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Ray Duckler
Wearing a traditional South Asian outfit called a salwar kameez, Poonam Kumari, 17, poses for a portrait in bedroom at her host family’s home in Bow on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015. As a Pakistani Hindu, Kumari doesn’t care much for politics but has taken on a roll as a cultural ambassador for her country to combat negative stereotypes.

(ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

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 with her laughter and wonderful smile, with her long, flowing purple and violet sari dress, and her long, flowing black hair. I …

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 the award-winning documentary that tied it all together during last fall’s Somewhere North Of Boston, …

Ray Duckler: In Penacook, some work, some don’t as storm fails to deliver

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Darlene Junkins, who flexed both arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger to show off her New England toughness, sold hardware. George Blatsis sold salads and sandwiches. Mohammad Warraich sold convenience store stuff, mostly coffee and cigarettes. These merchants worked in Penacook yesterday morning, after a flurry of reports through Monday night had detailed a visit …

Ray Duckler: Mounsey skates again, and people notice - again

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Her name wasn’t on the back of her jersey during the Black Ice Hockey Championship yesterday at White Park. Neither was the No. 2 Tara Mounsey wore during two Olympics, in 1998 and four years later. But the …

Ray Duckler: Is the Patriots controversy a lot of hot air? Coaches weigh in

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sean McDonnell, one of the most successful college football coaches in the country, a man respected for his integrity and honor, wants to know what all the fuss is about. Deflated balls? So? “Let me put it this way,” the University of New Hampshire football coach told me …

Ray Duckler : The passing of a man who changed a campus

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

More than 30 years ago, the rector at St. Paul’s School, a man with sharper vision than a bald eagle, spoke in front of his students and fought back tears. Bill Oates explained why he had expelled a …

Ray Duckler: If you’ve never heard of Jonathan Daniels, read this

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Jonathan Daniels, answering a call from God and Martin Luther King Jr., went to Alabama in the spring of 1965 and died there five months later. He was killed by a shotgun blast from a man named Thomas …

Ray Duckler: In this case, silence is the golden rule

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sometimes, a half-hour of silence says a lot. Take yesterday, for example, in front of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. No one said a word from 8:45 to 9:15 a.m., yet the voices were loud and clear, varied …

Ray Duckler: A stroke of genius outweighs sour grapes

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots, is a super genius, and that’s from someone, me, who hates the Patriots. Belichick pulled a fast one Saturday in a playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens, leaving football …

Ray Duckler: Settle in for the new year with a little kindness

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The holiday season is over, meaning it’s time to clean up and make good on those promises for 2015. There’s lots to do: Pack up the lights, move the tree outside, chuck the fruitcake, return the Chia Pet, lose weight, pay the credit card bill, sponsor a child, …

Ray Duckler: Ronnie Berlack, Franconia skiing star, killed in avalanche

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The news broke like the avalanche itself, quick, powerful, unforgiving. Ronnie Berlack, a 20-year-old skier from Franconia, a prospect on the U.S. ski team, a young talent who nearly competed on the World Cup circuit, died yesterday, the …

Ray Duckler: A couple of dedicated women honored in big ways

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Check the photos used for today’s column and you’ll notice two local people, each shown in a 15-minutes-of-fame snapshot that grew from their personal stories. On Dec. 3, Dottie Spofford, an 80-year-old Concord farm girl with the wisdom …

Ray Duckler: He sure proved me wrong. How about you?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Forget leftovers from the holidays, the turkey, the ham, the Christmas goose. For me, pass the crow. I deserve it. Three months ago, before he donned a cape on his back and an “S” on his chest, I …

Ray Duckler: Concord High student shows plenty of class

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Alyssa Pellegrini doesn’t care what you think about her. Not anymore. Once, when a digestive disorder made her throw up in the school bathroom and leak stuff from a tube during class and miss weeks of school, causing …

Stories of the Year #10. With heroin use surging, state looks across its borders

Friday, December 26, 2014

Opioid abuse, specifically heroin, emerged as a major threat in 2014, forcing the state’s safety, medical and political leaders to scramble in search of a solution. According to data released in a recent report, 911 calls for drug …