Mary Hansen

Mary is a reporter at NPR Illinois and graduated from the Public Affairs Reporting program at UIS and received her BA in International Studies from American University. Previously Mary worked as a planning consultant and reported for the State Journal-Register where she covered city government.

Mary is a lifelong NPR listener since tuning into her home station WESA in Pittsburgh.

MARY HANSEN / NPR ILLINOIS | 91.9 UIS

  Illinois has given more than two million vaccinations. But Black residents are less likely to get the shots than their white peers, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data. As of Feb. 22, 4% of Sangamon County’s vaccine doses have gone to Black residents, who make up 13% of the county’s population, according to census numbers.

The same day the first employees at Memorial Health System hospitals in central Illinois were getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, an internal blog post was published: “Debunking COVID-19 Vaccination Myths.”

When Gov. JB Pritzker observes COVID-19 vaccines administered at a Peoria hospital on Tuesday morning, he’ll be witnessing among the first COVID-19 inoculations in Illinois after the state received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech.

As hospitalizations due to COVID-19 remain at record levels, hospitals that serve small towns and rural areas in Illinois are facing unique challenges.

U.S. Representative Rodney Davis has won a fifth term to represent the 13th Congressional District. He faced Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan in a rematch of their close 2018 race.

Hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters have received a ballot in the mail but not yet returned it.

Illinois State Board of Election spokesperson Matt Dietrich said if any of those voters have changed their minds and now want to vote in person, they can.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

In Morgan County in central Illinois, voters can return their ballots in a drop box set up for property taxes and traffic ticket payments when the county building was all but shut down at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

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

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.

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

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. 

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

Pritzker Deciding Whether To Halt Evictions Again

Jul 17, 2020

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Illinoisans won’t be able to eat at restaurants until the end of June at the earliest, under the governor’s plan to reopen the state. The statewide association representing restaurants is pushing to move that up to the end of May.

A Clay County judge is lifting Illinois' extended stay-at-home order for a single state representative.

In Illinois, at least 186 nursing homes and long-term care facilities are reporting at least one confirmed COVID-19 case, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, according to new data from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Illinois will likely take in $2.7 billion less this fiscal year, which ends in June, and another $4.6 billion less next fiscal year – all fallout from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Concerts, festivals and other large events could be called off this summer. Gov. J.B. Pritzker urged organizers to “think seriously” about cancellations as restrictions could still be in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Pana Community Hospital – about an hour south east of Springfield – is preparing to treat patients sick with COVID-19. But, like many of the rural hospitals around Illinois, it’s also wrestling with financial challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Illinois residents have been receiving mailers saying they’re a “2020 Congressional District Census.” But it’s not that census – the once-in-a-decade population count.

The mailer is a survey and fundraising document from the Republican National Committee, and that has the Democratic Party of Illinois crying foul.

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