Thursday, June 30, 2011

No Lights In Ruston

UPDATE: The power was restored to the Ruston School building and presumably the rest of Ruston this morning at about 9:20 am.

At 3:07 am, the lights went out in town - and a lot of the north end of Tacoma. It appears some Mylar balloons got caught in some power lines and killed two lines. Both lines have to be replaced in order to restore power to the area.

Tacoma Power reports we still have to wait another 2 or 3 more hours till the lights come back on in Ruston. The initial outage took out power to 1545 homes, from North 42nd to Park Ave, Pearl to Mildred and Salmon Beach.

The power has been restored to most of the area now. There are only 450 customers left in the cold right now, from North 45th to Park Ave, including Salmon Beach and Point Defiance Park (presumably the zoo as well).

Quite a summer we are having around here!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's Official: Ruston Tunnel Closes Mid-July

Point Ruston issued the following press release and detour map yesterday (click on the image to enlarge). The final closure for the tunnel will be Wednesday, July 13th or soon thereafter. There will be signs along Ruston Way with the dates as the closure date approaches. The new road is expected to open in early 2012.

The tunnel will be filled with dirt and the new Ruston Way constructed connecting the bottom of 51st across the base of Stack Hill - at a higher elevation than the current road. The detour directs traffic up Pearl to 46th, then down Ferdinand to Ruston Way.

Businesses along 51st Street will loose most of their commuter traffic, but remain open during this months-long process. Please be sure to visit your local shops during the next 9 months to help ensure their survival. The sewer construction starts in July as well, so traffic will be a challenge.

I think we all understand this is a necessary step, despite the pressures on our local community and businesses. The closing of tunnel marks the completion of an era for Ruston. The tunnel is the last remaining structure related to the smelter that built this town. Regardless of your views on the smelter, no one can deny we started as a proud blue collar town who forged our own way despite the odds.

No one expected Ruston to survive after Asarco closed its Tacoma Plant, yet here we are.... very different than our founding fathers but still standing. I for one appreciate our history and the hard-working families that built this community. So many of them have moved or passed on. I wish they could all be here to watch this final piece of town history be buried with us. It's their faces I see as we mark the end of this era....


Monday, June 27, 2011

Update On Ruston Tunnel

The Town of Ruston released its official findings today from the inspection of the tunnel that was completed on June 17th. The inspection found no reason for concern. The large crack on the Ruston side of the tunnel was mainly unchanged since the last inspection in 2007. You can read the full report on the town's web site here...

Point Ruston Secures Financing

The News Tribune is reporting that Point Ruston has won approval from Bank of America to finance the rest of the Copperline Building. The building will now house apartments rather than condos as originally planned. Construction should begin next month and take about 10 months to complete. You can read The News Tribune article here...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More Trouble At The Taste

It turned out to be another ambulance-laden evening at the Taste of Tacoma tonight. Ruston folks enjoying the usual people watching witnessed dozens of police cars rushing to the area as several large fights broke out along Pearl Street and within the Taste.

Early unofficial reports are that there were no serious injuries, but some of the fights involved well over 20 youth in each separate brawl. Police escorted everyone out of the park and had southbound lanes of Pearl Street shut down for a time.

Friday, June 24, 2011

More Public Servants Get Rave Reviews

Ruston police officer Vic Celis received an official commendation from Ruston officials last month for his great work arresting the alleged Pagoda arsonist. You'll recall that Celis stopped the young man riding through Ruston at 1 am on his bike with cans of flammable liquid and matches on his way to the boat house. (Read more here)

The recognition for work well done is deserved - and long overdue for our officers who work hard every day for us. But Office Celis has received another award earlier this month. The Weekly Volcano voted him Sexiest Servicemember. (Read more here)

Celis noted that he loves working in Ruston, especially since local folks wave at him with all their fingers. Congratulations for both awards, Officer Celis! And thanks to all our public safety defenders. You are all a big reason why Ruston is such a special place to live.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ruston: Where Dreams Come True (Opinion)

The banana's were getting old. Tonight they needed to end up in muffins or the garbage. With a 9 year old girl in the house, baking was the preferred option. I enjoy this age, old enough to help but still eager to participate. The tween years will hit soon enough when being around family will not be cool.

She made 'em herself tonight. All I did was read the ingredients. She recalled earlier baking events where she needed help with measuring or running the electric beaters. When I mentioned I was taking most of them in to work tomorrow for the construction guys, she asked if she could take some to the fire department.

We'd see the fire fighters at Town Hall earlier this evening. They train faithfully every week, staying current on the skills and knowledge. But what makes small town departments like ours so special is the personal touch, the accessibility and connection to the people of the town.

So we hurried the warm muffins over to Town Hall, hoping to catch the guys before they headed home. We found one young man who graciously took the plate of treasures. It turns out the rest of the team was still out practicing around town. She left with a big grin knowing she had done good.

But that was not the end of the story. A couple hours later the whole department shows up on our doorstep in the fire engine and aid van to say thank you in person to the little baker. She jumped out of the tub soaking wet to wave at the gang from the upstairs deck and was greeted with smiles and a few blasts from the siren as they drove off.

The family was left laughing and telling each other how much we love living in Ruston. This is the stuff that makes us different from Tacoma. As great as our bigger neighbor is, it's the deeper connections that set us apart - that sense of give and give back that build our community.

The 9 year old summed it up: That's what they do, they make dreams come. Maybe not always, but they sure did tonight. I love this town and its people...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Things Are Looking Pretty

Last year the town hall got a new coat of paint, this year it gets decked out with some nice color. Ruston has at least one flower fairy who travels around town planting flowers and weeding when she has time. And I know of one more flower fairy that will be featured soon..

These are the special touches that make living in a small town so unique and wonderful. To this Ruston anonymous donor and do-gooder - we notice and are grateful!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ruston Tunnel Safety Concerns

UPDATE: 4:15 pm: The tunnel has been open all afternoon, so it presumed that the structure passed the inspection and was found safe. I've asked the mayor to confirm that fact and any information he gives when he responds.

UPDATE: 9:15 am: The tunnel is now closed temporarily and traffic is being detoured up Ferdinand and at Bennett and 51st Street.

I'm still trying to sort how who said what to whom when about the tunnel closure, but one of the issues raised is the safety of the tunnel. There is concern that the longstanding crack on the Ruston side of the structure has gotten wider and longer in recent months.

I understand that Ruston's engineering consultant will be inspecting the tunnel today to ensure the structure is still safe. That inspection will determine if the tunnel will stay open until mid-July, when construction of the new road and utilities will force the permanent closure until the new road opens in early 2012.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Meet Candidate Dorothy Bailey

A few days ago I asked both of our unopposed candidates for open council seats to answer a few questions. Dorothy Bailey, who will replace Bradley Huson in Position 5, sent these responses yesterday:

Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you lived in Ruston? I've lived in Ruston for the last 7 1/2 years and enjoyed every day of being a part of this vibrant and diverse community.

Why did you choose to move here? My partner, Julie Martin, and I moved here from Seattle as a way to split our individual commutes. Julie works in Olympia as the Deputy Director of Washington ’s Lottery while I work in Seattle as the Benefits and Retirement Supervisor for King County . Ruston offered us a unique and wonderful community in which to establish our home and become part of what we call a front-porch community of friends and neighbors.

Do you have family at home or perhaps an empty nester? I'm not really an empty nester. With 8 siblings and over 25 nieces and nephews, I decided early on to be the aunt to so many wonderful children rather than having children of my own; a decision that I've never regretted.

Other details you can share about yourself? I enjoy every aspect of living in Ruston , from walking the 5 mile loop of Point Defiance Park , sitting in the sun on our front porch to cruising the Sound on our boat. Ruston offers a diverse community where we can all come together as friends and neighbors.

Why are you running for council? Ruston is faced with many challenges over the next few years that are more acute as a result of the economic challenges that face our nation, state, county and town. I had not considered a position in public office, but was approached by friends and neighbors and asked to consider running for Town Council. I realized that I could not sit back and expect others to take the responsibility for our community and its future. If I wanted to maintain the independence of our town I needed to get off the sidelines and become involved in shaping the future of our community.

Outline the issues you see as important for the town right now.
a. Maintaining our independence as the Town of Ruston: The financial realities facing our Town are severe. If we are to maintain our independence, we need to find reliable sources of continuing revenue to support the town now and into the future.

b. The development of the Ruston Way waterfront: We need to work in partnership with Tacoma in developing the former Asarco sight and to ensure that the development there is in the best interests of our town and does not diminish the many unique characteristics that make Ruston a safe and welcoming community that we know it to be.

Where do you want the town to be in 5, 10 and 20 years? I want Ruston to continue to be an independent town a reliable revenue stream.

Anything else you want to say? I would be honored to be on the town council and will be open to hearing the ideas and concerns of our community.

No Tunnel Closure Till July

UPDATE: Loren Cohen from Point Ruston sent an email this afternoon clarifying the misunderstanding about the tunnel closure; stating that the current closure was at the Town's request for a inspection of the tunnel. Pending the results of the inspection, the tunnel could reopen until the utility work required closure next month.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Father's Day Weekend Fun

Don't forget to look for a ceramic paw print hidden around the South Sound for a free admission and a chance at some cool prizes!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mark Your Calendars!

  • July 16th: Community-Wide Garage Sale - call Beth (759-8151) to reserve a spot at the FuSe parking lot or get on the walking map with all the yard sale locations

  • July 16th: Barkini Car Wash - fund raiser for Animal Aid and Rescue Foundation

  • August 21st: Cadillac LeSalle Car Show - vendors wanted, call Beth (759-8151) to reserve your space

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Taste in 2 Weeks

We only have a couple more quiet weekends until the summer congestion hits full force with the Taste of Tacoma. Ruston Police issued the following reminders about traffic and parking restrictions during that event...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Back To Quiet Politics

After several years of contentious politics in Ruston, we have returned to quiet - as evidenced by the filings for the open council seats this week. Both races this fall are unopposed, as follows:

I have questions out to both of them and will let you know more as soon as I hear from them...

Find And Win!

The Great Community, Great Zoo Festival will celebrate a successful fund raising campaign on June 18th and 19th from 9:30 am til 6 pm. There will be special events with the animals, face painting and raffle drawings for prizes such as tickets for Zoobilee. Best of all, all gate admissions will go towards completing the $7.15 million goal needed to ensure continued great exhibits.

Watch for ceramic clouded leopard paw prints around the South Sound in coming days! The prints are good for free admission during the festival and other prizes. More details on the zoo web page here...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Commencement

The News Tribune has an update on The Commencement condo project (read it here). June 2nd was the deadline for bids, most of which sound like they will turn the condos into high-end apartments. From the window in my office at the school, I've seen plenty of visitors around the building the last few weeks. Perhaps the activity will continue and finally bring this project to completion.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's All In The Numbers

Ruston's police chief shared more details about the KIRO 7 news report that burglaries were up 120% in town in 2010. As suspected, that actual number of burglaries is very small in Ruston. The number was low in 2009, down to 5 for the full year. So when things were a bit above average in 2010 with 11 burglaries, the statistical increase used by KIRO was misleading.

Violent crime was down 75% (2 in 2010 compared to 8 in 2009), rape down 100% (0 compared to 1), robbery by down 50% (1 compared to 2). In fact, all categories were down between 14.6% to 100%. You can look through the full report of crimes at the Washington Association of Sheriff and Police web site here...

It's all in how the numbers are presented. Ruston is still a safe, connected, caring community to call home...