APnc 06/19 1438 Rainbow Family Graham Residents, Rainbow Family Members Meet ROBBINSVILLE,
APnc 06/19 1438 Rainbow Family
Graham Residents, Rainbow Family Members Meet
ROBBINSVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- The Rainbow Family, during a
meeting aimed at easing the concerns of Graham County residents,
says most people attending the Family's gathering in the
Nantahala Forest next month will be staying close to their
And Family spokesmen said during the Thursday meeting that the
Rainbows would send lawyers to a court hearing next week so they
could fight a state effort to block its annual gathering.
Family members also told Graham residents that that water
supplies and sanitation are among their primary concerns.
Family members, who often go by nicknames, said they hope
something can be worked out to get the Department of Human
Resources to drop its lawsuit against the gathering. The
department is seeking a preliminary injunction against the
gathering because the Rainbow Family has not applied for a mass
A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in Jackson County.
Frenchy, a Rainbow spokesman, said if agreement can't be reached
before then, the Family will have a "lawyer or two there."
Family members dispute the state's claim that they have not
shown adequate sanitary preparation for the gathering. Water
supplies and sanitation are "our most serious preoccupation,"
The Rainbow Family plans to hold its annual "Gathering of the
Tribes" July 1-7 at the Nantahala National Forest. Officials
have said 5,000 or more people could gather at the meeting.
Members of the Rainbow Family requested the meeting with
residents to show slides, talk about their past gatherings and
answer questions from local residents.
County Commissioner Raymond Williams said the meeting went
well and Rainbow Family members agreed.
Family members said most people who attend their gatherings
stay close to the main campsites and will not be coming to town
There is some nudity at the campsites, but nudity is confined
to certain areas and "we won't be walking through town like
that," one Family member said.
Family members told the crowd that many of them have regular
jobs and are taking their vacations to be at the gathering. One
member said he is a shrimper, another a social worker, another an
artist. One member said he served on a nuclear submarine in the
Meanwhile, Graham County officials said earlier this week that
they have not officially declared a state of emergency to deal
with the Family.
Following reports Tuesday that such an action had been taken,
the state's area coordinator of the Division of Emergency
Management apologized for the misunderstanding.
W.F. Perrigo said Graham County officials "have not officially
proclaimed a state of emergency, but they have requested mutual
aid to be available due to the possible emergency conditions that
could arise as a result of the Rainbow Family gathering."
Perrigo told U.S. Forest Service officials Monday that county
officials had declared an emergency. The term state of emergency
is a "matter of semantics," Perrigo said. "I'm really sorry it
Perrigo said he assumed county officials had requested that an
emergency be declared following several meetings with other
emergency coordinators from surrounding counties to discuss
mutual aid agreements.
Graham County Commissioner Raymond Williams said the county
asked for mutual aid assistance Sunday if it is needed.
"We are planning for the worst in this thing and hopefully
none of it will happen," he said. "We've made long-range plans,
but we are far away from declaring an emergency."
Last page !
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank