February 22, 2002 11:00 pm

Leann Dona Thompson, accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the accounts of the Elgin-Imbler Philadelphia trip group, was released Friday morning after a district court judge lowered her bail from $10,000 to $5,000.

Union County District Attorney Russ West said that Thompson was arraigned shortly before noon Friday on two counts of first-degree theft and three counts of second-degree forgery. At the arraignment, the judge allowed for her bail to be reduced and allowed her to leave jail under a release order giving her until March 8 to make bail.

Thompson was also given conditions for her release, including that she is not to contact others involved in the bookkeeping for the Philly trip, nor is she to serve as treasurer or bookkeeper for other groups.

Students are left wondering if their planned trip to Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York will happen. About 16 Elgin, Imbler and two La Grande home school students were planning on making the trip, along with several adults. They have been working at raising money since April 2001.

With the discovery of the missing money, the student group finds itself with a month left to try to come up with thousands of dollars. The Philly trip, which costs $1,525 per student, was set to head East April 5.

While the students are still determined to make the trip, Georgia McKee, who works with the program, said that it will be a difficult task. Persons who can help, can call McKee at 963-2860 or 963-4630, or write to Philly Trip, 65214 Webster Road, La Grande 97850.