Thursday, December 29, 2011

News & Announcements

In case you don't religiously read your town newsletter each month, here are some tidbits from the December letter I found interesting:
  • Bradley Huson's long service to Ruston has ended, at least in an official capacity. Bradley served on the planning commission, town council and even as mayor for a brief time.
  • Dorothy Bailey was elected to Huson council seat, but has since moved to Chicago. She resigned her seat and the town is accepting applications for the open position through the end of January. This will be a two year appointment until the next regular election in 2013. Ruston residents are encouraged to submit a cover letter and resume to town hall.  This is a very important service to our community and I hope the council will have many well qualified applicants to choose from.
  • The dry weather in December allowed the sewer contractor to get a bit more work done than expected, but now that the rains have hit they will likely finish up the current work and stop until spring.
  • The town managed to end the year while holding onto $3.5 million in their surplus account (mostly from The Commencement project sale several years ago). The mayor noted that the new year still presents many challenges.
  • The fire department will be offering free CPR classes in late January. Their goal is to have every resident certified in the procedure.
  • The police department reminds everyone to be careful about putting the boxes from your snazzy new holiday gifts out in the alley. They can become advertisements to wandering thieves about the best place to target.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Leroy "Buck" Linke: 1924-2011

Buck Linke was once a common face around Ruston. He lived on Winnifred Street in an old house that still stands in sharp contrast to the new home next door. He worked for the town, seen here driving the shiny new garbage truck in 1958. He was retired by the time I met him, but he was always full of stories. Despite his rough edges, he had a twinkle in his eye and quick smile. Rest in peace, Buck...  You can view his obituary via this link here...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Enjoy The Season

We are blessed to have a world-class zoo on our door step with a spectacular holiday display. It's worth fighting the crowds, so be sure to stop in this season at Point Defiance Zoolights celebration!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Discussion On School Building Tonight

The Ruston Council is ringing in Christmas week a busy night tonight with discussion about the options for keeping or selling the Ruston School building. The study session for the school starts at 6 pm and the regular meeting begins at 7 pm.

The regular meeting agenda starts with "pine cone exercise" lead by Barbara Nelson, an ordinance that requires permits for digging in the town rights of ways that extend into most of our front yards, and employee medical benefits. And under state law, the council must approve the budget tonight or hold another meeting before the end of the year. It could be a long evening for our public servants and anyone who has time to attend and watch...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Santa Has Arrived!

Santa has arrived at Ruston Town Hall after an exciting, noisy escort through town by the fire department. Police officers were on hand as well to greet the kids young and old, some of whom wanted to pose with their local heroes as well as Santa.

The pick up of toys and food from front porches in town last night brought in quite a haul. We live in a very generous, kind community. Donations won't be delivered til Tuesday, so you can probably drop off more at town hall Monday if you missed the pick up!

Santa arrives with lights and sirens

Local boys pose with police and fire

Joey insists on a picture with his friend Chief Kunkel

Donations at town hall Friday

Donations at Don's Market Friday

Just some of the haul after collecting around town

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fire Department Collects Toys Today!

In case you don't faithfully read your town newsletter, late this afternoon the fire department will make their annual round to collected toys for the Salvation Army. Leave your unwrapped new gifts on your porch this afternoon and the team will be by to pick them up around 5:30 or so.

Ruston has been the largest donor in years past, so let's see if we can do that again. You can bring your gift to Don's Market or Town Hall as well. It's a great effort by our local heroes for a great cause!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Get Your Cold On!

If you are one of those crazy people who like to ring in the new year with insane antics, then the first-ever Point Defiance Polar Bear Plunge may be for you. Put on your Superman cape and make the jump at noon on New Years Day down at the marina....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ruston School For Sale Again?

After epic political battles several years ago, the Ruston Town Council is once again considering selling the local school building. Almost 10 years ago, a previous council sold part of the school grounds for a controversial condo building and gave a long-term lease on the school itself to the developers. After two failed attempts, the condo project is in new ownership and the town has regained full control of the school building and parking lots.

At last night's council meeting, elected leaders discussed getting the building appraised and holding public meetings on the future of the building. Citing on-going maintenance and utility costs with the current budget shortfalls, the council and mayor are considering everything from moth-balling the building when the lease for the current occupant expires in January to selling the building. The mayor noted that he has told the new owners of the neighboring Commencement building that the school may be for sale.

The council tentatively set a study session to continue discussion on the issue for 6 pm on Monday, December 19th (before the regular council meeting).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Santa Came To Town (And He's Coming Back!)

Santa was able to join the festivities for the the Ruston tree lighting party last night, and will return to meet with children young and old in two weeks on December 17th at town hall at noon. Lots of neighbors braved the cold to count down the moment when Steve Taylor plugged in the lights on the big tree. Cookies, hot cider and coffee were enjoyed in front of Don's Market and Town Hall and everyone seemed to have fun ushering in the season together...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Happenings

Several holiday festivities are planned for December, so plan on joining the neighbors at these events:
  • Tree Lighting: This Saturday, December 3rd at 5 pm on the corner of 51st and Winnifred; watch the ever-bigger fir tree in the center of town light up with bright colors. Refreshments and Christmas music will mingle with the faithful who brave the cold night, and maybe a visit from the big man in red.
  • Holiday Festival: Ladies Workout Express will once again host a festival featuring over 14 local vendors with a wide variety of gifts to help with your holiday shopping. The fun runs from 10 am to 3 pm this Saturday, December 3rd at 4939 N. Pearl. Call (253) 752-8599 with questions.
  • Santa Visit: The Ruston Fire Department brings Santa to town once again. The jolly big fella will tour town on the fire engine on Saturday, December 17th and hang out at Town Hall to greet fans from noon til 3 pm. Town Hall is located at 5117 N. Winnifred.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tacoma Shoreline & Point Ruston

The News Tribune is reporting today (here) that Tacoma is considering an amendment to their shoreline regulations that would allow Point Ruston to build a limited number of townhouses 50 feet closer to the "ordinary high water mark" than is currently allowed. Under the proposed change, buildings can be built within 100 feet of the shoreline rather than the current 150 feet.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ruston History Via Local Television

UPDATE, Friday 8:30 pm: The Ruston show is now available on the KBTC web page under the Full Focus listings (link here) - so you can watch it anytime you like....

In case you missed the more humane showing of the new KBTC documentary on Ruston's history on Monday night, there is a second airing at 6:30 am tomorrow (Friday). I'll let everyone know if the show becomes available on-line.

Several local shops have the history book available or I have discount copies. Just email me if you are interested ( or stop by the Antique Sandwich Company this Sunday between 11 am and 2 pm for a book signing event.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Council Vacancy Process

According to Mike Rooney, manager of Pierce County Elections, here is how the election for Dorothy Bailey will proceed:
  • Since Ms. Bailey moved out after the withdrawal period, it was too late to formally withdraw from the election.
  • The county will presumably certify the election with her as the winner since she leads in the votes by a wide margin.
  • If Ms. Bailey cannot take the oath of office, the council seat becomes vacant.
  • The town council can use whatever process they choose to fill the vacancy, but they will be the ones to appoint someone to fill the vacancy.
  • The appointment will last until the next regular Ruston election in 2013 - so the appointment will be for two years, not the full 4 year term that Ms. Bailey was elected to.
I have contacted town officials to see what process they plan on using to fill the vacancy. They have run the gamut from appointing people with no public discussion to inviting anyone who is interested to apply in recent years.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Commencement New Owners Moving Ahead

UPDATE 9:06 pm:

Project spokesperson Tom Elmer responded to local rumors tonight and confirmed there are not any low income or subsidized  housing units planned or required as part of the financing package for the building. He said the units will rent for market rate.
The new owners of the twice-failed condo project in Ruston issued a press release this afternoon promising to move ahead quickly to finish the nearly vacant building. Onward Investors, LLC said construction on the luxury apartments should start by early 2012 with new tenants moving in by spring.

The press release acknowledges the cooperation by town officials with changes to the original development plan (more details here). Expected rental rates will range between $1.50 to $1.60 per unit. SACO Construction has been selected as the general contractor and BCRA will return as architect on the project. Click on the image below to enlarge.

Bryan Ficiala Wants Bailey Council Seat

The News Tribune is reporting (here) that Bryan Ficiala mounted a last minute write in campaign against Dorothy Bailey when he heard she had moved out of town before the election. He has 15 votes compared to Bailey's 122. According to the News Tribune article, Bailey plans on resigning and the council will appoint someone to her seat. Ficiala promised to apply for the vacancy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sale of Commencement Condos Finally Closed?

I'm waiting for confirmation from the new owners, but two gentlemen stopped by Don's Market when I was there on Wednesday and announced they were with the investors group, which had just closed the sale on The Commencement building over the previous weekend. I was involved in another conversation and did not get the chance to follow up with them personally. They mentioned a press release would be coming soon.

You will recall that Onward Investors LLC secured changes to the development plan from the town council in September (details here). That approval from Ruston did not mean financing was secured or a sale agreement finalized. I'll get more details as soon as I can....    Karen

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Newly Elected Council Member No Longer In Ruston

Dorothy Bailey, who was elected to the Ruston Town Council on Tuesday no longer lives in Ruston. It appears the council will have to appoint someone to fill the 4 year term in January. Ms. Bailey responded to my email asking if she was still a resident this morning (below), announcing that she has moved out of state.

Ruston has seen many different seasons, from intense political battles to quiet ignorance. In my time here, this is the norm; where it is a struggle to find someone willing and able to give their time to serve. The political quiet does come with some cost...      Karen
It is accurate. I'm now living in Chicago. I found out we were moving after it was too late to remove my name from the ballot so I will be contacting the mayor to officially resign from my new position. I regret putting the town in this position, but I tried everything I could to get my name off the ballot an wasn't able to do so.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Election Results

Politics have grown so quiet in town these days, it's hard to even recognize there were two Ruston council races decided Tuesday. With only one candidate for each position, the vote tally for each stands at 100% in each race. As of 3:57 pm today, the votes are as follows:

Council Position 3:
Jim Hedrick - 157 votes

Council Position 5:
(being vacated by Bradley Huson)
Dorothy Bailey - 122 votes

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rescue At Point Defiance

UPDATE, 8:40 pm: The News Tribune has a follow up story on the cliff rescue here. Sounds like the rescue was successful and everyone make it home safe.
All the lights, sirens and helicopters at the park are related to a rope rescue that is underway, according to KIRO News. A link to their story is here...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nighttime Work at Point Ruston

Point Ruston send the following letter to local residents this week explaining their middle-of-the-night construction work that drew some complaints. Besides the liner being installed along what will be the new public right of way, "shoreline armoring" is nearing completion.

As part of the remediation work required by EPA, the edge of the property along the shoreline will have large boulders placed against the slag to prevent further erosion. Most of the shoreline has been "armored", but the section behind the former docks was inaccessible until last year when the docks were removed. A different federal regulation is driving the late night - early morning work. The endangered species act requires that this in-water work can only be done during the lowest tide during certain times of the year depending on which fish are migrating when. That limited window of time is the middle of the night during these few weeks.

As the Point Ruston team notes, "we hope that the major public benefits far outweigh the short term inconvenience..." The night work should be done in the next 30-45 days. The schedule is available here...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

6' Antennae On Train Tunnel

BNSF Railway Company has proposed a 6' antennae on the train tunnel below the Winnifred Street Bridge with an equipment shed on the alley at 5030 N. Bennett (plan details here). There will be a public hearing held on Thursday, November 17th at 7 pm at the Community Center. Be sure and let your thoughts be known!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Shiny and New

The final touches are almost done to the sewer work on the north end of town. It has been a challenge for neighbors to negotiate the construction, but it helps to know the sewers will flow smoothly for the next 90-odd years, if our last system is any example. Most of the old system was installed in the 1920's, so we've been very lucky to have put off the rebuilding this long. And we get shiny new alley pavement to boot!

Get ready, southend - you're next! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grand Opening: Ruston Trading Post

There is one less empty storefront in Ruston tonight. Bev Wombacher, one of Ruston's most energetic entrepreneurs, has opened the Ruston Trading Post in her building at 4927 N. Pearl. In today's economy, the new venture offers great prices and a place for consignment sales. The Post is staffed with all volunteers and part of the proceeds go to the 24-hour "Relay for Life".

Grand opening celebrations are planned for this weekend; November November 4th, 5th and 6th. There will be raffle drawings, free 5-minute chair massages from 10 am - Noon on Friday and 9 am - Noon on Saturday (donations will be accepted for a longer massage time.)

Special items on consignment: Lots of Disney movies (VHS), scrap booking materials, hand painted coffee mugs, Prada and Coach purses, rocking horses, dream catchers, fold up wooden tables, catering equipment, formal gowns for proms/holiday gatherings and even a wedding dress! Check out the new store soon!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Frightfully Good Time In Ruston Tonight

Although not as busy as year's past, plenty of youngsters (and not-so-young) made their way along the Winnifred Street boulevard to collect treats. The Ruston Police and Fire Departments passed out candy, and even had a little canine help to greet the visitors. Sounds like a great time was had by all!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Business District Happenings

In case you haven't seen it yet, the Ruston-North Tacoma Business District launched a new web site recently. You can visit it at And the local design/branding experts at LILT put together this great new logo. You can even follow the District on Facebook (link here).

The District is publishing a newsletters these days. Enjoy the latest issue below and remember to support our local tax base and shop our neighborhood stores! Click on the image to enlarge...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Toilet Lids Secured

I know it's for a good cause, but it has been a hassle having our roads and alley torn up the last two months for the sewer replacement project in my neighborhood. But a sure sign of progress was left on my door yesterday with a warning for today: "Sewer main testing tomorrow. Advise closing & weighing down all toilet lids." So far no explosions in the toilets at my house. I hope the same is true for my neighbors...

Friday, October 14, 2011


In case you didn't notice it in the last town newsletter:
  • Garbage cans may need to be placed on the front sidewalk for pick up. If you can't get your car in the alley because of the sewer construction, the town garbage truck won't make it either. On those rare occasions when garbage pick up hits on a day your alley is blocked, the town asks that you put your cans on the sidewalk in front of your house. This applies to the yard waste and recycle bins too.
  • The recent burglary at Town Hall highlighted the negative flip side of living in a close-knit, trusting community. Police Chief Jeremy Kunkel noted that after the suspects ran, they received assistance from over a dozen friendly neighbors ranging from using phones, borrowing gas cans and getting rides - all while Ruston and Tacoma police were searching the area for them. No one called in the suspicious behavior at the time. Police ask that you call them anytime you see something that feels suspicious, either by dialing 911 or the non-emergency number at (253) 798-4721. Leaving a message at the police department office can cause significant delays since that phone is not monitored.
  • Chief Kunkel invites anyone who is interested to ride along with the police. Contact him via town hall if you are interested, (253) 759-3544.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pagoda Update

The News Tribune has a nice update on construction progress at the Point Defiance Pagoda (link here). You may recall the structure was badly damaged by arson in April this year (read more here). Park district officials promise an improved structure that will look basically the same. The Park Board authorized $1.6 million for work recently, with hopes to have the building ready by next May.

In related news, the teenager charged with this arson has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 142 to 189 weeks in juvenile detention today. The News Tribune story is here...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sewer FAQ's

Council Member Lyle Hardin sent out this notice recently with lots of good information on the major sewer replacement project making its way through town:
The town web sight,, has information regarding the Sanitary Sewer project posted and updated as information becomes available. On the site is a Frequently Asked Questions section, which I have included in this email. Please pass this email along to all town residents and remind them to check the web sight for updated information.

Per the web site, you may also call or email Dan Osier, Project Engineer, at (360) 352-9456 or

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this project necessary?
Most of the original sewer collection system was installed between 1917 and 1920, and in-pipe video and inspection has revealed that there are many leaks, which contributes to pollution of Commencement Bay. The Ruston Sanitary Sewer Upgrade project will replace approximately 14,000 feet of sewer main, 78 sanitary sewer manholes, and 270 sanitary sewer laterals including 4,000 LF of 6-inch diameter pipe.

How is this project funded?
Funding for this project is being provided by a low-interest loan from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Rural Development Division. This loan will be repaid over 40 years from funds collected from utility bills.

Will my property/driveway/alley be repaired?
The contract with the Town requires that the contractor restore all areas disturbed by construction to their pre-construction state or better. The timing of when this restoration is accomplished depends on many factors, but should occur within a reasonable amount of time from when the contractor is finished with utility work in the area.

What is the procedure for residents to file claims for property damage
resulting from construction?
Please call Charlie Severs, project field representative, at 360-481-4144. He will examine the damage and coordinate with the contractor to resolve the issue. If damage is significant, residents may need to contact the Town Clerk and file a written claim.

What will be the width of the alley repaving?
Although the contract generally calls for repaving only the width of the utility trench (nominally 2.7 feet), the poor pavement condition in many of the alleys will result in additional width of paving, up to and including the entire width of the alley. This decision will be made on a case-by-case basis, depending on pavement condition, other contract requirements, funding limitations, etc.

Will repaving be completed before adverse weather prohibits it?
Construction work will be halted for the season when weather conditions warrant. It is the contractor's intent to get all the locations that are disturbed repaved prior to the anticipated winter shutdown. If some locations are not sufficiently addressed, it will be the contractor's responsibility to keep everything maintained acceptably.
Lyle Hardin
Ruston Council

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pt. Defiance Receives National Award

We always known we have a national treasure at our doorstep, but its nice to see it recognized. The American Planning Association named Pt. Defiance Park one of its top 10 Great Public Spaces for 2011. The News Tribune has more details here...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lawsuit Outcome

The tragic motorcycle accident on N. 51st Street that took the life of Brandon Brooks resulted in a lawsuit against the Town of Ruston (among others) by Brandon's mother. Ms. Brooks claimed that the multiple center lines along that curve of 51st caused the accident.

From what I can gather from court documents, Ruston was successful in getting the lawsuit against it dismissed in August of 2010. The town then sued Woodworth and Company, Inc. who had installed the center lines, for the cost of its defense. The Town was successful in its lawsuit against Woodworth and received a judgement of $80,000, which was paid to the Association of Washington Cities (AWC). AWC is the insurance carrier for Ruston and had provided the Town's defense.

I've asked the mayor and town attorney to confirm this interpretation of the court documents, but they have not responded.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ruston History On Paper

A small part of Ruston's past has been collected in photos and stories; and is finally available to share. Our town history has been important to me for decades; having lived through the tremendous changes we have experienced in this tiny village. My work with Asarco only increased my love for our unique past. I am glad we have captured some of that history before it was lost.

We'll have a book signing party at Ruston Market on Saturday afternoon (see below) and one at the Antique Sandwich Company soon. Or books are available directly from me or at the following locations (that I know of, there are more)...
  • Don's Ruston Market: 5102 N. Winnifred
  • Antique Sandwich Company: N. Pearl and 51st Streets
  • Pacific Northwest Shop: Proctor District
  • Watermark Gift Shop: Downtown Tacoma
Thanks to the many contributors, supporters and fellow lovers of Ruston who helped make this book a reality!        


Sunday, September 25, 2011

In Honor

In honor of a good man, a tree was dedicated in Ruston last spring. Former mayor Phil Parker's contributions were memorialized with the dedication of this tree, bought with funds he donated to the town just before his death. You can read more about the dedication here... Town maintenance men finalized the mounting of the plaque into the marble base this week, completing this space where we can now sit and reflect on those who, like Phil, gave so much to our town.

I was privileged to speak at the dedication ceremony. I thought it would be fitting to share those words now that the memorial is complete:

I wish there was something I could point to in Ruston and say “that’s Phil’s legacy”, but there isn’t any such monument that captures his gift to this town. After almost two decades of selfless service, I’m only left with fleeting memories of the issues he championed. He worked alongside Charlene (Hagen) to upgrade Rust Playfield. He led the effort to install a Big Toy there for his kids and others to enjoy.

He was content to see Ruston remain a bedroom community to the greater Tacoma area. I remember when he fought to purchase the Garrison home across Winnifred Street and build an expanded town hall complex. He served on the fire department; he chaired numerous committees and represented Ruston well to the outside world on important issues like negotiating for redevelopment of the former Asarco site. He was always in the middle of any community event, giving his time and energy to make us better.

 Phil was a quiet man who listened first before giving his opinion. He was fair and willing to change his position if you presented enough evidence to convince him. He was a bulldog on the issues that were important to him. In that he presented a gentle strength – he’d work as long and as hard as it took to complete the task.

 I think one of the reasons we don’t have something concrete to point to as Phil’s legacy is because he wasn’t that kind of man. He would rather work behind the scenes, bringing people together, quietly negotiating an agreement. He recognized and encouraged talent in those around him and easily passed the baton to others if that accomplished the goal.

Even though we don’t have some “glory piece” we can attribute to Phil’s time in leadership here in Ruston, I do know his efforts are a big part of why Ruston still exists today. He worked hard to sustain the town through years of financial struggle while the outside world sat back and waited for us to disappear. Somehow that’s fitting… I think he would want it that way… no big monument with his name in lights… but survival, sustained by hard work and love is his legacy to Ruston. He left us a foundation for a future that we can build on now.

But in many ways this tree will serve as that monument for Phil’s contributions to Ruston. He didn’t build it with his own hands, but it’s a place that reflects the man – quiet, beautiful, strong, a place to pause and reflect on the important things.

In the end, it’s not Phil’s legacy to Ruston that matters. His legacy to world, as it is for any of us, is his children. He loved you Courtney, Kim and Aaron… Each breath you take is in his honor, you carry his legacy of love to a new generation. You can bring his grandchildren to this place now and reflect on his gifts to both Ruston and to you, his family.

As I’ve thought about Phil’s many contributions to my life, I’m reminded that even his death taught me much. One of the biggest lessons I carry from Phil’s life is realizing how important it is to tell each other often how much we love each other – not to sweat the little things – don’t put off till tomorrow mentioning the good we see in each other.

I still miss my friend with the bushy beard, sitting by the window at the little store with his suspenders, florescent pink socks and Birkenstocks. I wish he was here to watch this tree grow, to sit with us and dream big dreams for this town. So Phil, we’ll just have to dream for you. I pray you are at peace now. Know that your town remembers and thanks you today for all your gifts to us.

Update On Commencement Building

The Town of Ruston web site is reporting that the council approved the changes proposed to development plan by the latest group of investors. The primary changes outlined in the ordinances were:
  • Developers will pay Ruston $520,000 in lieu of the required improvements and parking on the Onsite Containment Facility (OCF). Developers had difficulty reaching agreement with Point Ruston for the parking designed for the top of the OCF. The town can use that money to make the improvements based on their own schedule apart from the project or use the money elsewhere.
  • The number of units in the building will increase from 60 to 62.
  • All outstanding fees and expired permits will be paid and updated before work continues.
  • Several improvements will still be required to allow for unobstructed access for fire equipment around the building.
I note that the exterior lighting that brought so many complaints has been reduced and there is once again some limited activity at the building these days. I am hoping to get a comment from the new investors, Onward Investors, LLC soon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Too Many Goodbyes

It's so hard to say a permanent goodbye. We hope for better places for our loved ones when they die. We reminisce the old days and wonder how to survive this ever-changing future without them. We hug the survivors and share their tears.

We held a send off potluck for Jim Boedecker last Saturday. His longtime partner, Sherri Forch has been a Ruston mainstay for many decades. Jim went fairly suddenly and shook not only Sherri but many of us into the realization that life is fleeting and precious. Jim was a retired police officer who loved sailing. He worked his garden into a thing of beauty that will live on in his memory. As Sherri has said, we wish him Godspeed.

This morning my longtime Ruston friend Connie Maglione lost her battle with cancer. You may recall that she and I were sued by William Walker a few years ago, just after Connie was diagnosed with cancer. Connie was one of the strongest women I've ever known, as evidenced with how long she fought this disease that, in the end, took her.

Connie and I were not always on the same page politically, which in Ruston can be dangerous. Somehow with Connie, the differences melted away when she cracked a joke or reminded me of our common love for this town. She was jovial, loud and sometimes brash. She had a quick tongue that let you know exactly where you stood with her, be it good, bad or ugly. Even in the midst of her pain and struggle this last year, she always laughed in every conversation and talked of fighting for renewed health.

Connie carries memories and experiences in and about this town that we'll never be able to capture now. She moved to town before the smelter dust had settled. She served on the Civil Service Commission most recently, and on the town council in the past. She loved her family, neighbors and town unfailingly.

The landscape is always changing around here, both physically and in our people. I'd much rather say goodbye (as I have often had to do) when a neighbor moves across town; not this forever goodbye. But it's not a choice I get to make. So to Connie and Jim, farewell. Be at peace, free from pain and suffering. We will miss you and carry your gift of love into the future of this ever-changing town in your name.


Monday, September 19, 2011

New Face At Town Hall

Most residents probably already know, but we have a new (temporary) face at town hall. The mayor decided to let town clerk Myriah Mesa go a few weeks ago. I met the new clerk Judy on Friday briefly. She said she is only filling in until someone new can be hired permanently. I've invited the mayor to comment a few times, but he has not responded.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New North End Art

Despite the rain, local artists Rachel Dotson and Mary Mann were joined by residents and business owners to publicly dedicate two bright new pieces of art in the neighborhood. After speeches and goodies, lots of hugs were exchanged before everyone headed for drier spaces.

Artist Rachel Dotson noted in her speech that she once lived in Ruston and found the area full of beautiful flowers and warm, welcoming people. It was that spirit that inspired her "Ruston Garden" mural; bright, open and full of life. Thanks to both artists for their gift, and to the businesses who allowed their walls to become works of art!

Artist Rachel Dotson and her masterpiece
Dedication of Mary Mann's mural at the Antique Sandwich Company

Ruston Council Member Jane Hunt joins residents to dedicate Ruston's new mural.

Cross District President Erling Keuster congradulates the District.

Cross District "Art In The District" and proceeds from the 2010 Adirondack Chair Art project funded the Ruston mural.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In The News (a century ago)

Today's paper had this tidbit about Ruston's history 100 years ago. We know the tunnel that was just closed was built just in 1912 during the upgrade of the smelter after the Guggenheim empire bought the operation. Interesting to hear details of the planning for the tunnel the year before...

Town Hall Burglarized Monday

It's been a busy week for Ruston's public safety departments. Besides yesterday's fire, police have been busy after two men burglarized Town Hall early Monday morning. They were confronted by the town maintenance men, handed back the equipment they were attempting to steal and took off (one on foot, one by car). Despite a chase, both men escaped.

One suspect has been identified and police will arrest him when he is located. They are still working on the identity of the second suspect. All stolen material was recovered and the investigation is on-going.

Ruston Fire

Ruston Fire Department was dispatched to a house fire at 4921 N. Pearl Street at 2:09 pm yesterday. They arrived to find thick smoke, but thankfully everyone had made it out of the building safely. The house sustained heavy damage. Four people are displaced and are receiving assistance from the Red Cross.

The fire investigator is on scene today, so Chief Torbet was reluctant to share any more details until the investigation is complete. Thanks to the entire crew for another job well done!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Structure Fire In Ruston

Anyone who ventured on Pearl Street this afternoon probably noticed there was a fire in Ruston this afternoon. I am working to get more details and will post more information as soon as I can...

Mural Dedications This Saturday

Local businesses continue to give back to the community that supports them. That motivation sets the stage for the Antique Sandwich Company and Don's Ruston Market as they publicly dedicate the new murals on their walls to the customers and neighbors they serve.

Festivities start at 11 am at the Antique Sandwich Company this Saturday, September 17th with speeches and a chance to meet mural artist Mary Mann. Representatives from Tacoma's Neighborhood Council staff and West End Neighborhood Council have been invited as well. It was a City of Tacoma Innovative Grant (administered by the West End Council) that funded the beautiful mermaids on the Antique's wall.

Folks will then stroll down a chalk walk to Don's Ruston Market for a second dedication of the new garden that sprouted on the market wall last month. Artist Rachel Dotson will be there along with Erling Kuester, who is president of the Cross District Association that provided a matching grant for Dotson's mural. The cross district holds one fundraiser each year for their arts program and other support activities for our businesses. Their auction will be held October 22nd at Shenanigans.

Come celebrate these bright new additions to the neighborhood this Saturday!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tunnel Disappearing

Things are coming to a close, both literally and figuratively. The banner that will be buried in the tunnel is full of signatures and delivered to Point Ruston for burial, and the Ruston side of the tunnel is filled now. Things keep on changing around here....

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ruston-Point Defiance Art Walk

Two bright new gorgeous murals will grace local walls by the end of today. The new art on the signature side of the Antique Sandwich Company is being installed today. Local artist Mary Mann created this first mural below. She had help from her students at the local SAMI high school, where Mann teaches (News Tribune article with more details here). Another local artist, Rachel Dotson completed the colorful mural on Don's Ruston Market just down the street recently.

A dedication ceremony for both murals is planned for Saturday, September 17th (time to be determined, probably mid-day). Ruston-Point Defiance Business District president Beth Torbet said they wants to dedicate this public art back to the community that supports their businesses. More details to follow on the ceremony, but in the meantime take a stroll along our own art walk!