Monday, July 30, 2012

2012 Chair Auction

The 2012 version of 21 Adirondacks - 21 Artists auction went well last Saturday night. It was a beautiful summer evening with friends, fun and art. The grand total raised for Ruston Arts & Parks is not yet available but every chair sold. The raffle was a success, with $1 and $5 ticket items generating some big ticket purchases. Councilmember Jim Hedrick served as MC for the evening along a host of volunteers who contributed to a wonderful evening.

Friday, July 27, 2012

More New Babies

Tiger cubs in October 2010, Point Defiance Zoo

In case you missed the news, our neighbor Jaya is pregnant again. She is due to give birth to more cubs in a few months. The News Tribune has more details here... Ruston sits next to specular waterfront, one of the nation's largest urban parks and this world-class zoo. We got it good down here...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another Ruston Icon Passes

Lucille Canfield, longtime Ruston resident, has died. Lucille was 82 years young and spent her entire life living in the Ruston area. She served on the Ruston Town Council in the 1980's with Mayor Pete Brudevold (who was murdered while in office). Lucille had battled bone marrow cancer for a long time.

Her son, Steve Tucker, still lives in Ruston and works as one of the town's maintenance men. A celebration of Lucille's life will be held this Saturday, July 28th at 2pm at the VFW Hall on Baltimore Street. You can view the obituary and leave a note for the family in today's News Tribune here...

Lucille gave much of her life to this town, working and volunteering for decades to make us a better community. She saw tremendous change in her 82 years here but always maintained her love for Ruston. Her input and memories are lost to us now, but the town she helped build lives on. Rest in peace, Lucille - you done good!

Beautiful New Paint Everywhere!

It appears the inspiration of newly painted Adirondack chairs has brought new color to the fire house next to town hall too. The freshly painted house is on display along with the beautiful chairs from 4 til 7pm through Friday at 5117 N. Winnifred. The chairs will be auctioned off with a wine and light fare event at the community center (5219 N. Shirley Street) on Saturday evening beginning at 6:30pm. The News Tribune has a nice story on the event (here). Stop in to peruse the chairs and then make your bid on Saturday! Below are just a few of the specular 2012 chairs.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More Fun Coming To Ruston!

Make plans to come back and visit after the Adirondack Chair Auction (this Saturday, July 28th). Mark your calendars for the Ruston Family Fair and Cadillac LaSalle Car show on Saturday, August 11th. There will be loads of fun games for the kids, booths, the car show, wagon rides and more. Hope you can join us!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Adirondack Chair Display Starts Sunday

21 artists - 21 unique chairs - great summer celebration! Building on a successful first event, this second installment of Adirondack chairs promises to be just as exciting. There are eight returning artists, with three artists under 14 years old. Seven artists are Ruston residents, five from Tacoma and the rest hail from Olympia to Seattle.

The works of art will displayed in front of Town Hall (5117 N. Winnifred) from 4 to 7pm starting this Sunday, July 22nd through Friday, July 27th. The chairs will then be auctioned off in a silent auction on Saturday, July 28th at the Joyce Community Center (5219 N. Shirley) beginning at 6:30pm. Proceeds help fund more great projects for Ruston Arts and Parks. For more details, contact Ginger or Lucy at And stop by to admire our local talent and maybe even purchase a beautiful chair of your own!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Council Meeting Notes: July 3, 2011

The meeting began at 7:02 pm with all elected officials present. The agenda was approved after adding a staff report on the sewers. No minutes were presented.

Staff Reports
Sewer: Town engineer Jerry Morrisette felt the project overall was going well and was within budget. He outlined the upcoming paving schedule and noted the project is about 80% complete. They have to wait until August to complete the sewer main along Baltimore Street near the railroad because their permit with BNSF has a specific time period. Morisette said there are about 40 homes outside of Ruston that drain into the town’s main line, but that was offset by some areas where Ruston drains into the Tacoma main. The mayor reminded everyone that Tacoma water will be installing new lines along the other side of 49th Street, so that entire street will get new pavement.

Councilmember Hunt remembered that Point Ruston was required to make improvements on Baltimore Street all the way to N. 46th, but the mayor thought those were triggered by traffic increases and would not happen immediately. The short plat of Stack Hill requires improvements to the east side of Baltimore along the development.  Councilmember Hedrick wanted to find the funds to repave the last stretch of Baltimore between the new Point Ruston road and the new pavement from the sewer project. The mayor thanked Morrisette for working with him over the weekend right after surgery.

Public Comment
Kevin Moser felt the sewer contractor showed a lack of respect for residents when they parked their equipment on the street, using the on-street parking usually available for the community. He also thanked the town maintenance staff for clearing out the overgrown sidewalks along Baltimore Street.

Resolution 514 – Authorize Mayor to Execute an Amendment to Temporary Lease with New Cingular Wireless: The mayor thanked the town planner for negotiating more money for this lease. Hedrick would have preferred this had been figured out before the first agreement was signed. He appreciated the local residents putting up with the generator noise while the cell tower was up.  Councilmember Hardin confirmed Cingular was on the roof of the school building. He agreed this change should have been anticipated. He felt the town was always getting the butt end of these things and it showed a lack of planning and preparedness. The resolution passed 5-0.

Resolution 515 – Adoption of Town Investment Policy: Hedrick noted that this policy called for a committee of councilmembers on different election cycles, which would be difficult right now since he was the only one on his cycle (due to resignations). Hedrick thanked Councilmember Judd for working with the town attorney on this policy. Hunt was happy to see it finally in place. It passed 5-0.

Resolution 516 - Authorize Mayor to Execute Indigent Defense Services Contract: Hunt asked how indigent was defined.  Chief Kunkel said the judge has a screening form, but there is no verification of income. After more discussion, the measure passed 5-0.

Claims and Payroll
Hedrick confirmed the $2,100 for the new striping on 51st was done at a discounted price along with other striping in the area. Hunt noted the $93,000 payment to Tacoma Sewer. Tacoma had not billed since August 2011. The town clerk noticed the error recently and notified the utility. Claims and payroll was approved 5-0.

Mayor’s Time
Mayor Hopkins announced that he had appointed Sue Waters to the Civil Service Commission, joining Patty Turner and Dick Shore.

Council Time
Hedrick encouraged everyone to read Peter Callahan’s article on the 4th of July and he thanked the police department for sponsoring the kid’s parade on the 4th again this year. He thought the Taste of Tacoma went well. Hedrick noted the turmoil the last week with the opening of Ruston Way. He wanted everyone to know that he was the one who called the mayor when he saw traffic on Baltimore Street after Point Ruston opened the road. It had always been the town’s intent to keep that road shut down.  He was chagrined by the abuse the mayor had taken the last week by certain members of the public and he thought it needed to stop. The mayor has the council support on these decisions. He is really not happy reading blog posts that say ‘off with the mayor’s head’. It’s not funny when there are unstable people out there. They are just volunteer politicians trying to do a job and they don’t need their lives threatened if though it might be in jest.

The mayor announced that the town has not accepted the new roadways (Ruston Way or Baltimore) because all the conditions had not been met.

Hunt agreed with Hedrick’s concerns about the threats to the mayor.

Hardin felt that Baltimore needed to be closed for safety concerns. He felt the mayor had huge shoulders and he commended him for all his work over the weekend and the grief he took.

Kristovich noted that the next installment of painted Adirondack chairs would be displayed in front of town hall July 22nd- 27th and auctioned off on July 28th.

Judd had no comment.

The meeting adjourned at 7:57 pm.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Best Views In Town - Or Anywhere

Not only the best views in town, some the best views in the state are available from any of the six floors of the Commencement building. The public got their first look at those spectacular views yesterday as the doors officially opened. The party included the traditional ribbon cutting, wine and tasty treats with local folks mingling with the developers who brought the building to completion.

Tours were given of the new apartment homes, including the units on the top floors. The views over the bay of Mount Rainier were as beautiful as expected, but the surprise was how interesting the view was from the opposite side of the building. Not only are the Olympic Mountains visible from the north end of the building, the scene overlooking Ruston and the north Tacoma hillside was intriguing.

The original marketing campaign for this building was "Views Without End" - true indeed. And new neighbors will finally move in and enjoy those views. Success at last....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Referendum Anyone? (Opinion)

The recent council decision to change Ruston to a code city has not generated much discussion around town. I've talked to several people and done some research, but haven't uncovered many details about what the change will mean. Other than what the town attorney already outlined in her presentation supporting the change (here), here are a few things I discovered:
  • Power: It's a basic change in focus - Ruston is assumed to have all powers not explicitly forbidden; as a town they only had powers specifically allowed under state law. That distinction has been important in some recent lawsuits. It brings Ruston in line with most other municipal governments, but is more governmental power always a good thing?
  • Under the new system, the council can declare an emergency for most ordinances and pass them on first reading. The council is now conducting most of its business via resolutions so there are not many second readings anyway. Again, not always a good thing.
  • Ruston can establish a planning agency and eliminate the planning commission - and hire a hearing examiner.
  • Local Improvement Districts or special tax assessments are now allowed.
  • Citizens now have the power of initiative and referendum. Many felt this was a good change and reason enough on its own to make the switch. There was once talk of a citizen initiative to shut down the casino, so there is probably support for this new power.
  • The mayor will now have veto power and a tie-breaking vote under certain conditions.
  • Ruston can appoint a mayor pro tem for two years rather than the previous 6 month limit.
  • Mayoral appointments can be subject to council approval, reducing the independence of the executive branch.
  • Under this new system, only two appointments are required; police chief and clerk.
The council had the option of putting this change out to a vote. If they had scheduled a vote with the general election this November the cost would be about $800. Town residents have until September 8th to file a referendum to force a public vote by gathering 28 voter signatures (although the deadline to make the November ballot is early August).

One neighbor asked me if I trusted my elected officials to thoroughly research this issue and make the best decision on my behalf. On some issues, yes, I trust my government leaders to decide for me. But in my opinion, a change this significant should have been made by all the voters. Despite my opinion, I don't see enough here to fight this battle. If anyone out there has the energy to start the town's first referendum and force a vote, let me know. I'll be the first to sign!                       


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More Paving Progress

Streets are being paved throughout Ruston, and as the mayor told us, the fence is coming down as part of the repaving of the south lot at the school building. The sub-base is being laid in the north lot - all signs in progress just in time for the ribbon cutting tomorrow at the Commencement building. Progress on so many fronts....

Monday, July 9, 2012

Commencement Building Ribbon Cutting

It's official - the Commencement Building is finally ready for its public debut! After two failures, Onward Investors has turned the corner and brought the building close to completion. The ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for this Thursday, July 12th from 4 til 8 pm, followed by a reception. The guest list includes senior officials from Onward Investors, property managers Suhrco and builders Saco along with the Tacoma Chamber, the local business district and elected officials from Ruston and Tacoma. The event is open to the public, so come join the celebration!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Small Town 4th of July

It was another great year of small town Americana in Ruston yesterday, from bikes decked out in holiday colors to kids grinning from ear to ear. And the parade ended with lots of noise again this year as a jet flew overhead to begin Freedom Fair over Commencement Bay.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

4th of July Kids Parade

Deck out those bikes, dress up the dog,decorate the wagon, grab a flag and head to Ruston by 10am tomorrow morning! Start out the holiday by joining or just watching the annual kids bike parade thru the town's main street. The parade often ends with loud jets flying overhead heralding the beginning Freedom Fair just down the hill. The event is sponsored by the police department this year - who reminds everyone to wear their helmets!

The parade starts at 10am in front of Don's Market (N. 51st and Pearl). See you there!

Ruston Family Fair Latest

Plans are coming together for the Ruston Family Fair and Cadillac LeSalle Car Show on August 11th. Today's addition is a new blog to keep you up to speed on the latest happenings and event details. The address for the blog is We still have room for vendors - only $50 for booth space + $10 fee from the town. Call Beth Torbet at (253) 381-1858 to sign up. Here are the latest plans:
  • Cadillac LeSalle Car Show
  • Wagon Rides sponsored by The Commencement
  • Face Painting by JuJu Designs
  • Pet Costume Contest by Secondhand Hound
  • Old-fashioned Kids Games by Ladies Workout Express
  • Bike Safety Rodeo by Ruston Police
  • Baking Contest (Cash Prize)
  • Cupcake Walk for Kids
  • Boy Scout Demonstrations
  • Music - Food - Vendors
Plan on joining the fun!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Council Agenda: July 3, 2012

It looks to be a quiet meeting on the holiday eve this week. The agreement for the temporary cell tower is extended, there is a lengthy investment policy and the contract for indigent defense services are set to be approved. Most town business is now addressed via resolution without a first and second reading - so if you have comments or input, be sure to attend the first time an issue discussed and use your 3 minutes of public comment wisely! The background information is available on the town's web site here....