ELGIN — Union County Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen said the reports of a break-in at the Elgin fire hall were not quite spot-on.
"It’s criminal mischief, not really a burglary," he said.
The fire district on its Facebook page asked for the public's help tracking down who broke into its fire station Tuesday night. Rasmussen explained his deputies determined a couple of local youth involved in games at night entered a storage facility at the site that houses another building the firefighters use, and the youth punctured some plastic windows on the building. He also said they stole nothing.
Juveniles used to play such "night games" more frequently, he said, but it has been a spell since the last time. He also said while this involves a couple of juveniles, there’s nothing to indicate the messing around is connected to the recent break-ins and vandalism at Elgin churches.
The sheriff's office arrested two juveniles in connection with the churches. Rasmussen said detectives anticipate making another arrest in that case.
The sheriff's office also has been busy with a couple of vehicle thefts. Deputies on Wednesday arrested Rebecca Loehr, 31, of La Grande, for unauthorized use of a vehicle, second-degree forgery and multiple warrants. And Rasmussen said his team on Tuesday caught local offender Joshua Toy, 29, of Elgin, for unauthorized use of a vehicle and other offenses.
Driver and passenger in recent police chase face felonies
LA GRANDE — Lucas Pakapea Kapeli now faces 12 counts stemming from his Dec. 19 arrest following a chase the Union County Sheriff’s Office reported ended when its police dog took down Kapeli.
The district attorney’s office arraigned Kapeli on Jan 2 on four felonies, including for vehicle theft and fleeing in a vehicle, and eight misdemeanors, including giving false information to police and recklessly endangering another person. State court records show Kapeli, of Auburn, Washington, has a hearing Jan. 24 to enter a plea.
Court records also show Afiafiotamali'i Mausavine Laussen of Puyallup, Washington, the passenger in the vehicle, faces four felony charges as well: conspiracy for commit vehicle theft, vehicle theft, possession of a stolen vehicle and hindering prosecution for trying keep police from catching Kapeli. She has a hearing March 10 to enter a plea.
Brown Bag presents American Indian perspective on natural resources
JOSEPH — The first Josephy Center Brown Bag presentation of the new year will be Tuesday at noon. Joe Whittle, a photographer with American Indian roots, will present "Indigenous Perspectives on Protecting 'Natural Resources.'" This will be a slideshow presentation exploring American Indian perspectives on protecting and engaging with the environment and its ecological systems.
Whittle said, "What you call resources, we call relatives."
Whittle grew up in Wallowa County, went to photography school in California and returned home to do interpretive work for the U.S. Forest Service. He has explored his roots and is an enrolled Caddo/Delaware member.
In addition to his seasonal government work, Whittle is gaining wide acclaim as a photo-journalist, writing and photographing for The Guardian among others. He is involved with the Homeland Program in Wallowa and with education programs on natural resources and tribal culture for local and visiting students.
Brown Bag presentations are free and open to the public. The talks begin at noon. Participants may bring snacks or a lunch. Coffee and tea will be available.
Community Connection seeks Wallowa County board member
ENTERPRISE — Community Connection of Northeast Oregon is seeking a volunteer from Wallowa County for its board this month. To satisfy the requirements of the nonprofit's bylaws the candidate must be able to represent the needs of low-income persons whether or not they themselves are low-income. Community Connection is known for its senior citizen programs and transportation services but also operates food banks, self-sufficiency programs, and housing services in Union, Wallowa, Baker and Grant counties. The board of directors meets four or five times per year.
According to Margaret Davidson, Community Connection executive director, "Wallowa County is fortunate to have a lot of people willing to give of their time and expertise to organizations like ours. This is an opportunity for someone new to get involved in shaping the services in the region."
Persons interested in this assignment should go to www.ccno.org or contact Connie at the Community Connection office in Enterprise. A simple application form is required. The deadline is Jan. 24.