A real “blast from the past”; Mayor Gregg Hull pages through a phone book from 2001. Gary Herron photo.

There it was — one of the first items extracted from the time capsule by Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull: the printing plate of page 1 of the July 14, 1993, Observer.
“It’s a district!” the huge headline read.
The two Rio Rancho Public Schools students placed into a time capsule in 2001 something about the city’s renowned school district. That issue of the Observer revealed how state board of education members voted 11-1 at a five-hour meeting in Bernalillo to allow Rio Rancho Public Schools to become a reality.
One of those former students, Megan Wood — in ’01 a freshman at Rio Rancho High School — was on hand on the third floor of City Hall the afternoon of May 14 to watch Hull reveal the capsule’s contents. Telly Morency was the other student filling the time capsule; his whereabouts are unknown.
Before the time capsule was opened, Wood said she couldn’t remember what she and Morency had placed in it and originally stored at City Hall’s previous site, near the intersection of Southern Boulevard and NM 528.
Hull played the role of talk show host during the nearly hour-long ceremony, which included short interviews with Ronnie Baca, administrator of the Rio Rancho Memories Facebook page, and longtime Rio Ranchoan David Heil, the Sandoval County Commission chairman.
Most items in the capsule were of the ephemeral variety: documents from city offices 20 years ago; a campaign letter of former Mayor Grover Nash; a water and wastewater fee schedule; a city development manual; and a capital improvements plan.
The latter, Hull quipped of the thick manual, was “like a Sears catalog — a lot of cool things, but you only get one.”
Also in the capsule were a letter from local politicians Jack and Patty Thomas, menus from Twisters and O’Hare’s Grille and Pub, AMREP sales brochures, a New Mexico Business magazine, a New Mexico Magazine and a DPS Gazette, Miss Teen photos, a document about upcoming “Y2K” computer concerns and a “Y2K Rap,” a letter from residents Cliff and Jean Sievert about their days in the city, aerial photos of the area, four VHS cassettes, a bubblegum cigar, a phone book and an RRHS mug featuring the names of the 2001 graduates and an RRHS T-shirt with the words, “Community in Unity.”
“We’ve had an exciting time,” Hull concluded after an hour.
His plan is to stock another time capsule with mementos from 2021, and he’s taking suggestions at ghull@rrnm.gov. Don’t suggest a face mask from the pandemic — that’s the first item on his list.
Also certain to go into the new capsule, to be opened in 2041, will be a commemorative coin from the city’s 40th anniversary of incorporation; a T-shirt from Rio Rancho High School’s championship football season of 2014, signed by the players; and USB drives, so there won’t be a plethora of paperwork.
“Thank you for preserving our history,” Hull told Wood.
He said he was planning to have the paperwork he’d pulled out digitized and archived.

Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull listens to Megan Wood’s memories of the day in 2001 when she helped stock the time capsule, left foreground. Gary Herron photo.

Gary Herron | Observer staff writer