Saturday, February 26, 2011

Snowy Week

Despite the last minute crunch draining my time with the Ruston history book, I managed to snap a few shots of the snow this week. Beautiful scenery around here and some very creative snowmen! Feel free to email any pictures you want to share to


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Step Forward

The sale of the former burned out Cole's building is complete and new owner Jeff Fraychineaud hopes to open a high-end pub and new apartments in the space. Unlike the last plan for the building, he will not add an additional story or raise the building height. It's too early for building permits or specific plans, but the new owner hopes to get started on repairing the fire damage soon.

Fraychineaud owns the Park Way Taverns near Tacoma General Hospital and the Corner Bar near 6th and K Streets, along with about 30 other apartments. His philosophy is to build and maintain nice units with better tenants.

The new owner has met with the town planner and mayor, who appear eager to see the building developed. Fraychineaud has a successful record both as a businessman and good neighbor. He is hopeful for continued support from both town officials and the community. With the on-going upgrade of the adjacent building, things are looking up for our most visible corner!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Farewell to the old Fletcher residence

It was quite a show yesterday, a regular party in the neighborhood. We spotted a bag of marshmallows, but no one had roasting sticks long enough to make use of the huge fire. The heat could be felt from across the street. My husband caught the roof collapse on video...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fire On Shirley Street

Here are a few of the shots I took today as the house on Shirley Street was burned in a training exercise today. There were many spectators and lots of excitement as we watched the spectacular display of just how fast and furious a fire can be. Thanks to Bates Fire Training and our Ruston Fire Department for a job well done!


Today was filled with ghosts for me; not the spooky kind - but echoes of the past bubbling from the subconscious. Maybe it was the talk of Phil Parker this week that softened that wall between my past and the present, but watching Gerald and Carol Tritt's old house burn today awakened long buried memories.

More of my heart was tied to that old house than I'd realized. Many of our early days in Ruston were spent in the living room that burned today, many a political strategy session was waged under the old apple tree in the back yard. Gerald and Carol gave 110% to this town for over a decade.

I could almost hear Gerald in the adrenaline-pumped voices of the young firefighters today. I could see the gleam in his eye in the sparkle of excitement in those men and women who learned more burning his old house than they could ever learn in a classroom. I could sense him doing a high-five with those huge flames as they shot heavenward from the roof.

Ruston has changed so much, most of it for the better. But there are so few here now who share the memories of this town's past - who lived and walked these streets over a lifetime. That's not a bad thing, but it makes the echoes more precious, more fragile. So to Gerald and Carol, thank you for all you gave to this town. We have not forgotten your sacrifice. Your old house served the department you loved very well today...

Friday, February 18, 2011

House Burn Tomorrow

These details on the house burning were handed out to the neighborhood earlier this week. A series of small fires will be set and doused starting tomorrow morning and the final burn will start in early afternoon, from about 8:30 am to 5 pm.

DETAILS: Parking will be restricted along Shirley Street. Folks with respiratory problems are encouraged to stay indoors during the exercise. Public viewing will be available at the Ruston School parking lot AT 5219 N. Shirley Street. There is hope to take video from inside the burning structure and post it on the Town's web site eventually.

Bates Technical College Fire Training is running the show in partnership with Ruston Fire. Crews have been practicing and training all week on the building. This offers invaluable training to our great volunteers. Thanks to the owner and builder for giving our guys (and gals) this great opportunity!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Phil's Tree Dedication

The tree planted in memory of former mayor Phil Parker will be dedicated on Saturday, March 26th at 11 am. Patty Mannie, Phil's former fiance, has been leading the family efforts to get the memorial in place. She announced this week that a plaque will be placed with the tree at the end of Winnifred Street in a formal ceremony that day.

Kathleen Merryman at The News Tribune has a nice column today describing Phil and his contributions to our community. You can read her words here... Phil is pictured above at one of the early Asarco planning meetings in 1993 with Congressman Norm Dicks. He is the bearded fellow in suspenders. To see Phil's note and donation for the trees see my previous post here...

It's a fitting tribute to a good man. I hope many of you will join us to honor Phil, hug his kids and enjoy this peaceful setting to remember a life gone much too soon.

Orcas Off Point Ruston

The folks at Point Ruston shared these photos of some special visitors in the waters between the Point Ruston site and Vashon Island a couple of weeks ago on February 2nd. One of the many pleasures of living here in Ruston... You can click on the photo to enlarge it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Former Fire Chief House Set To Burn

The former home of one of Ruston's fire chiefs is set to be burned to the ground as part of a training exercises for the same department he once led. The burn is scheduled for this Saturday, February 19th.

Gerald Tritt and his wife Carol once lived in this house on N. Shirley Street across from Ruston School. Gerald helped rebuild the department in the 1980's after the department was disbanded briefly. His wife Carol formed the Firefighter Auxiliary to support department efforts, such as raising the funds to purchase a much needed medical aid van. Gerald died a few years ago, but his legacy lives on in a well-trained, committed volunteer fire department.

One of the best ways to train is with live fire. Ruston Fire Chief Don Torbet reports his fire fighters are "pumped up" and ready. Bates Technical College fire training school is the lead agency on this effort. As you will recall, some Bates fire fighters live in the bunk house next to town hall to help provide 24 hour coverage for Ruston - and valuable training for the Bates students.

This burn has been in the planning for months. North Shirley Street will be closed all day from 52nd to 53rd. You can view the fire from the parking lot at the Ruston School building at 5219 N. Shirley. It will be a busy day in the neighborhood, but immensely valuable to our fire department, helpful to the family who will rebuild a new home here and exciting to watch. I think Gerald would be proud to know his work continues to benefit his department.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Work Off-Shore Continues

Just in case you were curious about the barge offshore, the removal of the docks continues off the Point Ruston shoreline with more underwater work on some remaining pilings and the last small dock on the Breakwater Peninsula is scheduled for removal.

Commencement Condos Move Into Bankruptcy

The struggle continues for the Commencement condo project. The News Tribune is reporting today that the project has filed for bankruptcy protection (read article here). Rick Branchflower, one of the project guru's, noted to me today that this step gives them breathing room to get things back on track...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Yesterday's Council Meeting

It's a day late but if you are following town business, here is the agenda for the council meeting last night. It appears they were ready for a final vote on adult entertainment and social card game regulations. You can read the ordinances on the town's web site here...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Another Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Hopefully everyone got out to see the beautiful rainbows today. Spring must be on the way. Send any of your own photos you'd like to share to

Casino Vs. Town of Ruston

For those that are interested, Jim Wingard has been posting the legal filings on the latest lawsuit brought by Point Defiance Cafe and Casino against the Town of Ruston. The lawsuit also names the individuals of Bob and Sally Everding, Dan and Paula Albertson, Jane Hunt and Bradley Huson. You can read the details on Jim's blog The Ruston Insider here....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hotels In Pierce County

There is a mention of the Silver Cloud Hotel on the Point Ruston site in an in-depth article in today's News Tribune. Read it here...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pt. Defiance Logging Camp May Close

The News Tribune is reporting today that Camp 6, our local logging and steam train museum may be forced to close this year unless more funding can be found. You can read all the details here....

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Phil Parker Memorial Tree

Ruston's scenic boulevard received a new addition yesterday. The last wish of former mayor Phil Parker was finally planted in the Winnifred Street median near 54th Street. It sits next to the memorial bench donated by former Councilmember Rena Heineman - dedicated to Ruston seniors as a place to rest and reflect. Both memorials are near the houses these public servants once lived in.

The tree is a Japanese Maple with a 800 pound root ball. Council Member Bradley Huson supervised the installation. The family will be supplying a memorial plaque soon so future generations will know of Phil's contributions to Ruston.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Houses on Stack Hill

One new home is under construction on Stack Hill and others are planned for this year. Ground was broken for a new home on Lot 34 this week. Point Ruston provided these details: "Lot 34 is a 2,469 square foot 2-story, 3 bedroom plus den, 3 baths, with a approximately 300 square foot upper level view deck - expansive windows will take advantage of major Commencement Bay views. The home is Northwest Craftsman design, lots of shingle and exterior detailing, similar in architectural style to Lot 35. Construction will take approximately 5 months, so will be ready for occupancy late spring/early summer."

The Point Ruston team provided the Ruston council with an update last month on the overall project (below). Two more homes on Stack Hill are scheduled to start construction by the end of March. Lots 6 and 7 were recently purchased by a single buyer for a larger house, now in design.

The sewers have been installed across the lower site and the rest of the utility work is expected to be completed by the end of 2011, which will include some tunnel closure time. More remediation work is planned off-shore this spring and summer.

Despite the economy, lots of good things happening in town...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Now's Your Chance

Ruston is looking for a few more public servants. There is currently an opening on both the planning commission and the civil service board. The deadline for letters of interest on the planning commission are due to Rob White ( by February 25, 2011. There is no deadline noted for the civil service commission. See the notice below for more details: