Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Most Hated Window Cleaner In The UK

Guilty ... Tony McCluskie.
Brother of EastEnders Gemma guilty of murder: The brother of EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie has been jailed for life for killing his sister and dumping her dismembered body in a canal. Tony McCluskie, 36, was a cannabis addict who had resented being overshadowed by his 29-year-old sister throughout his life. He murdered her during a blazing row after he left the taps on and flooded the bathroom. Window cleaner McCluskie spent up to three hours cutting off Gemma's head, arms and legs with a knife and a meat cleaver in an attempted to cover up the crime.

CCTV video shows Tony McCluskie dragging plastic bag with body parts to taxi.
Over the next four days he posed as the concerned brother desperate to find his missing sister - even posing for The Sun holding an appeal poster. But he was finally forced to face the truth when his father and brother identified him from CCTV footage taking the suitcase containing her body to the Regent’s Canal in Hackney, east London. McCluskie gave police a vague account of his movements, claiming he could not remember the killing but must have lost control when his sister tried to throw him out of the family home in Shoreditch. He also tried to blacken her name by saying she had bullied and abused him for years. The jury rejected his defence and convicted him of murder by a majority of 11-to-one.

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His father Tony snr was in court as the verdict was announced. His mother, who contracted MRSA after an operation to remove a brain tumour, remains desperately ill and requires 24 hour care. McCluskie had few friends and had drifted from job to job while his sister was talented, popular and outgoing. While she quickly found success as Kerry Skinner in the BBC soap Eastenders in 2000 at age 17, he struggled to get work as a bricklayer. He spent most of his time staying in his room, smoking cannabis and drinking up to ten pints of lager and a few shots of tequila a night. In 2002 their mother Pauline McCluskie threw him out of the house because he was constantly arguing and shouting at her and Gemma. McCluskie went through a series of temporary labouring jobs before being taken on by Principle Cleaning.

McCluskie became an ’abseiling window cleaner’ and part of his work involved cleaning the glass on the outside of Lloyd’s of London in Lime Street.
He became an ’abseiling window cleaner’ and part of his work involved cleaning the glass on the outside of Lloyd’s of London in Lime Street. But by March last year his life was falling apart. He dreaded going into work after his colleagues ostracised him because they believed he had been over-promoted and had informed on two of them for not wearing safety harnesses. His relationship with a single mother-of-one Teri Arnull had ended after a series of rows and an incident when he slapped her in the face. He began spending even more time alone in his room, smoking between 10 and 15 spliffs of powerful skunk weed a day. McCluskie would roll a joint before he even got out of bed in the morning. His sister would criticise his pot smoking and on March 1, 2012, he got into a row with her after she found the bathroom sink overflowing because he left taps running.

Jailed ... Tony McCluskie after arrest.
He stayed in bed while she went out to video a friend’s child singing in a choir at the re-opening of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. At around 1pm she was overheard by her friends ringing him to tell him he was sick of his skunk habit and he should move out. Gemma said: "He’s ruining my mum’s house. It’s not fair. Mum worked hard to get her home together. "It’s because he’s permanently stoned. He puts a spliff in his mouth the moment he wakes up and doesn’t know what he’s doing. Gemma, who was working as a barmaid between acting jobs, was last seen returning home to the flat in Pelter Street, Shoreditch, east London, at 1.50pm. A neighbour heard her sobbing at around this time and it is thought he killed her within an hour of her return. McCluskie spent the rest of the afternoon sending and receiving ’flirtatious’ texts with an old female schoolfriend and chatting to his ex-parter. The next day on March 2 he texted his sister, pretending he did not know she was dead. His text read: "Ring me when you get this message. What you having for dinner. Are you working tonight?"

Murdered actress ... Gemma (right) in EastEnders.
In another he added: "Hi gem just letting you know I’m up the hospital mum is doing really good and the doctors are pleased with her... going to look at her throat and swallowing today! Love ya xx." Detectives say this is the only message out of the dozens recovered where he told Gemma he loved her. Neighbours heard him repeatedly shouting out: "I’m sorry Gemma, I’m sorry, I must have been out of my mind." That night he booked a taxi from a firm near the flat and was caught on CCTV loading a bag into the boot. He asked McCluskie what was inside and he replied: "My sister." A private camera in Thrasher Close, Hackney, captured him dragging the suitcase backwards down the towpath at around 10.55pm. The following day McCluskie looked after his ex-girlfriend’s young son before finally going to police to report his sister missing.

Gemma McCluskie's body was found in Regent's Canal, five days after her murder when the suitcase was hit by a canal barge which caused it to spring open.
He continued to pretend he had no idea what had happened and fed the police false leads in an attempt to divert them to other suspects including Gemma’s former boyfriend and a kebab shop owner. McCluskie even claimed that his mother, who was in hospital, had told him she was visited by Gemma the day after she was killed. On the afternoon March 6 he took advantage of a hoax ’ransom demand’ made by a prank caller to continue his charade. His story began to unravel when Gemma’s torso was spotted floating in the Regent’s Canal near Kingsland Road, Hackney the same day. Over the next two weeks her arms and legs were also recovered from the waterway. Police also found Gemma’s blood and body tissue on a knife at the house in Pelter Street. McCluskie was recorded making phone calls from prison telling a friend that the police were trying to "stitch him up".

Heartbreak ... Tony McCluskie Snr.
But in April his father Anthony and younger brother Danny, now 34, confirmed it was him on CCTV footage bundling the suitcase into a taxi. McCluskie now changed his story and said he could not remember what happened. In one call he told his father: "I can’t remember any of it Dad, it’s just the things that actually driving me f***ing mad, Dad." On 20 May he told Anthony McCluskie: "I can only imagine that I strangled her dad." When his father told him that it was important they found Gemma’s missing head, he replied: "Dad, I know. And I know I put everything in that canal." After her head finally turned up in September last year an expert concluded she had been hit at least three times with a blunt object.

Tragedy ... Gemma McCluskie.
Professor Susan Black, who examined the remains, said that McCluskie made up to 100 cuts and slashes with a knife and meat cleaver as he struggled to dismember her body. On 28 September McCluskie finally admitted he had killed his sister but claimed he had no memory of the attack or cutting up and disposing of the body. He told jurors that he had a flashback of feeling angry when Gemma picked up a knife and threatened to stab him and his ex-partner if he did not move out of the house. McCluskie said: "All I remember is grabbing her wrists. I can remember I bent her wrists to drop the knife to the floor. After that I have no memory at all." He claimed that Gemma had repeatedly swore at him, humiliated him and made him feel worthless by criticising his appearance. "She said I dressed like a tramp. I smelled, I didn’t wash, I was unhygienic, I was dirty," he added. Dr Michael Kopelman, one of the world’s top experts in amnesia said McCluskie’s memory loss story was inconsistent because that was not the first explanation he gave to police. In his closing speech to jurors, Jeremy Dein QC had described the killer as "a volcano waiting to erupt." McCluskie, of (23) Pelter Street, Bethnal Green, east London, admitted manslaughter but denied murder.


The brother of the former EastEnders actor Gemma McCluskie, whose mutilated remains were found in a London canal, has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years after being convicted of her murder. Tony McCluskie, 36, a window cleaner who was "hopelessly addicted" to skunk cannabis, had admitted manslaughter but denied murder, claiming he had lost control during a row with his sister and had no memory of having killed her.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

11.30am Diet Coke Break With The Window Cleaner

Not a squeegee in sight - The 1998 Hunk Robert Merrill kept ladies on time as a sexy window cleaner.
If you're a man, and you don't have a six pack you may recently have been forced to question your own sexiness by Ryan Gosling and the new Diet Coke ads. Don't. This column goes out to all the sexy people. You know who you are. Although, if you’re a man and you don’t have a six pack you may have been forced to question your own sexiness by the news that the Diet Coke hunk is making a comeback to mark the soft drink’s 30th anniversary. This time around, British model Andrew Cooper will be betraying his countrymen by going shirtless to play the perved-on manual worker, enlivening break time for a gaggle of googly-eyed female office workers.



That Diet Coke advert is back: Since its first airing back in the early nineties, HuffPost UK Lifestyle have been waiting patiently for the return of that gorgeous, sweaty window cleaner with high cheekbones. But sadly he never arrived. Today we finally learned that he's been hiding out in the countryside (as window cleaning probably becomes rather tricky when women are constantly grabbing at your sponge). 

See something you like? An open-mouthed woman observes the Hunk lift up his top.
Legendary ads getting women flustered through the years: Diet Coke will also bring back Robert Merrill, the handsome star of the 1998 ad, for the 30th birthday ad'. Merrill, who now stars in 90210, CSI and Californication, says: ‘I still do have a love affair with Diet Coke. She’s been good to me for all these years.’ ‘Women got excited when they saw the Diet Coke Hunk commercials.’ ‘Being objectified by women is a pretty good feeling if you ask me, and I felt like a rock star. Life is short and the commercial was harmless.’

It's 11.30. What's the fuss about? 
The Diet Coke break is back and the soft drink brand has commissioned a new advert to get pulses racing, which made its debut on Diet Coke's Facebook page today.
 
Why now?
The advert coincides with Diet Coke's 30th Birthday. Moreover, it's a full six years since the last Diet Coke break advert.
 
I recall that the plotlines of these adverts often involve a flimsy excuse to remove items of clothing. What happens this time?
Indeed. This time the male lead is mowing the lawn close to a group of females. One of the women flings a can of Diet Coke in the gardener's direction. He picks it up and opens it, only to be soaked by a jet of Diet Coke. The fellow then does the decent thing and removes his T-shirt before returning to his mowing.
 
Surely this is the needless objectification of men! Do these chaps always have to take their clothes off?
There have been five Diet Coke men, including a lift technician, a window washer and a delivery man. Just two were allowed to keep their shirts on. 
 
How long have the Diet Coke adverts involved scantily clad males?
The company introduced the Diet Coke break man to its advertising in 1994. The advert featured female office workers watching a shirtless construction worker.
 
How did Diet Coke explain the decision?
Olivier Geyer, a director for Diet Coke in north-west Europe and the Nordic region, said: 'It is not about the Diet Coke man being an object, it is not a voyeur thing, it is about cultural change, women being equal to men and you can see that..' 'We wanted to celebrate not just the brand, but also the women who have been with us for 30 years. We have tried to make sure it is not the past but a very contemporary execution. [It] showcases female empowerment and camaraderie.'



Diet Coke Finds Its New Stud, 19 Years After the Old One: He's the real thing. Meet Andrew Cooper, a British model whose shirtless turn as a soda stud in this Diet Coke 30th-anniversary commercial via BETC London is going viral and splashing Cooper's name, face and six-pack abs across the media-sphere. In the ad, which is running on European TV, Cooper, cast as a landscaper, gets a bunch of women all worked up after one of them rolls a can of Diet Coke down a hill in his direction and he pops the top, salaciously spraying himself with the product. Subtle!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Window Cleaning News

Nick Florence has turned college football’s most difficult assignment into a season to savor. As the quarterback following Heisman winner Robert Griffin III at Baylor, Florence knew he couldn’t duplicate Griffin’s arm strength or world-class speed or flair for the dramatic. Yet somehow, he just might duplicate some of RG3’s numbers. Going into Thursday’s Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl against UCLA, Florence could conceivably break Griffin’s season records for passing yards and total offense, among others. “He’s been unbelievable,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “I think he had the toughest job in America to come in and follow a Heisman Trophy winner with all the dynamic qualities that Robert had.”
Then again, Florence knows all about hard jobs. After graduating from South Garland, he delayed enrolling in Baylor as a full-time student for a semester, grayshirting as it’s called. During that time away from school, he worked as a window washer in Waco. “It was mainly residential, two-story houses,” Florence said. “The more experienced guys did the really high ladders. But I did get to see a lot of real cool houses.” Like? “In the main living room of one, it had every type of animal you could imagine,” Florence said. “The coffee table was made from an elephant’s foot. There was a polar bear, all kinds of deer and elk on the walls. It was a sportsman’s paradise. And there was a fireman’s pole connecting the first and second floors.” Florence even re-enacted his window washing memories at Baylor’s practice facility this year for a TV spot. Now he’s leading the nation in total offense, a unique transition from dirty jobs to filthy numbers.

It was the “rescue” that had Ballarat talking yesterday. Cars slowed down and pedestrians turned their gaze skyward as Fred the window cleaner dangled precariously from the edge of one of Ballarat’s tallest buildings. Fred wasn’t worried. The big grin on his face was proof of that. He knew a team of full-time professional firefighters from Ballarat City Fire Brigade were just minutes away to enact his amazing rescue. Yesterday, Fred (the Friendly Rescue Extrication Dummy) became stuck several times at the corner of Dana and Doveton streets, as seven members of the brigade trained for delicate high-angle rescues. Station officer Scott Gambino said the training was used to fine-tune the firefighters’ skills in different disciplines as the summer fire season raged on. “The scenario was that we had a window cleaner up on a building and his harness and rope gear got jammed, so we had to send someone down in our rope rescue gear,” he said. Mr Gambino said yesterday’s drill helped ensure the city’s career firefighters would be ready the next time a real rescue was required. “We get quite a few rescues off roof tops in Ballarat,” he said. “But there are some areas where the truck can’t get to, that’s where we use the rope gear.” Ballarat City Fire Brigade had a minimum of seven staff on duty 24-hours-a-day...lucky for Fred, who was lowered back to earth without any hassle yesterday. “He’s always happy when you bring him down,” Mr Gambino said.

Defendant in court over death plunge: Lawyers have two months to submit their closing arguments in defence of an official, who is accused of manslaughter after a window-cleaner plunged 17 floors to his death. The Bahraini, 34, appeared in the Lower Criminal Court yesterday in connection with the death of Pakistani Mohammed Shafique Siddique, 47, who was cleaning the windows of Al Rossais Tower in the Diplomatic Area when one of the cables of a suspended platform he was working on snapped on May 27. The impact of the fall was so severe that his body was not in one piece. According to court documents, Mr Siddique was unable to hold on to anything as he was not wearing safety gear. The defendant, who was the building's administrative director, has also been accused of violating Labour Ministry rules by using the victim without a work permit, violating safety rules by not providing safety equipment to him and not maintaining them. The Bahraini was earlier released from police custody after having a travel ban imposed on him. The case was adjourned until March 31.

Two Hull firms and a company director have been sentenced for joint safety failings relating to the death of a worker who plummeted more than eight metres through a fragile rooflight while cleaning gutters. The image shows the shattered rooflight where Kevin Jackson fell; a father of five, suffered multiple injuries including several fractures of his skull, 15 broken ribs and severe damage to his lungs and other internal organs. He died in hospital the same day. The Health Safety Executive yesterday prosecuted director Shaun Cavill, his company Cavill Property Maintenance, and Garthwest, after investigating the incident which occurred in October 2009. Hull Crown Court was told that Kevin Jackson and a colleague had been hired by Cavills and director Shaun Cavill to clean the gutters and roof of Garthwest's factory in Rotterdam Road. The workers were not given any safety equipment, no protection measures were provided to reduce the risk of falling, and neither man had been trained to work safely at height. Mr Jackson was on the roof working when his colleague heard a crash and turned to see him fall through a fragile factory rooflight to the concrete floor more than eight metres below.
HSE served a Prohibition Notice on both companies after the incident, preventing any further work at height on the site. A subsequent investigation found a series of serious safety failings:
- No controls, e.g. boards or staging, were used to work from to prevent workers stepping on to a fragile surface
- No controls, such as crash decks, were provided to reduce the distance of a fall if one happened
- No risk assessment was carried out
- No edge protection was provided on the roof
- No instructions were given by either company to the workers about how to carry out the work safely
Cavill Property Maintenance of Kingswood Park, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £65,000. Garthwest, of Sutton Fields Industrial Estate, was fined £50,000 with costs of £19,300 after also admitting breaching Section 3(1) of the same Act. Shaun Cavill, of The Spinney, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the same Act by virtue of his negligence as an individual director. He was fined £25,000. After the hearing, HSE Inspector Mark Welsh said: "All three parties in this case have contributed to the tragic loss of life of a loving husband, father and grandfather. It was an incident that was wholly preventable if obvious and sensible controls and safeguards had been put in place.
"Cavill Property Maintenance should have had safe working practices and provided safety equipment to ensure the workers were not put at risk, but the firm neglected its duty of care. Shaun Cavill took on the contract for the work and it was his responsibility to ensure his company put safety measures in place. "Garthwest, where the incident happened, should have followed their own safety procedures but did not do so. They failed to assess the competency of the company they hired and didn't ask for their risk assessment. Nor did they supervise the work or carry out any checks on what safety equipment was being used - which was none.
"Unsafe work at height on fragile roofs is a regular occurrence within many industries and is a major cause of death and serious injury. HSE will not hesitate to bring legal action against companies and individuals who fall so dangerously below accepted safety standards." The latest figures show that 38 people died as a result of a fall in a workplace in Great Britain in 2010/11, and more than 4,000 suffered a major injury. Information on preventing falls is available here.

Business women of New Jersey honored - Despite the stereotype that the business world can sometimes be a "boys' club," women are particularly suited for business, says Karen Martinez-Wardzinski. "I love women in management positions. They are very detail oriented, and they give you 120 percent all of the time," says Martinez-Wardzinski, founder and owner of Bravo Building Services, a facility service and outsourcing company based in Green Brook. Martinez-Wardzinski recently was recognized as a finalist for the Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Award. The initiative was created in 2011 by the Leading Women Entrepreneurs Program, based in Clinton, to acknowledge female business owners who exhibit outstanding performance in four areas: market potential, innovation, community involvement and advocacy for women.
Martinez-Wardzinski is among the top 25 finalists, who were recognized at an event in Madison in December. Martinez-Wardzinski, along with other finalists, share their stories. "For me to break through the glass ceiling -- that I did is extremely rare," says Martinez-Wardzinski, 45. "When I started I would go to meetings, and I would be the only woman, and people looked at me like I had three heads. Now I am starting to see a little bit more here and there but not to my level." Being a woman is in part what prompted Martinez-Wardzinski, in 1997, to start Bravo Building Services, a company that provides housekeeping, mechanical maintenance, window cleaning, mail and administrative services to companies throughout the country. She was working in the building-service industry and didn't like how many of the male owners operated their businesses.
"I was frustrated working for only male owners," Martinez-Wardzinski says. "I thought there had to be a better way to treat employees and customers and be transparent in everything I did. If I brought employees in, and I trained them and promoted them from within and helped them grow, then we would be successful. I stuck to that, and it worked."
Today Martinez-Wardzinski's company has 3,100 employees that service everything from the Walmart headquarters in Arkansas to hospitals in Virginia. Along with its headquarters in Green Brook, Bravo operates branch offices in Arlington, Va., Charlotte, N.C., and New Castle, Del. Martinez-Wardzinski has plans to open another office somewhere in the western part of the country in the future. She lives in Franklin Township with her husband and her three daughters, ages 10, 9 and 7. Martinez-Wardzinski says she has a "nothing-is-impossible" attitude that has taken her far. "My experience is most people don't own their own business because they are scared to fail," she says. "If you can embrace that fear, and say, 'OK if I do fail I am still alive, I still have all these wonderful gifts, I can always make a new plan,' you will succeed."

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'Cleaning Fairy' Susan Warren Arrested After Shoveling Man's Driveway Without Permission: Susan Warren has had another dustup with the law. The 53-year-old woman, known by local media as the "Cleaning Fairy," was arrested on Tuesday in Elyria, Ohio after someone reported that a woman was shoveling a stranger's driveway without permission, according to Fox 19. In November, Warren pleaded guilty to burglary after she was accused of breaking into a home west of Cleveland, cleaning it and leaving a bill for $75. She was sentenced to a year of probation. When cops questioned Warren on Tuesday, they discovered she had a warrant out for her arrest stemming from an attempted burglary charge, according to the Chronicle-Telegram. Fox 19 spoke to Warren's son who said he had no idea why his mom decided to shovel a stranger's driveway. Elyria Police Lt. Chris Costantino told the Chronicle-Telegram that Warren had nearly $1,000 in cash on her when she was arrested so the snow shoveling must have been “pretty lucrative,” he told the paper.

Necktie doubles as a cleaning cloth: A company has developed a necktie with a microfibre backing designed for cleaning delicate surfaces such as spectacle lenses, smartphones and iPads. The silk Ferrell SwipeTie has an integrated inner tip made from microfibre to remove smudges and smears. The tie is the brainchild of Swipe Apparel which was founded by Michael Kim and Avi Padhye in 2011. "We both come from professional backgrounds and would always encounter sharply-dressed men who would rub their ‘phones on their trousers and jackets to try to wipe off the built-up gunk," said Kim. "We knew there must be a better way. "Most clothing material is not designed to clean glass or plastic screens, so wiping your phone screen on your shirt will minimally reduce the dirty screen or make it worse. And carrying a cleaning cloth......who wants to do that?"
The Cailfornia-based company also manufactures a cotton T-shirt - the SwipeTee - which has an integrated microfibre badge. This can be either placed on the left or right sleeve or to the front of the T-shirt according to the customer's requirements. The microfibre segment of both garments is said to be particularly suitable for removing fingerprints and smudges from delicate surfaces such as eyeglass lenses, iPhone and Android smartphones, iPods, iPads and other portable entertainment and tablet devices. So now you can clean windows wearing a tie!

Family left angry and frustrated: They wanted a headstone to remember their late mum. But they have been left out of pocket and feeling angry and frustrated. Andrew Larcome, of Heather Lane, Nately Scures, and his two brothers paid £1,060 to Simply Memorials for a headstone to mark the grave of their mother Rita Ann Larcome. The 71-year-old mum, from the Isle of Wight, died from cancer in 2011 and was buried in a cemetery in Farnborough. The memorial company, based in Skegness, Lincolnshire, promised to supply the headstone 12 weeks after the payment was made on June 27 last year when Mr Larcome ordered it on the company’s website.
But no headstone came, and when Mr Larcome tried to contact the company by email and telephone, he did not get a response. He has since received a letter to say that the company has ceased trading and that its owner, David Blakey, would be filing for bankruptcy. Mr Larcome said: “It’s absolutely gutting especially when you think that we’re talking about a headstone. “It is absolutely devastating. It’s bad enough that my dad has no money and me and my brothers had to pay for it.” At the end of last month, the 47-year-old window cleaner drove to Skegness to try to find Mr Blakey.

JACKSON—Ronald Albert Jackson, 57, of Astoria, Ore., passed away Jan. 13, 2013, after a long battle with cancer. He was born July 20, 1955, at McAuley Hospital in Coos Bay to Bob and Peggy Jackson. The family lived in a logging camp in Scottsburg, later moving to Westlake. He graduated from Siuslaw High School in 1973. He ran a route delivering milk products, had a window cleaning business, and more. For several years he traveled on private buses with various rock bands, traveling across the United States, from Juneau, Alaska, to Key West, Fla. His true passion was teaching piano, which he did throughout his life. Ron will be remembered for his music, his puns, his sense of humor and the love that he projected throughout his entire life.

Halesowen arson suspect released: A 36-year-old man arrested after an arson attack on a Halesowen house, from which a mother and two children were rescued by a neighbour, has been released by police. A West Midlands Police spokesman said no further action would taken against the man who had been bailed twice pending investigations by detectives following the night-time blaze at the Elizabeth Road house last November. Terrified mother Catherine Keenan-Williams, aged 26, plucked Alex, aged three and two-year-old Caitlin from their beds as thick acrid smoke filled their home after the front door was set on fire.
Her desperate screams were heard by next door neighbour David Burford, a window cleaner, who, with help from son Josh, used his ladders to rescue the family from an upstairs window. The man, arrested from another address in Halesowen the same day, was questioned on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and bailed until December 14 and again until this month. The police spokesman said the blaze was still being investigated.

Jesus Image Appears On Window At Hard Rock Hotel In San Diego: Celebrities are a fairly common sight at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, but the hotel may have had a celeb sighting of truly biblical proportions: Jesus Christ. The image of what some people think looks like the Almighty appeared in the window of one of the hotel rooms over the weekend. Chuck Rickman, a retired 911 dispatcher, noticed the eerie apparition while taking a stroll. "I was walking downtown when out of the corner, it popped out at me," Rickman, 64, told The Huffington Post. "I had a cellphone and took a picture of it."
Rickman said he's not religious and thought the image could either be Jesus or "Led Zeppelin." "It looks like someone had taken a shower and steamed up the window, but I talked with a young man nearby and he said he had seen it for several weeks," Rickman said. A hotel representative was happy to see the photo, but said there have been no other reported Jesus sightings in any of the windows. To be fair, the explanation for Jesus's appearance on a hotel window may be more scientific than beatific.
Researchers at Northwestern University say the human brain is wired to look for familiarity and meaning in the most abstract squiggles. As a result, brains automatically identify similar objects and then organize them according to type. That’s why we can look at a baseball cap and a fedora and know right away that both are hats. Still, Matt Greene, the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego's general manager, is thrilled by the prospect. "Celebrities stay here all the time, but if it is Jesus, he'd be the biggest one to stay here."

Eco living: window wars at Trinity College, Cambridge - Trinity College in Cambridge has grand renovation plans – but conservationists aren't happy with the changes. Today the Grade I listed courtyard demonstrates the intense debate between conservationists and those who argue that Britain’s historic buildings must be made energy efficient. At stake is not just student comfort – New Court’s rooms are notoriously draughty – but the future habitability of the country’s historic buildings. By 2018, all privately rented properties, including thousands of homes in Grade I and Grade II* areas of Bath, Belgravia and properties on Crown and National Trust land will have to achieve minimum energy standards if they are not to fall foul of the 2011 Energy Act. The Trust has also installed solar thermal panels on the roof of 700-year-old Chirk Castle near Llangollen, providing hot water for residents. He says local authority conservation officers’ knowledge often lags behind the rapid development of new materials. I went to see New Court and could not tell the difference between the original single-paned windows and a “Histoglass” one. Trinity’s plans are just the kind of radical and inventive ideas worthy of the great thinkers Cambridge has produced.

An off-duty Woodbridge police officer who was attacked after the 2012 National Hockey League Winter Classic game in Philadelphia has filed a civil suit against the man who attacked him and the bar where the man had been drinking before the melee. Raymond Gill, a Woodbridge attorney representing Neal Auricchio Jr.(pictured), an Iraqi war veteran and five-year veteran of the Woodbridge Police Department, said the suit has been filed against Dennis Veteri of Glassboro and South Philly Bar and Grill in Philadelphia. Auricchio, who was injured after being punched and kicked in the head, an attack that was captured on video, has a titanium plate behind his left eye and scar tissue that affects his vision, as well as post-concussion symptoms, Gill said. Auricchio spent three months undergoing medical treatment.
The suit seeks at least $50,000 in damages. “We think the case is significantly worth more than $50,000,” Gill said Friday, the day after a news conference was conducted in Philadelphia to announce the suit. Last January, after the Winter Classic game between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, Auricchio and his friend, Michael Janocko, both Rangers fans wearing team jerseys, were standing in line to buy cheesesteaks at Geno’s Steaks in Philadelphia for the ride home. According to Gill, while the two men were standing in line, a group of people came out of a nearby bar and began taunting Auricchio and Janocko because they were wearing Rangers jerseys. The Rangers had defeated the Flyers in the game. According to the suit, the altercation started when Veteri paid a window washer to spray Auricchio and Janocko. Then Veteri knocked off Janocko’s hat and spit in it.

Bizarre accidents: Dying, of course, is bad enough but being proved wrong at the same time must be hard to take, as was the case for a Canadian lawyer who hurled himself out of a 24 floor window in Toronto while demonstrating to a group of visiting law students the ‘unbreakable’ nature of the glass. A lesson there for all of us, I think, about not tempting fate.

Wheel done Rab! Strathcarron supporter Rab Simpson has always gone the extra mile for the hospice. So when his name was randomly drawn from the hat for its fundraising car raffle, he was a particularly popular and deserving winner. The big-hearted Bannockburn man has raised well over £100,000 over more than two decades by collecting Barr’s returnable glass bottles. Now the 80-year-old is driving around in a brand new white Peugeot 208 provided by Hardies of Stirling. “I was gobsmacked when I got the phone call,” said Rab. “I thought they were kidding. It took a few days to sink in. Rab’s first donation to the hospice was in April 1990. More recently he handed over the bottle operation to Donald Crawford and David Walker, but continues to help with the collections.
People from all over the Central Belt contact the retired window cleaner asking him to collect their bottles in his trailer and he travels as far as Callander, Kippen, and even Glasgow, to ensure as many bottles get returned and as much cash is raised as possible.The majority of the collections have come from around 200 individuals and workplaces in the Stirling and Falkirk areas. He even had to invest in a special trailer to keep up with demand – although he twice had it stolen despite having it emblazoned with a large sign showing it is used in aid of Strathcarron.

I’ll steer kids away from gang life, says New Order's Hooky - New Order legend backing estate project that helps prevent youngsters being drawn into gangs, and founder says he has shown what can be achieved. New Order legend Peter Hook has a new role – helping prevent youngsters being drawn into gangs. The music star has been unveiled as the patron of community project United Estates of Wythenshawe. Based in Benchill, the charity aims to break down turf boundaries between rival groups in the area and divert youngsters from getting involved with gangs. More than 1,000 teenagers a week now use the centre’s gym, learn music and dance or work for the charity’s window cleaning and gardening social enterprise businesses.

Frugal Living - Dust high shelves: A window washing service will do it. My window washer routinely dusts my high ceiling fans and other hard-to-reach places. He will also change light bulbs and smoke detector batteries that are beyond the reach of a normal ladder! He helps with these small jobs when he is here for his “real job” of window washing. He has the appropriate ladders and equipment to do the jobs that most of us can’t reach. — Wendi, Arizona

Woody is a window cleaner. A few years ago, he was Britain’s favourite popstar. These days his window cleaning round brings him into contact with an odd collection of former celebs. Roxy Squires is one of the original TV ladettes. She’s interviewed more bands and flirted with more A-listers than you could shake a stick at. But now, how can she bring herself to admit that her fifteen minutes of fame might be over? Together, they form the world’s strangest self-help group; can Woody persuade his flock of failures to come to terms with life as ordinary civilians? Or will Roxy convince them to plump for one last shot at fame? Could It Be I’m Falling In Love? is the second, brilliantly funny novel from a bright new star in women’s fiction. Eleanor Prescott worked as a PR at MTV for seven years. She lives in Kent with her husband, son and daughter. Her first novel Alice Brown’s Lessons in the Curious Art of Dating was published by Quercus in 2012.

Denver council sparring over DIA contract, as union tries to organize: Renewal of a contract covering about three dozen airport security guards has created a rift in Denver's City Council, with at least one councilor alleging a union-backed effort is influencing his colleagues. On Tuesday night, Kniech questioned a DIA official and an HSS executive about allegations that workers have not received required training and that some have been disciplined for taking sick leave. Kniech voted against the bill on first reading, saying she will not support the final vote unless changes are made. Kniech said she is looking out for employees, not the union. "I don't want HSS kicked out," she said. "I want these problems solved. I am supportive of workers having a voice on the job. If they get a voice and I don't have satisfactory resolution, I still won't support the contract." The SEIU represents 700 workers at DIA, including window cleaners.

Spectrum Window Cleaners Are Hiring For Their Abseiling Division: Spectrum Window Cleaning, One of London’s leading commercial window cleaners, today announced that they plan to add a level 3 abseil window cleaner to their abseil cleaning division. Spectrum’s growing reputation in the London cleaning services market is demonstrated in the amount of growing demand for Spectrum Window Cleaners via repeat business requests. Lucian Ivan, Managing Director, at Spectrum Window Cleaning commented; “Spectrum’s continued growth in the London abseil cleaning services market via new business acquisition and through repeat business further demonstrates our growing reputation for quality and effectiveness on client premises. The hiring of qualified abseil cleaners ensures that we maintain the highest service levels of safety and effectiveness our clients expect”. The company offer employee’s great training opportunities, diversified contract work, the highest level of safety and competitive packages. Abseil cleaners are encouraged to apply to Spectrum Window Cleaning for open positions.

Cleaning firm to offer new jobs: A commercial and office facilities company is giving the town a boost with plans to take on 53 staff over the next three months. PCS Facilities has been awarded a substantial contract in the area which means it will hire area managers, supervisors, office managers and mobile teams to help support its growth for the year ahead. PCS Facilities is a national company and already employs more than 50 staff in Swindon and the surrounding area. The company is seeking to double that figure with the additional contracts.
The company specialises in commercial and office cleaning, window and carpet cleaning, waste management, pest control, ground maintenance, security and almost any task involved in the maintenance of a building, Company director Yucel Mehmet has lived in the town for 25 years. He said: “It’s an exciting time for us. “There is a demand for our expertise in Swindon and the local area and we are looking to double the size of our workforce. “As we expand we are looking to involve the local community and recruit from within the town. “Our aim is to deliver services to buildings without any fuss but with a high level of passion. “Swindon has a mix of old and new commercial and office developments and is a great place to develop PCS Facilities.”

Monday, 28 January 2013

Life At The Top - Hearst Tower

For many years, being a window cleaner in Manhattan was regarded as one of the most dangerous occupations in the world.
Life at the Top - What a window washer sees (by Adam Higginbotham) - Abstract: Our local correspondents about window washers in Manhattan. When the architect Norman Foster initially presented sketches for the Hearst Tower, the first skyscraper approved for construction in Manhattan after September 11th, one of the questions the building’s prospective owners asked was: How are we going to clean those windows?

In early 2002, Foster + Partners’ associate architects approached Tractel-Swingstage, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of scaffolds and window-washing platforms, to provide a solution. The result, a rectangular steel box the size of a Smart car, supporting a forty-foot mast and a hydraulic boom arm attached by six strands of wire rope to a telescopic cleaning basket, houses a computer that monitors sixty-seven electromechanical safety sensors and switches, and runs around the roof of the Tower on four hundred and twenty feet of elevated steel track.

The commercial window-washing industry in New York emerged with the rise of the skyscraper, at the end of the nineteenth-century, after one Polish immigrant organized a team of expert window cleaners whom he let out on contract. By 1931, when the Empire State Building was completed, there were between two and three thousand unionized window cleaners in New York. The size of any building cleaned by scaffold is measured in drops. Every three floors, Bob Menzer and his team at the Hearst Tower anchor the wire ropes from which they’re suspended to steel buttons on the façade, to prevent the basket from being pulled away from the building by the wind.

Every three floors, Menzer and his team at the Hearst Tower anchor the wire ropes from which they’re suspended to steel buttons on the façade, to prevent the basket from being pulled away from the building by the wind.
Once the glass has been wet down with a sponge or a wand, the water is wiped away with a squeegee. Given good weather, it takes a month to clean the whole tower from top to bottom. For many years, being a window cleaner in Manhattan was regarded as one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. Today, the work of washing windows in the United States is significantly safer than driving a cab. Most injuries on the job are the result of falls (from elevation). The culture of the trade has gradually changed. Many veteran window washers no longer expect their children to pursue the occupation.

Adam Higginbotham looks at the evolution of the commercial window-washing industry, as New York City has become “a crystal garden of geometric forms and irregular shapes,” owing to advances in technology that allow for more intricately designed architecture. Since the rise of the skyscraper, at the end of the nineteenth century, when window washers simply stood outside on a window ledge and gripped the frame, the profession has become less dangerous and more efficient. Modern-day buildings such as the Hearst Tower, which features “curtain walls of glass and stainless steel hung in a diagonal grid . . . known as ‘bird’s mouths’ by the architects,” require advanced window-washing technology.

Hearst Tower’s distinctive facetted silhouette rises dramatically above Joseph Urban’s existing six-storey Art Deco building, its main spatial event a vast internal plaza, occupying the entire shell of the historic base. Designed to consume significantly less energy than a conventional New York office building, it is a model of sustainable office design.
The rig that cleans the Hearst Tower, “a rectangular steel box the size of a Smart car,” took three years to design and was finally installed at a cost of three million dollars. When Higginbotham joined the window-cleaning crew to descend the tower, “a frigid wind scythed down across Columbus Circle, humming in the rigging overhead, and each time I shifted my weight the narrow platform swayed sickeningly, like the world’s most appalling fairground ride,” he writes. Although “the work of washing windows in the United States is significantly safer than driving a cab,” Higginbotham writes, “deaths persist.”

Hearst Tower is the first building to receive a Gold LEED certified rating for core and shell and interiors in New York City. In 2012, Hearst Tower earned a Platinum LEED Rating for Existing Buildings, becoming the first building to receive both Gold and Platinum certifications.
The window washers’ union has prided itself on its safety record, due in part to its apprentice-training program, which requires all new union window cleaners to take two hundred and sixteen hours of classroom instruction, followed by three thousand hours of accredited time with an employer. But a growing number of non-union workers aren’t held to the same standards, and they “were involved in roughly two hundred accidents, more than seventy of them fatal,” between 1983 and 2008. One widow, whose husband fell from a window at 40 Fifth Avenue, said, “People don’t realize . . . being married to a window cleaner is very much like being married to a fireman or a policeman.”

But the culture of the trade has also changed. “The recession has led to less frequent cleaning cycles on the big buildings, smaller permanent crews, and layoffs,” Higginbotham writes. “Yet the work of the men with buckets apparently remains just beyond the reach of technology,” Higginbotham writes. Although a glass manufacturer has developed windows with a self-cleaning coating catalyzed by sunlight, and scientists in Germany and Japan have built a series of costly façade-cleaning robots, “neither has yet gained a foothold in New York.”

The Hearst Tower is a building located at 300 West 57th Street, 959 8th Avenue, near Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, New York. It is the world headquarters of the Hearst Corporation, bringing together for the first time their numerous publications and communications companies under one roof, including, among others, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar, Good Housekeeping and Seventeen.

Six Facts About Cleaning New York City Skyscraper Windows: The current issue of The New Yorker has a fascinating (and, sadly, subscription-only) article about how the windows of NYC's skyscrapers get washed. It turns out newfangled skyscraper architecture can make it difficult to use conventional window-washing methods—and that's just one of many fun facts we learned from the story. Here are five more:

1) The Empire State Building is particularly tough to clean because tenants on higher floors often throw things out of the windows. "One time," says one building window cleaner, "they threw, like, twenty gallons of strawberry preserves—and it went through ten floors, all over the windows. And it was the winter, so it froze on there and we couldn't get it off."

2) Designing a cleaning rig that could that clean the Hearst Tower took the engineers at Tractel-Swingstage three years (and around $3 million); the company's vice-president of engineering had never seen anything like what Foster and Partners' called the building's "bird's mouths."

3) A building's size is measured, for cleaning, in "drops"—"a single vertical section of the facade running from the roof to the lowest point the basket can descend." That lowest point might be a setback or other architectural feature, or it might be the ground.

4) The city's first scaffolding for window cleaning was built in 1952 and used to clean Park Avenue's Lever House.

5) Because of the way they move, most window cleaners will end up leaving a "signature" on the window glass.

6) Cleaning the windows of Manhattan skyscrapers takes a long time: "One days' work on an average drop takes around four hours; given good wather it, it takes a month to clean the whole [Hearst] tower from top to bottom. Work on larger skyscrapers in the city takes much longer: a single cleaning cycle on the eighty-story black glass curtain walls of the Time Warner Center, where the central 'canyon drop' alone descends seven hundred feet, from the roof to the fourth-floor setback, can take six men four months."

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