July 22 5:17 am

Fatal Accident on I-55
 Illinois State Police say five people were killed and five others injured in a pair of accidents along Interstate 55 south of Chicago. State police say a speeding semi-trailer truck that abruptly changed lanes in a construction zone on I-55 near Arsenal Road caused a chain-reaction crash yesterday that stopped three vehicles. Four women were killed. Two semi-trailer trucks later collided in the southbound lanes of Interstate 55 at U.S. 6. One driver later died.

Crops doing Good
 The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Illinois' corn crop is maturing faster than normal and faring well.  The USDA says in its weekly crop-status update that 81 percent of the state's corn is rated as either good or excellent. Eighty-two percent of the crop is silking, 12 percentage points better than the average of the previous five years. 
Roughly three-quarters of Illinois' soybean crop is considered good or excellent. Sixty-nine percent of the soybeans in the field are now blooming, ahead of the five-year average of 55 percent.

Grundy County Accident
Two people died following a fatal vehicle crash late Sunday night in Grundy County. The Grundy County Coroner’s Office says an SUV was eastbound on US Route 6 Sunday evening, northeast of Morris, when the vehicle left the road into the south ditch and rolled over several times. Authorities say three people were ejected from the vehicle and one remained inside of the vehicle.  Authorities say a 22 year old from Channahon and a 16 year old from Morris were killed in the accident.

Oglesby Standoff
An Oglesby man was taken into custody yesterday morning  after an 8 hour standoff.  Police say the man barricaded himself in  his house with 2 handguns and 3 dogs after police were called by the man’s wife.  Police from 6 different jurisdictions responded, and the immediate neighborhood was evacuated.  Negotiations with the man went on for several hours, but eventually, police say, law enforcement action was  needed to take him out of the house.  Police say the suspect was preliminarily charged with domestic battery, but other charges may be pending.
Streator Elementary
Students enrolled this year through the Streator Elementary Schools will be receiving free meals. District officials say the schools are participating in the Community Eligibility Program for the 2014-2015 school year. CEP allows the district to provide health breakfasts and lunches each day at no charge for all kindergarten through eighth grade students. Officials say that additional items such as extra milk and a la cart items will still be available for purchase and money must be posted in the student’s food accounts to purchase the extra items.

Poverty in Illinois
 A new report says the number of Illinois children living in areas of high poverty has increased by about a third since 2000.   The annual survey released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation estimates 347,000 Illinois children live in areas of concentrated poverty.   This year's Kids Count survey also found some encouraging news about Illinois. There's been a long-term decline in births to teenage mothers.   The report says Illinois ranks 20th among states for overall child well-being.
Former Missionary Convicted
 A former Baptist missionary accused of shooting his wife to death on Valentine's Day last year has been found guilty of first-degree murder. The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes Monday before finding Nathan Leuthold guilty in the death of Denise Leuthold. Leuthold faces between 45 years and life in prison when he is sentenced in September.

Fox River Identified
 Authorities have identified the missing swimmer whose body was found in the Fox River in suburban Chicago. Carpentersville police identified the victim as Emanuel Mendieta-Ramirez. An autopsy determined the Mendieta-Ramirez drowned. Authorities said Mendieta-Ramirez and two friends were fishing on the river Sunday morning when the victim and a friend jumped in.

Term Limits Heard
 An Illinois appellate court has agreed to hear an expedited appeal of a ruling that banned a question on term limits from the November ballot. Supporters gathered signatures to put a measure on the ballot to limit legislators to eight years. The Illinois Supreme Court said last week it wouldn't hear an immediate appeal.

ROE Mergers
 Illinois state education officials say they're still working out the details of coming mergers of Regional Offices of Education around the state. The State Board of Education approved a new map last fall reducing the number of regional offices that handle everything from school building inspections to professional development for teachers from 44 to 35. The consolidation deadline is June 30, 2015.