Word on the Street

The latest news in and around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

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Category: Ruston


Ruston council appoints Everding as mayor

Ruston’s newest mayor is no stranger to the town’s political scene.

Two days after Michael Transue resigned, the town council appointed Bob Everding, a retired college dean who had served on the council until January.

The five-member council needed less than 20 minutes of a special session Wednesday to appoint Everding, who was elected to the council in 2005 but resigned with two years left on his term.

"I worked with him for two years, and he did an awesome job as a councilmember," said Councilman Wayne Stebner. "And there’s no question he’ll do an awesome job as a mayor."

Everding declined to talk with a reporter from The News Tribune, saying he wanted time for everything to sink in before commenting publicly.

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What’s the dirt on DuPont?

This was e-mailed to me (and left as a comment on this blog):

Given what is happening in our world today I would hope that you would be able to find more constuctive news to write about than the Town of Ruston. While you continue your quest for reading fodder you are truly hurting our town. The Town of Ruston is a great place to live and we really enjoy our neighborhood and our neighbors but you are casting a seriously negative light on our wonderful town.

The Mayor is a good man and the council members are

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Stebner: Ruston politics are ‘topsy-turvy’

Wayne Stebner sipped his lemonade slowly at the Antique Sandwich Shop near Ruston and spoke slowly. The councilman seemed to be choosing his words carefully.

The topic that day: the worsening political atmosphere in Ruston. Except there’s one hitch – he doesn’t believe it’s getting worse.

"There are some that say it’s getting worse, and some that say it’s getting better," he said. "I feel that it’s getting better. There are changes that are going to occur, and they’re tough changes, but they will occur."

He knows the brouhaha around the Commencement, a high-rise condo building in the small town near Tacoma’s North End, has caused heartache. But he said it’s in the past, and the people are moving on.

"Right now, it’s being built. They have every right to build it, and I don’t have a problem with that," he said. "They have a lease on our school right now for the next 495 or so years. That sits rather sorely with a lot of residents in the community. Taking that lease back is probably not an option, even if residents would like that. And the way it occurred is sore with a lot of people. It was part of the old Ruston politics. And I came in on the wave of public sentiment to change that.

"That being said, I’m not going to go out on a limb and cause problems for the Commencement. But I’m going to hold them accountable."

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Trouble in the little town

Ruston Town Councilman Bob Everding has apparently resigned, according to a letter attributed to him posted on a Web site Saturday.

Everding, a retired college dean and professor, called the council "presently dysfunctional" in a 335-word letter addressed to Mayor Michael Transue and posted on the Ruston Connection Web site.

"A hostile environment permeates town meetings as a small minority (mostly those who lost the last two elections) are allowed to disrupt meetings with angry tirades and threat," said the letter, which could not be verified by The News Tribune.

Everding and other members of the council

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No delays to Vashon Island

I stopped by the ferry station at Point Defiance Park to see if Washington State Ferries’ crisis affected the Ruston-Vashon Island run.

Apparently, things were operating as smoothly as ever.

“Actually,” one pedestrian crosser said, “I’ve noticed even less traffic than usual.”


Free day at the zoo

Live in and Tacoma and can’t get enough of yours truly’s coverage of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium?

There’s a free day coming up.

Tacoma residents can enter the zoo for free on Friday. It’s a thank-you gesture for Tacoma voters, who approved a $35 million bond in 1999. To prove you’re a Tacoma resident, you need to bring proof of residency like a driver’s license with a current address of a utility bill.

An "I ♥ Qannik" t-shirt doesn’t count.


Point Defiance improves tiger enclosure

"Superhuman" doesn’t quite fit the scenario, so John Houck calls it a "superanimal" feat – but one he’s certain won’t happen.

For a tiger to escape the showcase exhibit at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, it would have to leap up 13 feet past wire meshing and turn in midair to grab hold of a rock wall and pull itself over.

Houck, the zoo’s deputy director, calls it "so remote a possibility" that it could happen. Still, crews were working Friday afternoon to extend the wire mesh by more than three feet. It’s part of a thorough check of its animal facilities which have led to safety modifications to the tiger areas and a temporary closure of the polar bear exhibit.

"We don’t want any animal — no matter if it’s a rabbit, a frog, a web-weaving spider or an elephant – to escape," he said. "It might be different scales, but the same assessments go on for everything."

But after an escaped tiger escaped its pen on Christmas at the San Francisco Zoo, attacked three people and killed one, the incident cast a critical light on enclosures of potentially dangerous animals. Zookeepers must balance safety with keeping the animals close enough for customers to get a good view.

In the tiger exhibit, the distance from the highest ground point to the end of the wire mesh was 13 feet. The Felid Taxon Advisory Group guidelines recommended a distance of 16.4 feet, so Point Defiance crews added about an extra three feet of mesh.

A fence that runs along the sides of the exhibit will also be extended.

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