State ot Vermont
Agency of Human Services

Office of the Secretary
Agency of Human Services
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, Vermont 05676

Telephone: (802) 241-2220
Fax: (802) 244-8103


To: Michael Gilhooley, Analyst, Governors Policy Office
From: Cornelius D. Hogan, Secretary, AHS
Date: July 18, 1991

RE: Department of Health Overview of the Rainbow Family Gathering in Granville, Vermont.

To date there has been no evidence of an outbreak of an infectious disease, in spite of the potential. The Department of Health Staff had a significant daily presence at the gathering. Three to five Department of Health staff (sanitarian, engineers, epidemiologists ) made daily site visits to inspect kitchens, latrines, test water and provide education, instruction, and literature to family members concerning treatment of drinking water, construction of latrines, washing of dishes, etc. We also made daily visits to the Calm center (medical tent) to estimate the occurance of dirrheal and other forms of illness and offer advice. I would estimate the total man hours of Department of Health staff involvement at 500-600 hours plus a 1,000 miles of travel cost and one hundred laboratory tests, or about $10-12,000.00.

All of this effort, I think, played a significant role in preventing a major infectious disease outbreak. Major concerns are discussed below.

Sanitation Issues

1. Water

Water, or the lack of potable drinking water, was the main concern of this gathering from day one. The Health Department's original recommendation to the Rainbow Family was for them to truck water for drinking purposes for this event. This could be done using milk transport trucks. To my knowledge this is the major recommendation at all of the annual gatherings of the family and the family consistently resists this recommendation and persists on developing its' own on-site water system. Despite the fact that family members were looking for an adequate protected source since early May, they did not settle on a final choice until the last week in June. This turned out to be a surface water


brook, which tested positive for total coliform. It wasn't until June 30 that water actually flowed through the distribution system. The Department of Health had concerns that their water systems' capacity would not be able to meet the peak demand placed on it by sixteen or more thousand people on July 4. We had our engineers evaluate the system and they felt that it probably would be able to provide an adequate quantity of water, and this in fact turned out to be true. If the demand had exceeded the capacity of the system, we woudl have issued a public health order, and court order if necessary, to require the family to truck bulk water to the event.

2. Pit Latrines

The same problem exists with the construction of pit latrines. Very little progress was made until near the end of June. In the last week of June they had only five or six latrines dug. But, by the second of July they had 36 latrines that were well constructed and maintained throughout the gathering. We had asked them to provide 70 or 75 latrines, it is our general impression that you will usually get about 25% compliance for requests. This might be of some interest to others who are making requests of the family in the future.

3. Hand Washing

They were very good about having hand washing facilities available at all communal kitchens. They generally used a three bucket dishwashing system with the first being hot soapy water, the second being a hot disinfectant rinse, and the last being a clear hot rinse.


1. Calm Center

The Calm Center was visited daily from June 25 through the weekend following the fourth. They willingly provided us with information concerning the kinds of medical conditions they were seeing and treating.

2. Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

There are two basic issues with emergency medical services. The first was that, at least initially, in the gathering when the local EMS squad was summoned for assistance they were stopped by the County Sheriff and the U.S. Forest Law


Enforcement staff who in turn brought the patient out of the gathering site to the barricades for transport by EMS. A meeting with the Incident Command Team reversed this process and EMS was allowed access into the gathering.

The second issue is overload. Granville, Vermont is an isolated rural community served by a single EMS squad. Back-up was available from multiple squads, but would require a 30 minute wait for a second ambulance to arrive on site. The number of calls per day caused an overload for the single ambulance squad. They were worried that they would not be able to respond to local emergencies. Each transport to a hospital required a 2 1/2 hour run, with as many as 3 or 4 runs on some days. This meant that there was no ambulance in the community for eight or more hours on those days. However, additional trained squad members were available to respond and initiate care. Fortunately the total calls were only 10.

3. Unattended/Unexpected Deaths

It is important to point out that the operational plan of this, and apparently all previous, gatherings did not have a protocol for unexpected or unattended deaths. A meeting on July 2, at the Incidence Command Center, discussed this. A protocol was established that reflects the process to be followed in the event of Any untimely , unattended death in Vermont, i.e. EMS determines if the victim is obviously dead, and summons the State Police who take control of the scene. They, in turn, summon the regional medical examiner and the local States' attorney who have the authority to order the removal of the body from the scene for autopsy. If CPR is in progress the EMS squad will continue, and transport the victim to the local emergency room where the E.R. physician will make a determination to discontinue efforts and pronounce death.

The results of theedical Examiner's investigation of the infant death that occurred on June 29 are pending.


State of Vermont
Agency of Human Services
Office of the Secretary
Agency of Human Services
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, Vermont 05676

MEMO TO: Michael Gilhooly, Analyst, Governor's Policy Office
FROM: Cornelius D. Hogan, Secretary
DATE: July 18, 1991
SUBJECT: Rainbow Summary

Rainbow participants who applied for assistance were almost exclusively asking for Food Stamp benefits. This program is controlled by federal rules and the benefit is 100 percent federally funded. Administrative costs, however, are split 50-50 between State and federal government.

DistrictNo. ApplicationsNo. Grants

This experience compares favorable with that of Minnesota, site of last years gathering of a similar size which resulted in approximately 200 applications being filed.


Four application filed 3 denied. One application involving a native Vermonter is still pending.


Three applications. One grant of $35.00 was provided to a battered woman with child.



Five applications with one case granted.


Participants were very coperative with staff. Most were knowledgeable about eligibility rules and had prior food stmp participation in other states. Gathering seemed to attract a number of transient or nomadic types and these were the individuals requesting aid.

It is believed that some ofthe participants whoplan to remain in Vermont, for however long, may go to Earth People's Park in Norton, a traditional Mecca during summer months.



State of Vermont
Agency of Human Services
Office of the Secretary
Agency of Human Services

103 South Main Street
Waterbury, Vermont 05676

MEMO TO: Michael Gilhooly, Analyst, Governor's Policy Office
FROM: Cornelius D. Hogan, Secretary, AHS
DATE: July 18, 19
SUBJECT: Rainbow Family Gathering Follow-up

Corrections was extremely fortunate to not have been impacted to any great measure byt he recent Rainbow Family gathering.

As of July 11, 1991, theere were nine people lodged, four for Possession of a Regulated Drug, one for Disorderly Conduct, one for Aggravated Assult, two for DUI, and one for Driving While License Suspended. There were approximately 28 inmate days. Using the $66.36 we charge others, this works out to a cost of $1,858.08. There are still three individuals incarcerated. We may also recoup some of this money if any of the individuals were held as Federal prisoners and we are able to charge them.

The Department of Corrections expended very little in costs and man-power in other issues related to the gathering. The majority of our expense was in preparation by Central Office staff in the event of a mass arrest. Additional time was expended by the Rutland staff gathering information that was submitted to your office each day. Ti is estimated that staff rime involved above the cost approximately $500.00. This brings the total approximate cost to the Department to $2,358.00

Rutland Superintendent Michael O'Malley, who was closest to the situation, advised that the gathering had extremely minimal impact on his institution. As coparison, he used "fir week," which he indicated on its first night alone generates more problems for his facility than what was experienced with the Rainbow Gathering.

Regarding recommendations to stop problems if another Rainbow Gathering weere to occur in Vermont, the idea of a "peace bond" has great appeal, especially when you have 17,000 people who put a large strain on human service resources gathering under a very loose umbrella organization.

Lastly, I feel it is important not to minimize Corrections actual costs and involvement. The potential for a very serious and dangerous situation to have occurred was very real. Given our experience with abortion protestors who did not create security and custody problems, dealing with a population who had security and custody considerations would have been a monumental task.



State of Vermont
Agency of Human Services
Office of the Secretary
Agency of Human Services

103 South Main Street
Waterbury, Vermont 05676

MEMO TO: Michael Gilhooly, Analyst, Governor's Policy Office
FROM: Cornelius D. Hogan, Secretary, Agency of Human Services DATE: July 18, 1991
SUBJECT: Rainbow Family Gathering

This is in response to your request for comment regarding the Rainbow Family Gathering. Mine is Brief. As you may recall, we had only one incident involving an individual travelig to the meeting who left his children unattended in a car late a at night while he was drinking in Brattleboro. Considering the number of people involved, it is certainly fair to say that the gathering was a non-event from a child protection standpoint. I've talked with several individuals who were at the gathering and from their observation I do not believe that we have missed any major child correction problem.

You had asked for a comment regarding future gatherings. I can't claim an great expertise in this ara, but is seems to me that, should the Rainbow Family decide to come to Vermont again, a low key response is the best approach. I don't have the information to comment on this from a Public Safety or Health perspective, but it seems to me that we did it right this first time around and I don't have any major recommendations for change should we deal with it agin.



State of Vermont
Agency of Human Services
Office of the Secretary
Agency of Human Services

103 South Main Street
Waterbury, Vermont 05676

MEMO TO: Michael Gilhooly, Analyst, Governor's Policy Office
FROM: Cornelius D. Hogan, Secretary
DATE: July 18, 1991
SUBJECT: Activities Related to Rainbow Family Gathering (Mary Lou Bolt)


Attended Forest Service planning session at Rochester High School. Met all key personnel from Forest Service and Addison County Sheriff's Department. The Forest Service handed out their objectives for this gathering (attached). Robert Burt distributed the Forest Service Safety Plan. I metwith Nancy But as well as Robert Burt who aretogether coordinating health and safety for the Forest Service. We made apln tomeet at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 26, 1991 to go into the gathering.


It was my objective to meet and talk with people from the Rainbow Family to discuss Human Service issues. Snce my name tg identified me as being from the Health Department, it was difficult ot get away from helth issues, etc. I did discuss with Jane Lightwarrior the use oflocal emergency rooms. When I revealed the presenting problems of the people who went to Porter emergency room, she stated that all of these could have been dealt with at their "CALM" unit. She will be visiting Porter in the near future to thank them for their services (pay?) and reassure themthat they are encouraging people to use services available at the gathering.


Tapping into a water source and then distributing water was a huge topic of discussion at the gathering. Many family members approached Al Burns, Sanitarian Supervisor, with questions on how to make the contaminated river water safe for drinking. Nancy and Bob Burt from the Forest Service talked with family members at "Kid Village" concerning the filtration system for water usage there. The charcoal filtrtion system had been opened and was thus useless. The Burt's will recommend tomorrow that they boil or chlorinate the water. I distributed tothe Forest Service a list of phone numbers and key people forthe Health Department as well as names and phone numbers for those from Epi and Environmental Health who will beon call over the two weekends and July 4th holiday.


The Forest Service as well as the Stste Police requested a listing of who from the Health Department would be doing the daily walk-through inspections of the gathering. I obtained this list from Al Burns, Sanitarian Supervisor, on 6/28 and then provided it to Sgt. Ross from the Vermont State Police in person, at their command center in Rochester later Friday morning, as well as the Forest Service. Jim Zingenser, DVM, from Epi, had requested stool sample cans be made available by the Health Department at the Incident Command Center in Rochester. They weere needed before the weekend, so I brought what was available in the Middlebury office to Rochester.

As Bob O'Grady has probably relayed, the Healthe Department will be taking daily water samples from three locations onthe White River downstream from the gathering. Al Burns, Sanitarian Supervisor, stated there was a remote possibility that they might write a health order if sufficient latrines were not dug soon as the Health Department had recommended.


Read of infant death at the Gathering in the Free Press. Linda Dorey, Public Affairs fort he Health Department, reports that the Medical Examiner's office has received one call from the press as of 9:00 am.m this morning.


The autopsy onthe infant was completed yesterday - cusse of death is pending. Preliminary report usually requires a week to ten days and the final autopsy report takes about six weeks. Any inquiries should go directly to the chief medical exminer's office.



TO: Steve Chupack
FROM: Mary Lou Bolt, VDH - Middlebury
DATE: July 10, 1991
SUBJECT: Rainbow Family Gathering - Final Report

Attached is a summary sheet of services that family members accessed between 6/18 and 7/8. As I told you in our phone conversation on 7/8, I had a call from the crisis worker for CSAC aat home over the last weekend. I was able to make a connection with the Forest Service so that his message could be delivered to the Rainbow Family Council.

It would seem that the majority of people have dispersed by now with only a small number choosing to remain in Vermont. If you do receive any information as to the current status, I would appreciate that information.

Needless to say, it has been an interesting experience. Please call if you need any additional information.

cc: Patricia Berry
Fran DeFlorio



Services Accessed by Rainbow Family
DateReportHospital/ForWicMentalReport Given ToNotes
6/96/18RRMC-2 through ER--Bob O'Grady-
6/206/19Porter-Disclosed there has been 1 birth at the encampment--Terry Mocaig-
6/216/20---Bob O'GradyReported Addison Cty. Community Action Food Shelf being depleted
6/246/21-23Porter - 1.Knee/Ankle sprain, 2. Urinary tract infection--Bob's Secretary-
6/256/24Porter-1.Laceration--No Call-
6/266/35---No Call-
6/276/26---No Call-
6/286/27---No Call-
7/16/28-30Porter-1.Wrist Sprain-- Bob's Secretary-
7/27/1Porter-1.Asthmatic--Bob's Secretary-
7/37/2RRMC-1.Psycho.Problem--Bob's Secretary-
7/4-HOLIDAYNo Calls---
7/57/3,4Porter-1.Dehydration 2.Heroin Withdrawal, 3.Seizure Disorder--Bob's Secretary-
7/87/5,6,7Porter-1.Scalp Wound 2.Tooth Abcess,3.2 Men LSD Withdrawal-Same 2 LSDBob's Secretary Withdrawal-
7/97/8-1-No CallWalking to Health Dept. Suspected Scabies

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