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Ray Duckler
Fitness instructor Michelle Tanguay leads her class in a kickboxing routine at her business Up 2 U Fitness in Boscawen on Friday, July 24, 2015. Tanguay continues to teach while battling a second cancer diagnosis.

(ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

Ray Duckler: Carrying on, and spitting a cancer diagnosis in its face

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Michelle Tanguay taught her fitness class in Boscawen two months ago, on the day she learned her cancer had returned. Get your weights, she told her students, in her nonthreatening yet authoritative manner. Work. Stretch. Lift. Sweat. If ever there was a day for someone to take off, that was it, yet Tanguay pushed ahead, to the surprise of members …

Ray Duckler: For local Episcopal pastors, the Scouts are nearly there

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The leaders of a local church, known for rolling out a red carpet of inclusion, applauded the recent policy change implemented by the Boy Scouts of America. But the pastors of St. Paul’s Church, the Revs. Kate Atkinson and Keith Patterson, would prefer to give a standing ovation, and that, it turns out, will have to wait. That’s because following decades of discrimination, …

Ray Duckler: Rock Hudson told the world he had AIDS, and everyone listened

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A press conference 30 years ago Saturday pushed fear and hope onto the same stage, at the same time. Rock Hudson’s publicist told the world that one of Hollywood’s greatest leading men, gaunt and unrecognizable from the days when his stunning good looks jumped off the screen, had something called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, better known as AIDS. It was at that moment, …

Ray Duckler: Furor over the Confederate flag comes to NASCAR

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Race cars backfire now and then. So does public relations strategy. I saw it, felt it and lived it Saturday along Route 106, near New Hampshire Motor Speedway, home of Sunday’s 5-Hour Energy 301. NASCAR, the governing body …

Ray Duckler: A daughter binges and purges, and a father feels helpless

Thursday, July 16, 2015

They sat in the waiting area outside the courtroom, a father trying to save his bulimic daughter before it’s too late. “A big part of it, dad, is I don’t want to give it up,” Katherine Drouin told …

Ray Duckler: Does Harper Lee’s sequel kill a man’s image?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sarah May Schultz swiped her thumb along the smart phone screen, moving deeper into the newspaper article about Harper Lee’s new book. It didn’t take long to notice sadness in her blue eyes, wide and hopeful just moments …

Ray Duckler: The Donald: real contender or merely a pretender?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Every time the Donald opens his mouth, someone somewhere feels something. The state’s leading pundits and political minds roll their eyes or laugh. Voters pound their chests, believing, for now, that they’ve found someone who speaks for, and …

Ray Duckler: For Jorma and Hot Tuna, the long and winding road leads to Plymouth

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Jorma Kaukonen’s tour bus, already having logged more miles than a space shuttle, is ready to go. “Do me a big favor,” the former counterculture icon tells me by phone. “This is a fun conversation, so you can …

Ray Duckler: Are you driving and talking hands free yet?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

With apologies to the Concord Police Department, I broke the law three days ago and got away with it. No one pulled me over for talking on my cell phone, held to my ear, which is no longer …

Ray Duckler: Fifty years ago, Robert Wood, a gay reverend, marched for those who would not

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Picture the man protesting 50 years ago, first in Washington, D.C., then a week later in Philadelphia. Picture him carrying a sign promoting equal rights for gay people, at the time openly referred to as fairies, fags and …

Ray Duckler: For Ginny Timmons, laughter is the best medicine

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ginny Timmons got her days mixed up last week, missing our scheduled interview. That happens when you suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease. Nothing strange there. What seemed unusual, though, was Timmons’s reaction when reached by phone. “I’m at Wendy’s, …

Ray Duckler: Comedian Dave Attell lands at the Flying Monkey

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Funny man Dave Attell is walking through Times Square in Midtown Manhattan, desperate for a pair of pants that don’t make him look fat. He’s on the phone with a writer from New Hampshire, looking for some press …

Ray Duckler: For refugee family, education a slow and challenging process

Sunday, June 7, 2015

For Devi Rai and her family, refugees from Bhutan, Becky Kidder had simple yet useful advice. When you can’t understand what people are saying, Kidder told Devi and the rest of her students recently, don’t be shy or …

Ray Duckler: What in the world was buried in that time capsule? Here’s a peek inside

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Erica Nason Ross is a 32-year-old teacher living in Andover, Mass. She gets one. Scott Sanel is a 43-year-old computer salesman living in Westwood, Mass. He gets one. And Barack Obama is a 53-year-old world leader living in …

Ray Duckler: Amy Dutton made an impact here. . . and over there, too

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Riley Bennett walked to her car on what had become a trail of tears, a road narrowed by cars on each side, turning it into a parking lot for those remembering Amy Dutton. An early arrival to the …