Friday, April 30, 2010

Cheer On The Runners!

Anyone wanting to help build a good impression for marathon runners trekking through Ruston on Sunday morning are encouraged to join the team in front of the Ruston School at 8 am Sunday. The Tacoma City Marathon comes through Ruston and its our chance to hand out water, cheer on the runners and help build a good impression of our town. The Ruston water station will run from 8 am until about 11:30 am. Its predicted to be the biggest group of runners ever, so come on out, bring your smile and a good set of lungs ~ let's show 'em Ruston is a friendly, fun place!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Help Bring Rusty Home

UPDATE: Thursday, April 29th: Rusty was spotted again this morning at about 7 am near 51st and Winnifred. Hope we can bring him home safe and soon!

Rusty is an adventuresome Jack Russell terrier who escaped from his owners Wright Park apartment on April 23rd. It appears Rusty has found his way to Ruston. There were several sightings of the little guy in town today.

His owner describes Rusty as an 18 month old male Jack Russel mix with a light brown wiry coat. He has a bearded face and his chest, feet and tip of his tail are white. He was not wearing a collar. He is clearly a much-loved pet ~ and his papa wants him back home safe and sound. Somehow it is only fitting that a dog named Rusty be rescued by the good folks in Ruston...

Please let your neighbors know to be on the look out. If you see or are able to capture Rusty, please call David at 512-773-7747 or 956-735-9686.

Jane's Walk

Jane Jacobs was a community activist who authored many books on urban development, probably most well known for "The Death and Life of Great American Cities". One of the out-growths of her work is an organized walk each year in any community that is willing to participate. This year, the Ruston-Point Defiance Business District is sponsoring a walk in our neck of the woods. The goal is to bring communities together to walk their neighborhood, share stories and history and develop a common bond around our shared space.

Their web page gives a good description: "Exploring a neighborhood on foot - especially with someone who lives there - is the best way to get a sense of city life in all its rich particularity. And talking with strangers from different walks of life can help reveal our shared experiences, connecting us to something larger than ourselves. Jane's Walk invites city-dwellers to get out of their cars and get connected..."

Our local walk will take place this Saturday, May 1st from 8 am until 9 am. We'll gather at the Goldfish Tavern parking lot and wander up Pearl Street together. Bring your memories and dreams for the future ~ and let's walk and connect and build our community face to face.

Ruston Home Prices

I don't normally do this, but this listing for a property in Ruston at only $88,110 caught my eye. I imagine it needs some work, but compared to a couple of years ago home prices sure have dropped around here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Speaking of Ideas

I got a wonderful comment recently from a local 11 year old who suggested Ruston consider hosting a skate park. In my too-busy life, it looks like I deleted the comment rather than passing it along for all of you to read. If the young reader happens to notice this post, please fill us in again on the details of your suggestion. It was a great idea and I want to be sure everyone gets to see what you had to say. I promise to be more careful next time!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ideas Wanted

Ruston's newest councilmember, Deb Kristovich, has taken her new assignment to focus on parks and recreation to heart. She has already organized a group of volunteers to clear out the area just east of Rust Park. The hope is to use this area for separate area where dogs can run off-leash.

Ms. Kristovich is looking for ideas and suggestions on how to raise funds for park improvements, and what improvements to focus on. So far, some ideas floated are for selling bricks or plaques for those who donate. Perhaps someone might want to dedicate/donate a park bench or two. Estimates are being gathered for the cost to fence off the dog area and to move the town maintenance supply area. You can call Deb with ideas or to volunteer at 988-8121 or email her at

Special thanks go to former resident Mike Tallman, who donated his time and equipment to provide some heavy-duty excavation and clearing for this project. Mike's mom Edie still lives in town and his grandpa was a longtime elected official for Ruston in the early 1900's. It's these small town connections that make this community such a great place to live and raise a family...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

No New Ferry

In case anyone spotted the elderly ferry parked off the Point Ruston shoreline today, it is only passing through. Mike Cohen reports this ferry is not connected to the local project at all. The man who captains the Point Ruston ferry stopped by while taking this older ferry to its new home on Ketron Island. Hopefully someday soon we'll see the Point Ruston ferry moored along our shore, selling new homes to neighbors by the boatload!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

RELAX Artists

At least one of the artists chosen for the RELAX art project this summer has announced their participation. I came across this blog entry recently by Ellen Miffitt (read it here). I'll get more details on the other artists working on the project as soon as I can...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Small Town Trouble

Another small town in western Washington is facing challenges. Vader is just a bit smaller than Ruston, but dealing with much larger issues. All things considered, our current group of elected officials is doing pretty well. The News Tribune has more here....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Council Agenda: April 19, 2010

Here is the agenda for the meeting on Monday. Hope you can attend and watch small town democracy in action first hand....

Roll Call
Flag Salute
Agenda Approval

Approval of Minutes:
1. April 5th Study Session
2. April 5th Regular Meeting

Staff Reports
General Public Comment

1. Kevin Rochlin, EPA Update
2. Ordinance 1309, Dissolve Tree Committee, Second Reading
3. Ordinance 1310, Relating to land use and zoning, removing existing lighting standards from the Town's signage and lighting code...
4. Resolution 468, Authorizing the Mayor to sign an inter-local agreement between the Town of Ruston and the City of Bonney Lake for Code Enforcement services...
5. Resolution 496, Authorizing the Mayor to execute a franchise agreement with Comcast of Tacoma, Inc...

Claims and Payroll
Mayor's Time
Council Time

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Council Meeting: March 15, 2010

A special meeting was called to order at 6:32 pm and immediately moved into executive session to discuss legal issues for 30 minutes. Council Member Huson was absent due to illness.

At 7 pm the regular meeting was called to order. Huson was formally excused from the meeting. The agenda was approved as presented. Council Member Hunt suggested that the March 1, 2010 meeting minutes be rewritten, watching for typos. The mayor noted that the clerk is still doing two jobs and is overloaded. The minutes will be reconsidered at the next meeting.

Public Comments
Sherri Forch gave details on the upcoming Easter Egg Hunt. She is hoping to use the new community center by next year for a full course breakfast after the egg hunt.

Ryan Morris, 5224 N. 49th, moving to Ruston soon. Just came in to see how small towns operate.

Buffy Turner, 5315 N. Shirley, spoke against the variance being considered by the council. She is still opposed to the proposal even though some of her concerns were addressed.

Staff Reports
Police: Chief Kunkel noted that the E-ticket system is working well. The new vests have been purchased and reimbursed has been requested from the state grant.

Fire: Chief Torbet noted that response times are under 2 minutes for the year so far. There was a joint training exercise recently with the police if anyone saw the activity, acting out a house under siege with hostages. The fire inspections continue for local businesses. The mayor commented that both chiefs had assembled great crews and he was proud of all the public safety personnel.

1. Electrical power to the medians on Winnifred: The mayor had asked the current contractor on the street light project for bid on running power to the medians for Christmas lights and other uses. Mo Fesharaki, the town electrician, felt the bid was very reasonable given the cost savings by doing the work in conjunction with everything open while they are installing the new lights. There is no money left in the electric reserve fund, so the money for this additional work will need to come from some other fund. Hedrick asked to see more options. Hardin wanted to know how much time was left to make a decision (until early-mid April). A decision will be made at the next meeting.

2. Ordinance 1308, Variance for Side Yard Set Back at 5311 N. Shirley: Town planner Rob White outlined the variance and planning commission findings and unanimous vote to approve the valiance. Hunt suggested that each council member walk the lot before making a decision. Hedrick was concerned that one of the neighboring house has the required set backs, even though most in the neighborhood do not. White noted that only 38% of the lot can be covered with impervious surface which may be even more of a limiting factor than the side yard set backs. Hedrick was concerned about the proposed building, but White pointed out that the building in the variance application is only a schematic drawing, no application has been made or any building design approved. The application is only to reduce the side yard set backs to 5 feet from 7.5 feet. Hardin wanted to be sure this would not set a precedent. White did not think so, given that many of the lots are similar size and shape.

3. Budget Discussion: The mayor is getting the budget up to speed as the new accounting services are brought on board. There will be things at the next meeting to be addressed, such as an account with a negative balance that must be corrected immediately. The mayor will be bringing in someone to do a "utility survey" to confirm that Ruston is charging appropriate rates to cover the costs for utility services. Hunt will research to ensure that the work being done at the school is being charged appropriately.

Claims and Payroll
Only payroll was presented and was approved with a vote of 4-0.

Mayor's Time
Mayor Hopkins was excited to see that the on-line utility bill payments are now available. They will also take over the stuffing, mailing of the utility bills next month. He has reached someone at Comcast and is working on a new agreement with them. The last agreement expired in 2006. Kevin Rochlin from EPA will be at April 19th meeting for an update on remediation issues in town. Kevin Moser and Rob White put in new hardwood flooring in the kitchen at the community center on Saturday. Many others helped with painting and cleaning. At the storage area next to the park, the mayor is exploring having cement blocks for the maintenance department's sand and gravel instead of the shed out there now. Kristovich has been assigned as the council liaison for parks and recreation and is already working on great ideas.

Council Time
Hedrick had nothing.

Hunt handed out the agreement that Comcast had reached with Pierce County and suggested that Ruston use the same rates, raising them from 3% to 5%. She also wanted to be sure the new council members got a copy of the council rules.

Hardin reminded the mayor to thank Mike Tallman for his his help clearing out the storage area at the park with is construction equipment. Hardin thanked the mayor for all his volunteer work in town and wanted to be notified when these opportunities come up so others can join in.

Kritovich mentioned the RELAX chair art project coming up this summer. She is also working on a plan for a separate dog park with some fund raising ideas to raise money to improve both the people and dog area in the park. She asked for input from any and everyone with more ideas.

The meeting adjourned at 8:07 pm.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt 2010

Amid reports of snow earlier this morning, lots of rain and umbrellas, Ruston kids scooped up 3,000 Easter eggs in less than 10 minutes this morning. Then everyone packed into town hall for hot coffee and the warmth of neighbors close at hand. I noted that Mayor Hopkins may have some competition for his job!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ruston 21

I've been following the progress of a project in Ruston, Louisiana called Ruston 21. It's a community development project where many different segments of the community came together and dreamed big about how to improve the city and set direction on where they wanted to be in the future. The dreaming lead to specific decisions about improvement projects.

Most of those improvement projects are done now. The local news has a story on progress in the downtown core here....