Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Since I'm away from home and not able to keep up with local politics as much as I'd like, I thought I'd share some things from my other Ruston interest ~ documenting our town history before it's lost. These are some images gathered from the Ruston Elementary School reunion last summer. Enjoy! ~ Karen

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Council Meeting Tonight

There is a council meeting tonight. I had listed the date incorrectly, but the meeting is tonight due to the Martin Luther King holiday yesterday. I was not able to get an agenda on Friday and am out of town again ~ so I will get the details posted as soon as I can. Thanks for your patience. Or attend the meeting tonight yourself and see first hand how Ruston politics is working these days. 7 pm at 5117 N. Winnifred ~ Karen

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ruston Rumors

This was too good not to share.... if you click on the image it opens to full size. This is part of a 1948 Ruston school newsletter. Some things never change...

New Adventures

It's been a quiet week, or maybe its just that I've been busy with other things. There is a council meeting coming up Monday - oppph, I mean Tuesday!!! (I forgot that Monday is a holiday for many of you) I've been having fun creating some Facebook pages this week. Check 'em out and join if you'd like. It's another way to stay connected and informed on what's going on around town:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Changes A-Brewing?

Ruston's most notable corner has a new owner. Affinity Investments has purchased the building that houses Ruston Galleries and the apartments above. There has not been any progress on the plans to upgrade the adjacent building, although the project was granted a variance that allows a slightly higher height. But the variance has a time limit ~ 2 years from the time of approval. The variance was approved in January 2009.

Perhaps new owners for both these buildings is a good sign that improvements are on the horizon. Sure would be nice!

Friday, January 8, 2010

I remember Ruston when....

I'm trying out a new venture for the millions of us using Facebook. I've set up a new page titled "I remember Ruston when..." If you want to log on and add your thoughts for the group, here is the link.... Or add your comment here and we can start to document our stories before they fade away.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

In The News

There is an interesting article in the News Tribune about the great attendance at Point Defiance Zoo in 2009. Despite the economic downturn 624,595 visitors drove through Ruston to spend their money at the zoo. Now if we could just figure out some way to get them out of their cars and walking through our businesses. Feel free to comment with any of your ideas.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Electrical Bids

UPDATE: Friday, Jan. 8th, 2:20 pm: The mayor confirmed that the construction contracts for this work has been awarded. The work for Shirley and Highland Streets will be done by Amaya Electric and the work on Winnifred will be done by Cannon Construction. The labor costs for each project is listed below.

UPDATE: Thursday, Jan. 7th, 10:08 am: Based on a question posed in a comment here, I asked Mayor Hopkins to outline the full costs for the street lighting project (not just the cost for the poles and light fixtures). Here is his response. The asterisk indicates that the same contractor will be doing those streets, and these totals do not include the costs to replace the 10 fixtures on Stack Hill. Thanks for the great question and to the mayor for the quick and transparent response...

Material and Labor Cost
Mounting Height = 18'
Fixtures: Architectural Area Lighting, the Providence Family
Pole: $930 each
Fixture: $890 each
Winnifred Street
24 poles: Material Costs = $43,680.00, Labor Costs = $101,628.19 ~ TOTAL: $145,308.19
Shirley Street*
12 poles: Material Costs = $21,840.00, Labor Costs = $81,547.85 ~ TOTAL: $103,387.85
Highland Street*
11 poles: Material Costs = $20,020.00, Labor Costs = $72,292.33 ~ TOTAL: $92,312.33

Total Material Costs: $85,540.00
Total Labor Costs: $255,468.37
Total Overall Costs: $341,008.37

This is the handout that Mo Fesharaki gave the council at the last meeting. It compares the bid numbers from the three bidders for the street light project.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Ruston's newest elected officials as they were sworn in last night (Mayor Bruce Hopkins and Council Members Jane Hunt and Deb Kristovich).... and a picture of the new council.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Council Meeting Notes: Jan. 4, 2010

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Hopkins at 7:02 pm. After the roll call and flag salute, the agenda was amended so that the new town officials would be sworn in after agenda approval. Mayor Hopkins was sworn in by the town attorney. Hopkins then swore in Council Member Hunt and Kristovich.

The minutes were approved after a note was added that Council Member Hedrick had attended the last meeting.

Public Comment
Jim Wingard asked why the minutes had not been included in the informational packets like before and expressed concern about the new BIAS software system.

Sherri Forch had visited former Council Member Mary Joyce at Tacoma Lutheran recently. Mary is recovering from a fall and doing well. Her husband hopes to bring her home soon.

I asked the council to give some background on why they were repealing some of the Ruston code tonight (since we cannot ask questions during their discussion). I also asked them to consider a new system that allowed public comment during their discussion in individual agenda items.

JJ McCamment from Point Ruston thanked everyone for their patience during the recent tunnel closure and explained why it took longer than planned.

1. Mo Fesharaki - Street Lighting: Mo handed out a list of the bids received for the new poles and light fixtures. He recommended going with Tacoma Electric Supply as the low bidder. He had negotiated a $2,300 reduction in pole costs from them this afternoon. The cost came in at $930 per pole and $890 per fixture. The factory will pay for shipping. He wants to proceed now so the project can get started. Shipping will take 8 to 10 weeks. If the material arrives before the new lines are installed, it can be stored at the school building. The trenching and new lines will be starting in the next few weeks.

2. Resolution 459: The council decided to include new fixtures for the 10 lights on Stack Hill with this work. Hunt asked that the planning commission get the town code updated to require dark sky lighting from now on. The motion to proceed with purchasing 47 new poles ($43,710) and 57 new fixtures ($50,739) was approved 5-0.

3. Resolution 458 - Online Bill-pay Vendor Agreements: Hedrick asked why there were 4 different vendors listed. They are for the different pieces of electronic payments (credit vs debit cards, converting checks to electronic payments, etc). Hunt said the pricing was excellent compared to what she has seen in the marketplace. Mayor Hopkins noted BIAS will print and send out the bills. He is considering putting a computer in the town hall lobby so citizens can pay their bills, get building permits and such on their own rather than take the clerk's time. The resolution passed 5-0.

4. Ordinance 1304 - Repealing Ch. 1.12 RMC Town Employee Policy (First Reading): The town attorney is working to clean up the town ordinances. This will be the first of many things he suggests for the council to change. In this case, the town updated employee policy by resolution recently, but because this was an ordinance it trumped the new resolution. Britton pointed out that the town codes are available on the town web site (code is linked here). The council did not have any comment. The issue will be voted on at the next meeting.

Claims and Payroll
Hedrick asked the BIAS show which funds the claims will be paid out of. Hopkins said they can provide reports on any information the council wants. Claims and payroll was approved 5-0.

Mayor's Time
Hopkins welcomed Deb Kristovich "to our little family". He felt her business experience would be a huge asset. She is assigned as the council liaison for Public Works and Parks. He reported that the monthly staff meetings are yielding good results and will help prevent some of the problems the town has had in the past. BIAS is formalizing their proposed contract. The council should have it for approval by the next meeting. He noted that if the town has problems with the company or they become too expensive, the town can fire BIAS and continue to use the software.

Council Time
Huson welcomed Kristovich to "our previously dysfunctional family" but felt things had improved over the last few months. He will be meeting with his banker to see if the town can earn better than 1.7% on its investments. He asked that Point Ruston provide an update at the next meeting that included a timeline for the next few years. He asked that the town try to sell the 10 light fixtures they are replacing on Stack Hill. He added that he and Council Member Hunt went by the liquor store because they wanted to after the last meeting for the first time, rather than visiting out of need.

Hedrick said he knew when he was not going to be able to top Huson's comments and only welcomed Kristovich and wished everyone a happy new year.

Hunt updated everyone on her attempt to notify all the telephone companies of the new taxes that go into effect next month. There are 430 phone companies in Washington. The mayor and she had decided to only notify the top 15. The rest of the utility companies have been notified. She also welcomed Kristovich.

Hardin congratulated all the elected officials sworn in tonight. He will have a report out soon with some recommendations for improving the town computer systems. He noted that BIAS is geared for small cities and he does not have any worries about their services.

Hardin also wanted to know who was surveying the alleys in town. The mayor said it was for the new sewers. The council will quickly have to decide how to handle any lateral lines to private property that are not functioning properly. Those lines with leaks or that have storm water infiltrating them cost the town money (since the town pays by volume for sewer treatment). The surveying will include smoke testing to identify the lateral lines that are problems. Those residents will have to pay to install new lines to their homes. The town engineer is asking if the USDA loan limit can be increased so that the town can loan those monies out if the resident cannot afford a new line on their own. The loan would be paid back in full if the property sold (a lien would be placed on the property) or the property owner can repay at the same low interest rate.

Kristovich thanked everyone for their welcome. She is honored to serve and takes her new role very seriously. As a small business owner who recently converted to a system similar to BIAS, she was thrilled to see Ruston make this move.

The meeting adjourned about 7:50 pm.

Council Meeting Agenda: Jan. 4, 2010

On tap for tonight's meeting: swearing in the new council members (Kristovich replaces Stebner, Hunt is elected to the same position for 4 more years), more discussion on the street lighting changes, on-line bill pay and first reading for repealing the employee personnel policies.

The full packet of information is available on Ruston Reports here... Come by at 7 pm and enjoy the meeting in person!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! As we clean up from the holiday festivities, remember the Christmas tree can be recycled. Just set it out with your recylce bins and it will be picked up next week.

May this be a great year for Ruston and all its citizens!