Police charge paid of young men with June spree of vandalism

LACONIA — Two young men and one juvenile were charged yesterday with conspiracy to commit vandalism after a summer-long investigation into multiple incidents of personal damage throughout the city in June.

Brandon Alger, 19, of 55 Jefferson St. and Cilem Soboleski, 19, of 343 Lake Shore Road in Gilford were charged yesterday and released on personal recognizance bail and a juvenile petition was issued for the 16-year-old juvenile who was released to a parent.

According to earlier statements from Laconia Police, on and around June 10 and June 11, people from Laconia reported incidents involving golf balls, golf ball-sized rocks and other hard debris that had been thrown or fired through some kind of make-shift slingshot that caused a total of $15,000 in broken windows in automobiles and damage to homes.

At the time, police received a photo taken from one victim's surveillance system showing what appeared to be a dark-colored Toyota Camry with someone standing up and outside the moon roof.

Police said yesterday they received tips that eventually led them to the owner/operator of the car, which they allege was Alger. Further investigation revealed led police to two other people who were involved.

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Cllinton visited Boys & Girls Club but not with the actual boys & girls

LACONIA — When Hillary Clinton brought her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region, where she hosted a forum on substance abuse Thursday afternoon, Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont closed the event by assuring the crowd that "Hillary gets kids!" But, this week, not so much.

Following the event Celine McArthur of NH1 in Concord reported that Clinton left the venue without mingling with the children who were prepared and eager to welcome her to their club, leaving them disappointed and crestfallen. The report quoted Traci Tucker of the club to say, "it just didn't happen. She ran out of time. There were tears, they were really looking forward to it. There were a bunch of kids that had decorated her little bathroom."

One of the children, Landon, told McArthur "When I heard it, I was kind of angry and mad at the same time and I kind of felt a little bit sad because I was looking forward to it for all day today. Mostly what I wanted to do was maybe, um, like maybe for her to write her name on a piece of paper for me to show everybody."

In confirming the report yesterday The Daily Sun learned from individuals who asked not to be identified that nearly three dozen children between the ages of five and 13 had written letters, drawn pictures and prepared questions — even decorated the restroom designated as a dressing room — in anticipation of meeting Clinton. While the children waited in vain for Clinton inside, their parents, who were barred from entering the building, waited outside.

A Clinton campaign aide declined to speak to NH1 on Thursday and The Daily Sun was unable to reach the campaign yesterday.

NH1's report drew 75 comments on the station's website, virtually all negative and many outright hostile, including this from an unhappy parent: "My daughter was so excited to meet Hillary. She was so upset when she found out she wasn't coming. I know life isn't fair and things happen, but I feel like this is inexcusable. Why make plans to see them and blow them off? Like it was no big deal? The children had been looking forward to seeing her all week! She couldn't take 20 minutes out of her life to follow through with what she had planned? Is she really going to follow through with anything else she promises? Makes you wonder!"

One woman wondered why, if meeting with the children was not a priority, the event was scheduled at the Boys & Girls Club rather than any number of other suitable venues.


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At Café Monte Alto in Plymouth, coffee is trans-continental family affair

PLYMOUTH — Ed Giunta runs Café Monte Alto on Main Street. He's from Boston, but he took the long route from his native city to Plymouth.

Giunta will be a featured speaker at the N.H. Coffee Festival today. The festival runs from noon to 4 p.m. Giunta's talk, "From Our Farm to Your Cup, Three Generations on Our Coffee Plantation in Peru," is scheduled from 12:30 to 1.

Giunta joined the Army when he was 17 and was stationed in Germany. He stayed in Germany through his service, and through an impermanent marriage to a German woman. He got a good, high-paying job at Lufthansa after his discharge, which was how he met his second wife, Hertha Mick, who was also working for the airline.

Hertha had taken her own unique route to find Giunta. A full-blooded German, Hertha was born in the jungle of Peru, part of a small cluster of Germans who moved to the Andes after World War I. Spanish was Hertha's first language, then she learned English at a school set up by an American mining company. As she was coming of age, she realized that her gender would restrict her to second-class status as long as she stayed in Latin America, so she returned to the Fatherland at the age of 19.

The couple continued their lucrative Lufthansa careers until unrest in Peru shook their comfortable lives in Germany. The Shining Path, which considered itself a Maoist revolutionary force but which was seen by observers, and most Peruvians, as a brutal terrorist group, had begun to expand its territories to include parts of the coffee-growing region by the late 1980s. When two of Hertha's relatives were abducted and killed – The Shining Path used ransom as one of its means of revenue generation – her family decided to leave Peru for Puerto Rico. Giunta and Hertha quit Lufthansa and left Germany to help her family establish themselves in their new home.

Giunta said they eventually created the best coffee farm on the island, though they quickly realized they were in for a new set of difficulties. "We saw very early on, there were some very specific problems" in Puerto Rico, he said. The local work force was unreliable and corruption was the rule, not the exception. Farmers falsified labor forms to extract more subsidies from the federal government, and federal inspectors happily took a bribe to look the other way. Many farmers made more by cheating the U.S. government than by producing coffee. Giunta had no interest in the scam. "If you're not willing to steal in Puerto Rico, you're not going to make it... We saw we had to get out."

By the late 1990s, Giunta and Hertha had just begun roasting their family's beans and were visiting family in New Hampshire. Giunta, who had worked at a summer camp on Stinson Lake as a teenager, was showing Hertha around the region when they happened to stop into the Chase Street Market in downtown Plymouth, to see how local roasters were packaging their products. Giunta chatted with the owner and left him with a few samples. 

"He called me up, and said that was really good stuff, why don't you bring me in ten or 11 pounds," Giunta recalled. In 1997, he changed from vendor to tenant, setting up a coffee shop in part of the store. The following year, Hurricane George decimated their coffee farm, along with much of the rest of Puerto Rico. Fortunately, the Peruvian government had broken the Shining Path by then, making it safe for Hertha's family to return to their farms in the Chanchamayo region, near the village of Villa Rica.

Giunta is proud to serve his family's coffee almost exclusively, the only exceptions are the decaf and one flavor from Papua, New Guinea. Giunta has a small warehouse and roasting facility near the café, where he receives 151-pound bags of green coffee beans and turns them into varying shades of brown. Last year he roasted 65,000 pounds of coffee, more than 99 percent of which came from the family farm. 

The arrangement does more than support his in-laws. Thousands of dollars, from coffee sales as well as outright donations, made possible the renovation of a dilapidated school in Chanchamayo, and each cup of coffee sold at Café Monte Alto contributes to pay the salary of a teacher at the school.

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