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.


  As Illinois attempts to balance its books, it’s dipping into pots of money meant to help cities and towns pay for services -- and local officials are looking for options.

One idea is to make it easier for smaller cities to gain home-rule status, which allows those towns to have more flexibility in how they operate. Home-rule governments can borrow more money for big road projects, set more zoning rules, and institute sales and gas taxes.


Candidates in the Illinois governor’s race blew through campaign contribution limits months ago, but recently a few state House races did too.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Part 2: Most of the radium-tainted earth from decades-old manufacturing in Ottawa has been removed, but one major site still needs cleanup.

Ken Ricci refers to his purchase of a Geiger counter, a handheld machine that detects radiation, as a "God wink." The 91-year-old Ottawa resident picked it up at a garage sale in 1982. Soon after, he and a friend used it to find several hot spots of contamination throughout the central Illinois city.

A Derivative of photo by Erik Hersman , licensed under CC By 2.0/ FLICKR

A recent federal appeals court decision struck down the requirement that minor parties offer a full slate of candidates for statewide or countywide offices, while another court battle looms.

On a windy Sunday in October, Josh Dill spent the afternoon gathering petition signatures for a Democratic candidate for Congress, Dr. David Gill.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

As the holiday season kicks off, more people are using sites like Amazon and eBay to buy gifts.

The booming online shopping industry has cities across Illinois worried. They say it’s taking a bite out of their budgets. 

Illinois began collecting the state sales tax on more online purchases in 2015. But that generally doesn't include the extra percentage in local sales tax that is paid at a store. Peoria city manager Patrick Urich says his city has seen decreased revenue, and blames the outdated way Illinois collects taxes.