Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Thanks to efforts by Commissioner Sallie Clark, the Manitou Environmental Citizens' Action (MECA), El Paso County Parks, citizens and volunteers gathered on Saturday, April 21st to bring Rainbow Falls back to its original splendor, encouraing more families and citizens to enjoy this historic and beautiful area. Coincidentally, the clean up took place on Earth Day.

Clean up activities included painting over destructive graffiti on the bridge and picking up trash along the trails, roadway and in the water fed by Fountain Creek. Over the last seven years, El Paso County, MECA and many other organizations have been making strides in improving the area, which until recently, had been under private ownership. Thanks to persistent efforts and the transfer of ownership to the County, picnic tables and trash cans have been installed, graffiti has been sandblasted from the rocks, the parking lot has been increased and trails have been built, including the restoration of the overlook trail with railings. One of the projects included that of Boy Scout Martin Rendleman, for his successful Eagle Scout project to build a trail access and picnic area near the entrance to the park area.

Rainbow Falls, located just west of Manitou Springs off of Serpentine drive is on the old Ute Pass Stagecoach route and is a historically significant recreation destination. After years of neglect and abuse by vandals, the property was deeded to El Paso County for a $10 transfer fee. Families are now using the area in the park and picnic area and law enforcement has come together to assist in changing the culture of destructive graffiti on the natural outcroppings and the waterway.

L'Aura Montgomery Williams, the founder of MECA, said, "Through increased family recreation and utilitization as well as citizen and sheriff/police patrols, Rainbow Falls is no longer a haven for graffiti vandals. We are sending a message that the Falls is now a park to be enjoyed, not  a place to be destroyed."

Financial contributions can be made through the MECA website:

Monday, May 7, 2012


Commissioner Clark with Paul Richards

Spring of 2012 has been a busy one for the El Paso County Board of Commissioners with many projects and events happening in the Pikes Peak Region.In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing some important issues that I've been involved with. 

Each year in April, the Commissioners recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month and this year was no different. With more the 12,300 reports of child abuse and neglect, El Paso County leads the state in referrals. As a member of the Child Welfare Allocation Committee at the State level, it's more important than ever to make sure counties (including El Paso) need to receive our fair share of dollars to answer these calls and keep Colorado's most vulnerable children safe from abuse and neglect. In April, I had the opportunity to take the message to the radio and TV waves and I personally appreciate their support of this important and yet difficult to discuss issue.

A County in Crisis? NOT ONE MORE CHILD Initiative: Last year in El Paso County, we saw the alarming number of 10 child fatalities due to abuse or neglect. All of these little ones were under the age of five and six of the 10 were not even one year old.   

After seeing these tragic numbers and knowing that we were close to crisis mode, District Attorney Dan May and I started the "Not One More Child" initiative with the goal of not seeing one more child in El Paso County die due to abuse or neglect.   

Dr. Bruce Perry at a recent child abuse prevention forum

Now more than 100 representatives from law enforcement, military installations, the Department of Human Services, hospitals and community groups like Family Connections, KPC Kids Place, Pikes Peak United Way, CASA, TESSA and Safe Passage are all working toward the goal of "Not One More Child" in El Paso County dying due to abuse or neglect.  To reach our goal we have divided the group into six smaller task groups. 
-  A Hotline Committee: looking how one local call number, to include online resources, can assist parents in crisis 
-  Mentors: researching how best to connect new parents with mentors and support systems
- A Communications Committee: creating the messaging to reach out to the community
-   A Data Committee: analyzing the data about child fatalities over the last five years
-   First Responders: creating more avenues for first responders to reach out to parents
-  The Medical Community: researching the best ways to reach out to parents in the hospital as well as at doctor’s offices before and after birth

Not One More Child Initiative Meeting
    Since the initiative began in January we have seen great media coverage on important resources for parents.  All the local hospitals either have a Crying Baby Plan presented to new parents or are working on getting one. We have a data report looking at the child fatalities over the last five years. First responders are putting together information to hand out to families they encounter as well as creating a special training for first responders to identify at risk families. We are all working together and very aware of what other local organizations are doing so there is not a duplication of efforts and we are not all working in our own little silos but leveraging the power of all the organizations involved so not one more child will die due to abuse or neglect. If you are interested in becoming involved in this effort or would like to learn more about it.  

    If you are interested in attending the upcoming meetings, please contact me by email:
   Coming soon...No Man's Land-West Colorado Avenue project on the road to success, Rainbow Falls Restoration and Clean Up, Fort Carson Growth Plan, Cheyenne Mountain Shooting Range, and more!