Thursday, December 30, 2010

Today's Reminder

Here is a reminder not only of our history when Ruston had our own school, but of the joy of childhood. The photographer must have been pretty silly to elicit so many giggles...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Billy Larson

It seems like we are loosing so much of our collective memory over the last year... Billy Larson was one of Ruston's fixtures for many years. We first met Bill when we moved to town and he lived next door. He worked at the smelter and spent as much time at Ruston Inn as home. His constant smile and warm welcome made the neighborhood shine.

A celebration of Billy's life will be held at Ruston Inn at 2:30 pm on January 8th. The obituary is in today's TNT here....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Community In The Big City

This article in the Tacoma Weekly was interesting... it opens with a discussion of small town connections in Tacoma despite the large size of the city and heralds the sense of community that brings. The discussion has a familiar ring to it. You can read the full article here...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

I'm not much of a photographer and my phone is not much of a camera, but we enjoyed watching the moon rise over Zoo Lights last week. We are privileged to live here, surrounded by such beauty. And we are blessed to be able to call Ruston home. Merry Christmas to my friends and neighbors. I'm glad we all share this special place...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Funeral Today

I'm late getting this notice up, but longtime residents Bub and Pinky Herbert passed away last week, one day apart. Both attended elementary school here (Pinky at Ruston, Bub at Holy Rosary). Pinky's maiden name was Adams. She was the daughter of Ruston's longtime clerk Rose Adams. Funeral services will be this morning at 11 am at Holy Cross, 5510 N. 44th.

Although I've never met Bub or Pinky, I wish their family peace as they say goodbye.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meeting Monday

The Ruston council will begin the holiday week with a meeting where they adopt the budget for the new year and address several increases in utility rates. There is also the first reading on taxation of social card games.

All the background material is available on the town's web site here... The meeting starts at 7 pm, stop by at provide your input!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Commencement Condos In Recievership

Paul Wagemann of the Commencement Group confirmed today that the Commencement condo project is in receivership. The situation is still "fluid" as to what type of receivership and things are still being worked through.

Mr. Wagemann wished things had gone well, but he felt they did everything they could to make the project a success. Some things are out of their control. "But we are where we are," he noted and hoped that Ruston officials would work with them in good faith through this process. He felt working together would give the best chance for a good outcome for everyone.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Storm Damage?

Ruston Police Chief Jeremy Kunkel sent this announcement for any homeowners or businesses that may have damage from the heavy rains this weekend:

Pierce County Emergency Operations Center is collecting damage information from homeowners and business owners affected by this weekend's flooding. Residents and business owners in Pierce County that suffered damage should call the Department of Emergency Management at 866-798-6363 (toll free). Callers should have the following information available:
  • Name and address of the affected property
  • Type of insurance (homeowners)
  • A description of damage, even if uninsured
  • A personal estimate of uninsured losses
  • Estimates of the fair market value of the damaged home or business. It is not necessary at this point for property owners to have a contractor's estimate.

The findings from this assessment will be used by the Governor to request a possible disaster declaration and federal disaster assistance from the President. This process could take up to a couple of weeks or more. Federal disaster assistance, if and when it becomes available, only covers uninsured losses.

Among the immediate steps that individuals and families impacted by the floods should take include:

  • Call your insurance agent to check on your coverage.
  • Keep detailed records of all clean-up and repair costs, including photographs.
  • When the time comes to make repairs, be aware of local permit requirements and do a thorough check of potential contractors.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Santa had a great visit to Ruston yesterday. The fire fighters stayed busy after he left hanging Christmas lights on town hall. Then Santa returned in time for the tree lighting at 5 pm. It was a great day that brought smiles to many.

One of the volunteer fire fighters has created a photo-share site. I've shared just a few photos in the last post, but you can see all the great shots here... and even add some more shots of your own. Thanks Lauren!


Click here to view these pictures larger

Friday, December 10, 2010

Town Tree Lighting Tomorrow - Saturday

The word didn't out so please let your neighbors know. Ruston will have its official tree lighting ceremony tomorrow night, Saturday, December 11th at 5 pm. Santa will still be here for the tree lighting too! So if you can't make it earlier in the day, bring your camera.

Gather in front of Don's Market at 51st and Winnifred for hot cider and music before the big tree comes alive. Hope you can join us!

Santa Visits Tomorrow!

Santa will make his famous ride through town tomorrow on the fire engine with lights and sirens, then hang out to meet the kiddos and hand out treats. Stop in at Town Hall (5219 N. Winnifred) tomorrow between 12 noon and 2 pm to join the fun. Bring your camera and smiles!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Donations This Week

Time to clear out your closets to make room for all the new gifts on the Christmas horizon.

The Ruston-Point Defiance Business District is sponsoring a Goodwill donation truck, which Fuse restaurant has generously agreed to host in their parking lot at 5037 N. Pearl Street. The truck is manned from 8 am until 5 pm this week. If there is enough interest, they will stick around another week.

There are lots more happening with our local businesses... The district is considering sponsoring a shredding party next spring. And the Fuse lot hosted the Cascade Bloodmobile last week, along with the first First Friday for our business district. It was a slow start, but the plan is to continue next month. Shops will be open late until 8 pm on Friday, January 7th. Participating businesses will have red balloons out front and give-a-ways.

In the meantime, shop local and help support our neighbors!

Happy Birthday Bear!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Eagle Fight

Ruston was the site of what wildlife experts say is a common occurrence - two male bald eagles fighting. Although bald eagles are seen often in the skies over Ruston, this time the action landed on the ground. The fight began mid-air and ended up in a local driveway last night. Ruston police chief Jeremy Kunkel said he never expected to get a call like this one.

Kunkel said the call came out about 5 pm and he arrived to find two eagles on the ground with the eagles locked. Each eagle had one of their talons holding the other's talon and the other claw buried in the chest of other bird. They refused to let go and remained quiet on the ground until animal control arrived.

At that point they started fighting again, but neither would let go of the other. Kunkel reports the fighting was intense with what sounded like bones being broken. It was only after being placed in the cage inside the animal control van (with the door open) that the two eagles separated. One flew off and the other was taken to Point Defiance Park and released.

There were no obvious injuries on either bird. One neighbor was concerned that our 4-minute power outage shortly after the first eagle flew off might be related, but there is no sign that either Ruston guest stuck around.

Just another day in the life of the Ruston police - and something to keep the neighbors talking for a few days.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Meeting Tonight

Here is the agenda for the meeting tonight. All the background information is available on the town's web page here... (including minutes from the last few meetings if you want to catch up on the news).

The meeting tonight includes a public hearing to discuss possible revenue sources for the upcoming year and overall budget discussion (budget materials available here...) Stop in and give your input!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Miracle Mali

Our cute neighbor, Mali the tiger cub, has made a miracle comeback from the brink of death. She makes her first public appearance this weekend since her heart stopped beating two weeks ago. You can purchase your tickets to visit Mali and stay for Zoo Lights at a discount.

More details are available at the zoo's web site here... along with lots of other good news.

Friday, December 3, 2010

First First Friday

Ruston businesses are hosting their first ever First Friday today. Local shops will stay open late and most will be handing out holiday treats to shoppers. You can kick off the shopping with trading a pint for a pint donation to the Bloodmobile at the Fuse parking lot. A pint of blood earns a pint of beer at the Fuse.

Be sure to start your holiday shopping close to home today!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Upcoming Events

We have a couple of happenings in town this weekend. Our first First Friday will be held tomorrow, December 3rd. We will have an added opportunity to give blood at the Bloodmobile in the FUSE parking lot. Remember a donation of a pint will get you a free pint (see more here).

Second, Ladies Workout Express is hosting their annual Holiday Festival on Saturday, December 4th. Details on both events are on the flyers below. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Beginnings

Ruston's most notable corner is getting a makeover - from the inside out. The former Johnson apartments are being completely gutted and rebuilt. Affinity Investments purchased the building about a year ago and has decided to invest in the building despite the economic conditions.

New windows have been installed and everything is stripped down to the studs inside. The revamping will include new paint outside (like was done for Salvage Style). The town planner is hoping for some new awnings, but Affinity said they are not decided on that issue yet.

When everything is done, the building will have 6 new apartments - 4 studios and 2 one-bedrooms. The remodeling should be done by early 2011. The rental rates will depend on the furnishings - so they will be determined later. Anyone interested in getting one of the units can call Melissa at Affinity Investments at (253) 472-5400.

It's great to see projects moving forward in town. Thank you Affinity for your investment ~ we can't wait to welcome our new neighbors!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Weekend of Thanks

I hope everyone has enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend so far. I've been without full access to the Internet and I killed my camera - bringing some forced down time. I've managed to salvage the photos on the camera taken around town during the snow last week.

It's a good time to say thank you to all my neighbors for a wonderful year of community-building and dialogue. Have a blessed holiday season!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cold and Lights

It's cold today, snowy yesterday, turkey on Thursday and Zoo Lights on Friday ~ it all makes for a very full week. A special thank you to our hard-working crews who got the power restored after only a couple of in the dark last night in the howling, sub-freezing wind.

This was my view outside my office window yesterday. I dropped my camera in a puddle during the brief thaw yesterday afternoon, so I don't have as many pictures I would normally for our out-of-town readers (but hope to recover them soon).

In the meantime, we can use today to prepare for our feast of thanksgiving and welcome the Christmas season with a visit to Zoo Lights this weekend. Stay warm and safe everyone!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


As all the locals know, we have a love-hate relationship with the local deer. I found one munching at the corner of Bennett and 54th yesterday. They tend to eat our rosebuds and other delicacies in our yards, but somehow memories of Bambi keep most of our hearts soft. The raccoons are cute too, as long as they leave my garbage in the can...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pint For A Pint and Other Holiday Fun

The Ruston-Point Defiance Business District announced several fun events for the holiday season, in conjunction with the Ruston Fire Department:

~ FUSE Cafe Imbibery & Events Blood Drive ~ Cascade Regional Blood Services Bloodmobile
Friday, December 3rd from 5:00 to 9:00 pm
Location: FUSE Cafe Parking Lot at 5037 N. Pearl
Donate blood and receive a pre-paid coupon good for a pint of beer ~ "a pint for a pint". Pre-register at FUSE Cafe, Antique Sandwich Company, Don's Ruston Market or call (253) 722-8712. Before you donate be sure to eat well, drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids and bring picture ID.

~ Ruston-Point Defiance Business District "First Friday"
Friday, December 3rd from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Location: All businesses
Visit each of our unique businesses and receive a holiday treat on our very first "First Friday" event! Some of our shops are staying open a bit later than normal to meet our neighbors and share the holiday spirit.

~ Ruston Fire Department "Visit With Santa"
Saturday, December 11th from 12:00 to 2:00 pm
Location: Ruston Town Hall at 5117 N. Winnifred
Take pictures on Santa's lap as you tell him what you would like for Christmas and he'll have a special treat for you! Santa will arrive on the Ruston fire engine after making the rounds through town with lights and sirens.

~ Ruston Tree Lighting
Saturday, December 11th at 5 pm
Location: North 51st and Winnifred
Stick around after visiting with Santa for the traditional tree lighting in front of Don's Ruston Market. Enjoy music and warm cider provided by Don's.

~ Ruston Fire Department "Toy and Food Drive"
Friday, December 17th
Location: Your front porch or Town Hall (5117 N. Winnifred)
Please place your donation of unwrapped new toys and/or non-perishable food on your front porch, clearly labeled for RFD pick-up. There is also a drop off box at Town Hall if you prefer to bring your donations anytime. All of the fire fighters thank you. Last year was a huge success and we hope to go over the top this year with your help!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Salvage Style Opens

Christine Kavara has been a Ruston regular, riding through on her bike for years. But now she's brought her high-quality hobby to town as well. She'll be selling her refinished furniture at Ruston Galleries on the corner of 51st and Pearl. Gallery owner Sandra Freiboth describes Christine's work as top of the line. This isn't the typical 'shabby chic' with rough edges and semi-finished wood. Christine's attention to detail shines through every piece.

So don't let the dumpster in front of the shop dissuade you (the upstairs apartments are being remodeled). Stop in and welcome Christine to town with a purchase of one of her beautiful creations!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We Got Lucky

UPDATE: Thursday, 7:50 am: I need to make an important correction - it was not the fire department performing the clean up of this downed tree. The effort was lead by our town maintenance crew, Steve and Smitty. Steve was quick to point out that the local Highland Street neighborhood all showed up to help, cutting the clean up time at least in half. Two neighbors had chain saws going and others helped clear the debris. Even the owner of the van helped clean up the next morning. It's another wonderful example of neighbors coming together to make Ruston the special place we call home.

Despite today's wind and rain, it's nothing compared to Monday night's windstorm. Fire Chief Don Torbet said the department did not receive any calls for help during the storm, but this fallen tree limb was observed. Our volunteer fire fighters cut up the branch before anyone was hurt or drove into the mess. All in all, we got pretty lucky in Ruston with this storm even if we were without power for 6 hours.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Public Hearing on Landscape Requirements

UPDATE: Just a reminder this planning commission meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday. Please attend and give your input!

Ruston's planning commission has recommended new landscape requirements for private homes that add 10% or more to their square footage and to properties within the commercial zone. A second public hearing will be held on Wednesday, November 17th at 7 pm. You can submit written comment prior to the hearing. The commission will hold a work session this Wednesday, November 10th (presumably at 7 pm) to discuss this issue along with the Shoreline Master Plan.
More details on the proposed landscape changes are available here... The town planner has prepared a Question and Answer sheet based on comments given at the first meeting (available here).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fuse Reviewed

There was a very nice review of the new Fuse resturant in The Tacoma Weekly recently. Check it out here... And stop by to enjoy the good music and great food in person soon!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Long Meeting Likely Monday

It could be a long meeting for the council Monday night if the agenda is any indication. Former mayor Phil Parker's former fiance will speak to the council about a memorial, several ordinances are set for passage and the 2011 budget will be discussed.

Of special interest is a settlement of a lawsuit brought by Dave Baumgardner over the development of his property at the end of Orchard Street where the town, former mayor Michael Transue, Huitt-Zollars and Carl Stixrood were all named as defendants. The Town of Ruston also sued Huitt-Zollars. The settlement agreement is available here...

The full packet of information is available here...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nice and Yummy

Ruston has a new place to hang out on the weekends ~ a new restaurant with live music every Saturday night and great food all weekend long. Breakfast is available Friday through brunch on Sunday with unique omelets (like Hang Town Fry with oysters, bacon and cheddar) to 'random deliciousness' like Baked Eggs Parmesan. Dinner and lunch include seafood, steak, chicken, sandwiches - each with a special flair.

The restaurant, housed in the Point Defiance Cafe, opened October 2nd. Live classic rock and R&B will be featured on Saturday nights. Owners hope to expand the music to an occasional Friday night, perhaps add karaoke and maybe even open up the stage for jam sessions eventually. An experiment with live piano during dinner recently was well received and more is planned.

The new owners want to reach out to their new neighbors in Ruston. They know the casino was not popular with everyone in town, and they hope to convince the skeptics to step through the doors and give them a chance. So stop in and give them a try this weekend!

You can check the out on their web site at or on Facebook. The current menus are listed below (menu items rotate occasionally). Hours for the time being are:

Breakfast: 7 to 11 am
Lunch: 11 am to 2 pm
Dinner: 6 to 10 pm

Breakfast: 8 to 11 am
Lunch: 11 am to 3 pm
Dinner: 6 to 10 pm

Brunch: 8 am to 3 pm

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Roof

I noticed this weekend that the roof had been removed from the house under construction at 5311 N. Shirley. The new tresses are being delivered today. It appears the town prevailed in their determination to require the steeper pitch on the roof in order to build over 25' tall. You can read more details in the town planner's report here....

Saturday, November 6, 2010


This week as I walked away from the polling place, I was caught with yet another wave of nostalgia. Perhaps that's just the way of us 50+ year olds. We're past the mid-point and more prone to reflection.

This time I was hit with early memories of voting in Ruston. Everyone went to town hall on Winnifred Street. Mrs. Prettyman was in the office (or Verna) to say hello. Marilyn Pudlo, Etta Garrison and Norma Doucette greeted us when we went through the door every year. We saw our neighbors. We said hello to familiar faces. The whispered huddles would gather on the lawn out front to discuss who was running against whom. It was a warm connection despite sometimes contentious local races.

It was a celebration of our citizenship that we don't get with an envelope, one more community-building tool that we have lost. I still occasionally see a neighbor when I vote now, but its not the same going to an unfamiliar place with so many strangers. And we soon lose even that privilege.

I am thankful I started in Ruston when I did, to have personally walked through so many of our transitions. The subtle nuances of these changes will be lost as time and memory fade, but they build the foundation of who we are today. I hope we will hold our heritage dear, that we savor and protect that foundation.

Such are the reflections of an aging lady who, despite being thankful for who we are today, will occasionally long for days long ago.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Meeting

The meeting tonight appeared to be focused on the budget (amendment to the 2010 budget, discussion on the 2011 budget), along with a final vote to increase garbage rates and first reading on one-way streets. Just a reminder that the information for the meetings is now available on the town's web site (click here for the November 1st meeting). I hope several of you were able to attend and hear first hand what direction our elected leaders are taking us...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Beautiful Sunshine

What a wonderful, unexpected gift today was. I recognize that each day is a gift to be treasured and spent wisely. But we live in such a beautiful part of the world; whether it's on the drive home or the evening stroll at dusk, we can savor the seasons as they march past us. May the memory of today's unexpected beauty hold us through the winter days ahead...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hearing This Wednesday

The Planning Commission is holding a hearing on Wednesday, October 27th at 7 pm to receive input on both the Shoreline Plan and on the proposed requirements for landscaping. You can read all the background information on the town's web site here... So check out the details, gather your thoughts and let the commission know what you think!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Glass Pumpkins At The Park Saturday Only

There will be a very nice display of glass pumpkins created by the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio at Point Defiance Park on Saturday. So wander over for look before the rains hit. Pumpkins will be on sale (to benefit kids with HIV) at the Pagoda from 9 am to 4 pm. The News Tribune has a story on the event here...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New And Improved

The Town of Ruston recently upgraded its web site. It has lots more information and is more user friendly. You can view background information on the council issues, check out the police and fire reports, get updates on what's happening around town and more. Check it out at

Monday, October 18, 2010

Building Too High, Garbage Rate Increase on Agenda

The council meeting tonight should include some lively discussion. EPA will give an update on their projects in the area. The town planner has confirmed the new house at 5311 N. Shirley is too tall (read his report here) and the only solution appears to be requiring the builder to rebuild the roof with a steeper pitch. And finally, our garbage rates go up on December 1st from $19.85 per can to $27.31 ($23.00 to $25.85 if you recycle). You can read that full ordinance here.

The town now has their agendas and council packets available on line. The information for all of tonight's discussion is available here. Come by the community center at 5219 N. Shirley at 7 pm to provide your input.

Friday, October 15, 2010

No Place Like Ruston

I found this commentary on the 'other' Ruston interesting. Even though the things that attract him to life in Ruston, Louisiana might be different than what makes Ruston, Washington special for many of us, I have to agree that there is no place like Ruston. You can read Mr. Barber's comments here...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Smelter Upgrade 1915

A few more images from my history research:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ruston Opposes Countywide Flood District

UPDATE, October 14, 2010: The News Tribune has an article on this issue today, which even includes a quote from our town attorney...

Town officials joined several other jurisdictions today to testify against the county's proposal to make all of Pierce County a flood control district. There are several taxing options included in the proposal that Ruston argued against in front of the Boundary Review Board.

Town attorney Dave Britton gave this explanation:

Based on the unanimous resolution of the Town Council, I was directed by Mayor Hopkins to join city attorneys from several Pierce County jurisdictions, including Bonney Lake, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, University Place, Eatonville, Edgewood, Milton and Fircrest, in opposing the County's formation of a countywide flood control district that would include (and of course tax) all citizens of the county, including citizens of Ruston. The Town of Ruston is classified by FEMA as being in a "Flood Control Zone C", meaning there is virtually no risk of flooding here. Ruston residents already pay for their own surface water control, through updgrades to our storm sewers. Now, we are being told by the County that, in addition to paying for our own storm sewers (at no small expense to Town residents), we will also be force to pay for flood control for the three percent of County residents who have elected to live in the 100-year floodplain along the Puyallup, White, Carbon and Nisqually Rivers. In effect, the County if forming a special-purpose taxing district where 100% will pay, but only 3% will benefit.

While Pierce County has argued that it has not decided on which of several taxing alternatives it would use to finance its new flood control district, you can be sure the tax will not be voluntary. One of the tax alternatives available is a $0.50 tax on every $1000.00 of assessed value of property.

In a hearing before the Pierce County Boundary review Board today, the Town asked the Board to exercise its power to review the boundaries of the newly-formed special purpose districts to reject the County's proposed countywide flood control district, or to restrict its borders to a more logical service area (i.e., one in which the residents who benefit are also the residents who pay). Taxing the 97% of County residents who do not live on the 100-year floodplain, for the benefit of the 3% who do, is neither logical or fair.

Off-Leash Dog Park

UPDATED, 7:23 pm: More fun for the dog lovers among us:

Point Defiance now has an area designated for an off-leash dog park. Unlike the challenges Ruston faced after Rust Park evolved into a well-used off leash park, Metro Parks has planned for and welcomed dogs and their owners into specified areas.

For those concerned about this issue, park district officials will hold a meeting to discuss the Point Defiance area and the potential for new dog parks. Things kick off at the district offices on Thursday, October 21st at 5:30 pm. More details are below:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Update on Slander Lawsuit

As mentioned in the last update on the Walker vs Jones slander lawsuit, Mr. Walker's fellow Civil Service Commissioner Connie Maglione and myself were added as defendants to the lawsuit last July. The judge issued a summary judgement in favor of Ms. Maglione and myself on September 10th, dismissing us from the lawsuit.

Mr. Walker asked the judget to reconsider his decision on October 1st, but his motion was denied. The lawsuit continues against Ms. Jones, now scheduled for January 4, 2011.