Mary Hansen

Reporter

Mary reports for NPR Illinois and the Illinois Newsroom. She graduated from the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois Springfield, where she spent a legislative session covering statehouse news for The Daily Herald. Previously, Mary reported for The State Journal-Register, covering city government. She received her BA in International Studies from American University. 

Practice field at Glenwood High School in Chatham, Illinois.
Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois High School Association announced a new sports schedule following new public health guidelines issued by the state.

Voting signs at Sangamon County building
AMANDA VINICKY / NPR ILLINOIS | 91.9 UIS

Millions of voters across Illinois are getting vote-by-mail applications.

A new law signed by the governor this summer directs all election authorities in the state to send out the applications by August 1. 

An employee at a COVID-19 drive-through testing site funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health directs drivers.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

COVID-19 testing will again be available in the parking lot of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health building, at 2833 South Grand Avenue East, on Monday with new hours.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

More and younger people are getting sick with COVID-19 in Sangamon County. The public health department and county government announced new enforcement mechanisms to tamp down the spread of the new coronavirus at restaurants and bars.

University of Illinois Springfield

Unionized faculty and staff at Illinois’ universities and colleges want their institutions to start almost entirely online this fall.

Medical and health officials answer questions about the first two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Springfield
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Since March, dozens of employees at central Illinois hospitals and clinics have contracted COVID-19. But leaders of the region’s healthcare institutions said the rate of their workers getting sick is lower than the general population, and the precautions they put in place protect patients and employees.

Signs at the COVID-19 testing site at a former Walgreens in Springfield.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

There are now two drive-through, COVID-19 testing sites in Springfield – Memorial Medical Center Respiratory Clinic and Walgreens.

Signs outside a store in downtown Springfield encourage handwashing and the use of face masks.
Mary Hanse / NPR Illinois

Restaurants and bars that don’t comply with Illinois’ indoor seating limits and other rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus could face a $500 fine from the city of Springfield. Further noncompliance could lead to the city temporarily suspending a liquor license.

A COVID-19 testing site outside of Sangamon County Health Department.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

On Friday afternoon, fifteen cars lined up in the Sangamon County Department of Public Health parking lot, their drivers or passengers waiting to get tested for COVID-19.

Pritzker Deciding Whether To Halt Evictions Again

Jul 16, 2020
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker says he is considering extending a moratorium on evictions beyond the end of July.  During a stop in Rockford, Thursday, Pritzker was asked if he planned to renew the order when it expires at the end of the month.

Springfield Municipal Center West
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Springfield Ald. Joe McMenamin again apologized Tuesday night for comments he made at last week’s city council meeting, which sparked a wider conversation about race and unconscious bias.

Masks on statues of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in downtown Springfield
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Ryan Bandy would post photos on social media of patrons packing his bars in Springfield.

“That was my proudest moments, when you see a lot of people in your business having a good time,” Bandy said. “Now, it's bad to do that. It's wrong to have a packed business. And rightfully so.”

Signs outside a store in downtown Springfield encourage handwashing and the use of face masks.
Mary Hanse / NPR Illinois

A month ago, Sangamon County confirmed a dozen COVID-19 cases in one week. So far this week, more than 50 people have tested positive.

People can respond online to the U.S. Census for the first time in 2020.
U.S. Census Bureau / U.S. Census Bureau

About a third of Illinois households still need to fill out their 2020 census forms, according to the U.S. Census Bureau .

A car in a Black Lives Matter parade passes in front of Springfield Police Department headquarters on Monroe Street.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Over the past three years, Springfield’s Police Community Review Commission has considered a single case. But there are differing thoughts on why the board has such a light caseload and if change is needed.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County is looking to expand its COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts, and prevent outbreaks at long-term care facilities. The local health department is asking the Illinois Department of Public Health for $2.86 million to fight the new coronavirus over the next year.

Masks on statues of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in downtown Springfield
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Sangamon County is seeing fewer new COVID-19 cases than it did a month ago, according to data shared in an online roundtable discussion Friday.

But concerns about the disparate impact the coronavirus has on communities of color in the area, and how the pandemic is changing healthcare persist.

Three smoke stacks from Springfield's City Water, Light and Power sit on the lake.
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Utility customers in Springfield are shielded from disconnections through late July to help out those who’ve been hurt financially by the coronavirus pandemic.

City Water, Light and Power Chief Engineer Doug Brown said the extended grace period gives customers more time to seek assistance in paying overdue bills.

Storefront of Jerk Shop Go in downtown Springfield, one of the businesses participating in 217 Black Restaurant Weekend
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

From old favorites like Boyd’s New Generation to the more recently opened Greathouse Barbecue, seven restaurants are participating in the weekend celebration of food and culture.

From left Rev. T. Ray McJunkins, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Ald. Doris Turner, Ald. Shawn Gregory, and State Sen. Andy Manar gathered at Union Baptist Church in Springfield to talk about police reforms.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

As protests against police brutality continue throughout Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he’s working on police and criminal justice reform, and investment in communities of color with lawmakers.

Rev. T Ray McJunkins speaks to the crowd on Sundy afternoon.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

In Springfield, demonstrations continued over the weekend against police brutality and racism sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.

Many speakers addressed how to create change at a rally called “Manifesting Our Momentum,” where elected officials and faith leaders took a prominent role.

Protesters march on Capitol Avenue in Springfield Monday against police brutality. The rally and march were organized by young people.
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

On Monday, Allaijah Davis and her friends Nykeyla Henderson and Ariona Fairlee led an estimated 1,000 peaceful demonstrators down Capitol Avenue in Springfield.

Black Lives Matter protesters march down Sixth Street in downtown Springfield.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

At Tuesday’s Springfield City Council meeting, several officials praised protesters who took the streets in the capital city for being peaceful. A few amplified the message of speakers at the anti-police brutality protests.

Olivia Mitchell/NPR Illinois

More than a thousand demonstrators shouting ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘No Justice, No Peace’ took to the streets in Springfield again Monday, demanding an end to racial injustices.

Ald. Shawn Gregory speaks at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in May.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Thousands of cars circled downtown Springfield Sunday afternoon to protest recent police killings.

Springfield Municipal Center West
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Springfield city officials called for residents to stay home Sunday night around 8:30 p.m.

Police Chief Kenny Winslow said they made the decision after receiving information of potential “civil disturbances." He declined to elaborate on specifics.

City officials emphasized it was not a curfew, but a request.

The call comes as protests against police brutality in cities around the country have erupted into violence. Sunday afternoon, Gov. J.B. Pritzker authorized National Guard troops to be deployed to Chicago, which has been under a curfew.

Memorial Health System's Respiratory Clinic is on Sixth Street in Springfield.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

More than two months after Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared testing would be key to Illinois’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, coronavirus testing is still limited in Sangamon County.

Meanwhile, state officials report more than 13,600 tests done in the county. Local officials, however, estimate that with repeat tests and people from outside the county limits screened here, only 5,600 individual Sangamon County residents have been tested.

A look at the numbers from one recent week provides a window into the complexities underlying the stats published by health authorities.

Protesters gather outside the Bank of Springfield Center as state lawmakers prepare to convene on May 20.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

Some Springfield City Council members questioned the mayor and the police chief about the city’s response to protests at the Capitol late last week, saying it was more permissive than the response they’re seeing in some neighborhoods. A few also reacted to a racial slur found spray painted at a local park.

Downtown Springfield Inc. is developing a plan for more outdoor eating and shopping options this summer.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

As restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 begin to loosen, establishments in downtown Springfield are looking to add options for dining or selling merchandise outside.

U of I Bans ‘Intimate’ Faculty-Undergraduate Student Relationships

May 21, 2020
Travis Stansel / Illinois Public Media

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved changes to its policies on hiring as well as faculty and staff relationships with students and subordinates. 

Pages