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This Hour: Latest Illinois news, sports, business and entertainment

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ILLINOIS METRO UNEMPLOYMENT

Jobless rates fall in all Illinois metro areas

CHICAGO (AP) - The state Department of Employment Security says unemployment rates dropped in June in all 12 Illinois metro areas. It was the third straight month of across-the-board decreases.

Department Director Jay Rowell said Thursday in the agency's monthly report on metro unemployment that the trend of encouraging employment data shows real economic improvement.

The department said earlier this month that statewide unemployment fell to 7.1 percent in June. That's higher than the 6.1 percent national rate but the lowest point for the state figure since 2008.

Sharp declines in unemployment were reported last month in high-unemployment areas. The Danville jobless rate fell from 11.6 percent a year ago to 9.3 percent. In Rockford the rate fell from 11.4 percent to 8.9. And in Decatur it dropped from 12.5 percent to 9.2.

OIL DRILLING-ILLINOIS

Coalition ways state must move faster on fracking

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A coalition of business and labor groups wants the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to move faster in implementing hydraulic fracturing rules.

The group calls itself "Growing Resources and Opportunity for the Workforce in Illinois." The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports the coalition held a news conference Thursday to call on Gov. Pat Quinn's administration, saying Illinois is missing out on jobs and economic opportunities.

The agency has come under increasing criticism from "fracking" supporters who had hoped that high-volume oil and gas drilling would start this summer. Also, the department has hired a fraction of the 53 employees it says it needs.

State officials say they're on track to meet a Nov. 15 deadline with the rules and have posted nearly half the jobs to be filled.

BALLOT MEASURES-QUINN

Quinn backs county ballot measure on gun laws

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has thrown his support behind a Cook County ballot measure that asks voters to weigh in on Illinois gun laws.

The Democrat is calling on county residents to support tougher gun laws through what he called "the power of the ballot box."

He spoke at a Chicago church.

The Cook County Board voted Wednesday to put a non-binding measure on the ballot. It asks whether Illinois should require universal background checks for gun sales and whether the state should ban assault weapons.

Quinn's made his own call for such a ban. He's also gone after Republican challenger Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur) on the issue, saying Thursday that his advocacy for tougher gun laws is a "fundamental" difference with Rauner.

But the Rauner campaign calls Quinn's anti-crime policies "disastrous."

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR-QUINN

Quinn: Rauner ad shows 'pattern of dishonesty'

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has blasted a new commercial by his Republican opponent in which headlines from news stories appear doctored.

Speaking to reporters at a Thursday campaign event in Chicago, the Democrat called the alterations "clearly wrong."

Bruce Rauner's (ROW'-nurz) 30-second commercial called "Headlines" overlays what appear to be newspaper headlines over images of Quinn. The headlines criticize Quinn's record on jobs, schools and a troubled anti-violence program. But a review of the ad reveals several cases where the purported headlines don't match the headlines media outlets actually used.

Citing the ad, Quinn told reporters Thursday his challenger has displayed "a pattern of dishonesty" during the closely contested race.

Rauner's campaign says the phrases in the commercial were simply condensed because of time and space constraints.

CHICAGO VIOLENCE

Chicago authorities charge man in child's death

CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago authorities have charged an 18-year-old in the slaying of an 11-year-old girl who was struck in the head by a stray bullet while at a sleepover last week.

The Cook County State's Attorney's office says Tevin Lee was charged Thursday with murder, felony murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm. It was not immediately clear if he has an attorney. No listed phone number was available.

Shamiya Adams was making s'mores at a friend's house in Chicago's West Garfield Park neighborhood on July 18 when she was struck by a bullet. She died early the next morning.

Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters Thursday that the shooting likely stemmed from a fistfight between two teenagers who were affiliated with rival gangs.

COLD CASE STRANGLING-ARREST

Man held in 1992 strangling death of Illinois teen

CHICAGO (AP) - A 71-year-old man has been arrested in California in connection with the 1992 strangling death of an Illinois teenager.

Cook County authorities say Robert Serritella was arrested this week in Los Angeles County and will appear in court there Thursday.

The mother of 15-year-old victim David Chereck tells the Chicago Sun-Times she got a call Wednesday from Cook County investigators. Esther Chereck says she was relieved to hear the news about the arrest of a suspect in the 22-year-old case.

David Chereck was last seen walking home from a bowling alley in Skokie on New Year's Day 1992. His body was found the next day in a forest preserve.

FAKE POLICE-ROBBERY

Man robbed by fake police on Illinois highway

LITCHFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois State Police say a driver was robbed on Interstate 55 near Litchfield by men who impersonated police officers.

According to the Belleville News-Democrat the man told police he was pulled over around 10 p.m. Tuesday by a sports utility vehicle with a flashing red light on its dashboard.

The man said that when he stopped, three men wearing ski masks held him at gunpoint as they robbed him of more than $5,000 in cash. The robbers then tied him up with duct tape and left him in his car along the highway.

The man told police that one of the robbers wore what looked like a police uniform.

No arrests have been made.

SKYDIVER KILLED

Skydiver dies during WWII-style jump in Oklahoma

FREDERICK, Okla. (AP) - Authorities say a skydiver from Illinois has been killed while taking part in a demonstration jump in Oklahoma to honor World War II paratroopers.

Oklahoma medical examiner's office spokeswoman Amy Elliott says 69-year-old Jim Yost died Tuesday from blunt force injuries after his parachute malfunctioned.

Yost, a funeral director from Champaign, Illinois, was taking part in the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team's semi-annual jump school near Frederick, Oklahoma, when the accident occurred.

Tillman County Sheriff Bobby Whittington says his office and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the death.

Members of the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team honor veterans by participating in jumps that are modeled after paratroopers during the war.

IMMIGRATION DETAINERS-MCLEAN COUNTY

Immigration detainers down in McLean County

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Federal immigration detainers have dropped in a central Illinois county where they sparked protests two years ago.

The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports that the number issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in McLean County was 122 in 2012, 48 in 2013 and 18 this year.

Activists wanted to end the practice in 2012, but Sheriff Mike Emery says it's his obligation to cooperate with federal authorities.

Detainers allow immigrants to be jailed without probable cause at the request of U.S. immigration authorities so they can be considered for possible deportation.

But the practice is under scrutiny nationwide. Cook County stopped complying with detainers in 2011.

Legislation that calls for Illinois facilities to stop honoring detainers is pending.

Immigration officials argue detainers help apprehend criminals living in the U.S. illegally.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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