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Ray Duckler
Chris Spannweitz cleans off a roof on Hall Street Monday. He started cleaning off roofs with his parents' broom and with the cold weather, business is booming.
(GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff)

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 a landlord and well-known convenience store owner whose tenants might need his help before the sun even rises. Welcome to 2015, with its North Pole-like storms and snow totals and temperatures, which lead to all sorts of stories, subplots about hardship and business and grit and humor. And to think, through the holiday season things were relatively calm around here, with flakes connected more to dandruff than …

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 coat, for my checkbook stored in the inner pocket, and smirked. “Got a pen?” If …

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 court by a single spotlight above in the darkened gymnasium. Kendall, who has Down syndrome, …

Ray Duckler: Remembering how we got here, and where we might be going

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mike Pelletier gave the Iraqi children backpacks filled with chalk, pencils and paper. The children, in turn, gave Pelletier hope. He said yesterday he could see the appreciation in their eyes 10 years ago while serving in the …

Ray Duckler: Revisiting the past will shape the future

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The war on terror is back. Back in our minds. The voters’ minds. It’s no longer just jobs and the economy and immigration. Not since a group of Sunni extremists, once known as ISIS, now widely referred to as the Islamic State, began killing people in Syria. Not …

Ray Duckler: No day at the beach for honeymooners

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Ryan Beauchesne called it the typical “I’m drowning move,” meaning he heard a boy scream “help,” then saw only a hand above the water’s surface. Moments later, the 28-year-old Concord High graduate was swimming in the cold bay …

Ray Duckler: The war on terror hits home hard

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The violence in Syria and Iraq hit close to home, in our own backyards. While the Islamic State says it wants to raise its black flag in the White House, the militant group’s brutality forced us to lower …

Ray Duckler: Labor of love as Market Basket employees celebrate holiday

Monday, September 1, 2014

Today is Labor Day, celebrated the first Monday each September. And thanks to a New England-based grocery store chain, the last Wednesday each August should also be declared Labor Day, a different one of sorts. At least around …

Ray Duckler: ‘A long battle’ for treatment

Sunday, August 31, 2014

To Katherine Drouin and her supporters, none of this makes sense. Forget the drawn-out process of getting lab work and a psychiatric evaluation, tests needed before Drouin could receive treatment for her eating disorder. Forget the lack of …

Ray Duckler: Time to pay back Beanie for all she’s done

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Things got done on a recent afternoon on Clinton Street in Concord. All in the name of Beanie. “Melanie and Paul will be cooking hot dogs and hamburgers.” “Don’t worry about posts for the fencing.” “Saturday night I’ll …

Ray Duckler: Birth of a legend, while patrolling the streets

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Charles Lapierre’s strong-yet-gentle hands touched many lives around here. And that included the lives of newborn babies. That’s one of the stories you’ll hear about Lapierre, who died earlier this month at the age of 100. It’s the …

Ray Duckler: A meeting of the minds for Pembroke? Maybe

Thursday, August 7, 2014

With the speed of a poorly run half-court offense, it appears that, finally, a dispute involving the Pembroke Academy boys’ basketball team might be nearing an end. Optimism emerged from a meeting held yesterday at Southern New Hampshire …

Ray Duckler: Witnessing a mother’s sorrow at a very private moment

Monday, August 4, 2014

The car rolled downhill on the narrow cemetery road in Concord, an innocuous part of a peaceful landscape. Debbie Sargent had no reason to think someone, a Jehovah’s Witness, had targeted her on a visit to see her …

Ray Duckler: Burned out after being burned out, couple try to cope

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Once all their possessions had burned to a crisp last month, John and Lisa Masse really got hot. Since that day June 10, when their home in Boscawen went up like charcoal-soaked lighter fluid, the path to normalcy …

Ray Duckler: Wright knew what was right when it came to fire fighting

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dick Wright, modest and gentle, is 81 years old and lives alone in Loudon. His house, though, is filled with muffled voices, high-pitched beeps and static that crackles, just as it has for decades. The sounds are from …