Joshua Haiar

Joshua Haiar

Joshua Haiar is a reporter based in Sioux Falls. Born and raised in Mitchell, he joined the Navy as a public affairs specialist after high school and then earned a degree from the University of South Dakota. Prior to joining South Dakota Searchlight, Joshua worked for five years as a multimedia specialist and journalist with South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

Members of the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission hear testimony during a meeting Sept. 7, 2023, in Watertown. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Commission denies expanded hound hunting for mountain lions after hundreds of comments

By: - September 7, 2023

WATERTOWN — After receiving hundreds of written public comments, the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission denied a proposal Thursday that would have allowed the use of dogs to hunt mountain lions in a broader area of the Black Hills.  However, the commission directed the Department of Game, Fish and Parks to reassess its mountain […]

South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioners, from left, Chris Nelson, Kristie Fiegen and Gary Hanson participate in a meeting Sept. 6, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

South Dakota regulators deny permit for Navigator CO2 carbon pipeline

By: - September 6, 2023

PIERRE — In a unanimous decision, the three-member South Dakota Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday rejected Navigator CO2’s application for a permit to construct the Heartland Greenway carbon capture pipeline in South Dakota.  The commission also unanimously refused the company’s request to preempt county pipeline setback ordinances. The ordinances mandate minimum distances between pipelines and […]

A farmhand connects milking equipment to dairy cow udders inside the parlor building at Boadwine Farms in Baltic. (Makenzie Huber, South Dakota Searchlight)

Not all livestock operations in South Dakota have to manage waste equally

By: - September 4, 2023

A large feedlot near Watertown with about 10,000 cattle was recently disciplined for not properly managing its manure.  But not by the state. It was the Codington County Board of Adjustment that responded to public complaints. The board found the operation violated 25 zoning ordinances or permit requirements. As a result, the board decided to […]

Pheasants Forever launches new initiative to expand outdoor access in South Dakota

By: - August 23, 2023

In an effort to enhance public outdoor access and support long-term land conservation, Pheasants Forever has unveiled a new program targeting 10,000 acres of land in South Dakota annually. The new Public Access to Habitat (PATH) initiative aims to complement the current South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Walk-In Area program, which pays landowners about […]

Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, vice president of government and public affairs for Navigator CO2, debates state Rep. Jon Hansen, R-Dell Rapids, on Aug. 22, 2023, at the Dacotah Bank Event Center in Brookings as moderator Sara Frankenstein looks on. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

During debate with lawmaker, carbon pipeline executive calls eminent domain a ‘last resort’

By: - August 22, 2023

BROOKINGS — An executive for a carbon dioxide pipeline company said during a debate Tuesday evening that eminent domain is “a tool of absolute last resort.” Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, vice president of government and public affairs for Navigator CO2, debated state Rep. Jon Hansen, R-Dell Rapids, at the Dacotah Bank Event Center. Hansen is a critic […]

South Dakota's all-Republican congressional delegation, from left: Sen. John Thune, Rep. Dusty Johnson and Sen. Mike Rounds. (Photos courtesy of Thune/Johnson/Rounds offices; composite by South Dakota Searchlight)

State’s all-Republican congressional delegation will not attend Trump’s SD event

By: - August 22, 2023

When the South Dakota Republican Party hosts former President Donald Trump on Sept. 8 in Rapid City, the state’s all-Republican congressional delegation will not be there. All three have scheduling conflicts, their offices said. South Dakota’s senators have endorsed South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott in the Republican presidential primary, rather than former President Donald Trump. […]

Gov. Kristi Noem speaks on Aug. 21, 2023, near the nation's southern border. With Noem are, from left, Govs. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Greg Abbott of Texas, and Jim Pillen of Nebraska. (Courtesy of Gov. Noem's office)

Noem says National Guard deployment to southern border will begin next month

By: - August 21, 2023

Gov. Kristi Noem said during a press conference Monday that a previously announced South Dakota National Guard deployment to the border will begin Sept. 1.  Noem made the comments during a livestreamed appearance at the border with fellow Republican governors Greg Abbott of Texas, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Jim Pillen of Nebraska and Kevin Stitt […]

The Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline route in South Dakota. (Courtesy of South Dakota Public Utilities Commission)

Carbon pipeline company’s water-rights application sparks opposition

By: - August 20, 2023

State officials are recommending a water-rights permit for a carbon dioxide pipeline company, but some nearby residents who use the same aquifer fear they could be negatively affected.   A corporate entity affiliated with Summit Carbon Solutions, called Redfield SCS Capture, has applied to drill a well that could take up to 21 million gallons of […]

Legislator resigns and agrees to repay nearly $500,000, plus interest, in pandemic relief funds

By: - August 17, 2023

State Sen. Jessica Castleberry, R-Rapid City, will make $2,400 monthly payments over a span of 20 to 30 years to repay state government, with interest, for pandemic relief money she accepted in alleged violation of state law. Attorney General Marty Jackley announced details of the agreement Thursday at a press conference in Pierre. At about […]

Sen. John Thune, Sen. Mike Rounds and Rep. Dusty Johnson attend a forum at Dakotafest in Mitchell on Aug. 16, 2023. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

At ag forum, Johnson, Thune and Rounds reject ‘loud’ approach to politics

By: - August 16, 2023

MITCHELL — U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-South Dakota, received applause Wednesday at an agricultural trade show when he countered a call for more aggressive confrontation in politics.  An audience member at a Dakotafest forum on the farm bill asked why Johnson doesn’t attack his colleagues across the aisle with greater vehemence. Johnson said being loud […]

Colleen Hannum, an epidemiologist with the state Department of Social Services, presents findings to the state Behavioral Health Advisory Council at the Human Services Center in Yankton on Aug. 9, 2023. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

High schoolers suffer rising mental health challenges, report shows

By: - August 9, 2023

YANKTON — South Dakota high school students are suffering increased mental health problems, according to a presentation heard Wednesday by the state’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council at the Human Services Center.  Colleen Hannum, an epidemiologist with the state Department of Social Services, presented numerous data points to the board as part of an update. The […]

A sign displays the names of the state's three elected public utilities commissioners outside of their Pierre office in January 2023. (South Dakota Searchlight/Joshua Haiar)

Commissioners express concerns as carbon pipeline hearing ends

By: - August 8, 2023

Two of the state’s publicly elected utility regulators expressed concerns about a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline Tuesday during the 10th and final day of a permit hearing in Pierre.  The Public Utilities Commission is required to make a decision within 12 months of receiving a permit application, which means a decision is due by Sept. […]