Ben Orner, Sauk Valley Media

Ben Orner

Sauk Valley Media

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  • Sauk Valley Media
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Past articles by Ben:

Vote-by-mail expansion headed for Pritzker's signature after Senate passage

Bill also allows curbside voting, makes Election Day a state holiday this year → Read More

State Senate approves vote-by-mail expansion along party lines

A major expansion of voting access for the 2020 general election is headed to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker after the Illinois Senate overwhelmingly passed the measure Friday. → Read More

Pritzker details contact tracing pilot effort, defends misdemeanor emergency rule

Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday announced the launch of Illinois' contact tracing program and defended an emergency rule filed Friday to allow for misdemeanor charges against businesses defying his stay-at-home order. → Read More

Illinois rents 10 refrigerated trailers as COVID-19 morgue contingency

Illinois has rented 10 refrigerated semi-truck trailers to store the bodies of deceased COVID-19 patients in case morgues become filled to capacity. A running total of state COVID-19-related expenditures from the comptroller's office shows a Tuesday invoice of $29,137.02 for the "rental of 10 refrigerator trailers for COVID-19 response." → Read More

Illinois matches deadliest day with 125 new COVID-19 deaths

Illinois matched its deadliest day of the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday as the state Department of Public Health reported 125 deaths in the previous 24 hours, matching Thursday's record. → Read More

Lawmakers talk maintaining mental health amid COVID-19 pandemic

State lawmakers put mental health on center stage Wednesday during a virtual town hall in which medical professionals offered advice to Illinoisans struggling with the mental and emotional pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. → Read More

Essential employees guaranteed workers' compensation during pandemic

According to the latest figures from the Adams County Health Department, there are 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Adams County. Two of those individuals are currently hospitalized and the remaining individuals remain at home in isolation. → Read More

Increased COVID-19 testing announced for communities of color

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday announced increased testing for COVID-19 in Illinois communities of color, which officials say disproportionately suffer from the disease. → Read More

Illinois coronavirus cases top 10,000; state agencies outline responses

Illinois on Saturday became the 10th U.S. state to top 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as the state Department of Public Health announced its largest one-day increase in cases. → Read More

Illinois EPA tackling next vaping problem: toxic waste

As people worry about the negative effects that electronic cigarettes and vaping pens may have on users' health, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is worried about the damage caused by discarded vaping devices. → Read More

Bills on educating kids about the risks of vaping, sexting advance

Two bills that would add the risks of e-cigarette use and sexting to public school curriculum will head to the full Illinois House after unanimously passing a committee Wednesday. → Read More

Lawmakers want Fair Maps Amendment on November ballot

A bipartisan coalition of state lawmakers and advocacy groups announced an effort in both chambers Thursday to overhaul the way Illinois' legislative districts are drawn. Legislators from Chicago, its suburbs and downstate are backing a state constitutional amendment to shift district mapmaking power from politicians to a 17-person commission whose members would be representative of state… → Read More

Senate bill would outlaw using live animals as carnival prizes

Senate bill would outlaw using live animals as carnival prizes → Read More

Helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant was once owned by state of Illinois

The helicopter that crashed Sunday, killing nine people including Kobe Bryant, was once owned by the state of Illinois. → Read More

Another wetter-than-normal spring predicted

Stressful planting seasons could become routine, hurting farmers and the economy → Read More

Another soggy planting season likely in store for farmers

The state's climatologist is predicting Illinois farmers are likely to endure more burdensomely wet weather while they try to plant cash crops this spring after suffering major losses as a result of a record-wet planting season last year. → Read More

Illinois corn, soybean production down by nearly 20 percent

Record-wet planting season caused dramatic decrease in cash crop yields → Read More

House bill would add risks of sexting to sex education curriculum

Sex education in Illinois middle and high schools would be required to include a discussion on sexting if a bill introduced in the state House becomes law. Illinois would become only the second state to require teaching about sexting in sex education. → Read More