Wednesday, October 31, 2012

20 Year Anniversary Coming Up

We are fast approaching the 20 year anniversary of the Asarco Tacoma Smelter stack demolition. Longtime residents will recall it was a big party day in town with all the "Blast The Stack" hoopla. Save the date now for a celebration, and let us know if you have any ideas about how you want to have the date remembered.
  • Thursday, January 17th
  • 3 to 7pm
  • VFW Hall, 4741 N. Baltimore
  • Posters, stack bricks and more to be auctioned off

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Council Meeting Notes: Oct. 16, 2012

The meeting was called to order by the clerk. Mayor Hopkins and Councilmember Hedrick were excused. Councilmember Hardin nominated Councilmember Jane Hunt as mayor pro-tem to run the meeting.

The agenda was approved with no changes, 4-0.

Staff Reports
Police: Chief Kunkel reported that the Tip A Cop at Red Robin was great fun and raised $2,900 for Special Olympics. The police department will pass out candy with fire department on Halloween night, and have equipment out for kids to explore, pictures and more. Officer Celis has been promoted to corporal. Kunkel then outlined last month’s calls, including a DUI, meth with the intent to distribute, child luring, shots fired and domestic violence.  He is still working on getting updated computers. The deal with Pierce County Sheriff’s old ones did not work out, but he may have found some inexpensive units. Hardin confirmed the calibration schedule for the radar equipment.

Fire: Chief Torbet said there were only 5 medical aid calls last month. The department remains at 23 fire fighters with two leaving and two coming on board, one of which is already trained as an EMT. Several fire fighters were trained high rise rescue last month and will train the rest. The department has submitted their budget to the mayor. Seven agencies trained with BNSF personnel for rail line emergencies recently, including the Ruston Police.

As part of National Fire Prevention Week, the department hosted open house last weekend and provided fire training at Point Defiance School with the blessing of Tacoma Fire. Chief Torbet thanked fire fighters Carl Camps and Sarah who worked very hard to pull together these events and gather donations for the department. Part of the week activities included delivering about 30 pizzas. If the occupant allowed the department to check their smoke detectors and they were working, they got the pizza free. One of the fire fighters noted that it was a good exercise because they got to know the house layouts, where kids sleep, etc.

The chief reminded everyone about the department’s goal to make Ruston the most CPR trained community. The training paid off big time for a local couple who recently took the class. The man went into cardiac arrest and the wife started doing CPR until the fire department arrived. That man is coming home from the hospital this week. The department still wants to get entire town trained. Hardin commended chief and department for how well they treated the resident when delivering pizza. Councilmember Kristovich said she knows family that experienced the heart attack and they are raving about the service from the fire fighters. Hunt reported that when she fainted recently it only took 2 minutes for the department to arrive at her door. She and her partner want to take CPR class. She is struck by how much the department does for the town. Torbet promised to pass along the thanks and compliments to the department.

Public Comment
Kevin Moser thanked the town staff and council for their proactive work. He felt the town had turned corner with things like the undergrounding of utilities in his neighborhood, with hopefully more to come.

Ken Brown wanted to know if they could still get items on the sewer project punch list. The town planner suggested he send an email to sewer contact person.

Kathy Brown was very moved by two medical emergency calls close to her home recently. She encouraged the council to be sure to fund the police and fire departments.

1. Resolution 528Expressing Intent to Adopt an Updated Master Shoreline Program: Planner Rob White gave overview of the measure. It has been 3 years of planning, hearings, comments and more on this shoreline update. The Department of Ecology regulates the state’s shorelines and has a required format and procedure. The town is updating its 1970’s version, which was written for a smelter. The approved Master Development Plan (MDP) is vested, so the new regulations only apply to new development. The previous goal was to encourage public access, but the new plan now requires it. They have held three public hearings, Ecology and the town attorney have reviewed it and the planning commission has approved it. Ecology’s process allows for one final review but the final document must have council approval before it comes to them the last time. If Ecology approves this final version, it comes back as an ordinance to the council, probably in January.

Hardin asked the planner to outline shoreline area. He confirmed that both Point Ruston and Metro Parks are affected by this plan. The planner said he would bring back the response from Parks and Tacoma in executive session, since this is an application that can be kept private (perhaps an application for the new Yacht Club road?). The height of 35’ allowed in the shoreline area means any new development over that height would need a conditional use permit. The MDP approved heights stay in place unless the project changes hands. The Silver Cloud Hotel height is already approved. There were no further comments from the planning commission chair. Passed 4-0.

Claims & Payroll approved 3-0.

Council Time
Hardin was excited today to the new garbage truck practicing in his alley.
Kristovich none.
Judd none.

The meeting adjourned at 7:39pm.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Busy Weekend At The Point

October 22, 2012
Janet Bissell, community wellness coordinator, (253) 312-4458,
Anne Winters, communications & public relations coordinator, 253-208-1897;
Traffic Alert: Halloween-themed events at Point Defiance Park will impact drivers
Visitors to Point Defiance Park on Saturday, October 27 should be aware that the Pearl Street entrance to the park will close at 4 pm.
Two events are taking place at the park on the evening of October 27. The Black Cat Fun Run begins at 6 pm near the main entrance of the park and Bonfires, Beaver Pelts and Bogeymen, a Halloween storytelling event, takes place at 7 pm at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum.
Parking will be available in the Fun Land parking lot for runners and walkers participating in the Black Cat fun run. Fun Land is located east of the Ferry road, near the Pearl Street entrance.
Bonfires, Beaver Pelts & Bogeymen participants can enter the park from Mildred Street and follow signs to the parking area near Fort Nisqually.
The Black Cat fun run will share a ½ mile stretch of Five Mile Drive with vehicles driving to Fort Nisqually. Traffic, which is not expected to be heavy due to the staggered start times of the events, will be controlled at all times by staff, orange traffic cones and extra lighting to insure pedestrian safety.
Detailed maps are available at

Friday, October 19, 2012

Waterwalk Opens Next Month

UPDATE: Sunday, October 21st:
The News Tribune has a follow up article (here) with lots of details about the commercial ventures that will be part of the new Copperline Building when it opens early next year - candy, coffee, fitness center and maybe even plastic surgery....

The News Tribune is reporting that part of the Waterwalk that borders the water's edge along the Point Ruston property is set to open in November. The first section will connect Ruston Way to the floating sales ferry. You can read the full story here...

Yard Sampling Data Now On-line

The Exit 133 local news blog has a good summary of yesterday's announcement by the Department of Ecology. Ecology has been working with EPA to transfer the sample results for the EPA work over the last 15 years into a new on-line database. The database will eventually include from the new Ecology clean up. You can read more and link to the database via the Exit 133 story here...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Weekend Fun At The Park

Put on your best costume and join us for a fun, fall-themed weekend at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Come watch our animals enjoy special pumpkin enrichments and see how creative our keepers are at designing their jack-o-lanterns!
Zoo Boo lasts from 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21 and is appropriate for all ages.

Festivities are FREE with admission and everyone in costume will receive a $2 discount off the general zoo admission rate. The popular event features indoor and outdoor activities, as well as treats, camel rides, face painting and more!
Special Zoo Boo Animal Enrichments:
11:00-3:00             Marine Discovery Center
11:00-3:00             Meerkats Pumpkin Enrichment
10:30 (Sat)            Underwater Pumpkin Carving, North Pacific Aquarium
10:30                     Tiger Cubs Pumpkin Enrichment
11:00                     South Pacific Aquarium Encounter
                                  Sat      Outer Reef Shark Feed & Pumpkin Enrichment
                                  Sun     Outer Reef Dive
11:30                     Tarantula Close Encounter, Upper N. Pacific Aquarium
12:00                     Polar Bear Pumpkin Enrichment & Keeper Talk
12:30                     Tiger Enrichment & Keeper Talk
1:00 (Sun)              Underwater Pumpkin Carving, North Pacific Aquarium
1:00                       Elephant Pumpkin Enrichment & Keeper Talk
1:30                       Wild Wonders Close Encounter: Owl, Skunk, Aardvark
2:00                       Red Wolves Pumpkin Enrichment & Keeper Talk
2:30                       Bat Close Encounter, Upper N. Pacific Aquarium
2:30                       Primate Enrichment, Asian Forest Sanctuary
3:00                       Walrus Enrichment, Rocky Shores
3:00                       Tiger Cubs Pumpkin Enrichment

Peggy Barchi, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, 253-591-5339;
Anne Winters, communications & public relations coordinator, 253-208-1897;
Chilling stories haunt Fort Nisqually this Halloween
Celebrate Halloween in the style of past centuries by listening to ghost stories told around a roaring bonfire. The Fort Nisqually Foundation presents “Bonfires, Beaver Pelts & Bogeymen” from 7 to 9 pm on Friday and Saturday, October 26 and 27.
Follow a trail of glowing jack-o-lanterns to a blazing bonfire in the meadow beyond the fort’s walls. Storytellers from the past will send shivers down your spine as their words bring forth the spirits of the fur trade. The evening begins with “gentler” tales appropriate for all ages.  After a break for complimentary cider and cookies, the stories get increasingly scarier.
October nights can be as chilling as the stories so dress accordingly. Chairs or blankets to sit on are welcome. Please do not bring umbrellas. Seating begins at 6:30 pm, stories begin at 7 pm.
Tickets are $5 for adults/$3 for children if purchased in advance and $6 for adults/$4 for children at the event. Tickets are available online at
Participants should be aware of a traffic alert on Saturday, October 27 when the Black Cat Fun Run is also taking place at Point Defiance Park. Because of this, the main entrance to the park will close at 4 pm and traffic to Fort Nisqually will share a ½ mile stretch of Five Mile Drive with runners and walkers. Vehicles arriving for Fort Nisqually’s event Bonfires, Beaver Pelts & Bogeymen can enter the park from Mildred Street, drive around the Zoo parking lot and onto Five Mile Drive. Runners and vehicles will share the road for a ½ mile from this point until the beginning of the Outer Loop. A printable map of the detour is available at  

Located in Tacoma's Point Defiance Park, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a restoration of the Hudson's Bay Company outpost on the Puget Sound where visitors can travel back in time and experience life in Washington Territory during the Fur Trade era. Fort Nisqually is owned and operated by Metro Parks Tacoma.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Things You Need To Know

One of our local businesses is offering classes on things we all need to know. Call Bev if you are interesting in joining!

Upcoming Meetings at Ladies Workout Express
4939 N Pearl St.
We are hosting two different  meetings this month and next that will provide you with current information and resources  to access.  Please make note of these on your calendar if  you would like to attend.  Feel free to forward on to others.  You will need to  register for attendance as our room is limited seating.

October 17th (Wednesday) at 6pm and November 1st (Thursday) at 1pm
If you or someone you know is or will be in the situation of placing a loved one in a long term care facility this meeting will provide you with some good information and resources available.  Both meeting times are the same information.
Medicare 101
November 7th (Wednesday)  11 am
For both those that are currently on Medicare and those wanting to know the  process and options you may want to come to this meeting. Harriott Balmer will be presenting Medicare 101.  Open enrollment allows those wanting to, to make changes. There is a new program coming out.  She has been in the insurance business for over 25 years and is now specializing in the Medicare part. 

Let us know if you are coming as we have limited space.  If this time does not work, let us know and if we have a large enough request we may be able to set up an evening time.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tomorrow's Council Agenda

There is only one business item on the agenda for the council meeting tomorrow night - Ruston's 200 feet of shoreline will finally get its Master Plan updated, pending approval by the state. The full packet of information is available here (including a copy of the Shoreline Master Plan). Please join the fun tomorrow, 7pm at the Joyce Community Center, 5219 N. Shirley Street.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Council Meeting Notes: October 2, 2012

The meeting was called to order at 7pm by Mayor Hopkins. All council members were present. The agenda was amended to remove the update on the sewer project since the town engineer was unable to attend the meeting. The minutes from 8-21-12, 9-4-12 and 9-18-12 were approved without discussion other than Councilmember Hunt complementing about how good they were.

General Public Comment
I noted a nostalgic sorrow that we would no longer be a town after tonight. I also encouraged the town again to plan something to commemorate the 20 year anniversary of the stack implosion this January.

1. Ordinance 1381 – Reclassify to a Non-Charter Code City (2nd Reading): Councilmember Hedrick noted it was a historic night for Ruston, although not as big as the new garbage cans or the sewer project. He felt the move brought more flexibility. Hardin liked that it gives the right of referendum to the people. He  never heard from anyone who was directly opposed. The ordinance passed 5-0.

2. Resolution 525 – Amend JWM&A Contract: Passed 5-0.

3. Resolution 526 – Amend MTC Contract: Passed 5-0.

4. Resolution 527 – Award Public Contract – Tercom: This contract is to underground utilities along Baltimore near Court and Rust Way. 6 poles will be removed. There is money in the budget to cover the cost. Councilmember Kristovich asked to have the area described again. Hunt asked if the next area for undergrounding had been prioritized yet. The electrician is looking for areas where it can be done easily, such as when Pt. Ruston runs new line down 52nd. Hedrick asked if the poles that are in poor shape would also be a priority. The electrician wants to start testing poles. Hunt confirmed that the “ugly” light on Commercial is going away with this project. The resolution passed 5-0.

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

Mayor’s Time
Hopkins outlined the investment income. He noted the new garbage cans had come in and Hardin is working with him on how to implement the new system. It's budget time again and the department heads should have their budgets turned in soon. He will not be at the next council meeting, so the new budget will be presented at the first meeting in November.

Council Time
No one had any comment.

The meeting adjourned at 7:26pm.

I don’t normally note anything from after the meeting, but it there was some unusual activity this night. I was in the hallway talking with a neighbor after the meeting. A cooler with what looked like fancy beer bottles was stationed on the floor near the mayor during the meeting. Shortly after the meeting adjourned, the town planner stuck his head out the door of the council chambers, said hi and locked the door as he closed it. Councilmembers Hardin and Hedrick were still inside along with the mayor, planner and clerk. I could hear laughter and loud voices occasionally over the next 15 minutes or so. I confirmed with the planner as we left that he had brought some of his homemade hard (alcoholic) apple cider in the blue cooler to the meeting.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fewer Trains Beneath Us?

Exit 133 has a summary of the plans to move the Amtrak trains from the line that runs through the Ruston tunnel to the south Tacoma line. The move would mean less scenic views for passengers but a more efficient ride. An environmental assessment was just completed, which is open for public comment. You can get more details via Exit 133 here...

Tip A Cop (Without Arrest)

Now is your chance to legally slip a little extra to your local cop and not get arrested for attempted bribery. Ruston's police chief Jeremy Kunkel will be joining other local officers volunteering at the Tacoma Mall Red Robin tomorrow to raise money for Special Olympics. Chief Kunkel and others will wait tables in hopes of some very generous tips, 100% of which go to help Special Olympics.

Ruston folks are encouraged to pick up some lunch between 11am and 3pm when Jeremy will be working. The event runs until 7pm, so dinner would be fine too. Good job, Chief!

Fire Department Open House Tomorrow

The fire department sent out reminders today about their open house tomorrow starting at 10am. Please stop by and check it out! We are blessed with the best volunteers and these events prove why..
On Saturday October 13th we will be hosting an open house at Town Hall / Fire Station at 5117 North Winnifred St... The event will be from 10:00 a.m.  Till 2:00 p.m...  We will have demonstrations for kids and adults alike, events for the kid’s, fire engine tours, and goodie bags.  
The reality is that when fire strikes, your home could be engulfed in smoke and flames in just a few minutes.
It is important to have a home fire escape plan that prepares your family to think fast and get out quickly when the smoke alarm sounds. What if your first escape route is blocked by smoke or flames? That's why having two ways out is such a key part of your plan. This year’s theme, “Have 2 Ways Out!” focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.

They're Here! They're Here!

For all those Rustonites waiting with bated breath for the arrival of our new garbage cans and the new-to-us garbage truck, the new toys have finally reached Ruston soil. The cans have been lined up in the school parking lot for a week and the new truck arrived this morning. The latest discussion at the council meetings indicate the new refuse collection system should be up and running by the first of November. Our town maintenance team are probably the most excited residents in town at the prospect of not having to manually lift our cans any more....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Point Defiance Plans

For those interested in more details about the presentation given to the Ruston Council last month about the future plans for Point Defiance Park, the power point slide and more information is available on the Metro Parks web page here... To view the PowerPoint slides, scroll down to the Background/Master Concept Plan.

Fire Prevention Week - Ruston Style

In addition to the free pizza last night, the Ruston Fire Department is encouraging fire safety in a variety of ways this week during National Fire Prevention Week. The department issued this statement:

The Ruston Fire Department is participating in National Fire Prevention Week (October 7th – 13th).  The Fire Department has several events that they will be putting on throughout the week.
On Tuesday October 9th, 2012 we teamed up with Domino’s Pizza for pizza delivery via a fire engine.  The event was a huge success and we would like to thank everyone that participated.  Without the support of Domino’s Pizza and the citizens of Ruston we could not have made this event possible.
We will be paying the kindergartners and 1st graders a visit and Pt. Defiance Elementary School on Friday October 12th.  We will be teaching the student’s the importance of calling 911 and knowing the pertinent information to give the dispatcher.  We will also be working with the kids on this year’s them of having “Two Ways Out” and having an evacuation plan.
On Saturday October 13th we will be hosting an open house at Town Hall / Fire Station at 5117 North Winnifred St... The event will be from 10:00 a.m.  Till 2:00 p.m...  We will have demonstrations for kids and adults alike, events for the kid’s, fire engine tours, and goodie bags.  
The reality is that when fire strikes, your home could be engulfed in smoke and flames in just a few minutes.
It is important to have a home fire escape plan that prepares your family to think fast and get out quickly when the smoke alarm sounds. What if your first escape route is blocked by smoke or flames? That's why having two ways out is such a key part of your plan. This year’s theme, “Have 2 Ways Out!” focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.

Stop by on Saturday with the kids and see just how prepared your family is (or isn't)... It's worth the visit!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Council Meeting Notes: Sept. 18, 2012

I'm running behind in my notes... but should be caught up soon. Thanks for your patience!


The meeting was called to order by Mayor Hopkins at 7:01pm. Town planner Rob White called the role of the council. All were present. The agenda was amended to add a report from the planner to staff reports, which was then approved 5-0. There were no minutes ready to review.

Staff Reports
Sewer: Town engineer Jerry Morrissette reported that 100% of the sewer main lines are installed now. The brick manhole at the end of Baltimore is getting replaced. The storm water line in that area was also buried as part of the current work. The contractor expected substantial completion by Oct. 1st. The “punch list” of repair items is about 60% done, and the rest of the items are being worked on. Councilmember Hunt asked about the large amount of water seen in one of the pictures. Morrissette said a culvert was added to catch the water and direct it over the sewer line. This underground spring is diverted into the lines that run through the Pt. Ruston site. Councilmember Hardin thanked the engineer for putting the punch list on the town’s web site. He felt it worked good and helped answer resident’s questions. Councilmember Hedrick asked about the area being cleared for the access road to the bottom of Baltimore, wondering if it was on railroad property. Morrissette noted that most of the access road is on Ruston property and the rest is granted by old easement allowed for maintenance.

Police: Chief Kunkel let everyone know that the lights and sirens today were for a high angle cliff rescue at Pt. Defiance. The department will be participating at Red Robin restaurant on Oct 13th, serving food to raise money for Special Olympics. Kunkel then outlined the types of calls last month. There will be training in October with the fire department on rescues in the rail road gulley and line.

Fire: Assistant Chief Bruce Allen outlined the 9 calls received last month. The department hoped to add a couple new fire fighters this month. The transmission has been repaired in aid van. Several fire fighters have received specialized training in high rise building rescues, now that the Commencement is occupied. The department is hosting an open house on Oct 13th during National Fire Prevention week. Oct. 9th Domino’s is offering free pizza to promote fire prevention (more details here).

Planning: Town Planner Rob White introduced a new tool he has created using GPS to give accurate locations for the town boundary and parcel locations. He is converting the town’s official map to digital, including the comprehensive plan map and using the tax parcel map from assessor. The maps are set up so only a few can see for now (staff, elected officials).  He is adding in electric grid map right now (poles, lines) and will add sanitary lines when that project is complete. The program is available via an app for smart phones that can be used in the field, where you can pull up details on the parcel you are standing on via these new maps. There was some discussion about what servers are being used to store the information, costs, etc. Hardin will research the issue.

Public comment

1. Curtis Hancock - Metro Parks Improvement Plans for Point Defiance: Hancock gave a power point presentation about plans for Pt. Defiance Park and completing the “missing link” connecting Ruston Way to the park through Pt. Ruston. He noted the great job Ruston police are doing patrolling at the park under the new agreement; they are making a big difference. Hancock outlined plans for the park, a new agreement with Pt. Ruston to develop the peninsula, the trail going in linking the trail from the Tacoma Dome to Owens Beach, pagoda, visitor center, shuttle, zoo, Ft. Nisqually, and more. The new trail will go by a new pavilion shaped building; where the upper area can be used for weddings, and the building expanded for restaurants and other uses in future.

Capping the peninsula is happening right now, and eventually the area will be transformed into a large passive park. The goal is to have the missing link connected by 2014. The interim trail should be open by next summer using haul road that was built to bring clean soil down the bluff to cap the peninsula. Metro Parks is working on grants to get everything underway by 2014 and done by 2015. Mayor Hopkins asked about plans for the entrance to park. Hancock said they are in talks with Tacoma, and seeking grants to redesign that area. Councilmember Hedrick noted an editorial he did for the News Tribune two weeks prior and asked if there was anything the city of Ruston should do. Hancock promised to be in touch within the next two weeks.

2. Ordinance 1381 - Reclassify to a Non-Charter Code City (1st Reading): The Town attorney outlined the history for this measure and the procedure for adoption. The deadline for citizens to file a referendum forcing a vote was now passed and the council is required to pass this ordinance. Hunt asked, since they have to pass the ordinance, why not pass this tonight and skip the second reading. Hopkins responded with a very strong “We are NOT doing that, we were sued for doing that before.” There was no further discussion.

Claims &Payroll passed 5-0 with no discussion.

Mayor’s Time
Volunteers are needed to help install landscaping around the school. Recall that the town traded new fencing around the north parking lot for doing landscaping with the Commencement. The town planner is designing a sprinkler system for the area. Hopkins thanked Hedrick for meeting with auditor who is checking the town books and he noted that he is being educated on federal loan program by the auditor.

Council Time
Hedrick nothing.
Hunt nothing.
Hardin asked why only one of the new parking lots at the school is painted. The mayor said a design estimate would be coming soon for council to decide funding to paint the other lot.
Kristovich nothing.
Judd nothing.

The meeting adjourned at 8:17pm.

Order A Pizza - Get A Fire Engine

Order a pizza tonight in Ruston and it will be delivered via the Ruston fire engine. Allow the accompanying fire fighters to check your smoke alarm to confirm it works, and the pizza is free. If it doesn't work, the fire fighters will replace the battery to ensure you go into the long winter indoor months with a functioning alarm.

It's all part of Fire Prevention Week. Domino's pizza is sponsoring the program, available between 6 and 8pm tonight, Tuesday, October 9th only. To order your pizza from the local Domino's (N. 26th & Stevens), call (253) 752-2300. Warm up that engine guys, I think you are going to be busy tonight!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Join The Fun!

Link to sign up here...

Coffee Anyone?

Point Ruston announced on Facebook this morning that Forza coffee with have a cafe located in the Copperline building when in opens. Here is the link to the announcement (here). More good news...

Friday, October 5, 2012


Some of the local blogging community is offering their congradulations on our new status as a city:

Exit 133


Maybe we should all grab some hard cider and join our leaders in the celebration. Here's hoping for the best for our future! I expect great things from this 2nd class city...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Miss Them: Opinion

Does it change who we are; this change in municipal classification? Is it really just a change in government structure or does it go deeper than that? Or is this new name a reflection of the change that has already taken place in our community?

I remember the swift correction that would follow anytime someone mistakenly called Ruston a “city” in my early years here. There was a pride in being different from the big city around us. We didn’t mind shaking our fist at the outside world and being a town in the midst of a city was one way to show that. “We are a town, with a capital T, thank you very much. Just you remember, we are different, not like those uppity know-it-alls out there."

I miss that spunk. It got us in trouble a time or two. And I fought hard over the years to encourage our leaders to act professionally and portray the town with dignity. But I miss that willingness to stand out, to be different – to not have to be the same or better than the others. Just be ourselves; dirty, scrappy, blue-collar, proud of our history and roots.

I guess my undefined sorrow at this change for Ruston goes deeper than the new designation as a city. So few remain who value our past. There is a shunning of our heritage. The image of the old smelter stack brings shame or makes us cringe. We want to pretend we are better than our forefathers, that somehow we are smarter and more sophisticated.

I wish my new neighbors could meet Ike, or Doc, or Buck, or Pete, or Loretta, or Owen and Tim, or Mary Joyce, or Tommy, or Lucille, or Phil, or Norma and Clint, or so many countless others. Quirky. Stubborn. Proud. Outspoken. Faithful. They’d let you know if you were wrong, but defend you to their dying breath if need be.

They built their homes with their own hands, then turned around and helped their neighbor do the same. They stood their ground when they believed they were right. They held bake sales to raise money for the fire department. They fought and loved and built this Town from the ground up.

Somehow they managed to survive with all the restrictions that come with being a Town. They didn’t need the right to a referendum. They talked to their elected folks and got things changed; or found a way to live with it if it couldn’t be changed. The mayor didn’t need veto power. We survived without a hearings examiner or parks department. Smaller and less sophisticated was ok – preferred even.

I guess its water under the bridge. I can almost see Owen shrugging his shoulder and muttering something under his breath, but he’s straighten up and move ahead regardless. And Mary would say her peace loud and clear, then dig in and get the job done. So I’ve said my peace now. Let’s get to work building the best little city we can.