Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Get Your Luxury View Now

Hether, leasing manager at  The Commencement, provided these clarifications to the last article about their project and some great photos:

1.       We have 9-11 homes per floor
2.       Our Office hours are 7 days a week 9am-7pm. After hours available by appointment only.

Penthouse View

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

I've seen many wonderful tributes on this Memorial Day, but none more touching than this farewell letter written by Marine Sgt. William Stacey, who was killed by a roadside bomb last January 31st in Afghanistan. There is no better way to acknowledge all this day means. Rest in peace, Sgt. Stacey and all your comrades in arms who gave so much. We are grateful.

"If you're reading this letter, then my time on this earth has come to an end.  There is no easy way to explain the way that I feel; no words that can possibly ease the pain that I'm sure you all are feeling.  But if it is any help, know that I died doing what I believed in and most importantly, what I wanted to be doing.

For so many years now, I have wanted to be a soldier and above that, a Marine.  There are few things more important to me than that.  The Marines are a brotherhood that has stood for 232 years.  It is a brotherhood born out of struggle, sacrifice and success.  And the price of success causes pain to so many.  Over the years so many have died, just as I have.  Every Marine hopes that he will never have to make the ultimate sacrifice; but everyone is willing to.  There is no Marine on this green earth I have ever met that would put his own safety above that of his loved ones.  We do this for the ones we care about; we do this because we believe that the good of the masses is worth more than that of ourselves.

I sit here in that same green room that I have known so long.  The glow of the computer screens.  Safe in the comfort that you have given me for so many years.  I owe to you, and to this country, a debt that I could not ever hope to repay.  But this is my attempt.

There are so many things wrong with this world and too few who care enough to do anything about them.  Perhaps I joined the Marines as an idealist.  But I've learned and dug deep down for what I truly believe.  My death did not change the may be tough for you to justify its meaning at all. But there is a greater meaning to it. Perhaps I did not change the world. Perhaps there is still injustice in the world. But there will be a child who will live because men left the security they enjoyed in their home country to come to his. And this child will learn in the new schools that have been built. He will walk his streets not worried about whether or not his leader's henchmen are going to come and kidnap him. He will grow into a fine man who will pursue every opportunity his heart could desire. He will have the gift of freedom, which I have enjoyed for so long. If my life buys the safety of a child who will one day change this world, then I know that it was all worth it.

Semper Fidelis means always faithful.  Always faithful to God, Country and Corps.  Always faithful to the principles and beliefs that guided me into the service.  And on that day in October when I placed my hand on a Bible and swore to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, I meant it.  Please lay me to rest with a full military burial.  Please also alert everyone in my phone book to my passing, and inform the Patriot Guard Riders so that they may provide an escort at my funeral.

If I am on life support and stand a very good chance of never recovering enough to be any kind of productive, please take me off of it.  I will let final discretion go to you, but I would rather die as a soldier than live the rest of my life as a cabbage.
In death, as in life, ever yours, Will.”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Almost A Year

When the tunnel closed last July, a few skeptics predicted the road would take a year to open. Local business and the optimists among us hoped for much better. Turns out the skeptics came closer in their prediction than the optimists. As heralded in the headline in the News Tribune today (link to story here), the latest hope for opening Ruston Way is "well before the 4th of July".

Loren Cohen said the hope is for sooner if the weather will cooperate with some dry, warm weather for stripping and sidewalk work. There is some old saying that goes something like good things are worth waiting for - and all good things come to those who wait... In this case, its true. The new infrastructure and open path across the once-closed landscape will be worth it. And the businesses so impacted by the loss of traffic/customers have survived. We are chomping at the bit, ready to walk the waterfront finally. All's well that ends well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ruston Inn Closing After 42 Years

Since 1970, Frank Ross has done what no one else in recent memory has done - operated a business in Ruston for 42 years.  Frank bought the Big Bad Wolf Tavern and the business next door, the Three Little Pigs Restaurant, back when women were not allowed to sit at the bar and kids had to stay next door at the restaurant. Food was passed thru a window to the bar when dad got hungry. After a major remodel in 1975, the two buildings were combined with a hallway between. The Wolf and Pigs team opened in 1932 and had seen a variety of owners before Ross.

Frank has now sold the building along with the lot behind the alley and will serve his last meal at the Ruston Inn this Sunday, May 26th. A farewell party is planned for Saturday evening starting about 6 pm. Stop in for a few good stories and listen to that North Carolina drawl in Frank’s voice one more time.

Ross fondly remembered the old days; when Stan Bartel was town marshal and things got wild on Friday and Saturday nights when the bar featured live western music. Frank said the cops back then never took anyone to jail; they just sent them home on foot since they knew everyone and where they lived. Marshal Bartel usually didn’t intervene in the fights, telling the bar staff to handle it and send the combatants out when they were done so he could shoo them home.

Frank says all the old timers are gone now.  He’s seen a lot of changes in Ruston since 1970 and known a lot of good people. Ross was born one of 16 brothers and sisters and says his parents raised him well. He’s been outspoken but always tried to be polite and quick to forgive. He joined the service, hit the west coast at age 18 and never looked back. He says he used to think money was important, but now acknowledges health is much more valuable. “You gotta love your momma and daddy”, but having good health is a close second to family.

After one robbery, three or four break-ins, a major fire seven years ago and decades of good friends, Frank says it’s time to take it easy. When asked what he was going to do in retirement, Frank gave a typical response; “nothin’ honey”. He’ll take some down time and then he promises to find something new to occupy his time.

If those walls at the Big Bad Wolf could talk, what stories they would tell! As the old-timers laughter fades away and new voices grow stronger, may we remember the contributions of men like Frank Ross and his patrons to the fabric of who we are. Ruston survived because of them and we owe them thanks. So to Frank and the good ol’ boys (and gals) who graced those bar stools or enjoyed those good old-fashioned meals, we wish you all the best. Enjoy your time just ‘doing nothin’. You’ve earned it…

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Inside The Commencement

Not only is construction finally in full swing in the oft-silent Commencement building, but the marketing team is moving in and gearing up operations. The new leasing office is open, using one of the larger model units as offices for now and moving into their permanent space by mid-June. Right now the team is focused on advertising on standard real estate websites, getting their own web page up and welcoming foot traffic with new signage soon.

As construction-savvy Rustonites know, schedules are subject to change – but it appears the first new tenants will join the two current occupants by this summer as expected. As promised, the units are being completed from the top floor down, including two new penthouses that are being converted from former open areas, both with large decks and great views. There are 7 or 8 units per floor, each with a view on both sides (Mount Rainier in front, Olympic Mountains in back). The entire building is expected to be complete by the end of August.

Two new tenants have already committed to move as soon as possible. Rental agreements require a $500 reservation fee, which is applied to the security deposit once the application is approved. There is also a $43 non-refundable application fee. For now, the leasing office is open 7 days a week or by appointment:

Monday 10-7pm
Tuesday 9-7pm
Wednesday 9-7pm
Thursday 9-7pm
Friday 9-4:30pm
Saturday 9-4:30pm
Sunday 10-6pm

Most apartments are 2 bedroom, 2 bath. The current model on the second floor (pictured below) has a 10X10 closet, den, utility room with a sink. The building will still have a large common area for residents to enjoy. The space will feature Wi-Fi, a Kindle library, fitness center, conference room with a large television, kitchen facilities, lounge area and pool table. Stop by during the open house this weekend and see for yourself!

Living Room (open fireplace to the bedroom behind)


New Entryway

View from second bedroom

Second Bedroom

Master Bath

Master Closet

Master Dressing Room

Master Bedroom

View from master bedroom

View from living room

Fun Next Door

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ever want to get inside one of those new luxury units at The Commencement building? Now's your chance!

The new owners are opening their doors to the neighborhood first; inviting residents of Ruston and Tacoma's north end to visit for a special hard-hat tour this weekend.

Stop in this Friday between 4 and 7 pm or Saturday between noon and 8pm. Check out the high-end apartments, drink in the spectacular views and welcome a new neighbor finally on the verge of completion.

Council Meeting Tonight

Lots of business on tap for the Ruston council meeting tonight, but most of it is housekeeping issues that have not generated much discussion. Sewer rates are set to increase 17.9% to pass along a rate increase from Tacoma; and the town code will be changed to allow a one-day business license for vendors at special events such as the upcoming Ruston Family Fair on August 11th. The full packet of background information is available here...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Repaving On N. Winnifred - But Not In Ruston

The mayor and council are asking for patience as Ruston roads continue unpaved throughout town due to the sewer replacement. Just to try our patience a bit more, the City of Tacoma announced today it will be paving Winnifred between North 44th and 45th, just outside Ruston boundaries.  The Tacoma project starts tomorrow at 9 am, expect detours around the area...

No point in washing the cars just yet, it's not quite our turn.

Council Meeting Notes: May 1, 2012

I was late to the meeting, arriving at about 7:10 pm. The council had already started on their business items on the agenda. Councilmember Hunt was absent. Previous meeting minutes are available on the town's web page: (3-19-12) (4-2-12) (February Fire Report) (February Police Report)

  1. Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy: The executive gave an update on the county's progress, which include significant budget cuts (see slides below).
  2. Ordinance 1367 – Amend Street Excavation Permit (2nd Reading): Passed 4-0 with no discussion.
  3. Ordinance 1368- Repeal RMC 12.08 – Small Works Roster (1st Reading): The town attorney explained this was a housekeeping item. The town code currently has a different process than is outlined in the most recent ordinance the council adopted. Councilmember Hedrick had a correction, but there was no other discussion.
  4. Ordinance 1369 – Repeal RMC 1.01.020 and RMC 1-01-040 (1st Reading): More housekeeping to repeal the old codes regarding which newspaper Ruston will use to publish its notices. Councilmember Hardin complimented the town attorney for catching these changes.
  5. Ordinance 1370 – Amend RMC 12.08 Adopting Current WSDOT Standards (1st Reading): Current Ruston code lists 1994 WSDOT standards, this will update Ruston to 2010 standards.
  6. Ordinance 1371 – Amend RMC 5.05 Business Licenses (1st Reading): This change allows for a one-time license for special events at a cost of $10. Hedrick was concerned $10 may not cover the cost for extra police or other costs associated with a special event. The town attorney will review the cost for the event permit to ensure it is high enough to cover the town's costs rather than add it to the business license fees.
  7. Ordinance1373 – Amend RMC 21.02.010 Update Sanitary Sewer (1st Reading): This will pass through the recent rate increase from Tacoma. Hedrick asked if the town could set the rate it charges higher than what it is charged from Tacoma. The mayor confirmed extra goes into the reserves and rates will have to go up again soon to cover the cost of the new sewer project.
  8. Resolution 507 – Designating Town Clerk as Claims Agent: Passed 4-0 with no discussion. 
  9. Resolution 508 – Awarding Bid and Authorizing Contracting for Purchase of Street Lighting Material: (link to actual bids here) Hedrick wanted to know what the material was for. The mayor explained the bid was for three transformers, one of which was surplus. Mayor Hopkins is looking to close out the fund for the new street lights on the north end of town with this purchase. Hardin complimented the mayor on his adherence to the new purchasing procedures. The mayor noted there was only one manufacturer for this material, but the town asked for bids from three distributors. The vote was 3-0 with Hedrick remaining silent. The town attorney said anyone not voting is assumed to have voted with the majority, so the measure passed 4-0.
 Claims and Payroll: Passed 4-0 with no discussion.

Mayor's Time
Hopkins thanked Hedrick for giving the speech at the Ruston Way ceremony of behalf of the town.The mayor expected the roads would be paved soon since the town is close to reaching an agreement with the sewer contractor on that issue. Hedrick noted that one of the alleys already paved is failing.

Council Time
Hedrick thanked the attorney for her work updating the town code. He was glad the sewer project was going fairly well and asked for patience from town residents. He noted the victory in the casino lawsuit and thanked the attorney for a job well done on that issue.
Hardin had no comment.
Kristovich had no comment.
Judd had no comment.

The meeting adjourned at 8:07 pm.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Half-Price Zoo Admission For Mom

Just another great reason to love where we live - take a walk to the zoo on Saturday to enjoy the sunshine, all the new animal babies and only pay half price for mom!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Shuttle Service Coming To Point Defiance Park

Metro Parks has announced the addition of several new features to enhance visitor's enjoyment of our local jewel, Point Defiance Park. Beginning Memorial Day, a new visitor center and shuttle will operate during the summer weekends. The shuttle will have 8 stops that loop to the waterfront, Fort Nisqually, the zoo, 5-mile drive and the rose garden.

The visitor center will be located in the Lodge next to the gardens. The center begins operations with free guided tours on Saturday, May 26th, and open thereafter on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5 pm with hourly shuttle service on Friday and Saturday. Sounds like a good reason to stroll down to the park this summer!

All Things Ruston

Besides there being another (much larger) city named Ruston in Louisiana, I have discovered a locomotive steam engine that carries the name. Antique railroad enthusiasts no doubt already knew this, but I enjoy the occasional references to the days of steam rail lines that were popular about time our Ruston was born. One such Ruston Proctor "Lincoln Lady" was loving restored and went for a test run recently. You can watch it on YouTube here...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Help A Neighbor - The 4-Legged Kind

Besides operating a great local store at N. 51st and Winnifred Streets, Secondhand Hound regularly finds homes for abandoned dogs and raises funds for Animal Aid & Rescue Foundation (AARF). The shop announced on Facebook today a special need for their latest foster dog, Fiona. This lovable friend not only needs a home, she has some special medical needs. If you can help, details on how to donate are in Secondhand Hound's announcement below.

Our foster dog, Fiona will be our charity of the month for May! At her last wellnes exam, the vet said she needs some teeth pulled and a lump removed. It is going to cost about $600! Although the rescue usually covers this, AARF has recently taken in several special needs dogs and currently need a little help with Fiona! We want to do everything we can to help her get healthy so she can find the perfect home! All funds go toward her bill! Drop off a donation to the store, or visit AARF's page and donate to them! Make sure to include fiona's name in the donation! Fiona says THANK YOU!!

Ruston Corner Apartments Finally Open

The sign is up, the Craigslist ad is running (here) - it can mean only one thing. After almost two years, the big remodel of the apartments in Ruston's historic corner building at North 51st and Pearl Streets are finally complete and live bodies can once again occupy the space. The ad states the original hardwood floors have been preserved, but just about everything else is new, even new plumbing and wiring. The 466 square-foot studio apartment will rent for $675 a month.

Across the street, the newly expanded convenience store has opened its doors as well. The gas pumps will be flowing again soon, but in the meantime there is free coffee and a new business to support! Finally, light on the corner...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tacoma City Marathon Road Closures

The Tacoma City Marathon will once again wind its way through Ruston streets this Sunday, May 6th. That means several roads will be closed between 7 am and 11 am. The runners will take the usual route through Point Ruston along Ruston Way (it appears the road will be opened temporarily for the event) to N. Shirley, then down Shirley to N. 54th and out to Pearl. All those roads will be closed until the last runner comes through. Here is a link to the map of the route...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Council Meeting Tonight

My apologies, I grabbed the agenda from a year ago instead of the current one. Below is the correct agenda. Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy gave a presentation on county government's accomplishments and several house-cleaning items were presented by legal staff to clean up the town code.

The regular council meeting tonight appears focused on information. Minutes from the last two meetings are set to be approved and two presentations are scheduled, from Ruston resident Lynn Syler regarding investments and from Pierce County Emergency Management. Not on the agenda is an change for to the business license code to allow for a one-time $10 license for special events. Attend and hear all the details for yourself!