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Minnewaska State Park’s new $6.1 M visitor center debuts

Daniel Axelrod
| Times Herald-Record

KERHONKSON – Minnewaska State Park Preserve’s new $6.1 million visitor center debuted Friday, just in time to help the park with anecdotal reports of pandemic-driven visitation spikes.

State officials and leaders from the nonprofit Open Space Institute, which provided $3 million in grants and donations toward the project, touted the new 5,400-square-foot building near Minnewaska’s upper parking lot.

The 24,000-acre-plus Minnewaska preserve, New York’s third-largest state park, is “the crown jewel of the state park system,” said Mike Baden, supervisor of the Ulster County Town of Rochester – the town that contains the hamlet of Kerhonkson, where the park is partly based.

Minnewaska is perched atop a 2,000-foot-high escarpment, the Shawangunk Ridge, which runs west from the New

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how solid cosmetics are booming in bathrooms

Have you tried switching to solid cosmetics? If not, then there’s no time like the present, as these solid formats are the shape of the future when it comes to beauty routines. It’s out with shelves of bottles and endless ingredient lists, and in with new-gen shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes and soaps that are light on packaging — and preservatives — for a revamped, 100%-responsible beauty routine that’s good for your skin and for the planet.

text, whiteboard: Good for the environment and for your skin, solid cosmetics are set to take over your bathroom cabinet.

© marekusz / Shutterstock
Good for the environment and for your skin, solid cosmetics are set to take over your bathroom cabinet.

Old-school soap is where it’s at

The move towards more responsible and environmentally respectful consumer habits can sometimes — in fact, often — mean taking a step backwards. And cosmetics are no exception, with the solid bars of soap used by our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents slowly creeping back into bathrooms in

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Ten tranquil bathrooms with dark and soothing interiors

A charred-wood washroom and a monolithic, concrete bathtub feature in this roundup of 10 zen bathrooms that swap traditional white walls for dark, moody hues and tactile materials.

a large tub next to a window: Dark bathroom inside Bathroom of Untitled House, UK, by Szczepaniak Astridge

© Provided by Dezeen
Dark bathroom inside Bathroom of Untitled House, UK, by Szczepaniak Astridge

a glass shower door: Dark bathroom inside Untitled House, UK, by Szczepaniak Astridge

© Provided by Dezeen
Dark bathroom inside Untitled House, UK, by Szczepaniak Astridge

Untitled House, UK, by Szczepaniak Astridge

Smooth, dark, concrete characterises the walls and monolithic bathtub of this bathroom, which Szczepaniak Astridge designed as part of a house renovation in Camberwell, London.

The bath is screened by stainless steel Crittal windows that enclose a void through the home and is teamed with a bespoke, polished stone sink. According to the studio, the aim was to design a “place to retreat to, to guiltlessly linger and hang out”.

Find out more about Untitled House ›

a sink a mirror and a window: Dark bathroom inside Pioneer Square Loft, USA, by Plum Design and Corey Kingston

© Provided by Dezeen
Dark bathroom inside Pioneer Square Loft, USA,

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County parks’ bathrooms MIA? Friendly dragonfly?

Today’s batch of burning questions, my smart-aleck answers and the real deal:

a flock of seagulls standing next to a body of water: Finn Hilgeman, 2, and his dad, Spencer, toss feed to a pair of geese at Lake Julian Park on Jan. 30, 2020. The pair come to feed the birds about once a week but this was their first trip in a while after January illnesses kept them at home.

Finn Hilgeman, 2, and his dad, Spencer, toss feed to a pair of geese at Lake Julian Park on Jan. 30, 2020. The pair come to feed the birds about once a week but this was their first trip in a while after January illnesses kept them at home.

Question: With Buncombe County’s parks, the bathrooms still haven’t reopened. Why is that?


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My answer: Hey, I’m sure all the little tykes “holding it” till they get home have not used any alternate “facilities.”

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Real answer: Lillian Govus, director of communications and public engagement with Buncombe County, answered this one.

“We open most restroom facilities only when those facilities are under full operation (i.e. pools, sports facilities,

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Gunk from medieval bathrooms revealed people suffered from parasites

What could you possibly find in a toilet that’s been out of order for hundreds of years? Some ghastly things might be hiding in there, and it’s not what you might think.

There were obviously no porcelain seats or advanced plumbing in latrines 800 years ago. You went, and countless others went after you, unknowingly leaving behind evidence of what was crawling in an entire community’s guts. Think of all those TV commercials that relentlessly insist on probiotics for gut health. Probiotics might be trending, whether in pill or yogurt form, but they do help balance the intestinal microbiome—everything that lives in your guts. Scientists have now been able to find out what was lurking in the microbiomes of two cities during the 14th and 15th centuries, and it’s ugly.

Parasites thrive when you don’t have proper sanitation. The Middle Ages spawned the bubonic plague, so it has nowhere near

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Bathstore Bathrooms Review – Which?

We’ve surveyed more than 3,700 bathroom company customers to find out how Bathstore’s bathrooms compare with rival brands, such as B&Q, Soak and Victoria Plum.

To get a rounded picture of people’s experiences, we asked them about the process of buying their bathroom and what they thought of the bathroom itself. 

Overall, the top-scoring company in our survey got a customer score of 80% and the bottom just 58%. Meanwhile, the lowest-scoring bathroom got 61% and the highest a fantastic 89%.

Which? members can log in to unlock the tables below to see how Bathstore was rated as a retailer and how its bathrooms themselves fared. You can also read comments from Bathstore bathroom owners. 

If you’re not a member, you can join Which? now to gain instant access.

Bathstore went into administration in June 2019, but was rescued by Homebase. These ratings are from before Bathstore was bought out.

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Better Bathrooms Review – Which?

2019 has been a difficult year for Better Bathrooms, having gone into administration early in the year. It still trades online after being bought by Buy It Direct.

Better Bathrooms used to have a number of showrooms and trade counters, but these were all closed in early 2019. 

The company’s new owner – which also owns Furniture 123, Laptops Direct and Appliances Direct, among other brands – sells its products online with the same betterbathrooms.com address.

Because of its recent difficulties, we haven’t rated Better Bathrooms this year. But read on to find out how we rated Better Bathrooms previously, as well as information on what products it sells and services it now offers.

You can find out how other bathroom companies, including Soak, Victorian Plumbing and Homebase, were rated by their customers this year on our best and worst bathroom companies page.

If you’ve bought from Better Bathrooms or

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Labour announces ban on conversion therapy, plan to help provide gender-neutral bathrooms in schools

a close up of a person

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a person wearing a hat

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The Labour Party has announced several policies to help New Zealanders “live free of discrimination” based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The policies include banning conversion therapy and working with schools to provide gender-neutral bathrooms.

The party’s Rainbow spokesperson Tāmati Coffey says more work needs to be done to “keep moving towards a more inclusive New Zealand”.

“We will pass a law to ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is based on the misguided idea that people are wrong or broken because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is fundamentally wrong,” he said.

“Conversion therapy has been linked to severe adverse mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.

“It is a practice that causes harm and is

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Alarm Lock PIN Lock Solution Converts Bathrooms to Single Occupancy

The Trilogy Privacy Standalone Pushbutton PIN lock is geared towards college campuses and K-12 schools to help avoid spread of the coronavirus.

Alarm Lock, a division of Napco Security Technologies, introduces “an easy, economical COVID-19 solution to quickly convert multistall restrooms to single occupancy, to create social distancing and help avoid spread of the virus,” according to an announcement from the company.

The new wireless Trilogy Privacy Standalone Pushbutton PIN Locks solution is geared toward college campuses and K-12 schools as administrators work to reopen and remain as such by employing preventive methods, the announcement states.

Retrofitting standard locks in minutes, the new solution features an inner privacy pushbutton. After entry, using a PIN code or ID card, the user simply pushes the privacy button on the back of the lock, on the inside door, to ensure their privacy, according to the company. The lock will not open from the

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Handyman admits hiding cameras in bathrooms of NJ homes: cops

A creepy handyman admitted to hiding cameras in bathrooms at homes in Paramus and Wayne, NJ police said.

Romeo Sanchez, 47, of West New York, was arrested on Sept. 17 on one count of invasion of privacy by Paramus police after a homeowner who hired him to install a window spotted a suspicious device in her bathroom in late August, WABC reports.

The device, which police said was inserted into a bathroom wall, was later determined to a micro camera, equipped with a memory card, the station reports.

The female homeowner saw the device plugged into an outlet inside the bathroom and knew it “didn’t belong to her,” Paramus Police Det. Mark Pinajian told CBS New York.

The victim then saw clips on the device depicting herself and her bathroom, as well as another location, Pinajian said.

Investigators proceeded to track down Sanchez, a married father, who admitted he installed

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