Purging innocence

In 1981, two years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge — the communist dictatorship responsible for the imprisonment, torture and murder of millions of its civilians — the last group in a wave of Cambodian refugees landed at Hamilton Air Force Base. Novato resident Pauch Khiev was just five years old when the plane’s wheels braked along the turf of the landing strip. She and some of her family stayed a single night, but returned permanently years later after gaining U.S. citizenship.

Runaway’s life cut short

Roxene Roggasch was a fighter from birth. At just three days old, doctors removed her left lung. But the redheaded, freckled girl persevered, growing into the “tough” woman who, her siblings say, vigorously fought for her life. At 15, Roxene ran from a reportedly violent home and began prostituting. On Jan. 11, 1977, her naked body was found bound and strangled to death on the side of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Fairfax.

Paying it forward

Driving home from one of our routine visits to Petco – our dog Bubba’s favorite pit stop – my roommate and I turned onto International Boulevard in Oakland seconds before a small dog bolted toward traffic. As the tiny, curly mutt (what we later discovered was a Bichon Frisé and Poodle mix) dodged behind parked cars, we frantically pulled over, jumped out and slowly followed him up the sidewalk. Filthy, matted and emaciated, it wasn’t until our 80-pound American Bulldog-Pit Bull mix jumped out of the backseat, that he allowed me to gently scoop him into my arms.

Goodall inspires hope

Dr. Jane Goodall belted out a chimpanzee call before a few hundred eager fans Friday afternoon. The crowd roared in applause while many rushed toward the back of the auditorium to pick up a signed copy of her latest book, “Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants.” “[Chimpanzees always] knew that I wasn’t going to hurt them,” said Goodall, who spent more than 50 years researching wild chimpanzees. “We built a trust. Trust is the only way conservation will work.”

Eternal love affair

Alanna Scott kneels beside her husband Brad, their hands tightly intertwined – she fondly looks up, smiling, laughing and gently wipes his mouth. Their affection is obvious; she remains on the floor for more than an hour, telling the story of their “passionate love affair” and how it has grown even stronger after Brad’s brain injury bound him to a wheelchair, leaving him unable to talk, swallow or function on his own.

Up in the air

Facing Gnoss Field’s runway, the 1968 Beech Bonanza V35ATC six-seater increased in speed and lifted off the ground, rising in altitude through a beautiful Marin skyline Aug. 29. Within minutes the plane overlooked Alcatraz, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, which was blanketed in thick fog. The turquoise bay mirrored the landscape until hitting the Marin coastline, which, too, was engulfed by fog. Pilot Bruce Wold circled the Bay, pointing to various iconic landmarks along the way. Wold fell in love with aviation as a teenager, admitting that time in the sky is like no other.

Gaga over Gavin

It wasn’t surprising that Dominican University’s Angelico Hall was packed Wednesday night, as Lt. Governor and former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom greeted the crowd with a joke. The easy-going and relatable Democrat spoke about his new book ‘Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government” as part of the university’s free Leadership Lecture Series, in partnership with the small-town Corte Madera bookstore Book Passage.