Two high-profile resignations within three days also garnered significant online readership this year. Mancos Town Marshal Jason Spruell resigned on Nov. 9 to purchase Mesa Verde Motorsports, and Mancos secondary principal Adam Priestly resigned on Nov. 12, citing personal reasons.
Meanwhile, Rosa Sabido marked her first year of living in sanctuary at Mancos United Methodist Church after a request for a one-year stay of deportation was denied.
Here’s a roundup of some of the biggest stories in Mancos this year.
Town governmentWeed control has become a contentious issue at Boyle Park. A group of residents in October protested the spraying of the herbicide 2,4-D, claiming potential health risks to children. Town employees stated the use of the herbicide is necessary to comply with state law regarding weed control. The herbicide kills broadleaf weeds without affecting grass. It has been commercially available since 1945 and in 2001 was the third-most popular herbicide in the United States.The town imposed outdoor water restrictions in June to prepare for a potential water shortage amid the drought. Residents with addresses ending in even numbers could water only on even days and vice versa. Low snowpack in the San Juan Mountains over the winter and unusually hot, dry weather this spring has led to low water levels in several reservoirs and rivers throughout the county.Voters in April selected two new town board members and re-elected two others. Fred Brooks, Betsy Harrison, Cindy Simpson and Brent McWhirter took their oath of office after bidding farewell to departing trustees Lorraine Becker and Michele Black. In November, the Mancos Town Board approved a 4 percent end-of-year bonus for all eight town employees. Mancos in November adopted a townwide speed limit of 20 mph with the exception of Grand Avenue and Main Street. An engineering firm recommended the speed limit adjustment, stating it would reduce wear and tear on town roads and improve traffic flow. The cost of implementation is estimated at $7,000.An electric vehicle charging station was installed at Boyle Park in November. The dual-port charging station is the first of its kind in Montezuma County. A $9,000 Charge Ahead Colorado grant helped pay for the charging station.EducationSecondary principal Adam Priestly resigned in November, citing personal reasons. Priestly joined the school district in 2009. As a principal, he was known for bolstering teamwork in the high school and championing the school’s push for project-based learning. In the past year, Priestley went through a divorce and faced unrelated disciplinary action within the district. In Oct. 2017, superintendent Hanson gave Priestley and another school staff member a two-day leave of absence after he said the two had been dishonest with him regarding a relationship they’d had during the summer. At the time, Priestley said he regretted allowing mistakes in his personal life to affect his position as a role model in the school, and said he hoped to make it right in the future.The results of a 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey show high school students in Mancos experience a 10 percent higher rate of bullying compared with the state average. Marijuana use among high school students in Mancos is 8 percent higher than the state average and a much higher number of students in Mancos bring weapons to school. At Mancos High School, 18.4 percent of students reported bringing weapons to school compared to 4.4 percent statewide. That is primarily due to the acceptance of pocket knives.A remodel of the Mancos Schools campus began in May. The $25 million project is expected to be complete in 2020. The school remodel will include additions to the Elementary School, Middle School and Performance Center, as well as secure locks on all exterior doors, a new roof for the Elementary School and upgrades to the oldest buildings’ plumbing and electricity. It is being funded entirely by the BEST grant and the tax bond. Some residents have expressed concern over the removal an old willow tree.Public SafetyMancos Marshal Jason Spruell resigned in November to purchase Mesa Verde Motorsports. The town is in the process of selecting between two candidates to replace Spruell: Boyd Neagle, a Cortez Police Department patrol officer, and Justen Goodall, a Montezuma County Sheriff’s deputy. The town administrator will select the new marshal in January.CommunityThe two-year-old Mancos Colorado Days Association provided five, $1000 donations to local organizations following the Mancos Days Festival in July. Among the donation recipients was Girl Scout Troop 26250, co-led by Tressa Jukes, who says that the donation may go toward supporting the troop’s “first big overnight trip” in the spring, which would take place over a long weekend. Mancos Little League, co-coached by Anthony Mestas, is receiving one of the donations. Mestas says the team plans to put the money toward an infield at the baseball diamond in Mancos Wayside Park where they currently play.Rosa Sabido in June marked her first year of living in sanctuary at the Mancos United Methodist Church. The Mexican national sought sanctuary at the church in June 2017 after a request for a one-year stay of deportation was denied in May. Supporters celebrated with music, poetry, art and other creative expressions in Fellowship Hall to celebrate the past year. The event also featured crafts for children, and was open to the public. The Mancos Creative District in April hired Jodi Jahrling as director to replace co-directors Sarah Syverson and Carol Mehesy. Jahrling has worked as a marketing representative for the Greeley Stampede rodeo, which draws thousands of guests every year. But she said the experience that prepared her most for the position was her time as head of the nonprofit Minturn Community Fund in Minturn, Colorado, a town about the size of Mancos.