Editor’s note: This is the third in a four-part series highlighting the 2023 news of Rio Rancho and Sandoval County.


  • Miss Rio Rancho Jasmin Perry is named Miss New Mexico USA People’s Choice recipient as well as Miss Congeniality. Perry had overcome a car accident and had to re-learn how to walk.

  • Rio Rancho Fire Rescue Capt. Jason DeBerg was honored for his 25 years of service.
  • Elevate is temporarily closed due to wind damage on the roof.

That’s New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, arriving at Chalmers Ford Monday afternoon, behind the wheel of a new Mustang Mach E. (Gary Herron/Observer)

  • Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham made a trip to Chalmers Ford to introduce her proposed emission standards (Advanced Clean Cars and Advance Clean Trucks). The proposal states that 35% of 2026 models delivered to the state must have zero emissions, increasing gradually to 82% in 2034. The issue is still being heavily debated as the year comes to a close.
  • Rio Rancho’s Explore Academy campus begins classes.
  • A Rio Rancho man, Elbert Turner, is charged with two counts of murder. He is accused of killing two people living in a shed on his property.
  • The high river continues to cause a high number of rescue calls for the Corrales Fire Department with Deputy Fire Chief Tanya Latin saying 2023 was a record-setting year for river rescues. Five people were rescued June 18 with 12 more the following day, she said.
  • Rio Rancho celebrates Independence Day with a parade and a number of activities in Campus Park, culminating with fireworks at dusk.
  • Dr. Kristopher Johnson is named as the CTE principal. He comes from Volcano Vista High School.
  • The Santo Domingo Pueblo receives $12.7 million from the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program to expand internet access.
  • After Colton Oord was named the Rio Rancho High School girls soccer coach and then rescinded, Michael Gonzales was selected to helm the program.
  • The Duke City Gladiators season is ended without a playoff berth.
  • The New Mexico Supreme Court begins to look at claims of gerrymandering with the state’s newly drawn congressional districts.
  • Rio Rancho resident Devi Piper competes in the National Senior Games in several swimming events.
  • A house fire in Bernalillo is believed to be arson.
  • The Corrales Community Library unveils its clay children’s mural in its Storybook Garden.
  • The murder trial of Zane Skinner is set for January. The Rio Rancho teen is accused of killing his father in December 2022.


  • A mountain lion prowls through the Northern Meadows neighborhood before being sedated and captured for re-release in the mountains by the Department of Game and Fish/Animal Control.
  • Rio Rancho High School principal Ryan Kettler accepts the position of superintendent at Las Lunas Schools just days before the 2023-24 school year starts. Millan Baca was named the new RRHS principal shortly afterward.
  • The Margarita Hill Development near Rust Medical Center is put on hold, with the developer saying the plan became too expensive and risky to complete.
  • New Mexico Gas Company’s plans for a liquified natural gas facility in Rio Rancho draws concerns from residents as the company and local officials tout the plan. The facility is scheduled to go before the Public Regulations Committee in 2024.
  • Boese Brothers Brewing announces expansion into Rio Rancho.

Kevin Hendricks/Observer.

  • The Rio Rancho Observer celebrated not only its new location on Southern Boulevard but also 50 years of business.
  • The debated Duke City Gladiators turf is moved from the Rio Rancho Events Center to Tingley Coliseum.
  • Sprouts announces a new location for Enchanted Hills. Blake’s Lotaburger also announces a new location on Unser Boulevard.
  • Jordan Juarez announces his candidacy for Sandoval County Commission.
  • The 330th annual Fiestas de San Lorenzo is held in Bernalillo.
  • Residents continue to express their disappointment in the county’s vote to ban the feeding of wild horses.
  • Corrales brewery, Ex Novo Brewing Company, is named the official beer of the New Mexico State Fair.
  • More than 200 bowlers take part in the New Mexico Open at Tenpins & More.
  • Sunday is Funday is viewed as a success.
  • The Islands at Rio Rancho ponds are drained, and residents share their discontent with it. The decision to drain the ponds early was prompted by the discovery of the West Nile Virus in the area.
  • Rio Rancho Public School implements a new attendance policy in an effort to fight chronic absenteeism.
  • The Wells Fargo branch in Corrales closes its doors.
  • Bernalillo teen Drew Bone leads his USA team to a first-place finish at the FIPS-Mouche Fishing Championships in Bosnia/Hercegovina.
  • A house fire breaks out in Corrales Heights near Rio Rancho Elementary School. No injuries are reported. A GoFundMe is eventually set up to help the couple with repairs.
  • The STEAM Center of Excellence celebrates its grand opening.
  • Football season kicks off for local high school teams. Cleveland and Bernalillo notch wins while Rio Rancho falls to La Cueva. However, the Rams later get the win due to a forfeit by the Bears prompted by their use of an ineligible player in the game. Volleyball, soccer and cross-country seasons get under way as well.
  • Murder charges against Noah Sisneros and Jayden Boveland in the 2019 death of Robert Rodriguez. The dismissal cites the “ongoing delayed disclosure of discovery by personnel from the Rio Rancho Police Department.”
  • The state notes an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
  • Slim Chickens opens on Unser Boulevard to long lines.

Kevin Hendricks/Observer
Dozens of cars lined up in the drive-thru Wednesday morning for the opening of Slim Chickens.

  • Dagmar’s Delectables reopens under new ownership and a new name, Dagmar’s Specialties. New owner Michael Almanzar, hopes to keep the spirit of friend and previous owner Dagmar Schulze, who died in February, alive.
  • Ram Charlie Vause, a junior transfer from Ohio, takes the Cleveland Invite in cross-country. He goes on to have a nearly perfect season, only dropping one race to a teammate.


  • Comcast and Vexus announce broadbrand agreements with the city of Rio Rancho for more internet options for residents. Cable begins running by the end of the year.
  • The FBI targets members of the Bandido outlaw motorcycle gang, including arrests in Rio Rancho.
  • Rio Rancho student Auburn Eichers wins the state Civics Bee competition.
  • The Bagel reopens on Southern Boulevard after losing its lease and closing its original location on Rio Rancho Boulevard in January 2022.
  • An embezzlement charge against former Storm boys basketball coach Sean Jimenez are dropped.
  • Attorney General Raul Torrez announces no criminal charges will be filed in the December 2021 death of 2-year-old Lincoln Harmon, who was accidentally shot by his older brother.
  • A policy at Rio Rancho Public Schools promoting neutrality on political and social issues causes in email signatures and classroom signage causes concern among some staff members.
  • In an attempt to curb gun violence, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issues a 30-day public health order prohibiting people from carrying firearms in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, prompting lawsuits. The state attorney general says he won’t defend her office in the lawsuits, and Rio Rancho and Sandoval County blast the order and say they won’t enforce it if it expands to the community. The order is later scaled back but extended.
  • The Cleveland community rallies behind football player Marshall Logan, who has been diagnosed with cancer.
  • Rio Rancho’s Oktoberfest draws thousands to the Country Club Plaza parking lot.
  • Tons of trash are removed from Rio Rancho as during the Mayor’s Rally in the Desert cleanup day.

Does this man look like he’s 83 years of age? He is. That’s Ringo Starr singing as the concert got underway, before heading up to the drum kit behind him. (Joe Grimando photo)

  • Former Beatle Ringo Starr performs with his All Star Band at the Rio Rancho Events Center. The concert made national headlines, including on TMZ, when he had a brief fall on stage at the end of the concert.
  • The possibility of a third Rio Rancho high school, in the distant future, is broached at a Sandoval County Commission meeting.
  • Brenda’s Car Wash is demolished to make room for a raising Cane’s at Southern and Unser. The restaurant is currently under construction and advertising that it’s hiring.
  • The city hosts its first Food Truck Fiesta.
  • A referendum vote causes fireworks at a Sandoval County Commission meeting, passing on 3-2 vote and prompting Commissioner Jay Block to call for the removal of Commissioners Katherine Bruch and Joshua Jones, who voted against it, for “violating their oath of office,” saying they voted against the Constitution.
  • A drive-by shooting near Isotopes Park kills an 11-year-old boy and paralyzing his aunt, an Algodones woman. Three men, Jose Romero, Nathan Galey and Daniel Gomez are arrested in the shooting weeks later. A GoFundMe is established to help the family with bills related to the shooting.
  • Rainbow Ryders, whose balloons are often seen over Rio Rancho, celebrates 40 years in business.