September 2015 News & Events from Commissioner Linda Higgins

Commissioner Linda Higgins, Hennepin County, MN




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Linda Higgins
Commissioner, District Two

Tina Sanz
Principal Aide

Roshonda Royston
Administrative Secretary


The 2nd District serves the cities of Golden Valley, Medicine Lake, north and northeastMinneapolis, southeastPlymouth and St. Anthony.

2nd District Hennepin County

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I hope your summer has been wonderful. The State Fair starts today, schools are back in session or will be soon, and tomatoes are tasty and plentiful. They signal that fall is approaching. Get out and enjoy the best of Minnesota and Hennepin County!

Be sure to check out all the great upcoming events this month, and think about subscribing to other interesting topics offered by Hennepin County.


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Target Field

Photo ©Morgan Sheff 2014, used with permission

Hennepin County’s Target Field Station named APWA 2015 Public Works Project of the Year

Hennepin County’s Target Field Station was recently named a 2015 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). Hennepin County, Knutson Construction and other partners will accept the award during APWA’s 2015 International Public Works Congress and Exposition Awards Ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona, August 30 to September 2, 2015. Target Field Station includes a light rail transit (LRT) station, a rail bridge, promenade and two levels of public plaza with areas available for neighborhood bars and eateries, cultural and entertainment spaces and community events. It also connects several communities by linking the region’s growing commuter and LRT network, as well as miles of new bike and walking trails.

The APWA Public Works Projects of the Year awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, contractor, consultant and their cooperative achievements.


TONIGHT: Southwest LRT public hearing

The Metropolitan Council, Hennepin County Board of Commissioners and the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) will hold a joint public hearing on the physical design component of the revised preliminary design plans for the Southwest Light Rail Transit (Green Line Extension) Project as part of the municipal consent process set forth in Minnesota Statutes section 473.3994.

Thursday, August 27, 2015
Open House: 5:00 p.m.
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m.
Minneapolis Central Library, Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401. For more information,

North Service Center

Did you know?…

The Hennepin County Service Center in North Minneapolis at
1001 Plymouth Avenue Northnow offers expanded hours and services!

Services include:

Driver’s permits and licenses
Birth and death certificates
Marriage licenses and certificates
Minnesota state IDs
Current real estate tax payments, duplicates and statements
Ministerial credentials
Notary commission filings
Voter registration

Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm.

For more information, go to

Nice Ride

In other related North Service Center news… Nice Ride, volunteers needed

Nice Ride plans to move the Nice Ride station from the North Regional Library, which has had very low ridership, to the North Minneapolis Service Center. The station will be located on the boulevard along the North 7th Street side of the Service Center and should be there in the next few weeks.

Volunteer with Hennepin. Hennepin County seeks volunteer greeters for its North Minneapolis human service center at 1001 Plymouth Avenue North.

Greeters will welcome and guide visitors, answer questions and assist with special projects. Reliable adults who enjoy working with people and who are available for a few hours twice a week are encouraged to apply. Ideal candidates will be able to volunteer for a minimum of three months.

Volunteers are integral to Hennepin County’s mission of enhancing the health, safety and quality of life of its residents and communities in a respectful, efficient and fiscally responsible way. Get involved by visiting and submitting a volunteer application.

Webber Library meeting

Washington restriping

Washington Avenue North restriping

Have you seen North Washington Avenue lately? After a study and testing, a portion of the road north of Fifth Avenue North was modified and repainted from its current four-lane design to a three-lane design. Bike lanes were also added.

The North Loop neighborhood is growing, and I heard from numerous people and the North Loop Neighborhood Association (NLNA) that pedestrian and bicycle safety was a concern. Intended benefits of the project include increased comfort and safety for bike riders; slower speeds; smoother operations for all transportation modes (vehicles, buses, bikes, pedestrians); and likely reduction in all crashes due to removal of conflicts and better lane definitions.

For more information, see I hope that as folks adjust to the change, people who live in the neighborhood will enjoy having a little slower pace on Washington Avenue and more safety for crossing the road or riding a bike.

(photo by Bob Byers)

Disabilities training

Do you have questions on services for people with disabilities, on obtaining a Personal Care Attendant, or…? The Community Informational Sessions for Seniors and People with Disabilities booklet has been updated with new dates, times and locations. These sessions are free and open to the public.

Community Informational Sessions are offered as a continuing effort to keep families, clients and providers informed about service options and application processes. Please visit services for people with disabilities for more information.


Plymouth Hilde Performance Center Phase 2 is complete

The Hilde Performance Center – 3500 Plymouth Boulevard – is a beloved landmark in the City of Plymouth, and renovations completed this summer have made the already picturesque space even better. Watch the video on YouTube.

Improvements include a main entrance on Plymouth Boulevard that features an arched gateway and electronic reader board. A plaza has been added to the amphitheater’s pond to provide space for park goers to relax and enjoy the water. A Veterans Memorial was also completed to honor those who served in the United States armed forces.

The Hilde Performance Center is used for a number of events throughout the year, including Music in Plymouth. The space also offers looping trails, a fountain plaza, a smaller stage and picnic benches. The Hilde Performance Center was made possible through a $1 million donation by former Mayor Al Hilde, Jr. and his wife, Jayne. Hilde was Plymouth’s mayor from 1968-1978. For more information and a link to events, visit the Hilde Performance Center facility page.

health care image from IRS

Tax tip: taxpayers who received advance credit payments for health care should file a 2014 tax return

The federal government is giving notice: you must file a tax return to reconcile any advance credit payments you received in 2014 and to maintain your eligibility for future premium assistance. If you do not file, you will not be eligible for advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2016.

The IRS is currently sending Letters 5591, 5591A, and 5596 to taxpayers who received 2014 advance payments, but have not yet filed their tax return, to remind them of the importance of filing their 2014 federal tax return along with Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit.  Taxpayers are encouraged to file to avoid a gap in receiving assistance with paying Marketplace health insurance coverage in 2016. For more information, see

Separately, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free, individualized tax preparation for low-to moderate-income taxpayers – especially those 60 and older.

choose to reuse

Get Choose to Reuse coupons on the go

Hennepin County’s annual Choose to Reuse coupon books are now available through Oct. 31, 2015. The coupons are free and feature deals from 54 Twin Cities retailers. Choose to Reuse coupons are available on mobile devices by downloading the free Chinook Book app in the iTunes or Google Play stores. You can also pick up a coupon book at participating retail locations, Hennepin County service centers, Hennepin County libraries and all Three Rivers Park District locations.

Businesses and organizations in the coupon book offer used goods for rent, repair, resale, consign, trade or exchange. Why reuse? You save money, get great stuff, contribute to the local economy and help the environment. Last year, Hennepin County residents redeemed 28,000 Choose to Reuse coupons.

For more information, visit or call612-348-3777.

NACo logo

Hennepin commissioners appointed to National Association of Counties (NACo) leadership positions

I have been appointed by President Sallie Clark to two leadership positions in the National Association of Counties. I am a new member of the Health Policy Steering Committee and will chair the subcommittee on Behavioral Health (I previously chaired the subcommittee on Children, Families and Education of the Human Services Steering Committee. The Human Services Committee is chaired by Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter).

I also was appointed to the steering committee of the Large Urban County Caucus, this year chaired by Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough. LUCC will meet in King County, Washington, at the end of September.

Commissioner Peter McLaughlin was appointed to chair the Transportation Committee of NACo, and Commissioner Randy Johnson will chair the subcommittee on Medicaid and Indigent Care of the Health Steering Committee and chair the Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) subcommittee, and is a member of LUCC, Membership Standing Committee, Programs and Services Standing Committee and Resilient Counties Advisory Board.

gv devel

Multiple redevelopments will grow western Golden Valley

Recent approval by the Golden Valley City Council of three projects along Golden Valley Road on the western edge of Golden Valley signal the beginning of a movement toward redevelopment in this part of the city.

A 172-unit apartment building, to be called the Hello Apartments, was approved on the site of the vacant bowling alley and a small neighboring office building. The project will include a level of underground parking, a second-level amenity deck with a pool, and a sixth-floor observation deck. Tax Increment Financing associated with the redevelopment will provide money for the City to install public improvements in the area, such as sidewalks and pedestrian street lighting.

Across the street, a new 45-unit building called Cornerstone Creekwill provide housing for adults with developmental disabilities. Jewish Housing and Programming (J-HAP) has been working with Golden Valley for two years to implement this unique form of supportive housing, which is in high demand in the Twin Cities.

To the east, a vacant fast food restaurant will be replaced with a 96-unit senior building. The property owner, The Schuett Companies, will also relocate its headquarters to the new building from its current location on Mendelsohn Ave.

At the corner of Boone and 7th Avenues, TruStone Financial Federal Credit Union is set to open soon in its new building.

Watch for more information about redevelopment in Golden Valley in the September/October CityNews. To see a video about these developments, click here.

Board approves lease of office space for Human Services

You may have heard that the county is making extensive changes to our child protection work, including the hiring of 105 staff, as well as relocating staff formerly located at Century Plaza. This addition of staff will help lower the caseloads of the child protection workers, which are large. With this addition to staff comes a need to provide office space, so the county board approved the lease of two offices, one to lease approximately 15,300 square feet of space at 627 West Broadway Avenue on the second floor of the new Walgreen’s building at the corner of Lyndale Avenue North and West Broadway in Minneapolis and the other in Richfield. These will be a few but occasional client meetings but mostly just offices for staff.

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Board news

August 11

Hennepin County Board OKs negotiations with City of Bloomington to move District Court

The county board authorized negotiation of an agreement with the city of Bloomington to lease space at the city’s civic campus for a relocated district court facility. The proposed long-term lease would allow the county to build a two-story, 28,000 square foot addition on the city campus at 1800 West Old Shakopee Road. Hennepin County and the city will share operating and maintenance costs associated with the new facility. Bloomington will provide property management functions. The next step necessary to move forward is authorization to negotiate the agreement by Bloomington.

This action is part of a larger effort to relocate the county’s service center and district court facilities from the Southdale Regional Center to enable redevelopment of the site at 7009 York Avenue South in Edina. The service center will move to space at Southdale Shopping Center; the county will work with Edina on a mixed use development that will include a new library.

Board approves design for relocated jury assembly room

The board approved the schematic design for a relocated jury assembly room on the 24th floor of the Courts Tower of the Hennepin County Government Center. The new facility would take up 6,400 square feet of available space in an area that currently is part of the Hennepin County Law Library. Unlike the current space, on the below-ground A-Level, the proposed new location will be inside the security boundaries of the Courts Tower.  The objectives of the project are to improve court operations, including better juror transfer, enhanced protection  and better proximity to court functions. The schematic design’s cost estimate is $2.25 million, as approved in the 2015-2019 Capital Improvement Program.

Foundation grant will enable health care reforms

The board voted to accept a grant for $125,000 from the KRESGE Foundation for the Emerging Leaders to apply the findings from a Public Health Resource Action Learning Project. In December 2014 Susan Palchick, Hennepin County Public Health Director, and Stephanie Abel, Manager-Public Health Integrated Care, were selected to participate. The Hennepin County team was one of only 12 selected in a nationwide search. The goal of the 16-month program is to position participants’ agencies to thrive as health care reform and market forces transform the way public health agencies provide services and impact population health. The Hennepin County Public Health team worked to strengthen and centralize primary care and behavioral health resources along Hennepin County’s health care line of business, including Hennepin Health, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, Metropolitan Health Plan, Hennepin County Medical Center and the Medical Examiner’s Office. The Public Health Department intends to use these funds to build a framework to determine if public health interventions and services contribute to local health system cost control.

Federal grant to continue and expand teen pregnancy prevention work

The board voted to accept a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund teen pregnancy prevention efforts through the Better Together Hennepin program. The sum is part of a five-year, $7.5 million grant that the program will use to continue and expand current programming. The county’s teen birth rate is half the rate it was when Better Together Hennepin launched in 2007. Better Together Hennepin brought together the county, schools, parents, faith communities, libraries, and community organizations together in new ways. These organizations partnered together to provide four key elements that all young people need to delay parenthood until they become adults—healthy youth development programs, open and consistent communication with parents about sex and relationships, responsible sex education, and accessible reproductive health services. New programming will enable the county to target services in five Hennepin County cities with the highest birth rates.

Negotiations will proceed for Blue Line extension design

The County Board voted to authorize negotiations with Kimley-Horn and Associates regarding a $2.2 million contract to provide design services for the reconstruction of West Broadway Avenue and 93rd Avenue North in Brooklyn Park. The county is seeking design, public involvement, and coordination expertise for this project while accommodating for future transit along West Broadway (Metropolitan Council’s Blue Line Extension light rail transit project). The reconstruction project is to include new multiuse trails on each side improving the bicycle and pedestrian experience, boulevards for landscaping, and curb and gutter to route and treat stormwater. Construction is anticipated to occur between 2018 and 2020.

Listening sessions, other channels produce ideas for efficiency

The board approved the use of $230,000 of funds designated for innovation projects to reduce costs and improve collaboration and efficiency. As the result of administration listening sessions, an online form and email submissions, county employees generated 260 ideas. From that list, ideas were chosen based on how easy to implement the idea is, what the impact of the idea is and how sustainable the result will be. Six ideas will be funded as projects and include new ways to offer taxpayers customer service via text and chat, new volunteer programs, and communication kits for county employees holding public meetings.

Public hearings scheduled

  • Housing block grant: The Public Works, Energy and Environment Committee will hold a hearing for public comment on the program year 2014 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report related to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnerships, and Emergency Solutions Grant programs in suburban Hennepin County. The hearing will be held Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. The hearing will be held in Room A-2400 of the Hennepin County Government Center in the City of Minneapolis. Read the draft report

Southwest Light Rail: The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority, Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council will hold a joint public hearing on the physical design components of the revised preliminary design plans for the Southwest Light Rail Transit project. The hearing will be held on Thursday, August 27, at 6 p.m., at the Hennepin County Library – Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. The hearing will be preceded by a public open house, which will start at 5 p.m.

August 25

Ordinance change will include fiber optic projects in some utility project proposals along county roads

The County Board approved a change to county ordinance to allow an expansion of fiber optic infrastructure as part of utility construction projects on county rights of way. The permits office typically issues 860 utility permits on an annual basis to public, private and nonprofit entities. Hennepin County Ordinance 22 governs the placement and maintenance of critical utilities, including electricity, natural gas, water, sewage, rainwater, telecommunications and cable and other services. Following the change, the county will be able to require contractors on targeted projects to include the fiber optic work, at the county’s expense. The change will allow the county to expand its fiber infrastructure at a lower cost and minimize construction disturbances, such as lane closures, detours and construction noise.

New categories for Youth Sports grants

The County Board amended the criteria for the Hennepin Youth Sports Program, which provides grants to local units of government to build, repair and renovate sports facilities, and to purchase sports equipment or small capital assets for use at sports facilities. The County Board also created a new grant category for playground purchases and enhancements, and reserved funding for a potential swimming lesson pilot project. The 2016 Hennepin Youth Sports Program grant cycle will total $2.25 million. Of that amount, $1.8 million will be allocated for facilities grants; $250,000 will allocated for the purchase of equipment and/or other small capital assets; $125,000 allocated for playground projects; and $35,000 is to be reserved for swimming lessons if that pilot project is approved at a future meeting. Since the program began in 2009, 94 facilities grants have been awarded totaling more than $14.4 million, and 154 equipment and small asset grants have been awarded totaling more than $1 million. Applications will be available via the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. The deadline for submission is November 2.

Paint to be included among household hazardous waste disposal options

The County Board approved an amendment to the State of Minnesota joint powers agreement for the operation of a household waste management program to handle disposal of architectural paint, which is interior and exterior coatings sold in containers of five gallons or less. The state will reimburse the county for expenses related to managing paint collected at the drop-off facilities in Bloomington and Brooklyn Park and at seasonal household hazardous waste collection events. The estimated annual reimbursement amount is $700,000.

Grant will fund supervised release program

The County Board agreed to allow the Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation to receive a $3.8 million, two-year grant from the state Department of Corrections to fund the Intensive Supervised Release Program from July 1, 2015 through June 2017. Primary elements of the program include face-to-face contacts at offender’s residence and place of employment and supervision provided by specially trained agents with small caseloads, a maximum 15 offenders per agent. Other primary elements include house arrest, electronic monitoring, strict curfews, mandatory work or school, random drug testing and programming that addresses offender risk factors, such as lack of employment and suitable housing, drug/alcohol dependency, sexual deviance, anti-social attitudes and offender associations.

Amendment clarifies stance on e-cigarettes

The County Board agreed on an amendment to clarify that e-cigarettes are covered under the Tobacco Free Property Policy. Use of these electronic delivery devices on county-owned and leased property, including grounds, structures, parking ramps, parking lots, and equipment is prohibited.

HCRRA will support Met Council’s capital grant application for transit

The County board, voting as the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority, agreed to support the Metropolitan Council’s 2016 capital grant application to the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) for project development and engineering activities for the Bottineau Light Rail Transit (METRO Blue Line Extension); engineering, land acquisition, and construction activities for Southwest Light Rail Transit (METRO Green Line Extension); project development, engineering, and land acquisition activities for METRO Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit; and Mall of America Transit Station improvements. Grants requested for a variety of projects could total $133.76 million, dependent on  final commitment of funds for the transitway improvements to the  Mall of America Transit station. The program requires formal support from host counties for grant projects located within those counties.

Look for more news on the Hennepin County website

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St. Anthony

  • Saturday, September 12, 10am-2pm
    St. Anthony Library book sale
    St. Anthony Shopping Center
    2941 Pentagon Drive, St. Anthony
  • Wednesday, September 23 and Thursday, September 24, 6:30-9:30pm
    Abbreviated Citizens’ Academy. Classes are free. To register and for more information, visit
    St. Anthony Police Department
    3301 Silver Lake Road, St. Anthony


  • Friday, September 11, Saturday, September 12, 5-10pm and Sunday, September 13
    Nordeast Septemberfest. Food trucks, music and more.
    17th Avenue and 4th Street NE, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, September 12, 11am-2pm
    Annual Pushcart Derby and Fall Festival. For registration and more information, visit
  • Thursday, September 15, 10am-noon
    “Aging is for everyone: Health and Wellness Expo 2015,” a free event for adults age 50 and older. Community resources and free health screening, flu and pneumonia shots (bring your insurance card and photo ID), and prizes. For more information, call 612-781-6011 or visit
    East Side Neighborhood Services
    1700 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis
  • Thursday, September 17 and Thursday, September 24, 6:30-8:30pm
    Meetings on future of Northeast parks. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is undergoing a comprehensive planning effort and is encouraging Minneapolis residents to help with three distinct, intertwined projects: Closing the Gap, which focuses on deferred maintenance; RecQuest, which focuses on recreation centers; and Service Area Master Plans, which looks at outdoor
  • Saturday, September 19, 10am-2pm
    Book sale.
    Pierre Bottineau Library
    55 Broadway Street NE, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, September 19, 1-5pm
    Autumn Brew Review. Beer and craft brewers from all across the nation, live music, food vendors, a chance to vote for your favorite beer. Participants must be 21 or older. For tickets, visit
    Grain Belt Complex
    19 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • Sunday, September 20, 8am
    Minneapolis Bike Tour. Tour starts and ends at Boom Island. Adults, $45 and youth, $20. Register at
  • Thursday, September 24, 5:30-8pm
    East Side Neighborhood Services is having its Centennial Gala: Celebrating a Century of Service. Purchase tickets at
    Nicollet Island Pavilion
    40 Power Street, Minneapolis
  • Friday, September 25, 5pm-1am and Saturday, September 26, 11am-1am
    Harvest Fest. Celebrate beer and cocktails from your favorite NE breweries and distilleries, food, live music and entertainment. $2, $6 and $8 wristbands. For more information, visit
    NorthGate Brewing
    783 Harding Street NE, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, September 26, 11am-8pm
    Taste of Northeast. Local and ethnic foods, live entertainment, beer/wine, dancing, games, marketplace, children’s activities, and more.
    St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral
    1701 5th Street NE, Minneapolis
  • Sunday, September 27, noon-3pm
    Social Sundays. Are you someone who wants to ride slow and take lots of selfie breaks? Do you want to meet new people, go to cool places, and have an amazing time on your bike? Free, slow paced, less than 10 miles, and alcohol-free. Rides leave at noon. Bring bike, lock and snacks.
    Recovery Bike Shop
    2504 Central Avenue NE, Minneapolis


  • Saturday, August 29, noon until dusk
    Minneapolis Urban League Family Day. Free urban festival, marketplace, vendor resource fair, food, entertainment and more.
    Plymouth Avenue, between Logan and Penn, Minneapolis
  • Wednesdays through September 2, 6-7:30pm
    Summer at Gethsemane Wednesday night cookouts. Hot dogs, chips, dessert and beverages. Pallets of fruit and vegetables provided by Second Harvest will be available.
    Gethsemane Lutheran Church ELCA
    4656 Colfax Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, September 12, 9am-2pm
    NorthPoint Health and Wellness Fit 4 Fun. Free, family friendly event includes a variety of activities. To register a team and for more information, contact Felicia Jappah at612-543-2560 or
  • Saturday, September 26, 11am-5pm
    Open Streets. Residents can explore Lowry Avenue businesses and neighborhoods by bike, foot, or skate on car-free streets. Get a map at

North Loop

  • Saturday, September 12, 1-4pm and 7-10pm
    Bacon and Beer Classic. Enjoy sipping craft brew samples and mouth-watering bacon-inspired taste, music, play interactive games that will bring out your inner kid and strike a pose at the photo booth. For ticket information,
    Target Field
    353 North 5th Street, Minneapolis

Golden Valley

  • Tuesdays, September 8 through October 27, 6-9pm
    The Citizens’ Police Academy will cover a variety of topics, including 911 dispatch, SWAT, patrol operations, investigations, crime lab, crime analysis, and much more. For more information, visit
    Golden Valley Police Department
    7800 Golden Valley Road
  • Thursday, September 10, 6-8pm
    Annual Day of Service Volunteer Event. Join friends, neighbors, and community members in helping to sort and re-pack food from food drives and donations, label cans, or re-package bulk food into family size packages for Second Harvest Heartland’s partner agencies, including local food shelves and soup kitchens that serve people at risk for hunger. Volunteers must be at least 8 years of age and able to stand for several hours.
    Second Harvest Heartland WEST
    6325 Sandburg Rd, Suite 1700, Golden Valley Second Harvest
  • Saturday, September 26, 9:30am-9:30pm
    Golden Valley Arts and Music Festival. Food and craft beer, arts activities and vendors, music, dancing and more under the water tower. For more information,
    Golden Valley City Hall
    7800 Golden Valley Road

Medicine Lake


  • Friday, September 11, at dusk
    Movie in the Park: Homewood Bound-The Incredible Journey
    Hilde Amphitheater
    3450 Plymouth Blvd, Plymouth
  • Monday, September, 4:30-6:30pm
    Fall Plant Swap. Bring perennials and swap them out fornew plants to be shared by others.
    Plymouth Maintenance Facility
    14900 23rd Avenue N, Plymouth
  • Saturday, September 26, 9am
    Firefighter 5K run/walk. Check-in begins at 7:30am. $20 per person for entries received through Sept. 12