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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, …

Honoring the nine who died

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ryan Pitts of Amherst, who last summer was awarded the Medal of Honor, spoke about his experiences in Afghanistan this week in a dining room at the Red Blazer Restaurant. While the crowd came to thank Pitts for …

Ray Duckler: In 1990, a murderer’s mustache told us he was a kid

Friday, March 13, 2015

For what seemed like forever, that barely visible, wispy mustache was all over the place, not just beneath Billy Flynn’s nose. It was on every TV news show, on every talk show, on every back page of every …

Ray Duckler: Don’t be chicken; step right up and speak your mind

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

One night many years ago, a group of chickens hell-bent on revenge invaded the Northwood town meeting, pecking everything in their path. You could have knocked the residents over with a feather as the commando chickens fanned out …

Ray Duckler: For veterans, a place for support, rejuvenation

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Breathe, yoga instructor Helen McConnell told the group of eight veterans, each storing some form of emotional baggage. Stretch. Bend. Relax. Unpack. McConnell twisted the men, participating in a therapeutic process in Gilford this week, into pretzels, then …

Ray Duckler: Around here, some like the snow, while some like it hot

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

For Chris Spannweitz, the snow means cash in his pocket. For Jim Bashios, it means a pain in his tush. One is a private contractor who shovels roofs in a business he started last month. The other is …

Ray Duckler: A Porsche, a truck, a snowmobile? What would you buy?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The salesman quoted me a price for the Porsche Boxster, a two-door silver convertible with a sound system that could reach Vermont. “Around $70,000,” he told me. “$69,712 actually.” “That’s it?” I said. I reached into my winter …

Ray Duckler: Kendall wins, on the mat and everywhere else, too

Thursday, February 12, 2015

He could have been a ringmaster or the lead in a Broadway show or a rock star on stage. And, in a sense, Concord High wrestler Kendall Thompson was all three last night, illuminated on the school’s basketball …

Ray Duckler: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The latest forecast calls for more snow Thursday, and you know what I say? Snow what? If you can take it, snow can I. That’s my new outlook, after seeing the enthusiasm at the Super Bowl parade during …

Ray Duckler: The Eggman cometh, decade after decade

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I think Norman Rockwell would have painted Bert Southwick. In fact, I’m sure of it. Southwick grew up in Northfield and stayed there until he died one week ago at age 91. He lived at the same place, …

Ray Duckler: The Butler did what? Here’s hoping he brought spring

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

For me, Malcolm Butler, a household name by now, represents the spring equinox. Butler’s interception saved the Patriots on Sunday, helping them beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, and it also ushered in the end of winter. At least I hope it did. Okay, it’s a …

Ray Duckler: For a Pakistani teenager, life is good

Sunday, February 1, 2015

I learned something this week, about a student from Pakistan who’s attending Bow High. I learned that senior Poonam Kumari is a teenager like any other teenager. Let her sing, dance and watch movies. Let her charm you …

Ray Duckler: A teacher, a student, a schooner, a film

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The schooner is the story. Or is it? Maybe it’s the people Keith King loved who have died, or the bumper sticker-like philosophies he espouses about life, or his unconventional method of teaching at Keene State College, or …