Illinois briefs 7/29/2011

*Storms make Chicago’s wettest July in history*

Overnight storms have made this the wettest July in Chicago’s history.

National Weather Service officials said Thursday that the total rainfall for July is 9.75 inches, which surpasses a July 1889 record of 9.56 inches. Weather officials say there’s more rainy weather on the way. Meteorologist Andrew Krein says 10 inches is a possibility this month.

The early Thursday morning and Wednesday evening storms thunderstorms knocked out power for tens of thousands of people in the Chicago area. The weather service has issued flash flood watches for portions of northern Illinois.

*Quinn signs school athletes concussions legislation*

Student athletes from elementary to high school will get better safeguards against concussion injuries under a new law that takes effect immediately.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the measure Thursday in Chicago. It says that student athletes with concussions must get medical approval before resuming play. The law also requires education for coaches, parents, referees and players about concussion symptoms.

Several other states have enacted similar laws. Repeat concussions and returning to play too soon raises risks for permanent brain damage.

Many athletic directors in the state support the law because it will put schools all on the same page. But some worry about lack of funds to pay for trained staff to monitor athletes and make sure they are removed from play after a suspected concussion.

*Metro unemployment hits 3-year low for June*

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says each of the state’s dozen metro areas experienced their lowest June unemployment rates last month in three years.

When compared with May of this year, however, unemployment was up in all 12 metro areas. The department said Thursday that the lowest June rate was 7 percent in Bloomington-Normal. The highest was 11.6 percent in the Rockford area. Chicago-area unemployment was 10.4 percent.

Total jobs were up in June in seven metro areas. Job numbers dropped in the Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal, Decatur and East St. Louis areas and were unchanged in the Danville area.