is located on federal land, the American Civil Liberties Union told a federal judge Friday in a hearing to decide whether the group should be dropped from the case.
U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns said he will issue his ruling on the ACLU's request soon, but he told the court that he was inclined to allow the Mount Soledad Memorial Association to continue to intervene as a party in the case.
The association maintains the Mount Soledad cross, which has been deemed to be an unconstitutional mixing of government and religion by a federal court that ordered it be modified but did not specify what needs to be done.
David Loy of the ACLU in San Diego argued the veterans' organization maintains the memorial but does not own it and therefore has no right to decide how the property should be reconfigured.
SANDUSKY ACCUSER TELLS OF ABUSE ORDEAL IN NEW BOOK:
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A young man whose sexual-abuse claims triggered the investigation of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky says in his new book Sandusky's wife once called down to the basement while he was being attacked and Sandusky dismissed her by saying he was busy.
Aaron Fisher writes in "Silent No More" that Dottie Sandusky asked her husband to fix a table upstairs but that when he replied he was fixing an air hockey table she dropped the subject.
"Sarge," Fisher wrote, using her nickname, "never went down to the basement."
Fisher wrote that in an early warning sign, while swimming together he felt Sandusky's hand on his crotch a "little too long." During car rides, he said, Sandusky had him sit up front and would put his hand on the boy's thigh.
He first reported the abuse in 2008, but he said the state attorney general's office told him it needed more victims before Sandusky would be charged. Sandusky was arrested last November.
The delay, Fisher said, made him increasingly desperate.
" Fisher, 18, testified at Sandusky's trial, which ended with Sandusky convicted of 45 counts of abuse involving Fisher and nine other boys. Sandusky, 68, was sentenced this month to 30 to 60 years in prison.
Fisher was 15 when he and his mother reported the abuse to a school principal, who responded that "Jerry has a heart of gold and that he wouldn't do those type of things," Fisher told ABC, repeating his trial testimony.