Author

Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a data reporter with the Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.

Minnesota tops the nation in turkey production

By: - November 24, 2021

If you’re eating a turkey on Thanksgiving, odds are it came from Minnesota. Minnesota tops the nation in turkey production, with more than 40 million birds produced here last year by at least 600 growers — including poultry giant Jennie-O. That means we have about seven turkeys for every person in Minnesota. Minnesota produces nearly 18% […]

Why does Minnesota have so many COVID-19 cases?

By: - November 22, 2021

Minnesota is experiencing one of the nation’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks, despite a relatively high vaccination rate of 68% for people over age 5. The apparent contradiction has left many Minnesotans wondering why cases are rising so fast. Here are your questions about Minnesota’s COVID-19 surge, answered. Pretty bad. As of Friday, Minnesota had the country’s […]

Latest social studies standards draft urges ethnic studies focus

By: - November 19, 2021

Minnesota is poised to join a handful of states requiring ethnic studies for all public school students. In its third and final draft, a committee tasked with revising the state’s social studies standards included an ethnic studies focus area along with new requirements for the teaching of gender and religion. That draft — coming after more […]

COVID-19 relief spurs personal income growth for Minnesotans

By: - November 16, 2021

Minnesotans’ personal incomes were up 3.9% in the first half of 2021 compared to before the pandemic, in line with national trends, according to an analysis by Pew Charitable Trusts. Personal income grew in every state between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2021 because of pandemic-related government assistance and wage […]

Minnesota’s COVID-19 surge stretches on

By: - November 15, 2021

Minnesota reported 5,266 new COVID-19 cases Monday as the state’s fourth wave of the pandemic stretches on. Cases here are growing faster than anywhere else in the country, The New York Times reported Monday, with 67 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past week — far surpassing the national rate of 24 new cases per […]

Photo illustration of nurses in a hospital

Feds issue 47 penalties to Minnesota hospitals for high patient readmission, injury rates

By: - November 15, 2021

The federal government issued 47 penalties to Minnesota hospitals for high patient readmission or hospital-related infection rates — a lower proportion than the national average, according to an analysis of federal records by Kaiser Health News. The federal government reduces hospitals’ Medicare payments through programs aimed at increasing patient safety, enacted as part of the […]

K-12 students appear to buck upward trend in state’s COVID cases

By: - November 11, 2021

New COVID-19 cases associated with preK-12 schools may be on the decline in Minnesota, according to data released by the Minnesota Department of Health Thursday. During the week of Oct. 10 — the most recent week for which there is complete data — 1,923 students had COVID-19 at school, down from more than 2,600 the week before. […]

Minnesota opens second overflow center for hospital patients amid COVID-19 surge, labor shortage

By: - November 10, 2021

The state of Minnesota is opening a second overflow center for patients in hopes of relieving strain for hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday. The skilled nursing facility at Good Samaritan Society – Bethany in Brainerd will have 34 beds for patients who no longer need acute emergency care but aren’t […]

State approves St. Paul Public Schools COVID relief spending plan

By: - November 8, 2021

The Minnesota Department of Education approved St. Paul Public Schools’ plan to spend $207 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds, the school district announced Monday. Schools nationwide received more than $100 billion through the American Rescue Plan Act to implement COVID-19 safety measures, help students make up for lost learning time and address the pandemic’s […]

Republicans call on Minnesota School Board Association to cut ties with national association

By: - November 5, 2021

A group of Republican state legislators are calling on the Minnesota School Board Association to cut ties with the National School Boards Association, after the national organization asked the federal government to investigate threats and harassment against school board members. Seven members of the state GOP sent a letter to the MSBA Thursday saying they […]

Minnesota voters reject many anti-mask, anti-CRT school board candidates

By: - November 4, 2021

The swell of school board candidates across Minnesota who campaigned against masking and diversity efforts didn’t see much success on Election Day, as voters mostly stuck with incumbents or went for candidates who took different stances on hot-button issues. More than 230 candidates filed to run in elections across 46 districts this fall, according to […]

School operating levies successful in many Minnesota districts

By: - November 3, 2021

Voters across Minnesota approved the majority of school operating levies and bonds on the ballot in Tuesday’s election, according to the Minnesota School Board Association. Sixty-six school districts asked voters to renew levies for operations or capital projects — or raise taxes to increase levies — as schools struggle with rising costs due to the COVID-19 […]