As Block Club has been working with Florida’s Miami-Dade County Department of Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces, I’ve come across some awesome innovative concepts for modern park spaces, from rollout parklets to New York’s Lowline underground subway park initiative.

I think this tops it all, though—a park and salt mine museum built into the underground Salina Turda salt mine of Romania, which boasts a small amusement park, a spa and salt baths in the nearby salt lake. Salina Turda once saw steady salt extraction from as early as the Middle Ages. By 1932, though, it had been abandoned as a mine, serving instead as a bomb shelter during WWII and later, delightfully, for “cheese storage.” 

- Maggie



(by  Nicole Flatow)

During the 2012 presidential election, voters reportedly waited on line for upwards of six hours. That wait alone is enough to deter would-be voters from going to the polls. But now residents in Florida’s most populous county will have another disincentive: they won’t be able to go to the bathroom.

Earlier this year, the Miami-Dade County Elections Department quietly implemented a policy to close the bathrooms at all polling facilities, according to disability rights lawyer Marc Dubin. Dubin said the policy change was in “direct response” to an inquiry to the Elections Department about whether they had assessed accessibility of polling place bathrooms to those with disabilities.

“I was expecting them to say either yes we have or yes we will,” Dubin said.

Instead, he received a written response announcing that the county would close ALL restrooms at polling places “to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not treated unfairly,” a January email stated. “[T]he Department’s policy is not to permit access to restrooms at polling sites on election days,” Assistant County Attorney Shanika Graves said in a Feb. 14 email. Elections Department officials did not immediately respond to ThinkProgress inquiries.

Dubin said he was “shocked” at this response, and not just because it suppresses the vote for everybody. The Americans with Disabilities Act also requires entities to make “reasonable accommodations” to those with disabilities. For those with a number of conditions, including diabetics and those taking diuretics, closing the restroom will make standing in that line impossible, and thus discriminate against disabled voters.

But those with disabilities are not the only ones who would suffer disproportionately from this policy. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis found that blacks and Hispanics waited almost twice as long to vote as whites in the 2012 presidential election. Another analysis found that this “time tax” also impacted young voters. And this would be one of a number Florida voter suppression policies that have a particular impact on the elderly.

The state’s next-most populous counties, Broward and Palm Beach, told the Sun Sentinel they would not implement this policy.



Behold the overindulgent awesomeness that is a 125.5 lb hot dog. It was just unveiled at the Miami-Dade County Fair by Brett Enright, founder of Juicy’s Outlaw Grill. Enright currently holds the Guinness record for the World’s Largest Commercially Available Hamburger, which weighs 777 lbs, costs $5,000 and has to be ordered two days in advance. He’s hoping that this monstrous hotdog will also prove to be a record breaker.

"Weighing in at 125.5 pounds — the naked dog tipped the scale at 51 pounds; the rest of the heft came from a gargantuan bun and gallons of condiments — the dog was cooked for three hours on a 100-foot mobile grill that travels from fair to fair on the bed of a 27-ton tractor-trailer."

After this particular hot dog was photographed and weighed, it was sliced up and served to fairgoers for $1 per serving with all proceeds going to charity. However Enright says that, like his giant burger, the colossal hot dog can be special-ordered for parties (or ravenously hungry giants) for a mere $1000.

[via Neatorama]