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. 

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

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that counting for the 2020 Census can stop.

The court decision adds to the ongoing confusion about the census but doesn’t change the message advocates have been touting since the count began in the spring, said Reema Kamran, executive director of the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health Director Gail O'Neill talks about the importance of flu shots during COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Two residents of Brother James Court – a care facility for men with disabilities – and one resident of Mill Creek Alzheimer’s Special Care Center died due to COVID-19 this week, bringing the total deaths related to the disease to 50 in Sangamon County.

Dr. Vidya Sundareshan talks about the importance of getting a flu shot. She's joined by representatives from Memorial Health System, HSHS Illinois and Springfield Clinic.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County health officials are urging people to get a flu shot, as they continue to battle the spread of COVID-19.

Springfield Municipal Center West
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

A package of police reform proposals is on a path to final passage after Springfield City Council members made changes to the ordinance Tuesday night. The sponsors said the changes removed opposition, and aldermen placed the ordinance on their agreed-upon agenda for next week’s meeting.

A sign in the Sangamon County building directing voters.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Early voting for the November election began Thursday in most of Illinois. Local election authorities can also start sending out 1.8 million vote-by-mail ballots.

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

Springfield faith and community activist groups called for commitments from the mayor and police chief to work with them to strengthen the police oversight commission and reinstate a requirement for police officers to live in the city.

Gov. JB Pritzker touts the state's COVID-19 testing capacity at a news conference in Springfield.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

After weekend protests against postponing many fall high school sports, Gov. JB Pritzker again defended the decision.

Mike Smith / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

On Tuesday nights Jennifer Moore and her children pile into their van and make a stop at a church doing a grocery give-away. They then drop the bags off to people who respond that they need food in the Springfield Families Helping Families group on Facebook.

KRISTIN WALTERS / IL NEWSROOM

Illinois is starting to award grants to renters to help them catch up on late payments. But the need far outpaces the funding available and more than 50,000 applicants won't get help.

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

After a summer of anti-police brutality demonstrations, two Springfield city council members are proposing a bigger role for the police oversight commission and spelling out use-of-force rules, among other changes.

HSHS Medical Group is offering COVID-19 testing in Springfield and Decatur.
HSHS Medical Group

HSHS Medical Group is offering COVID-19 testing in Springfield and Decatur. The medical group is using federal funds from the first coronavirus aid package to set up the drive-through sites.

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

City Water, Light and Power is encouraging customers with past due bills to contact its customer service department to get on a payment plan. They can call 217-789-2030 or visit CWLP’s website.

Sangamon County Circuit Clerk Office sign
Brandon Smith / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

Voters in Sangamon County will be able to submit their mail-in ballots for the November election in two drop boxes instead of sending back through the postal service.

School desks
Flickr user: dcJohn www.flickr.com/photos/dcjohn/

Eighteen young people tested positive for COVID-19 in Sangamon County during the week of August 23.

The weekly number of new cases among those less than 20 years old in each county is one of four metrics the Illinois Department of Public Health began publishing late last month to assist local schools and health departments in making decisions about in-person learning.

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

Friday is the last day SIU Medicine offered COVID-19 testing in the parking lot of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health.

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

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported a new peak in new COVID-19 cases at 5,368. But department officials say the spike is due to a backlog of data.

Campus entry signage
University of Illinois Springfield

The University of Illinois’ COVID-19 testing program – SHIELD – plans to put a lab on the Springfield campus, an official with the program confirmed Thursday.

A hand puts  a vile of saliva for a COVID-19 test into a biohazard bag.
University of Illinois Springfield

A couple hundred students, staff and faculty at the University of Illinois Springfield waited more than 48 hours for results from their saliva-based COVID-19 tests taken last week. Initial university instructions said results should be sent within a day or two.

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

A rise in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations landed Sangamon County on the list of counties at a warning level, according to Illinois Department of Public Health. Morgan, Cass, Pike and Greene are on the list as well.

frowning piggy bank
Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Nearly 200 cities told the Illinois Municipal League that they expect to bring in less money from taxes on shopping, gaming, gas and other sources due to the coronavirus pandemic. The responses come from a survey conducted between June and July.

Beginning Wednesday, restaurant and bar patrons must wear a mask when interacting with servers and bartenders in an effort to stem the recent spread of COVID-19.

University of Illinois Springfield

The University of Illinois Springfield is requiring weekly screening of COVID-19 for students, faculty and staff who regularly go to campus. The university is offering a saliva test developed by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, named SHIELD Testing.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Chicago’s election agency plans to allow voters to drop off their mail-in ballots at all early voting sites starting in mid-October. In Champaign County, the county clerk plans to have up to six drop boxes for voters to put their ballots in through Election Day.

The Springfield School District 186 board reconsidered Thursday night its decision of how to start the school year. In an emergency meeting, the board voted 5-2 for nearly all students to begin online just over a week after they voted to move forward with a plan that offered both in-person and online options.

Census takers are required to wear a mask, according to the Census Bureau.
U.S. Census Bureau

People in Illinois who have not yet filled out their census forms will soon get a knock at their door.

School desks
Flickr user: dcJohn www.flickr.com/photos/dcjohn/

This fall, if a student has a fever, cough or other symptom that is commonly linked to COVID-19, they cannot enter a school building.

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

Sangamon County came off the Illinois Department of Public Health’s list of counties at a warning level due to the spread of COVID-19.

Protesters in a Black Lives Matter car parade on May 31 in Springfield.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

The Springfield City Council approved an anti-racism, anti-violence and anti-hatred resolution Wednesday night that would name May 31 as BLM Solidarity Day in honor of the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

Kristin Walters / IL Newsroom

Illinois will launch a new rental assistance program that could help approximately 30,000 tenants struggling to keep a roof over their heads, according to the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

https://ccsearch.creativecommons.org/photos/null?ref=ccsearch
HM Treasury / Flickr

The Illinois Department of Public Health will test people for COVID-19 at the State Fairgrounds on Wednesdays, beginning today.

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