Sunday, 5 December 2010

Window Cleaning News

Thirty East Providence firefighters spent part of this week getting the hang of technical rescue rope training, both literally and figuratively. Over the course of several days this group of local firefighters gathered at Phillipsdale Landing in Rumford to learn the ins and outs of performing rescues at heights a 100-foot truck ladder can’t reach. They spent multiple 10 hour days dangling out of three and four story windows, learning how to repel down a building and create pulley systems aimed at hauling victims to safety, among other aspects of rope training.
“Let’s say a construction worker or a window washer was hanging off the side of a building, their scaffolding failed. This teaches the guys how to go and get them and then get back up safely,” said Michael Bates of Heavy Rescue Inc. Heavy Rescue Inc., of New Bedford, and Spec Rescue International, of Virginia Beach, Va., were the two training companies brought in to teach the course. These two companies will be back in East Providence a few more times before the spring, working with the same group of 30 firefighters on other aspects of technical rescue training like collapsed structure and vehicle extraction. The training, which was voluntary to all of the firefighters who signed up, is being paid for through an assistance to firefighters Homeland Security grant.

Jury mistake cost Valley woman $100,000? PHOENIX:  At one point many will serve on a jury, but what happens when the verdict the jury decides on is not what they hear when it's read aloud? One Valley woman sued the contractors she says caused her a serious injury only to find herself owing them money. "This needs to get fixed, it was an obvious mistake, justice did not get served here today," said the woman's attorney John Alston. A simple mathematical mistake, that's what Alston says cost the Valley mom more than $100,000. "It’s not fair," said Maria Vasquez who was suing several contractors.
Alston says a Maricopa County jury wanted to award Vasquez $150,000 after her right knee was crushed in a cleaning accident. It happened when Vasquez, who was a cleaning supervisor at the time, was trying to clean a window near several 100-pound partitions at Liberty High School. It was under construction at the time. Alston said as Vasquez cleaned the window, several of the partitions came crashing down on top of her. "I try to live with the pain, but sometimes it's so hard," Vasquez said. After several surgeries, Vasquez says she still requires a brace to walk. Her attorney hoped to at least re-coup enough money for her medical bills which totaled $127,000. "Even if she did bump them she had no idea they were going to come tumbling down on her," said Alston.
Foreman John Jones says the jury was divided at first. "Some of us wanted her to get zero. Some of us wanted her to get a million," Jones said. Finally Jones says the jury agreed Vasquez was 90 percent at fault for the accident, but should get $150,000 dollars. But he says there was confusion over how to fill out the jury form. "Sent a note to the judge, had the bailiff pick it up, and the judge’s instructions back to us were read the instructions," Jones said. With no clarification and still confused about the jury form Jones says the jury wrote down $150,000 not realizing Vasquez would only get a fraction of that. "They meant to give her 10-percent of 1.5 million or $150,000, but in their confusion they gave her 10 percent of 10 percent," said Alston. Instead of awarding Vasquez what they wanted, Jones says they made a mistake and only awarded her $15,000. "In a nutshell she owes them money," Alston said. "That's justice for you."

Regional cleaning company Monthind is among businesses to have received thanks for their support for the Reserve Forces in Afghanistan. Ian Daly, known to colleagues as Dan, who is part of the Colchester-based company’s window and specialist cleaning team, served for a year alongside the regular Army before returning to his job. Tony Clarke, managing director of Monthind, said: “As an employer it is our duty to support our staff who wish to serve our country.” Mr Clarke and Mr Daly were invited to attend the SaBRE (East Anglia Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association) dinner in Chelmsford as a thank you to employers who have supported their staff in Afghanistan. Pictured are Tony Clark, managing director of Monthind, left, and Ian Daly at the SaBRE employers' evening.

A Waterloo man’s collection of photographs dedicated to Merseyside’s lost pubs was launched last night in Liverpool city centre. Kevin Casey, 28, spent three years working on Closing Time, which features photographs of 80 public houses which have lost their battle with time.“This drinker, who I won’t name, was on the dole but had agreed to do a window cleaning round for the day after his brother had an accident. “He ended up having to clean the windows at the job centre where he was signing on. “The staff there spotted him, and he was soon out of pocket. “My book is now on sale at Pritchard’s and in Waterstone’s, where it is alongside Paul O’Grady’s memoirs.” Closing Time, The Lost Pubs of Liverpool, was officially launched last night at FACT gallery on Wood Street and is now on sale at £8.99.

For 15 years, the kaleidoscopic explosion of light known as the Magic Tree drew thousands to narrow West Hickam Drive. But sightseers who went to the cul-de-sac street off Old Plank Road this weekend discovered it had vanished. After tolerating the traffic each year as the display became more and more elaborate, neighbors had enough, said tree creator Randy Fletcher — also known as Will Treelighter — who is the owner of a painting and window-cleaning company. “It just clogged the streets so badly that my neighbors were not able to get in and out to go places or come home,” he said. “If it was just on the weekends, it might be all right. But for the last couple of years, it has been pretty crowded every night of the week.”
To continue the tradition, Fletcher approached the owners of the Village of Cherry Hill, where he had been hired to decorate a tree last year, to ask whether he could put his light display on a tree in the mixed-use development at the intersection of Scott Boulevard and Chapel Hill Road. The tree will be lit every evening until Jan. 6. “As a board, it took us about two minutes to agree,” said Don Ginsburg, one of the developers at Cherry Hill. “We are just thrilled to have it here. We like the message he has, and it seems like the perfect fit for us, providing this beautiful work of art for local businesses and residences.” So Fletcher went to work, wrapping strings of lights — 37,500 individual bulbs in all — around a cherry tree at the development. Then he put up a sign in front of his house announcing the new location. And to help motorists read the sign, he wrapped 1,000 lights around a small crab apple tree.

Conman cleans out gran's Christmas savings: A heartbroken gran has been left penniless after a bogus window cleaner cleaned out her Christmas savings. Isabella Short, 60, was counting the £400 she’d saved to buy presents for her four grandkids when the callous conman struck at her Dreghorn home on Friday night. The pensioner – who’d scrimped and saved the money for a year – believes the robber watched her divvy up the cash from outside before pouncing. Isabella said the thief – a man in his early 20s, around five foot eight inches tall who was wearing a grey hoodie and dark trousers – chapped her living room window at around 9.30pm. “Eddie was upstairs on the computer so I thought I’d take the time to count the grandweans’ Christmas money, she said. “I’d put £400 in a purse when I heard a rap on the window. There was a young man stood outside so I went to the door and he said he was the window cleaner. I told him to wait there while I got money but the next thing he was in the hall and refusing to leave. “I tried to push him out but he made his way into the living room and took the purse and ran off.” Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident and a similar one in nearby Eriskay Court on Thursday which they believe could be linked. A man fitting a similar description sneaked into a 71-year-old man’s home, leapt over his couch and grabbed a wallet containing £63 before fleeing. Information to Irvine police on 01294 404400.

An intruder has been jailed for four years for entering a house while a woman was chatting to a neighbour at her front door and stealing her bank card and number. Liverpool Crown Court heard that when the woman returned inside she was shocked to find the intruder had come in through the back door. She confronted him and went to get a window cleaner from the front of the house in Montrose Avenue, Norley Hall, Wigan, to help her, but when they went back into the house the burglar had fled.
The former vice-president of operations for 1-800-GOTJUNK who was credited with helping propel the company from 40 franchises with $15-million in revenue to a peak of $130-million with franchise locations in three countries, now runs Men in Kilts, a Vancouver-based window-cleaning, power-washing and gutter-cleaning business. Yes, the men doing the work actually wear kilts -- their catch phrase is "no peaking." "It makes people smile for what is really a mundane service," says Ms. Wood, chief executive of Men in Kilts. "Having a unique brand is hard to do these days because there's so much competition."
Ms. Wood plans to use the generic name of the brand to add multiple revenue streams as necessary as the company rolls out its expansion in the year ahead. Plans are to open five or six locations in 2011 in Calgary and Toronto, and south of the border in Seattle, Portland, Ore., and San Francisco. It might be Men in Kilts wearing long johns through the Canadian winters, but she's confident the brand can be adjusted to whatever conditions exist in each market. "I think it's going to be a little trickier figuring out some of the freezing weather ... but there are already a lot of large companies operating in those markets," she says. "It's just a matter of packaging it and turning it into a franchise." The model could include snow removal, painting and other services, since the name doesn't limit it to one revenue stream. The success of their expansion plans will come down to their ability to differentiate their brands in crowded markets and replicate the success of a few locations into national or international brands born out of niche concepts. "It's really hard to stand out, so it's important to have something that does stand out, but you need more than that," Ms. Wood says.

Educational institutes in Andhra, Rayalaseema remain closed: In protest against the state government's decision to postpone the recruitment test for Sub-Inspectors. The students took out rallies, staged dharnas and organised rasta roko at different places condemning the state government's decision. In Vijayawada, the students adopted a unique method to express their protests by cleaning window panes.

Fake cocaine called 'Blow,' allegedly being sold across from school: Louisville, Ky. It's a new product that looks like cocaine and even has the same nickname "Blow,” but we've discovered that it's allegedly being secretly sold at a convenience store directly across the street from Jeffersonville High School. Blow started out gaining popularity in England and on the West Coast. It's now being sold in Jeffersonville, Ind. as "glass cleaner,” but we've been told it is being snorted like cocaine. And while it is legal at the moment, local officials are taking a close look at adopting an ordinance forbidding it.

Fraudsters take advantage of the season of giving: Delta police are warning people to be wary of fraud attempts during the holiday season. Department spokesperson Sgt. Sharlene Brooks said this week that police are reminding the public to be aware when approached by someone asking for a donation for a specific charity. "These fraudsters are appealing to people's emotions," she said, adding there can be an increase of fraud attempts during the holiday season. "People want to give," she said. Local businesses have also recently been targeted. Earlier this week, police sent out a warning about a man posing as a fire extinguisher maintenance person under the name Metro Fire Service. He has entered several Ladner businesses offering to provide fire extinguisher maintenance. A bogus window washer has also targeted businesses recently. Any businesses approached by either man are asked to contact Delta police at 604-946-4411 and quote file number 2010-24317.

Freeze! Get out there and untangle the holiday lights: You might be putting up lights today. We all know how this works, right? First you get out the stuff left over from last year, all fine products of the Shanghai Lead & Gaiety Factory #23. Last January you wound them nearly around a spindle. Now they're in a spiny wad that makes a ton of interwoven spaghetti look like pencils in a box. You plug them in, and discover that the phrase "if one goes out the others stay lit" is a lie on par with "Streak-free" for window cleaner.

At this time of year I am always in search of the one Christmas present that will fit everyone from my glamorous swan-like nieces to the 10 godchildren aged two to 24 to our superstar window cleaner (“your pane is my gain”) and my faithful friends. In fact, I am searching for this gift all year round. Presents, as you get older, become harder. Suddenly – how did this happen? – nobody seems to want anything. It’s so annoying! Stuff, in the abstract, has simply gone out of fashion. Everyone wants to get rid of things, not add to their collection.

Sachse Construction grows from small college operation to high-profile business: Always an entrepreneurial type, Todd Sachse ran a window-washing business during college in Ann Arbor, grew it into a janitorial service and bought up student rental properties. Then, in 1991, someone asked him to build a seven-unit apartment complex. "I had absolutely no idea what I was doing," Sachse, whose name rhymes with "taxi," recalled recently. "I ended up hiring a superintendent and basically spent 14 months on the job site as his assistant even though he worked for me." Jump ahead almost 20 years. Today that entrepreneurial youth is president of Sachse Construction, a $40-million-a-year business that has nabbed some high-profile jobs. The growth started way back with that first small apartment project. "After that was done, I said, 'This is great,' " Sachse recalled. "I sold my cleaning companies, and literally rented a 10-by-10 office in somebody else's company and said to people, 'Hi, Sachse Construction.' "

Online Shopping Costs Small Business Lost Sales: Instead of doing online shopping, Harry J. Friedman is spearheading a grass roots campaign to support putting cash back into the economy at the local level, and save jobs by buying from their local retailer. Friedman, founder and CEO of The Friedman Group, an international retail consulting and training organization acknowledges, “It’s no mystery that everyone’s concerned about the economy and knows someone that has lost their job. The average consumer feels helpless when it comes to doing something that will increase jobs.”
“But there’s something simple everyone can do that can actually make an impact. Think twice before you buy on the Internet! When there’s a choice of buying that gift online, or from your local retailer, buy local and keep the money in your community,” said Friedman. He further explained that the network of dollars that revolve around merchandise being sold in a retail store can keep your local independent retailers in business; along with everyone from the vendors they buy their goods from to the local window washer. “And the more merchandise sold in local stores, the more salespeople, cashiers and other staff will need to be hired. More jobs for those in your community,” he added.

Pair of fatal falls from downtown Dallas loft: Shortly before he fell 27 stories to an instant death in downtown Dallas, John Michael Byrd, 24, was photographed lying on an outer ledge of an apartment window, a glass of alcohol in his hand. In the hours before 35-year-old Jeremy King was fatally injured when he tumbled out of an 11th-floor window and onto a balcony two floors below, he was thought to be drinking and chatting with a longtime friend. City officials said there are no codes restricting windows from opening in high-rise residential buildings. The windows in the units from where the men fell are much like those throughout the building. They slide open several feet in opposite directions. The window ledge is a few feet off the ground, and, in both units, there was a rail on top of that.
In the wake of the deaths, there has been disagreement among residents about whether the windows pose a risk. "I don't understand why people would even put their leg out of a window," said Sandy Maltese, a real estate agent who lives at the Mosaic. "To get out of a window at the Mosaic you have to lift your leg up and over it. ... There is no issue of the window." Resident Jessica Baxter said the "windows are a bit scary because the opening is very large, and every guest coming to my place for the first time has commented on them." But she said that they pose no risk to sober people and that the building designers and management should not be held responsible that "the windows do make it easy for good people with bad ideas to get into some major trouble."

The back of Robert Burn's home in Claudius Court, South Shields, is covered in a swathe of deep brambles, vegetation and vines, with no footpath or access out to the street below. The 59-year-old, who suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (Copd), fears he would have no chance of escaping out the back of the property in an emergency. And he says even his window cleaner now refuses to visit the block because of lack of access to his ground floor flat and those of his next-door neighbours. Now Mr Burn, who has lived in the flat for five years, has called for an access route to be created. "The window cleaner hasn't been here for months because he said it was too dangerous to reach our windows."

Dorset waste tip rules halt Steve's clean-up: A public spirited man who tried to take rubbish he picked up by the side of the road to a tip was turned away – because it didn’t belong to him. Steve Bewers, of Milton Abbas, drove to his local council offices where contractors collected the two discarded television sets. They are believed to have taken them back to the same tip. Dorset County Council said because the TVs were fly-tipped waste they could not be deposited by a resident at a household recycling centre. Window cleaner and dad-of-two Mr Bewers, 51, who also volunteers for the National Trust, said he was shocked by the rules.

Street's ahead in Didsbury: A month-long search for south Manchester’s smartest street has drawn to a close with a West Didsbury street announced as the winner. Residential lettings agency Jordan’s and MP John Leech teamed up with the South Manchester Reporter to find the area’s cleanest and most community-minded street. We were overwhelmed with examples of community spirit that included tales of streets with well-cared for houses, neighbourhood watch schemes and freshly planted flowers. From the hundreds of entries, Amy Stephenson of Vicker Grove in West Didsbury was named the winner. Amy will receive £100-worth of M&S vouchers and her street has won a window cleaning service for two months. Amy added: "I’m so glad we won, our little street has so much character and it’s great it’s been recognised. "It’s such a fun place to live and it’s nice to improve your environment as it really impacts on your life. We can’t wait to all have sparkling windows!"

The St. Marys Community Public Library Board discussed financial appropriations and upcoming hours of operation changes Wednesday at its monthly meeting. Board members accepted the temporary financial appropriations presented by Fiscal Officer Bob Maurer during the financial report. “This authorizes spending for the first couple of months,” Maurer said. “After the first of the year, we get certification from the county auditor, the exact amount that will carry over, and then I’ll do permanent appropriations.” The temporary financial appropriations included the roughly $188,000 of levy money at will be available beginning in March. “Basically, it just takes us back to what we were in our good years,” Maurer said. “It will allow us to go back and do about everything we used to do.” He listed window washing, “Let’s Talk” speakers, travel, building improvements and new books as a few of the items back on the list.

Paramedics honour lifesavers: Also for their heroic efforts, Good Samaritan awards went to Royal Scot Hotel maintenance employees Troy More of Victoria and Doug Dewdney of Langford, and contract gardener Peggy Byatt of Metchosin. On July 13, a window washer’s wand connected with power lines at the Royal Scot Hotel. He was electrocuted and fell six metres from a scaffold. Hotel staff sprang into action, and Wedekind, in his role as an occupational first-aid responder at the nearby Hotel Grand Pacific, responded to the radio call for help. “Timing is everything,” said Bob Gallaher, operations director for BCAS Vancouver Island. After four to six minutes, a lack of oxygen can cause brain damage. As Wedekind administered chest compressions on the lifeless man, outwardly he was the picture of calm. Inside he was thinking, “Oh my God, this is not good.” The four heroes continued applying first aid until paramedics arrived, using a defibrillator to finally revive the victim. More said there are so many who made a difference that day. “The whole staff, hearing what happened on the radio, jumped into action,” explained More. Read the incident here.

Coveted Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence: West Hartford-based siding contractor, Bartlett Brainard Products, was selected by an independent panel of judges to receive the Connecticut Better Business Bureau 2010 Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence. At the same time, the judges wanted it noted that there was a second company that, although it is not the Torch Award winner, its marketplace record is exemplary. The judges therefore unanimously agreed to recognize Fish Window Cleaning of Wallingford with an Honorable Mention.

Westcountry MPs have let taxpayers foot the bill for window cleaners, first-class rail travel and bin bags as they claimed back about £150,000 in expenses in four months after the general election. However, in the first publication of claims since the introduction of a stricter new system, MPs appear to have taken heed of the public outcry over last year's expenses scandal and avoided luxury items.

Yorkshire MPs expenses: Members of Parliament in West Yorkshire used taxpayers' expenses to claim for first class rail travel, window cleaning and "bicycle mileage" in the first three months after the General Election. A breakdown of claims submitted by MPs between May and August 31 was released yesterday by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). Hemsworth MP and Labour frontbencher Jon Trickett claimed £20 for a window cleaning bill at his constituency office.

ABM may not be a household name, but chances are you've been in a building that's been serviced by them. ABM stands for American Building Maintenance, which was founded more than 100 years ago and has over 90,000 employees. It's one of the nation's largest facilities services contractors, offering janitorial, engineering, parking and security services for thousands of clients. Slipsager, a Danish immigrant, has been President and CEO since the year 2000. A total of 17 ABM employees died on 9/11. Hundreds worked at the World Trade Center when the towers fell, but many were on different shifts. The employees who were there were given time to recover from the experience, and when they were ready, ABM found them work in other buildings. Slipsager worked with a freight elevator operator who had been with ABM for 26 years, and was cleaning outside the World Trade Center when the planes hit. He said he was grateful for how they were treated by ABM during such a difficult and emotional time. The most dangerous job to date
Next up was the most dangerous job an Undercover Boss has had to do yet. Slipsager worked with a commercial window washing supervisor, a Polish immigrant from Krakow, who required him to attach scaffold cables to the top of a building and wear a harness to go up many floors to clean windows. This was one of Slipsager's worst nightmares, since he's afraid of heights. "If you look closely, you'll see my left hand squeezing the scaffold -- it was cramping I was holding on so tight," he said. When the supervisor told him they had to go higher, Slipsager said he'd had enough and ended that assignment right then and there. Slipsager is sure that when people see how brave, dedicated and proud ABM workers are, they will have a newfound respect and appreciation of the janitors, cleaners and other service workers that make their lives more comfortable on a daily basis. "People's perception changes when they see these people have interesting lives and names," he said. "'Undercover Boss' gave me the opportunity to show this."

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