Friday, November 30, 2007

Front Page Again

What has become our usual adversarial way of doing business in Ruston has made the front page yet again. And again it is newcomers to the town. No judgement intended on that issue, just an observation. I am curious to know what others think, both Ruston residents and those who live in the larger community.

Karen P.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

2008 Ruston Priorities

As the year starts to wind down, and we've somehow survived another nasty campaign season in Ruston, it's time to think about next year. I'd love to hear what things are important to you as residents in town. And I also hope for input from others out there in the South Sound. Ruston has been a source of entertainment for many ~ what constructive input do the rest of you have?

Karen P.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Today’s observation

“I’m afraid to say anything.” I heard that comment yet again this week.

Sound familiar? The feeling is all too familiar to those who might not agree with the current town leadership. It’s no longer enough to state one’s opinion and allow others the freedom to disagree. Many now fear harsh repercussions; name-calling, rumors, lies, attacks against your business or employment.

But I will give my opinion ~ and ask for yours. How are you feeling about today’s political climate in Ruston? Do you agree that things have gotten too harsh? Can we find a way to "agree to disagree" without personal attacks? Are we capable of sorting through all the facts and forming varied, honest opinions ~ and allowing others to come to different conclusions? That would mean presenting all the facts, not just those that support one's opinion. But that's a whole different subject...

I’m not sure it’s even possible. Maybe too many are too afraid. Maybe we've gone too far. Maybe the wounds are too deep. Just my opinion ~ what's yours?


Open Letter to Ruston Council

The following letter was submitted to the Council for consideration during their 2008 budget decisions by Fire Chief Don Torbet. It contains important factual information about our fire department's response to the recent shooting.

Ruston Council Members:

The Ruston Fire Committee has presented the issues I am about to address and I don’t want to belabor the point. Part of the committee’s report spoke to our response times as well as our training and future needs. They recommended starting a resident program and increasing the membership to 20. The budget I have submitted reflects these recommendations with an additional increase in money for equipment.

As you consider the up coming Town of Ruston budget for the fire department, please keep the following incident in mind. I believe it is an example of what we now have and what we can expect if we contract our fire/EMS service to Tacoma Fire Department.

In the early hours of November 1, 2007 there was an incident in Ruston involving a shooting. The original call was for a “Man Down”. It was later upgraded to a “possible Shooting.” The Ruston Fire Department medical aid van with one EMT was at the scene in 2 minutes 31 seconds after being dispatched. Two additional firefighters were at the scene within 3 minutes of dispatch. Two more arrived within 4 minutes of dispatch. The ALS (Advanced Life Support) transport unit, Rural Metro Ambulance #51 arrived at the scene 8 minutes and 11 seconds after being dispatched.

During this incident, Tacoma Fire Department also responded to the scene. I sent an information request to Tacoma Fire Communication Center. I asked, “Could you research the incident and tell me what units were there, how and when they dispatched, and when they arrived.”

A Tacoma Fire Department representative sent me the following time line information:

00:53 – LESA request for TFD response to a reported shooting at **** N. ****** Street.
00:54 – Engine 14, and Medic 1. – Dispatched
01:01 – Engine 14 – Onscene
01:04 – Medic 1 – Onscene
01:07 – Medic 1 – Available
01:16 E14 – Available - investigate only, call in Ruston, and handled by Ruston Fire.

It took, Tacoma Fire Department Engine 14, 7 minutes to get to the scene after dispatch; as compared to Ruston’s 2:31 . Tacoma Fire Department’s Advanced Life Support transport unit, Medic 1, arrived at the scene 10 minutes after being dispatched; as compared to Rural Metro #51 at 8:11.

After receiving the information, I contacted a supervisor at LESA (Law Enforcement Support Agency). In case it is unclear, LESA is the agency responsible for answering and routing all 911 calls to the appropriate agency. I spoke with a lady named Kim. I asked how and when Tacoma Fire Department was asked to respond. After Kim reviewed the taped recordings, she called back and told me a Police Officer had requested medical aid to a shooting at this scene. The police officer did not know Ruston Fire was only moments away. This radio traffic was handled by a dispatcher that usually works as a Pierce County Sheriff Department dispatcher. The dispatcher had sent the call to Tacoma Fire Department by mistake.
Why is all this important? Because time does matter in life threatening emergencies.

Should we be surprised by this data. No. It is exactly what Tacoma Fire Department has outlined in their presentation and in their handouts.

These times also reflect those times posted by Ruston Fire Department. This call was exactly 3 seconds faster than our 2007 annual average of 2 minutes 34 seconds from dispatch to on scene time. These times are through the month of October 2007.

The most important concept to take from all of this:

In this incident the 4 minutes probably made the difference. The survival chances of this patient were greatly improved by the rapid treatment. If this was your loved one it may have had a larger impact.

Please keep Ruston Fire Department working for the Citizens of Ruston.

Thank you,

Don Torbet

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fire Committee Reports

Mayor Transue appointed an independent committee to study our volunteer fire department. The recent campaign season spread many unfounded rumors about the quality of service we receive from our fire department. The committee found that Ruston has excellent medical aid and fire service. The full findings are available unedited by clicking Ruston Reports on the tab to the left or going to

It is vital that we make informed decisions about our future, and that we require our council to act in the best interests of our community, not just a select few. Please add your thoughts to this discussion.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Familiar Change

This article describing the transition in East Helena sounds very familiar. It brought back memories of our struggle a decade ago. The change has not been easy or without mistakes.

I find it intriguing that having survived the transition in Ruston, I believe we are now imploding from within. Our own self-focus is driving us apart, a destructive force that threatens to tear our community to pieces.

May things go better in East Helena: