Friday, December 28, 2012

Stack Implosion 20 Year Anniversary

Save the date! January 17, 2013 marks 20 years since the Asarco smelter stack was blown down. It was a huge party two decades ago with over 100,000 gathered in town to watch an end to an era. We are planning a much smaller event to mark the 20th anniversary.

Please join us at the VFW Hall at 4741 N. Baltimore from 3 til 7pm on January 17th. We'll have a silent auction to help cover the cost of the party. Auction items include a few stack bricks, some posters of the big day along with other local treats. Hope you can join us!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Council Meeting Notes: Dec. 18, 2012

The meeting began at 7:02pm with all elected officials present. After roll call and the flag salute, the agenda was approved with no changes. There were no minutes presented to discuss.

Staff Reports
Police: Chief Kunkel said the Christmas tree lighting and visit with Santa (that included issuing id’s for kids) all went very well. The toy and food drive were successful with lots of donations. February 23rd, Kunkel is chairing the Special Olympics fundraiser “Polar Bear Plunge” at Point Defiance. He will be getting wet and invited the mayor and council to join him. The chief then outlined last month’s calls and noted that the department has received their new decibel reader so they can better enforce Ruston’s noise ordinances.

Fire: Chief Torbet echoed the good news on the holiday celebrations and thanked the community for their support. He said the CPR training will start again in January. Torbet had met with Tacoma dispatch today in hopes of reaching an agreement for emergency dispatch services. South Sound 911 (on the agenda) is only for police dispatch at this time. The Tacoma system has superior voice quality and better radio coverage in our area.

The department did their first patient transport today. There were 8 medical aid and 2 fire calls last month. The department is on track to have more calls this year than 2011. They are taking applications for two vacant positions right now. Councilmember Hardin asked about the dispatch equipment needed for Tacoma. The costs should be about the same and within budget. Councilmember Hunt confirmed 25 radios are needed for the department.

Public Comment

1. Ordinance 1375-Adult Entertainment Facilities – New Chapter 25.05 (2nd Reading): No discussion, passed 5-0.

2. Ordinance 1385- Amend Chapter 25.01 to add definitions related to Adult Entertainment Facilities to Zoning Code – (2nd Reading): No discussion, passed 5-0.

3. Ordinance 1383-Licensing and Operation of Adult Entertainment Facilities – New Chapter 5.11 (2nd Reading): No discussion, passed 5-0.

4. Ordinance 1384-Amend RMC 5.05.010 to make consistent with new chapter 5.11 RMC and to delete fees from Chapter 5.05 RMC (2nd Reading): No discussion, passed 5-0.

5. Ordinance 1389-Amending 18.05.010 (electrical meters) to remove fees (2nd Reading): Hardin thanked the attorney for these changes, passed 5-0.

6. Ordinance 1390 – Budget Adoption (2nd Reading): Hunt thanked the mayor for all his hard work on the budget. Hardin apologized to Chief Kunkel for saying his budget was 25% over last year. It was the accounting that was misunderstood, not a problem with how the chief budgeted. The mayor reviewed the budget again (see notes from last meeting for details). After a lengthy discussion about extending medical benefits to police officer spouses, it was decided the mayor would do more research. The council will hold a special meeting on Thursday, December 27th to adopt the budget. The final budget is dependent on the costs for the medical coverage.

7. Resolution 529 – Master Fee Resolution: Passed 5-0.

8. Resolution 530 – South Sound 911 (SS911) Agreement: Hedrick wanted a written response from the SS911 board to the changes requested by the Ruston attorney. It is unlikely they will be granted since so many other municipalities have signed the agreement as presented. Hunt felt Ruston has a good attorney and thought the town should contact the other cities to see if they wanted the same changes. The motion was made to request the mayor to get the agreement changed, passed 5-0.

Claims & Payroll
The cost for the 2012 audit was not in the budget. Another audit is expected in 2013 because of the HUD loan for the sewer project.

Mayor’s Time
The conversion to the new garbage collection system is going well.

Council Time
Hedrick: KING 5 called him about a story. He doesn’t have anything against the adult entertainment industry and understands the constitutional issues, but doesn’t think it’s right that a small, neighborhood city like Ruston should have to allow it. He wished everyone Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and was pleased with the new garbage collection system.

Hunt described her hot water  tank failing recently and felt it was because of dust from Point Ruston.

Hardin said new state representative Jake Fey offered to champion funding for capital improvement projects in Ruston. The mayor pointed out the Pearl Street lighting and other street improvements that have been talked about. Hedrick felt it was difficult to get street projects funded. Hardin noted that projects have to be engineered before the state would consider funding them. Mayor Hopkins informed the council that the cost to underground utilities to Rust Park would be coming before them soon.

Kristovich had no comment.

Judd had no comment.

The meeting adjourned at 8:25pm.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

I pray the homes in Ruston are filled with joy this Christmas morn, that frantic mom's finally get some rest, that dad's get to play with their kids and grandma's cookies fill our hearts with tangible love. Enjoy the day, neighbors. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Marilyn Pudlo: 1934-2012

While the rest of us are busy with last minute Christmas preparations, former mayor Bob Pudlo is preparing to lay his wife to rest. Marilyn Pudlo died December 17th, just two days shy of her 78th birthday.

She was one of the last of our current residents to spend her entire life in Ruston. Marilyn was born at home, in a house on Pearl Street to Les and Gertrude Tallman. Les worked at the smelter early in the 20th century and served as town marshal for a time. He had 9 children. Marilyn followed suit with a large family, raising 6 children of her own in Ruston.

Marilyn served our community. She attended every council meeting over the years when Bob was mayor. She helped plan Ruston's centenial celebration in 2006. She dyed and hid Easter eggs for local kids two generations ago, then helped stuff plastic eggs when the tradition was revived a few years ago. She helped put together successful street dances back when Owen Gallagher was mayor. She carried memories and details about this town that are forever lost now.

A funeral is planned at Haven of Rest in Gig Harbor for Friday, December 28th at 11am. Rest in peace, Marilyn. Thank you for your service. You will be missed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Community Christmas

I love this town (and yes, I still call us a town despite the "city" pride of some). And I love our public safety heroes. They rescue us in crisis, but know us by name and consistently give back to this community above and beyond the call of duty.

Case in point, this year's annual toy and food drive, capped off by a visit from Santa last Saturday. Former mayor Kim Wheeler dressed up once again and greeted more than a dozen local children with his deep, Santa-like voice. The police department registered id's for the kids. The little ones left with candy, parents with plenty of pictures and smiles all around.

Plus the fire department toured the town, collecting food and toy donations from front porches. The goodies were added to the piles of donations dropped off at town hall by residents and staff. The whole haul was then given to Toys For Tots, the Salvation Army and FISH Food Bank.

With Christmas almost here, I am grateful for neighbors who are friends and a community as close-knit as Ruston in this beautiful little town. Thanks to all for another year of great holiday celebrations!                                   Karen

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Council Meeting Tonight

The council meeting tonight should see the passage of several items that have been previously discussed, including adult entertainment regulations and the 2013 budget, along with a resolution to use a new 911 emergency dispatch system. The city attorney has a problem with the agreement as written, so the council has to decide if they want to pursue a lengthy process to change it or accept it (as several other local municipality have already done).

The meeting starts at 7pm at the Joyce Community Center (5219 N. Shirley St.). See you there!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cars, Trains & More

It's seems our town's namesake, William R. Rust, was not the only industrialist to carry the name to great heights. I'd previously heard about the Ruston steam engine, but there is more to the story - much, much more!

Colonel Joseph Ruston not only built a very successful company, his company helped build the city of Lincoln in the UK (sound familiar?). The company produced an early line of automobiles in addition to the train steam engines, and much more. Only two of the cars remain.

I received this wonderful email from Steve Wildman, who is with Siemens (who eventually acquired Ruston's company). Thanks for the contact, Mr. Wildman and the wonderful story. As Walt Disney says, its such a small world after all...

Colonel Ruston was something of a hero in Lincoln, his company made many many things, the whole city is based on his industrial success.  Along the way he made 1300 cars (see the picture of the production line attached) but his biggest export was industrial engines along with a whole host of other things.  You can get a lot of info from my friends Ray Hooleys site members/Ruston.  The 6MB pic attached is the team working on the restoration of our second car a 1923 model retrieved from Australia in the sixties.

During World War 1 the factory made a lot of aircraft engines and complete planes.  Various pictures attached. when the war finished the company had 12,000 employees but little work since the government cancelled the plane contract.  They made furniture for the first month then turned their hand to making cars 1919- 1923. We never made any money out of cars but they kept the workforce employed and we soon returned to making diesel engines. Picture of Ruston plane also attached.I think his son (also Joseph Ruston was the Colonel though.) 
Brief overview pinched from Ray Hooleys site:
Joseph Ruston was born at Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, in 1835. His father, Robert, farmed 600 acres (2.4sq km) and employed 28 men. On leaving school, Joseph became an apprentice at the Sheffield cutlery firm of George Wostenholme. He came out of his time 1856 with a good commercial training and a modest inheritance from his father's estate. His enquiries for a suitable business led to negotiations with Messrs Burton & Proctor of Lincoln. They were in business as Millwrights and General Smiths, builders and repairers of all manner of agricultural machines and implements.

Ruston, Burton Proctor

Burton and Proctor were known for the quality of their work, but were in need of a good business head and more capital, to enable them to engage in larger projects. This was an ideal situation for the ambitious Joseph Ruston. An agreement was made in January 1857 and Ruston entered an equal partnership to be known as Ruston, Burton & Proctor. Each partner was to receive a salary of £150 per annum, and profits were to be shared equally. In addition, Ruston was to receive commissions of £4 for each steam engine and £1 for each thresher sold. He was to take charge of the commercial side of the business.

Ruston Proctor Co.

Ruston immediately commenced a program of expansion, spending money on land, new buildings and machines. He planned to build engines for stock - an unheard-of practice! Burton strongly disagreed with the lavish spending, saying that it would ruin them. Accordingly he left the partnership on 18th July 1857.Ruston purchased his share for $855. Within a few years the share was to become worth many times that amount. The firm of Ruston & Proctor prospered and employed several hundred men by the time Mr. Proctor retired in 1864. Joseph Ruston had established an impressive network of overseas agencies, and the Company's portable and stationary steam engines, threshing machines, elevators, corn mills, boilers, pumps etc., were in heavy demand. 

These products were constantly winning prizes at exhibitions all over the world. Ruston adopted the motto: "My Customer is my Best Friend". He insisted on a quality of product that pleased his customers. They became his friends and recommended his products to their friends. Thus the firm grew apace.Joseph Ruston was a super salesman by any standards. He travelled to Russia in 1880 to negotiate a deal for steam engines and pumps to drain 8 million acres (32,000sq km) of the Pripet Marshes. On the way back he heard of large oil strikes at Baku. He immediately headed in that direction and won large orders for oil-field equipment. A few years later Ruston persuaded a group of Lancashire businessmen that a ship canal from Liverpool to Manchester would be an economic viability if Ruston-built mechanical excavators were employed. Orders for more than 70 Ruston Dunbar excavators were received.

Ruston Proctor Co. Ltd.

By 1889 Ruston Proctor & Co. were employing 1600 men, being one of the largest engineering firms in the country. The product range included traction engines, steam rollers, and locomotives, in addition to the items already mentioned (see pictures below) 


1885 Ruston Proctor 'Colonial' Traction Engine supplied to Argentina

Ruston Proctor Steam Engine Erecting Shop, c. 1910

 1885 Ruston Proctor Locomotive No 5: two were

supplied to the Kimberley Diamond Mine, South Africa, in 1881

Ruston and Hornsby eventually became Ruston Gas Turbines which then  through a series of mergers and acquisitions finally became part of Siemens in 2006.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Blessing The Pagoda

December 10 , 2012
Nancy Johnson, Metro Parks communications & public relations manager,; 253-226-4530
Mary Tuttle, Metro Arts coordinator,; 253-471-0500

Tacoma Children Rally to Prepare a Special Cultural Blessing for the Community’s Grand Celebration, as the Point Defiance Pagoda Reopening Draws Near
Tacoma, WA  - Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) members are teaming up with Metro Arts and Tacoma Public Schools to create a 1,000 crane blessing for the Grand Reopening of the Point Defiance Pagoda in January.

Lua Pritchard, APCC’s Executive Director, said the Japanese tradition carries a special meaning for this historic building. “The crane is a symbol of long life,” she said. “A thousand paper cranes is something you do when you want someone’s wish to come true—like at a wedding.”
It also has a special meaning for Lua and her family. On the morning of April 15, 2011, the day her niece was to be married, she watched her TV in disbelief as flames and smoke billowed from nearly 100-year-old venue where the couple was set to exchange their vows. The fire set by a teen arsonist had severely damaged the building, so Metro Parks worked feverishly to help the couple relocate the wedding ceremony to the Point Defiance Zoo. “It’s funny Metro Parks is inviting us to open the Pagoda. I don’t think they realized it was my niece,” Pritchard said.

To help prepare the blessing origami experts from the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC), dressed in traditional kimono attire, will host workshops to teach the Stafford students the history of the blessing and the ancient art of folding the tiny paper cranes.
A select group of students, from a cross section of all grades, will participate in the workshops on  December 12 and 13 from 2:30-3:25. The Stafford students all belong to the school’s English Language Learning program, run by teacher Lisa Almonte. She believes her school was a natural choice for the project because of its strong arts background. The school was awarded Washington State’s Innovative School Award in 2011.

Following the workshops, the new origami masters will share their craft with classmates. Stafford will supply 365 cranes—one for every student—for the Pagoda’s grand reopening on Jan. 12. With the help of other participants, the goal is to create 1000 origami cranes for a reopening blessing for the building.  Several community programs have pitched in on the project, said Mary Tuttle, Senior Arts Coordinator for Metro Arts who is heading the effort. Metro Parks’ SPARX program has already made 400 cranes, and Baker Middle School’s Late Night program has supplied some as well.

Almonte also remembers the Pagoda arson that same year. She was particularly impacted by the fact that the arsonist was still just a teenager.“As a teacher, I was particularly saddened by that,” she said.By letting students help prepare the new grand opening, she hopes they will take pride in their school and feel a greater connection with the community. She plans to bring newspaper clippings of the ceremony to class.Her students come from 12 different language backgrounds, and she admits it sometimes makes it extra challenging to learn and interact at school. With art project like these, however, those barriers fade away. “You don’t need a common language to do art,” Almonte said.

A 12-mile drive away from Point Defiance, Stafford might seem like an inconvenient location to involve students in the project. But Tuttle said Metro Parks in part chose the school precisely because it was located so far away, in order to reach out to a broader community. Like Almonte, she hopes the students will feel a connection to the community by contributing to a building with so much history. “These are the people who are going to live, work and play in our city,” she said.
Only 900 of the thousand cranes will be prepared in advance of the grand opening.

Attendants will get the chance to craft the remaining 100 at the ceremony itself, with help from the APCC, Tuttle said. Participants will be able to sign up for this as well as other activities such as a formal Japanese tea ceremony which also be hosted by the APCC. The Grand Reopening will also feature a mixed media arts exhibit based on Point Defiance Park’s rich history. Using a set of black-and-white historical photographs as a guide, a group of intermediate art studio seniors, who range in age from 65-80, have recreated the photos as full color artistic renderings. The photos, taken at various points along Point Defiance, will be on display alongside accompanying artworks at the grand opening.

“Mastering the art of origami is a difficult task. It’s admirable that so many children throughout Tacoma are committed to doing this for the Blessing. And, the original works created by our STAR Center Studio Artists are a testament to the talent of our active older adult population. I’m very proud of Tacoma’s citizens for dedicating their time to contribute toward creating a special celebration for this great Tacoma landmark,” said Metro Parks Commissioner Tim Reid, who serves as the Board liaison to the Metro Parks Culture and Heritage Advisory Council.
Nancy Johnson
Communications & Public Relations Manager
Business and Operational Support
Phone (253) 305-1092/ Fax: (253) 305-1098 /Cell: (253) 226-4530
Metro Parks Tacoma 4702 S. 19th St, Tacoma, WA, 98405
Description: Description: EMAIL SIGNATURE


Monday, December 10, 2012


By all reports, it was another special community event Saturday night in Ruston at the holiday tree lighting. The Christmas tree, located in the center of town, will sparkle thru the season for both residents and visitors alike. Santa let his reindeer visit friends at the zoo while he stopped by and surprised his youngest fans. Santa will be back next Saturday for pictures - and to head up the food and toy collection. Bring gifts, non-perishable food and your camera to town hall December 16th from 10am til noon for more community fun!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tree Lighting Tomorrow


Ruston and all our neighbors are invited to an old-fashioned Christmas tree lighting party tomorrow night. Santa is expected to visit and there will be good company and good neighbors to ring in the season.
  • Saturday, December 8th
  • 5pm
  • N. 51st and Winnifred

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Council Meeting Notes: Dec. 4, 2012

The mayor called the meeting to order at 7:0.02pm. Councilmember Hunt was absent and unexcused for the second meeting in a row. The agenda and minutes were approved with no discussion 4-0.

Staff Report
Jerry Morrissette, town engineer, provided an update on the sewer project. The work is done except for three “punch list” items, the most significant being the on-going dispute over the three alley’s that Ruston wants repaved. Overall, the project is within budget. The mayor projected a total cost of $4.2 million. Hopkins wants to close out the loan now and pay for any additional costs from the sewer reserve fund. The loan has to be closed soon or there will be additional charges.

Public Comment
I corrected a statement from the last meeting and confirmed that one of the properties refusing to allow EPA to sample their yard is within Ruston.

1 & 2. Ordinance 1387 & 1388 – Updating B&O Taxes (2nd Reading): Passed 4-0 with no discussion.

3-6. Ordinance 1375, 1385, 1383, 1384 – Adult Entertainment (1st Reading): Although these ordinances had been discussed before, the recording from the planning commission hearing did not work so another hearing was held. The planning commission added the changes suggested by the council at the last meeting and brought the ordinances back to the council again. There was no discussion.

7. Ordinance 1389 – Amending Electrical Meters to Remove Fees (1st Reading): When the fee schedule was reviewed for the adult entertainment license fees, it was decided that the cost for removing electrical meters should be added to the fee schedule instead of this ordinance. The fee schedule can be changed easily via a resolution without a second reading, as would be required if the fee remained in the ordinance. There was no discussion.

8. Ordinance 1390 – 2013 Budget Adoption (1st reading): The mayor expects B&O taxes to increase from $26,000 to$36,000 in 2013 with tonight’s ordinance. There was more discussion about carrying police officer’s spouses on the medical insurance. Kristovich wanted the issue revisited and the mayor promised to present options that reduced the town’s costs but increased the deductible for the officers.

Hopkins estimated Ruston has enough in reserves to last 21 years at the current burn rate, but with new development on the horizon on Stack Hill and elsewhere, he hoped to see the budget balance even before Point Ruston is finished. Hedrick confirmed that when Hopkins took office the deficit was running about $500,000 per year, now down to $170,000 estimated for 2012. The mayor noted the cost for legal and planning but felt it was a good investment. He also discussed the loan for the new-to-us garbage truck, which will be repaid over three years. He plans on continuing those same payments even after the loan is repaid to begin saving for the next truck.

Hedrick recalled spending more for legal on “the back end” (after being sued) so he supports the upfront cost now. Hardin applauded the mayor’s plan to save for the next garbage truck. Hardin also wanted the police chief to reduce his budget to 15% over the historic costs rather than the current 25%. (Chief Kunkel had explained previously that he budgets for actual costs, but often finds lower cost items - which resulted in a 25% savings in 2012). Hardin is also opposed to the proposed purchase of a surveillance camera. The mayor said he had removed it from the budget.

9. Resolution 529 – Master Fees: Because this was a large document with many fees listed, the attorney presented it to the council early so they would have time to review. The resolution should not be voted on until after the adult licensing ordinances were approved. The new fees include the electrical meter removal and increase fees for engineering review.

Claims & Payroll passed 4-0 with no discussion

Mayor’s Time
Post cards on the schedule for implementing the new garbage truck should go out by Friday. The new cans have serial numbers and will be tracked. Owners are responsible for them. Hopkins will be asking the council for a decision on Point Ruston’s proposal to do only curb and gutter on Baltimore Street for now. Tacoma water slated to redo Baltimore, which will mean new paving on half the street. Point Ruston wants to complete the sidewalks and lighting when they reach 50% build out on Stack Hill or within the next two years. The work was bonded and was supposed to be done a year ago. The mayor mentioned how proud he is of staff and how they have organized and prepared town information. It had been a tough couple of weeks with developers, but he felt Ruston was in a position of power with more data to support their case.

Council Time
Hedrick confirmed the utility bills were late this month and the time for the Christmas tree lighting.
Hardin asked about an upcoming rezone request and wanted to know when the issue would be before the council for discussion.
Kristovich – no comment.
Judd – no comment.

The meeting adjourned at 7:33pm.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ruston + Christmas = Community Fun

The Ruston Fire Department sent out this notice about the upcoming holiday events in town. Mark the calendar and join your neighbors for some great fun!

Tree Lighting Ceremony:
The Town of Ruston will be celebrating the annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony Saturday December 8th at 5 PM (51st and Winnifred). Everyone had a great time last year, so don’t miss out on this year’s festivities! You can also bring along any new unwrapped toys or non-perishable food donation.

Toy and Food Drive
The Ruston Fire Department is teaming up with local food banks and Toys For Tots for this year’s charitable outreach. We’re making it easier to donate, by picking up any non-perishable food items and new unwrapped toys right from your doorstep. Just place the clearly marked items on your doorstep on December 15th by 1 PM and the firefighters will pick this up. You can also bring your donations to Town Hall. Any special needs or provisions for local residents can be mailed to All information will be kept confidential.
Santa Run: 
We’ve just received a telegram from the North Pole that Santa will be making an appearance at Town Hall on Saturday December 15th from 10 to 12 PM. Please be sure to bring the whole family down for treats and a “wish list” meeting with Santa.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Council Meeting Notes: Nov. 20, 2012

The meeting started at 7:06pm, after waiting for Councilmember Hunt to arrive.  When she did not, the meeting began. Councilmember Kristovich was excused, Hunt was not. There were no meeting minutes to review and the agenda was approved as presented.

Staff Reports
Police: Chief Kunkel thanked the community for participating in the Halloween fun. Santa will visit on December 15th from 10am till noon at town hall. Kunkel outlined training done last month and calls received (reports available with the meeting minutes on the town web page here). He was able to secure computers for the vehicles at a good price. The department is creating a child identification program. The burglar who stole from town hall recently pled guilty and was sentenced to 10 years for that and other burglaries. Councilmember Hardin asked if there would be extra patrol needed in the park during Zoolights. Kunkel said the zoo did not think so, but he believed it would be prudent. He had a meeting scheduled with the park the next day.

Fire: Chief Torbet reported 9 medical aid calls the previous month. The department is pursuing additional training so they can start transporting residents to the hospital if needed. Response times for ambulances are growing countywide. The department is allowed to perform a few transports a year if authorized by a doctor in an emergency. There may be a charge if the department starts transporting regularly.

Santa will be coming on the 15th, arriving on the fire engine. The department will be collecting toys and food door to door again. Tacoma Fire is working on a proposal for dispatch services that would cost the same as the current service, but hopefully reduce the number of times Tacoma is dispatched to Ruston by mistake. CPR training will start after the first of the year again. Harding asked if the cost for liability insurance was included in the budget if the fire department is going to transport. Torbet said that will be researched before any decision is made.

Public Comment
Kathlyn Muller, representing The Commencement building, reiterated their concerns about Point Ruston storing construction material in front of their building.

1. EPA Update: Kevin Rochlin, EPA project manager for the Point Ruston property and adjacent areas, updated the council on the work planned for the peninsula/yacht basin/sediments, the work on the Point Ruston site and the final work on the residential yard project. The new database with the individual yard sample results was also outlined. Councilmember Hedrick asked about any differences in worker regulations versus having people live on the former smelter property. Rochlin said Point Ruston is required to ensure living here is the same as living anywhere else.  Hardin confirmed there are no deed restrictions and that disclosure of the yard samples is required when selling a home anywhere in the EPA area.

Hardin asked for details on the shoreline armoring. The mayor stated that EPA is played as a trump card over local regulations and asked for clarification on Point Ruston’s assertion that Ruston regulations prohibiting the storage area in front of The Commencement do not apply. After further discussion, it was agreed that Ruston will send EPA an email with the issues that need legal clarification. The mayor was also concerned about the locations of the air monitoring stations. Town planner Rob White asked to review any draft EPA/Point Ruston plans. White said Point Ruston has denied Ruston access to inspect storm/sewer lines. Mike Cohen is expected to attend an upcoming meeting to discuss these issues from Point Ruston’s perspective.

2. and 3. Ordinances 1387 & 1388 – Updating B&O taxes (1st Reading): After discussion, the council decided a quaerterly collection would be best, rather than annually and authorizing a $500 limit on the amount the administration can forgive before bringing the decision to the council. Hardin confirmed these new regulations met state guidelines.

4. 2013 Budget Introduction: The mayor stated he does not see the economy improving, but the outlook for 2013 for Ruston is better than last year. The projected deficit is down to $122,000 for 2013 and the deficit that was projected for 2012 is less than expected. The mayor anticipates it will be 3 or 4 years before Ruston can achieve a balanced budget. The police chief was questioned extensively about his budget, but no changes were made. Kunkel is very concerned about the pay rate for his officers, which is about the lowest in the region with no family medical benefits (but changed in the 2013 budget).

The deficit is pulled from the surplus property fund, but with the interest payments the fund remains static. The garbage rates will stay the same even while repaying the loan for the new truck and cans. The school fund is now holding its own with the new lease rates from Point Ruston.

Claims and Payroll were approved 3-0.

Mayor’s Time
Hopkins noted that The Commencement has received their final occupancy permit. He anticipates the new garbage truck to be running by December 17th.

Council Time
Hedrick had no comment.
Hardin had no comment.
Judd had no comment.

The meeting adjourned at 8:55pm.

Shop Local This Saturday

Ladies Workout Express is offering their annual holiday bazaar this Saturday, so stop by the gym on Saturday and support your local businesses - and get your holiday shopping done to boot!

Good News

The News Tribune is reporting that the beloved pagoda building at Point Defiance will open in mid-January. The article is available here...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Coming Soon To A Building Near You

The Ruston-Point Defiance Business District has been busy for over a year, designing and researching the buildings that house their businesses. All the work has finally paid off. The first historical plaques were mounted on a few buildings last week. Pictured above is the plaque on Don's Ruston Market at 51st and Winnifred. The plaques state the first owner and/or business at each location, with more details on the buildings history available inside the business.

The district worked with Paul Michaels, a local artist who works in bronze. Paul has designed several local bronze statures, including one in Proctor and along Ruston Way. He researched each building and created the mold for each plaque.

Come down soon, visit our shops and keep your eye out for more plaques in the neighborhood in the coming months!

Artist Paul Michaels and shop owner Don Torbet

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ring In The Season

Another great local activity within walking distance on Saturday:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Back At It

After vacation and a holiday week, I'm back at it; giving you all the new and exciting news in Ruston, Washington. The first order of business is catching up on the last couple of council meetings.

November 6, 2012

The meeting “for the City of Ruston” was called to order by Mayor Hopkins at 7:02pm. All the councilmembers were present. Councilmember Hedrick moved to remove the budget discussion from the agenda and add an executive session for potential litigation. The agenda was approved 5-0. The motion to approve the minutes for the previous meetings was made by Hedrick for “the City of Ruston”, which passed 5-0.

Staff Reports
Engineering: Jerry Morrissette gave an update on the sewer project, which is almost done. The one significant piece still pending is paving in three alleys. The contractor has offered $8,500 to not pave them, which was rejected. Councilmember Kristovich commented on the volume of water coming of the hillside near the excavation area below Baltimore Street. Morrissette assured her it was flowing as expected. The project is on budget. Councilmember Hardin asked if there were a lot of items still on the punch list. Morrissette pointed to the 5% retainage fee that is held until all the work is complete. Hardin wanted to know what happens if the contractor can’t do alleys all winter if the weather turns wet, but Morrissette thought there should be enough dry weather to get them done in November.

Public Comment
Tom Elmer, CEO of The Commencement, expressed their displeasure and objection to Point Ruston using the planned park area in front of their building for storage of vehicles and other items. He said they lost two very likely new tenants just this last weekend because of the mess. They are also getting complaints from current tenants. Their project is gaining momentum and they don’t want that momentum blocked by the unsightly junk in their front yard. The Commencement wants Ruston to take action and enforce local ordinances that are being violated. The mayor said that EPA and Point Ruston will be at next meeting and the issue can be discussed further. Councilmember Hunt offered to bring pictures of the view from her home.

1-4. Ordinances 1375, 1383, 1384 and 1385 (1st Reading): These four ordinances regarding adult entertainment were all discussed as one package. The attorney said that Ruston had nothing on the books. The most effective approach is to use both zoning and licenses. Two of the new ordinances include a new zoning code and a new chapter that includes new definitions and parking requirements. The planning commission considered these two ordinances and held a public hearing.

The last two ordinances were considered by planning commission, but because they deal with licensing requirements they were passed to the council. The attorney changed all references to a town to city throughout these documents. Legally, Ruston has to allow this kind of free speech. The council can adopt other cities legislative record to back up their decision – an 800 page record is presented with these ordinances. The planning commission considered the secondary crime problems that are common with these types of businesses, as well as the testimony of Officer Celis who worked in Lakewood as a vice cop. After considering the usual buffers from school, churches, parks, daycares, Ruston is not large enough, but the commission felt the southernmost corner of Pearl Street was the best place to zone for these adult businesses since it is required to allow them somewhere.

Town planner Rob White added that the council will need to designate the Winnifred Street median as park. Hedrick was thankful that adult entertainment is protected by the constitution because so are lobbyist and attorneys. He confirmed these businesses are not allowed under the Master Development Plan at Point Ruston. Hunt confirmed timeframes for licenses and asked if the town could deny a license if the applicant had a criminal background. The attorney thought it would be hard to deny a license for that reason. Hunt also confirmed the process for designation the Winnifred median as a park.

Hardin wanted to know if council members could be sued for not knowing all of the 800-page legislative record personally. The attorney did not think it was likely. He was concerned about language in the ordnance regarding the signs creating a way around the regulation. The attorney will clarify the language. It was agreed that the license fees be removed from these ordinances and added to the ordinance that deals with fees. Hedrick thanked the planning commission and staff for their hard work on this. Hunt did not want the license runs from January 1st to December 31st, since those are holidays and the business cannot get a license on those days.

5. Ordinance 1386 – 2013 Property Tax (1st Reading): no discussion.

The agenda was amended again to move the executive session to the end of the meeting rather than as a replacement of the budget (which would be discussed now).

Claims & Payroll: passed 5-0 with no discussion.

Mayor’s Time
Tomorrow Ruston will fund the new investment fund with $4 million. It will increase the investment income $7,000 each year. The mayor apologized for not getting the budget done yet. It was a big year with the sewer project impacts.  The three to four year forecast for Ruston is still poor and he projects the city will run a deficit each year. The new garbage system will be starting by early December. The old cans will be picked up and disposed of by town.

The mayor has asked Kevin Moser to help plan the undergrounding of utilities. He felt doing so would be proactive after seeing what hit the east coast. Point Ruston has proposed only doing curb and gutter as stopgap along Baltimore until the development reaches 50% build-out, since Tacoma water will be working on that street later. Point Ruston was supposed to have this work completed by December 2011, so the town can require everything be installed now. Hopkins also noted that this was hopefully the last week of state audit.

Council Time
Hedrick had none.

Hunt confirmed that sidewalks were supposed to be included in Point Ruston work on Baltimore and she also thanked the planning commission for their work.

Hardin encouraged the mayor to include the dates for the garbage change over in the next town newsletter. He also wanted the dates on when Baltimore will reopen announced once that decision is made. He confirmed change in state law regarding investments that was voted on this month did not apply to Ruston.

Kristovich had none.

Judd had none.

The meeting moved into executive session and would adjourn at 8 pm with no other business discussed.

Monday, November 19, 2012

In The News

KING 5 has a short story that ran yesterday about Ruston's change from a town to a city. You can read the story here.... The story says Ruston is the smallest city in the state....

EPA Update & 2013 Budget

Besides the usual staff reports, the agenda for the council meeting tomorrow includes at update from EPA on the various environmental projects in the area, an introduction to the 2013 budget and a proposal to update Ruston's B&O tax (including changing all references in the code from "town" to "city"). The full packet of background information is available here...

The meeting starts at 7pm at the Joyce Community Center - 5219 N. Shirley Street. Join us if you can!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vacation Time

I'm on a short vacation, enjoying some California sunshine. Things will be back to normal by Monday, so enjoy your week. See you then!           Karen

Monday, November 5, 2012

Adult Entertainment + Budget

It's hard to tell what will be more entertaining tomorrow night at the Ruston council meeting - next year's budget or regulating adult entertainment. As a city, the council must pass the tax levy earlier than they did as a town. And Ruston cannot outright ban adult entertainment, so the planning commission has recommended as area where it can exist.

The full packet of information is available here. If you're not glued to the television watching election results, you can watch the council discussion tomorrow night: 7pm at the Joyce Community Center - 5219 N. Shirley Street.

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Development Coming?

UPDATE: 8:30pm: Town planner Rob White provided a copy of the notice below and clarified that the rezone request is only to change the zoning on the lots closest to 51st Street (former gas station storage), not the residential lot next door.


Notice of Application and Public Hearing

The Town of Ruston Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on November 28, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard, on Ordinance No. 1382, which proposes to amend the zoning designation for 5104 and 5108 North Highland Street from Commercial (COM) to Commercial-Pearl (COM-P).  All members of the public may provide testimony on the proposal during the public hearing or you may submit written comments prior to the public hearing.  If you would like a copy of the Ordinance, you will find it on line at

Public comments or questions may be submitted in writing to Rob White, Town Planner by e-mail at , or by mail at 5117 North Winnifred, Ruston, WA 98407, up until the time of the close of the public hearing.  Verbal testimony will be accepted at the public hearing.

The new owners of Frank's Ruston Inn purchased the vacant lots behind the building when they bought the restaurant (story about Ruston Inn closing here). The property has been dormant since the purchase in May, but things are starting to percolate.

The new owners have applied for rezone of the vacant lots behind the restaurant. The request is to change from commercial zoning on the front lot (formerly used as storage for the gas station) to the existing COM P zoning that applies to the commercial area along Pearl Street.

If the rezone is granted, among other things, the owner would have more design requirements on any new development (such as awnings along the storefront) in exchange for slightly higher building height allowances. No building permit application is in the works yet since the zoning determines what any development proposal would look like.

The planning commission has scheduled a meeting and notices were mailed out this week. More details will be coming soon, but the application material is available  here... The activity is a hopeful sign that we may see more much-needed activity on our main street corner again soon.