Retired police captain dies in apparent accidental shooting

SWANSEA, Ill. (AP) – A retired East St. Louis police captain has died in an apparent accidental shooting. The Belleville News-Democrat (http://bit.ly/1OAne5Q ) reports that 72-year-old Sherman Jumper of Swansea died Wednesday afternoon after a small handgun he was carrying inside of a bag discharged. Police say Jumper was in his garage and appeared to…

Backers of cigarette tax hike begin collecting signatures

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Supporters of increasing the cigarette tax by 23 cents a pack are collecting signatures to get the proposal on the ballot. Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association Executive Director Ronald Leone said Wednesday an outside firm began gathering signatures this week. Initiative petitions need a certain number of voter signatures…

Illinois jobless rate jumps as more people look for work

( KTRS ) State officials say the unemployment rate rose Illinois in November as more people started looking for work. The Illinois Department of Employment Security reports that the jobless rate hit 5.7 percent in November, the first increase since July 2014. The report showed a 5.1 percent increase in the number of unemployed people looking for work…

Austin, Gurley lead Rams past Buccaneers, 31-23

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Tavon Austin scored twice, Todd Gurley topped 1,000 yards rushing and the Rams beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-23 on Thursday night in what could be the franchise’s final game in St. Louis. The 31st-ranked offense had an inspired effort in front of another half-filled but spirited Edward Jones Dome crowd,…

New refugee center to open in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (AP) – A center to welcome refugees from Syria and elsewhere is set to open in St. Louis. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1lU0s2j ) reports that the refugee center is scheduled to open Thursday. Muslim police chaplains Adil Imdad and Dzemal Bijedic said they began to look for a warehouse to open a…