Letters to the Editor


Guerneville Flood Memories

You got that right-I was exhausted and relieved! (“The Flood of ’86,” Feb 23.) That photo was taken on the first day we were able to get into town, but were not yet back in our own home. The kids were worried about what happened to all the lost, stranded and abandoned pets, so we went to the library where an emergency shelter was set up to talk to the vets and see if we could help out. We were luckier than many because friends who lived on high ground took us in after we were evacuated, so we never had to go to a shelter or be separated from our dog. Best of all was eventually finding that the flood waters came up to two inches below our floorboards, even though the ground floor with garage, furnace, water heater and storage area flooded.

We moved into Santa Rosa the fall of that year, which I swear was a coincidence. The kids have grown into wonderful adults. I often joke that I hope to be like them when I grow up, but it is really the truth. Those early river experiences taught them so much, including awe and respect for the natural world and the firsthand knowledge of the importance and strength of a community. It was beautiful how we helped each other through those first days and the weeks that followed. The flood taught them about courage too. I will never forget how brave they were, jumping off our top step into a small, inflatable boat on very choppy, cold water, in the darkest of nights and in the pouring rain. They were each clutching a black plastic bag containing their most prized possessions in one hand and a gallon of drinking water in the other. I sure wish I had a photo of that.

Thanks for listening.

Ruth Bennett

Santa Rosa

Andy Fava’s Rescue

I took the Andy Fava picture, and I remember it well! A group of us watched in disbelief as Andy, apparently unaware that he was about to swim with the fishes, kept getting into it deeper and deeper. With a nonplussed look on his face, his wipers cranked up at full speed and his radio blasting, he looked at us wondering why we were all staring at him. The “rescue” lacked the drama which accompanied many of the other, more difficult rescues. I also took the picture of Ruth Bennett and her kids (they were so photogenic), as well as that of Tinker and Jane, whose attitudes were exemplary.

Stephen Gross

Staff Photographer, ‘The Paper,’ 1986

Happy Valentine’s Day

I remember this well. I was on a romantic Valentine’s getaway with my boyfriend at Orr Springs. The creek outside our little cabin rose and rose. Then it was a raging river and guys were on the bridge trying to save it from huge branches being rushed along the stream—dangerous! We were telling them to get off there! Then the power went out and all guests had to huddle in the main lodge with a kerosene lamp. We were stranded there for a while because Highway 101 was closed and we couldn’t get back to Santa Rosa. Orr’s got completely buried in mud—all the tubs and so forth. They had to close for a while to clean it all out.

Marty Roberts


Not So Simple

It’s not as simple as saying “pen them up well away from the ocean” (“Spawn of Frankenfish,” Feb. 2). The fish do escape, it’s very common. And the effects on the wild fish population could be devastating.

The other thing no one is talking about is how much food it takes to feed a Frankenfish that grows twice as fast as a normal fish. It essentially requires twice as much food. So where is all this extra food coming from, I wonder? It either puts pressure on other wild populations or creates the need to farm fish specifically for feeding to salmon. Either way, it impacts other ecosystems and humans in that food that may have been used otherwise for human consumption is now being diverted to feed the greedy Frankenfish.

Finally, we really don’t know what the impact of eating GM foods is on our bodies.

I like eating salmon, but I don’t want to eat genetically modified salmon. That’s my personal choice, and it should remain my choice, and that’s why the fish should be labeled.

Michele M.

Santa Cruz