Viewers watch the dazzling show from the warmth of a bonfire New Year's Eve. (Kat Seals-KnR Photography/Special to the Enterprise)

When the Enterprise got word about a manhunt last week on the west edge of the county, our news team went to work.

Never mind that it was New Year’s Eve and our office was preparing to close early. Never mind that the last week of the year is typically slow for news.

Reporter Pat Caldwell, a veteran of breaking news stories, published our first story about Joshua Christoffersen while police were still on the hunt for him the afternoon of New Year’s Eve.

Police teams searching remote rural area for thief who fled Harper area after gunfire

A man interrupted while stealing ranch equipment near Harper was being sought by police Tuesday afternoon in an area along the Malheur-Harney county line. The man is considered armed and dangerous after he shot at a witness.

On New Year’s Day, reporter Yadira Lopez gave up her holiday time off to take over the story, filing a report on Christoffesen’s capture.

Manhunt leads to Idaho man suspected of burglary

Joshua B. Christoffersen, 40, of Idaho, was found inside a shed at a mining operation on New Year's Day after a manhunt that went on for 12 hours on New Year's Eve. Christoffersen is being held on two counts of unlawful entry into a motor vehicle and unlawful possession of methamphetamines.

The following day, Yadira jumped back in to report Christoffersen’s unusual release from jail.

Suspect who led authorities on manhunt released following arraignment

Joshua B. Christoffersen, the suspect of a botched burglary who led police on a manhunt on New Year's Eve, was released from custody Thursday afternoon following his arraignment for reasons that remain unclear.

The has stayed on top of the story and has two accounts coming you’ll want to read.

Covering such news is a challenge for a small newsroom with three reporters, but it’s our duty to the community. No other local media reported on the case until after the suspect was long gone from jail.

Such a commitment to the community also led us to provide what we thought was an important service. On Monday before New Year’s, the Malheur County Court held a public hearing about a plan to use nearly $1 million in contingency funds to buy real estate. We alerted the community to the hearing and then broadcast it live on Facebook.

The result showed that citizens are paying close attention to this industrial development process. A hearing that normally would have had zero public participation this time saw standing room only. And our two videos of the court session have been viewed more than 5,000 times.

You can see what happened in this VIDEO and then hear the county commissioners explain their actions in this VIDEO.

Meantime, the news crew delivered up other stories you won’t find anywhere else:

MALHEUR MOVERS: For Cruickshank, issues are a call to action

Tiffany Cruickshank is not one to sit back when it comes to her community. This is the first in a series of articles about people who make things happen in the communities of Malheur County.

McDermitt outpost offers stark tribute to soldiers who serve, but fall to suicide

In remote McDermitt Oregon, Vietnam War veteran Joe Vaneeten is working on a project to raise awareness about veteran suicides. Recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs say the number of veteran suicides across the country exceeded 6,000 each year from 2008 to 2017.

Local heart disease rate soars in Malheur County; experts list risk factors

White men in Malheur County have the highest death rate in the state due to heart disease, according to state and federal data. Local experts said that factors such as poor nutrition, lack of exercise, smoking, and alcohol and drug abuse play into an individual’s risk for heart disease.

WITH YOUR HELP, WE CAN DO MORE...

This sort of quality journalism is missing from more and more communities across the U.S. The cutbacks continue. In Milwaukee, the big daily just said goodbye to eight of its journalists. In Miami, the fabled Herald is ending its Saturday newspaper. At the Enterprise, we’re going against the tide, working hard to earn your trust and your subscription.

We have seen our circulation build month by month, and those subscriptions are vital to funding our work. To each person who signed up for our print or digital service, please know that you are part of our team.

If you don’t subscribe, please start the new year by doing so. We have options, from an annual print subscription to our monthly digital service. And you can catch developments by “liking” our Facebook page or following us on Twitter. Our stories post automatically to these social media sites so you'll always be on top of the news.

But consider at least a monthly digital subscription. This costs $5 a month. I’d argue that our service in just the last week was worth that. The more of you who sign up, the more we can do. We don’t ever want to be like other communities, where news is thinned out, where press releases substitute for reporting, where no one holds local officials accountable. SUBSCRIBE HERE.

Keep us strong, and you help keep the community strong.

Les Zaitz, editor and publisher

email: [email protected]

PS: If you are a business owner in the area, start the new year by considering the Enterprise for reaching your customers. Our reach grows by the day and you could reach potential new customers. Contact [email protected]