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 FuseCafe.us 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...