.Hero & Zero


Three septuagenarian hikers went missing over the last 10 days, sparking two separate search missions.

Carol Kiparsky, 77, and Ian Irwin, 72, both of Palo Alto, went missing in Inverness on Valentine’s Day. By Monday, Feb. 17, a multitude of agencies were searching for the couple.

Meanwhile, Robert Bennett, 76, of Novato, went hiking on the Valley Stone trail in Marinwood last Monday and never made it home. Rescue teams combed the area on Tuesday. That evening, two search dogs, Luna and Zinka, found Bennett off the trail in the Lucas Valley Preserve. The dogs likely saved his life, as doctors believe he suffered a stroke and fell while hiking. Bennett is now recovering.

Back in Inverness, the search continued for Kiparsky and Irwin. Hearts were heavy on Thursday when the Marin County Sheriff announced the search had moved from a rescue to a recovery operation.

Then, on Saturday morning, volunteers from Marin County Search and Rescue and the California Rescue Dog Association heard calls for help. Miraculously, Quincy Webster and Rich Cassens and his golden retriever Groot found Kiparsky and Irwin alive.

The pair had spent nine days in a drainage area surrounded by dense foliage and stayed alive by drinking from a puddle. Kiparsky and Irwin were extracted by helicopter and taken by ambulance to the hospital, where they are both recovering.

Hats off to the hundreds of volunteers involved in the searches and paws up to the dogs that assisted them.


Marin County Supervisors recently approved a 44-percent fee hike for building and safety permits in unincorporated Marin. They justify the outrageous increase by saying fees weren’t raised for nearly 10 years. Fees should have been increased incrementally over that time. The solution is to now begin raising them by a reasonable amount annually. A 44-percent increase in one bite is hard to swallow. Geez. I’m glad I already finished my remodel.

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Nikki Silverstein
Nikki Silverstein is an award-winning journalist who has written for the Pacific Sun since 2005. She escaped Florida after college and now lives in Sausalito with her Chiweenie and an assortment of foster dogs. Send news tips to [email protected].


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