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!