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.

An educator works with students at Cleveland Elementary School. (Courtesy of Sioux Falls School District)

Gap grows between targeted and actual teacher pay

By: - July 17, 2023

Schools are lagging the state’s target pay for teachers, and the gap is growing, according to data shared with a state board in Pierre. That’s despite the 2016 Legislature’s efforts to address the problem by increasing the state’s sales tax by half a percentage point. This year, the Legislature reduced the state sales tax by […]

Governor Kristi Noem speaks July 12, 2023, during a press conference at a Lewis Drug pharmacy in Sioux Falls. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Noem pledges action to alleviate prescription drug shortages

By: - July 12, 2023

SIOUX FALLS — Governor Kristi Noem announced Wednesday the state will create additional stockpiles of prescription drugs to combat shortages.  The Department of Health already has an emergency stockpile of antibiotics in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Noem is expanding that program to five additional cities – Aberdeen, Hot Springs, Mobridge, Pierre and Yankton. And […]

(Getty Images)

Regulators to begin review of NorthWestern Energy’s proposed 16% rate increase

By: - July 11, 2023

A company that provides electricity to 64,680 South Dakota customers wants to raise its rates by about 16%. South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission voted Tuesday to give itself six months to study the rate proposal. It would be a jump of $19.14 per month on an average residential customer’s bill, although the increase would affect […]

A sign identifies a polling place during a city and school election on June 6, 2023, in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

Civil rights committee finds Native voting rights impeded, finalizes recommendations

By: - July 10, 2023

Native Americans living on tribal land face many barriers to their voting rights, according to a new report finalized Monday by a civil rights committee. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan agency established in 1957. The commission’s mission is to investigate and report on issues related to civil rights, and to […]

Ed Fischbach, a Democrat and farmer from Spink County, speaks to a crowd of hundreds opposed to eminent domain for carbon capture pipelines on July 6, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Unusual alliances emerge amid opposition to eminent domain for carbon pipelines

By: - July 7, 2023

Opponents of eminent domain for carbon dioxide pipeline projects in South Dakota have forged a unique coalition. It includes Republicans, Democrats, climate change deniers who see the pipelines as a boondoggle, and environmentalists skeptical of the pipelines’ benefits. Many of them agree on one contention: that unlike water and natural gas pipelines, electrical transmission lines […]

Landowners Mark Lapka, left, and Jared Bossly (holding petitions with about 2,000 signatures) speak at the state Capitol in Pierre on July 6, 2023, demanding a prohibition against carbon capture pipeline companies gaining access to land against a landowner’s will. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Hundreds rally in Pierre against eminent domain for carbon pipelines

By: - July 6, 2023

PIERRE — Hundreds of people descended on the state Capitol on Thursday, demanding a prohibition against carbon capture pipeline companies gaining access to land against a landowner’s will.  Lawmakers, landowners and concerned citizens from across the political spectrum called on Republican Gov. Kristi Noem to call a special legislative session to address the issue. She […]

Starbucks union proposal arises as state’s rate of organized labor hits historic low

By: - July 2, 2023

If Starbucks workers in Aberdeen succeed in unionizing, they’ll achieve a rare victory in a state where the share of unionized workers has fallen to a historic low of less than 5%. Some workers at the Aberdeen location say long hours and understaffed shifts pushed them to organize.  “In the time that each of us […]

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks to supporters on Nov. 7, 2022, in Rapid City. (Kevin Eilbeck for South Dakota Searchlight)

Noem is investor in ethanol plant partnered with carbon pipeline company

By: and - June 30, 2023

Gov. Kristi Noem is an investor in an ethanol plant that’s partnered with a company proposing a controversial carbon dioxide pipeline. The ethanol plant is Granite Falls Energy in Granite Falls, Minnesota. Noem’s financial disclosures from her former service in Congress and her current time as governor reveal that she and her husband are investors […]

Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-South Dakota, left, tours the Manitou Madison manufacturing plant on June 26, 2023, with plant manager Jeff Minnaert. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Leaning into pay and diversity, manufacturer expands amid workforce shortage

By: - June 27, 2023

MADISON — A manufacturer conducting a $60 million expansion in South Dakota says it’s attacking a workforce shortage by raising pay and embracing diversity. Manitou is a manufacturer of construction equipment based out of France. It is expanding its operations in Madison and Yankton and will add about 125 jobs between the two sites. Currently, 510 […]

U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-South Dakota, attends a February 2023 congressional committee hearing in Washington, D.C. (Rep. Dusty Johnson/Twitter)

Congressional Roundup: Johnson aims for national consistency in pesticide labeling

By: - June 25, 2023

U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-South Dakota, and Jim Costa, D-California, have introduced a bill that would prevent states such as California from putting their own labels on pesticides and herbicides.  In a news release, Johnson said “political agendas” in certain states, such as California, have driven labeling decisions that are unsupported by scientific evidence.  Johnson […]

Farming carbon: Farm bill presents opportunity to unite farmers, climate activists

By: - June 23, 2023

IDEAL — On the rolling plains southwest of Chamberlain lies a 30-square-mile farm and ranch that serves as a testament to the power of soil health practices. Bryan Jorgensen has devoted his life to nurturing the soil and maintaining the ecological balance on his family’s land. Jorgensen said the practices not only improve his yields […]

Farmers say they can store carbon without pipelines

By: - June 23, 2023

Some farmers who oppose carbon-capture pipelines say there’s a better way to put carbon in the ground: Pay farmers to do it. Two companies are proposing to spend billions on pipelines through South Dakota, to capture carbon dioxide produced at ethanol plants and transport it to underground sequestration sites in North Dakota and Illinois. The […]