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Ray Duckler
Kristin Tower and her mother Gail Johnson work on the orange icing for a Christmas cake they baked at their home in Wolfeboro.
(GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff)

Ray Duckler: In her perfect world, her sister fits right in

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

She says her artwork is perfectly imperfect, meaning there’s a human element in everything she creates. So maybe this is a case of art imitating life. After all, nothing has been perfect for Katie Johnson, and that’s just fine by her. She bounced around in college, searching for her niche. The place she initially chose for her new bakery in …

Ray Duckler: War and sand replaced by magic and snow

Sunday, December 21, 2014

For Greg and Amber Card, neither place seemed real. Not the Middle East, with its enemy soldiers, blood and death. Not the North Pole, with its Santa Claus, elves and magic. Call them contrasting visions, fighting for a foothold in the couple’s minds. Earlier this month, they were invited to something called Christmas …

Ray Duckler: Katherine Drouin’s battle moves in front of the camera

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Katherine Drouin’s fight against an eating disorder, featured in a two-part Monitor series last August, will be one of three segments chronicled in a TV documentary Monday night. The hourlong show, called My Strange Criminal Addiction, will start at 10 on Investigation Discovery. Drouin compulsively eats and purges, and that addiction has in the past led to a long police record for shoplifting …

Ray Duckler: Bike Week: A tamer time, sprinkled with yesteryear

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bike Week in Laconia, once edgy, weatherbeaten and rated R, features a softer, gentler side these days. Walk along Lakeside Avenue, into the teeth of the chrome and exhaust and leather, and you’ll find order, with heavy police …

Ray Duckler: Ken Braiterman, laid to rest, fought until the end

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ken Braiterman, who taught half of the state’s police about patience while dealing with the mentally ill, always seemed to be fighting, up through the day he died. He fought leaders at a Jewish summer camp, fought his …

Ray Duckler: Administrators weigh in on a smoking topic

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

They might have felt like Red Auerbach, the late Celtics legend, while puffing on those cigars. In the end, though, they were more red-faced than anything else. I’m talking about the two high school lacrosse players in Massachusetts …

Ray Duckler: Looking for something to do this summer? Don’t get boxed in

Sunday, June 8, 2014

About 45 years ago, a skinny kid from Salisbury drew a box with chalk on an outside wall of his grade school and threw a ball at it till the cows came home. “I wasn’t so structured about …

Ray Duckler: Tis the season to have fun, stay safe

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Andrew Beauregard admits that 10 years ago, when he crashed his scooter while drunk and nearly died, he thought he had a big red “S” on his chest and a red cape on his back. He was captain …

Ray Duckler: With Pope on hand, SPCA unveils its new facility

Friday, May 30, 2014

On the surface lies the stoic New Englander who’s close to the vest, doesn’t mince words and is modest, probably to a fault. Beneath, however, is someone with an extraordinary love for animals, plus the wallet to keep …

Ray Duckler: It’s time to bring Pembroke back into the fold

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pembroke Academy needs allies quickly, before basketball schedules are submitted sometime this summer. Anyone willing to extend an olive branch to this beleaguered program and play the Spartans next season? It’s time. Time to lay down your arms and declare peace, time to withdraw the boycott directed at …

Ray Duckler: Victoria Shouldis, the cat’s meow, paused to remember the SPCA

Monday, May 26, 2014

The SPCA is in good shape these days, thanks to the late Victoria Shouldis. So, in fact, is her cat, Casy. Both are the beneficiaries of a woman from Hillsboro who died of cancer three years ago, and …

Ray Duckler: There’s no place like home, but no one’s answering the door

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Vicki McCloskey, a triathlete barely 5 feet tall, banged her open hand on the table for emphasis. Then she did it again, then again. She’s frustrated that her father, Donald McCloskey, who’s 89 and who saved lives on …

Ray Duckler: Brentwood officer Steve Arkell touched many

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Jane Young, a veteran, hard-boiled law enforcement official, doesn’t let her guard down easily. Yesterday, though, she did. The state associate attorney general told the media that earlier in the day she’d been with the family of Brentwood …

Ray Duckler: Doctor, nurses recall Boston Marathon bombings

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One year ago today, an emergency broadcast at a Boston hospital on Charles Street crackled with chilling words. “Multiple victims. Code Red.” “We knew this was not a drill,” said Deb Trocchi, a registered nurse at Massachusetts Eye …

Ray Duckler: Couple to return to Boston after a marathon of indecision

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vicki Miller, approaching the Boston Marathon finish line a year ago today, ducked between two parked trucks and waited for a third explosion. Or, she wondered, maybe gunshots would be fired. She simply didn’t know. Her husband, Tom, two blocks away when the bombs detonated, said he felt …