CHICAGO (AP) - Unemployment fell in seven of Illinois' 12 metro areas in July. But some of the increases were sharp and driven by manufacturing declines.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that unemployment dropped in areas that included Champaign-Urbana, Springfield and the Metro East near St. Louis. The last of those three saw a steep drop, from 9.6 percent in July 2012 to 8.6 percent.
But some areas dependent on manufacturing experienced large increases. Unemployment jumped from 8 percent to 9.4 percent in Peoria, where Caterpillar Inc. has its headquarters. The company has cut employees as demand drops. Some of those layoffs have been in Decatur, where unemployment rose to 13.2 percent from 11.3 in 2012.
Illinois had the second-highest July unemployment rate in the country at 9.2 percent.
Emergency crews are on the scene of a hazmat situation in North County.
Several homes in Black Jack have been evacuated. Authorities say a 5 gallon container, filled with an unknown liquid, was found in a garage. Electrical wires from the house were connected to the container. Bomb and arson crews remain on the scene.
Police are asking for help to find suspects accused of attacking a hot dog vendor in a Ferguson Home Depot with a hammer.
Police say the victim was standing at the front entrance around 3 PM when a group of shoplifters took his cell phone. The vendor chased them out of the store and that is when one of the suspects hit him in the head with a hammer.
The victim has serious injuries and is in the hospital.
Two members of the St. Louis County Police Board are leaving In the midst of a scandal.
Chairman Gregory Sansone is stepping down while federal investigators look into a $3.7 million contact that his company received for work on a new crime lab. Former Gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence is taking Sansone's place on the board.
There is a second change pending on the board. Floyd Warman resigned weeks ago and will be replaced by Dr. Freddy Clark.
Both appointments are expected to be approved by the board next week.
Move in day for freshman at Washington University is slowing down.
1,600 incoming students started the day with a pep rally at 7:30 and the move in process started at 8:30. The same as previous years, traffic was an issue near campus, but the biggest slow downs are behind us.
School officials say the busiest time is around 10 AM.
A St. Louis Police officer is in the hospital after an accident on the firing range.
A Police spokeswoman says the officer was training on the range with SWAT around 2 PM when he accidentally shot himself in the left foot. The officer has five years of service on the force. He is in serious but stable condition.
Police say a 15-year-old girl is dead after a shooting in North St. Louis. Police say the girl's 20-year-old brother is in custody.
Chief Sam Dotson tweeted that the suspect was mentally-challenged and says the incident illustrates the importance of gun control.
It is not known why the shooting occurred.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A man who has gained YouTube fame for spectacular stunts will soar over downtown St. Louis Friday evening in full view of 40,000-plus Cardinals fans, but he promises to stay away from the city's most inviting stunt site - the Gateway Arch.
Plans call for Alexander Polli to jump from a plane flying at 4,000 feet near Busch Stadium, about an hour before the Cardinals host the Atlanta Braves. He'll be wearing a wingsuit - an aerodynamic jumpsuit that allows the wearer to soar for long distances before opening a parachute to land.
Spokeswoman Meghan Spork says Polli will do stunts while flying over downtown for about three minutes. She says he won't fly between the legs of the Arch or land on the Arch grounds.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry is wading into Missouri's political battle over tax cuts.
Perry told The Associated Press on Thursday that he believes Missouri lawmakers should override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of legislation cutting state income taxes.
A Texas economic development group began airing a radio ad Thursday in Missouri criticizing Nixon's veto and encouraging Missouri businesses to consider moving to Texas. The group also is running a Missouri TV ad touting Texas' low taxes and regulations on businesses.
Perry is to visit Missouri on Aug. 29. He plans to meet with business leaders, speak at a Missouri Chamber of Commerce luncheon and attend an evening event hosted by groups backing a veto override of the tax-cut bill.
Missouri lawmakers are to convene Sept. 11 to consider veto overrides.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Peabody Energy retirees are applauding a court ruling that it remains obligated to continue health-care benefits for some 3,100 retirees of one of the company's former holdings.
An 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' bankruptcy panel on Wednesday overturned U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kathy Surratt-States' May ruling that Peabody no longer was obliged to pay the benefits.
That ruling linked to the bankruptcy of Patriot Coal, which Peabody spun off in 2007.
While the United Mine Workers of America union cheered Wednesday's development, Peabody says the panel didn't rule on the level of funding required to meet future obligations.
Peabody adds the court found the company was obligated to make the payments until a new labor agreement was approved between Patriot and the UMWA. That came in recent days.