Friday 31 October 2008

Friday Night Window Cleaning News

A new gym is to be opened in memory of a young man killed in a hit and run exactly two years ago by self-employed window cleaner Mr Anthony Shepherd.
Anthony Shepherd (son of the same name) died after he was hit by a stolen Vauxhall Astra as he rode his Yamaha 125cc trials motorbike along Gainsborough Avenue in Whiteleas, South Shields. The driver of the car, Mark Anderson, who was high on drink and drugs at the time of the incident, drove off, leaving the 28-year-old to die alone at the roadside. Today, on the second anniversary of his death, his father Anthony has announced he is to open a gym in his son's memory. Plans are already under way for the gym, which will be based within the community centre at St Mary's and St Martins Church in Whiteleas Way. Self-employed window cleaner Mr Shepherd said: "There are a number of reasons why I want to do this, but the main one is that it will keep our Anthony's memory alive. "It is also a way for myself and Valerie to say thank you to the people of Whiteleas for their support over the past two years."The heartache of what happened that night will never ever go away, but I want to do this in memory of our son."Mr Shepherd is looking to open the gym, which will concentrate on boxing fitness two nights a week. Initially the sessions will be for adults only, but he hopes to provide a provision for the youngsters on the estate at a later date. He will be helped by members of a gym based at Harton Welfare Ground, where Mr Shepherd currently trains. Father Darren Maslen, team vicar for Whiteleas and Biddick Hall, is also helping Mr Shepherd get the gym off the ground.

Are you paying your employees enough money? Cleaner kills boss, accountant over low wages in Russia's Far East Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. A 63-year-old cleaner in Russia's Far Eastern Kamchatka Territory killed his boss and an accountant before turning the gun on himself, investigators said on Friday. The man, who worked at the local department of the federal registration service, had repeatedly expressed his dissatisfaction with his low salary. The day before the killings he had a heated row with his boss and the head accountant and threatened to kill both women. On Friday morning he came to the office armed with a hunting rifle and fired shots at the two women. He then escaped through a window and shot himself at home.

Helping kids from Haverstraw explore photography requires time, money and equipment, all things made possible by Karlewicz's day job - owner of Mr. K's Window Cleaning. It allows him to make his own schedule and he's not shy about hitting up customers. Ken Karlewicz, like so many photographers, uses his camera to gain access to people's lives. He's chronicled the last of Rockland's farms and farm families and celebrated the compassion for hospice patients at life's end. And he's marked the passing of time and a possible shift in cultures in Haverstraw. More recently, he's taken on major documentary projects, like last spring's 59 on 59, when 59 photographers - including several of his students - descended on Route 59 for 24 hours to capture slices of life and time along Rockland's main artery. Earlier this month, he took yet another step, escorting five of his students, ages 10 through 17, to Croatia for nine days of photography and life-altering experiences. “I was using the tripod trying to get a great picture of the church and after a couple of minutes a miracle happen and that was the nuns passing by the church.

Acclaimed cartoonist Ben Wicks was a pint-sized cockney who never lost his accent or his sense of humor. Wicks make a name for himself in Canada, not only as a cartoonist, but as a journalist, TV personality, author, entrepreneur and humanitarian. A man of cheeky hammer who brought laughter into the lives of many, Wicks began as a newspaper cartoonist and went on to publish 43 books of his works. He, along with his wife Doreen, was a member of the Order of Canada. One of his many friends, Ontario Chief Justice Roy McMurtry, said that in his experience, "everyone who knew Ben felt better about life and themselves simply by being in his company." Wicks was born in London, England in 1926. As a child, he was evacuated to the country during wartime, but at 14 returned to the city and the bombings and got his first job as a shipping clerk. "I was bloody hopeless at school," he recalled. "Left at 14 and they were as pleased to see me go as I was." He took evening classes at an art school. "They told me I should take up something else, so I quit. "They were right, I still can't draw," he said, years after becoming a highly successful cartoonist. Wicks had many occupations, both in England and Canada, including being a window cleaner.

Loyalty runs deep: Traders in Henley are up in arms after the town council chose an out-of-town firm to supply Christmas trees for their shop windows. Retailers have spoken out after Burnham company Windowflowers was selected ahead of Henley Window Cleaners, run by William York, who has supplied the trees to shopkeepers for the last four years. Some traders say they will now buy their trees from Mr York. Jean Miller (pictured), director of women’s clothes shop Rive Gauche in Hart Street, said: "They have gone with the Burnham company and I don’t understand why. "William’s done it for years. It’s a traditional thing for the local community. I just don’t understand what would lead them to outsource it. It’s just not on. "I have spoken to a lot of the businesses around me and gather that none of them is going to go with the council. I can’t imagine who wouldn’t go with William. "Bruno Giamattei, of hairdressers Marc Antoni, also in Hart Street, said: "I think it’s disgusting. "I am appalled that the town council has decided this year to source the Christmas trees that we buy from an out-of-town supplier. I will not be purchasing a tree this year and feel quite sad that, with the current economic climate, even the local council will not support a local tradesman."

Pilkington Activ™: If there is one way to prove that you really believe in a product, then it must be to use it yourself, which is precisely what happened recently with Britannia Windows (UK), a fabricating business in Clevedon in South West England when it used Pilkington Activ™ Blue for its new, state-of-the-art 6,000 feet² headquarters that houses an impressive training complex and showroom. The building was designed with three-storey glass curtain walling up the middle of the building to provide sufficient natural light and a total of 50 PVC-U windows, all glazed with Pilkington Activ™ Blue. But what lay behind the choice? “Pilkington Activ™ is the product we use for our conservatory roofs and in part, we wanted to demonstrate to customers how it works,” explained Hayden Rushton, Managing Director, Britannia Windows. “Pilkington Activ™ Blue’s appearance looks really striking and it helps to keep the sun’s glare out, as well as using its solar control properties to regulate the building’s temperature.” Another important incentive was when Hayden went on a health and safety course where he was strongly advised that with new CDM regulations, architects and specifiers should choose self-cleaning glass, for ease of maintenance. Hayden believes that the use of self-cleaning, solar control glass such as Pilkington Activ™ Blue provides an ideal solution for building designers: “Architects are very enthusiastic about using a lot of glass to give a modern, state of the art appearance. We can now advise our clients that by using high performance insulated glass units with the appropriate qualities they can express themselves with far more freedom as the problems of access and internal heat gain are significantly reduced.” As far as Britannia is concerned, the savings on cleaning and maintenance are quite clear. By looking at standard operating costs the company has calculated that it will save thousands of pounds a year on window cleaners, along with the required scaffolding/cherry picker, which in itself, could have been prohibitive in cost. “I believe it is illogical for anybody not to use Pilkington Activ™ Blue for such a building nowadays,” said Hayden. “We use it in the majority of the conservatory roofs we do and it is also becoming more popular for windows in high-end houses, difficult to reach windows and conservatory side frames.” Pilkington Activ™ provides the ideal solution to costly scaffolding, working at height restrictions and cleaning maintenance costs. The secret of Pilkington Activ™ is its special coating, which works in two stages. Firstly, the coating reacts with ultra-violet (UV) rays from natural daylight to break down organic dirt. The second part of the process commences when water hits the glass. Rainwater runs down the glass to wash loosened dirt (both organic and inorganic) away. Compared with conventional glass, the water dries very quickly, reducing unsightly streaks or marks.

Dr. Mallika's Files: Case Of The Shattered Window. Cuts or lacerations are one of the most common reasons to seek medical attention in an urgent care clinic. It's true that minor cuts can be managed at home by washing them out with soap and water and applying a topical antibiotic cream and bandage. But more significant wounds need medical attention sooner rather than later. If you sustain a cut or laceration, keep the following in mind: If a cut needs to be repaired with stitches or sutures, it ideally should be done within 12 hours of the injury. Waiting longer than this increases the risk of wound infection. Many doctors will not repair a cut that is more than 12 hours old.
If there's a possibility that glass or other material has been left inside the wound, the wound needs to be washed or irrigated by a medical professional before it closes.
If the cut is due to an animal or human bite, you should be seen right away to prevent infection and assess the risk of rabies.
If you have diabetes or another underlying medical condition that puts you at risk for infection, you should be evaluated.
If you haven't had a tetanus shot in over 10 years, you are due for a booster and should be seen by a doctor.

A window cleaner has been jailed for 21 months after he burgled a Barnstaple care home. Terence Taylor, from Bideford, struck at a home for adults with learning difficulties. Exeter Crown Court Taylor, 47, was spotted by neighbours raiding the property in South View Terrace, Barnstaple. They took the registration of his car and called police. In a bucket in the footwell they found a mobile telephone which had been taken in the burglary. Taylor was released on bail and went to London to start a new life. But when that did not work out he hired a taxi for £309 to bring him back to North Devon and then made off without paying the fare. The court heard that at the time Taylor was the subject of a six months prison sentence which had been suspended for 12 months following two burglaries, one at the Palm Springs beauty treatment centre in Bideford and the other at the Rising Sun pub in Barnstaple. Defence barrister Richard Crabb said unfortunately the only skill Taylor possessed was window cleaning. When he went to the property in Barnstaple looking for work he found the kitchen window open so he leaned in and took the phone. Taylor, of New Bridge Close, Bideford pleaded guilty to burglary and making off without payment. He asked for five other offences involving drugs and handling stolen goods to be taken into consideration. Recorder Sarah Munro QC told Taylor: "You have made 29 previous court appearances and within three months of being given the suspended sentence you were committing further crimes." Taylor was given 12 months for the burglary, four months consecutive for the making off without payment and the TICs and a further five months of the suspended sentence was activated making a total of 21 months.

AN Oldham window cleaner says he cannot move on with his life until the thugs who blinded him in his right eye are caught. Nicholas Russell, 38, was subjected to a sustained and horrifying attack by a gang after a night out with friends. Mr Russell spent four days in hospital and his injuries proved so serious that he can no longer see out of his right eye. The attack has left him angry, emotionally scarred and unable to work. A police investigation has so far not caught those responsible. He is now hoping by telling his story that new witnesses will come forward. Mr Russell was knocked to the ground and was punched and kicked in the head repeatedly. He was stamped upon with such force his eye was pushed back into his skull. "One taxi ride has turned my life upside down and put my family’s life in turmoil," he said. "My wife and daughter have been traumatised by this. I could end up losing my window cleaning business in Denshaw and Delph. I can’t move on until these idiots have been caught and punished. I need justice to be done." Police say inquiries into the incident are continuing and they are appealing to the public for information. Anyone with any information is asked to call the police on 0161 872 5050 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

NORTHAMPTON Mass': You might need a really powerful telescope to see them, but some local folks earned a place in the film Monday as the star-making machine from Hollywood shot several scenes for the new Mel Gibson movie in Northampton. The cast and crew of GK Films are in town this week filming "Edge of Darkness," a thriller based on a British television series of the same name. Gibson plays a Boston police officer whose investigation of his daughter's murder takes him to Northampton. With about 700 extras ready for their cues, local viewers are bound to spot some familiar faces when the finished version hits the silver screen, although they will be mostly in the background. During a break in the filming, Maurice DuBois, a Northampton resident hired as one of the extras, stepped outside for some air. DuBois, 59, said he had spent several hours sitting at a table in the bar nursing a "beer" that he thought might have been ginger ale. "We were told to be extremely quiet and not look at the camera," he said. DuBois, who works as a window-washer, has a face the camera apparently loves. He said he has appeared as an extra in two previous films shot in Northampton, "Cider House Rules," and "In Dreams."

One man's campaign to get out the green message: Korry Zepik was so disgusted by the Conservative policy on global warming he hopped on a bus bound for Calgary from his home in the British Columbia interior to stage a hunger strike at the campaign office belonging to Leader Stephen Harper. The 51-year-old former Alberta oil sands worker and current window washer from Vernon explained that the Tories are in denial about climate change. They are focusing on greenhouse gas emission intensity, not actual emissions reductions, he complained. It's the same complaint shared by more than 120 of Canada's key climate scientists who issued a letter urging voters think about the environment and mark their ballots strategically on election day Oct. 14. "His policies regarding climate change are going to push us over the edge toward extinction," Mr. Zepik said. "I suggest people vote for the candidate in their riding who can defeat the Conservative candidate there," said Mr. Zepik, adding that he worries about the future for his 11-year-old son under another Harper government. Mr. Zepik said he's going to hang around until Thursday before heading back home. Inside Mr. Harper's campaign office, Gwen Podborski said workers have offered Mr. Zepik coffee, chocolate and gave him copies of the Conservative climate change plan."Someone took him out a cigarette and he smoked it," she said. As Mr. Zepik stood outside in the rain and cold during a sudden wind storm while holding a battered sign (Choose enviro economy not Harper), Ms. Podborski said he wasn't causing any trouble. "We kind of feel sorry for him," she said.

All Healthy Hands On Deck For Broncos. Players Who Were Cut From The Team Get Another Chance: The Broncos don't quite have a help wanted sign hanging outside their Dove Valley facility, but it's close. Football injuries are an unfortunate fact of life in the NFL, but everyone knows that when someone goes down, his replacement is expected to step right in and get the job done. Glenn Martinez got cut from the team before the season started and was getting used to his second career a cleaning business - but then the Broncos special teams and wide receiver units started to get a little thin.He rejoined the Broncos roster earlier this month, happily leaving his day job behind, at least for a little while. "Me and my brothers, we opened up a family business - a window and carpet cleaning business. My brothers have been doing it for 6 or 7 years."

The Vivamax guarantee: Vivamax is a company that specialises in all exterior and some interior property cleaning for commercial, residential and rental properties. Vivamax pays great attention to detail. Their services include Full after Construction Cleans, Window Cleaning, House Washing and Pre- Paint Cleans, Water Blasting, Gutters/ Spouting/Down Pipe Clearing and Four Seasons Gutter Protection supply and install, Roof Wash & Pre-Paint & Lichen Treatment, General Glass Cleaning/Graffiti/Scratch Removal and Shower Glass Restoration. They also offer Property Maintenance Reports for rental properties – designed to assist setting up a NO SUPRISES preventative maintenance budget. “There were issues with leaky homes a few years back, when we noticed a lot of properties were quite dirty and neglected. We started this business in 2004 to offer people preventive maintenance rather than reactive maintenance for their properties,” said Director Nicolas Jean-Mairet. “Prevention is better than cure i.e. if you get your house washed regularly the paint lasts a lifetime or if you clear your gutters regularly moisture is less likely to enter your house.” The company employs a number of staff members and offers a training programme to ensure VivaMax’s qualities of health and safety, outstanding service, punctuality and thoroughness. “We are available all over Auckland as well as Waiheke. Vivamax pays great attention to detail and we bend over backwards to get the jobs done when you need it. That is our USP. Our clients are a reflection of our business.” Eco-friendly detergents are their priority. They protect your health, home and garden. Ecological detergents minimise environmental pollution and prevent storm water drain contamination when water blasting or house washing.

Thursday 30 October 2008

Creating Pictures By Cleaning: Reverse Graffiti

San Francisco's Broadway tunnel is a busy thoroughfare in the midst of the city. Its walls are thick with grime and patched with remnants of spray-painted graffiti tags. The talented English reverse graffiti artist Paul "Moose" Curtis, a pioneer of the art form, recently chose this tunnel as a tableau for a mural depicting plants indigenous to California which was sponsored by Green Works, a plant-based line of cleaning products. Moose, who has been cleaning the streets of the UK and beyond for the past ten years, uses detergent and a wire brush, the tools of many a cleaner, to work his magic.

Reverse graffiti is form of street art that involves carving into the dirt and dust that surrounds us. Artists subtract from a surface in order to create a negative image within the positive, often quite dark layer of grime. They use methods as simple as dragging their finger across a dirty car window or as elaborate as carving elaborate stencils, which they then mount on a surface and spray with a high pressure water hose, to impress a finely wrought illustration or message. Reverse graffiti is a form of activist art, in that the work often draws attention not only to a particular image etched into a surface, but also the extent to which these surfaces - and our cities - are caked with pollution. Moose told Richard Morgan of the New York Times Magazine that he preferred the "less sinister" terms "clean tagging" or "grime writing" to "reverse graffiti". He explains: "It's refacing," he says, "not defacing. Just restoring a surface to its original state. It's very temporary. It glows and it twinkles, and then it fades away." To pay for industrial scrubbers, he has sold some of his reverse graffiti as advertising. But mostly he sticks to his own art. Critics, like the City Council in Leeds, have accused him of breaking the law, but for what? Cleaning without a permit? "Once you do this," he says, "you make people confront whether or not they like people cleaning walls or if they really have a problem with personal expression."

Alexandre Orion is another prominent reverse graffiti artist-environmental activist.
According to Environmental Graffiti's Linda McCormick,
A few years ago he adorned a transport tunnel in Sao Paolo with a mural consisting of a series of skulls to remind drivers of the detrimental impact their emissions have on the planet. The Brazilian authorities were incensed but couldn't actually charge him with anything so they instead cleaned the tunnel. At first they cleaned only the parts Alexandre had cleared but after the artist switched to the opposite wall they had to clean that too. In the end, the authorities decided to wash every tunnel in the city.

Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Scott Wade

Detailed drawing on the back of a truck, Trafalgar Square, London

Big brother eye, etched on to a roadsign, Leeds by Paul "Moose" Curtis

Reverse Graffiti Project, San Francisco, by Paul "Moose" Curtis

Einstein, by Scott Wade

Parking Woes UK

DRIVERS were fined for parking in a doctor’s bay two years after the GP left the area, leaving the space empty. Window cleaner Gary Swann, 47, said the council had treated him “like a criminal” for parking in the bay. Parking chiefs have waived two tickets Mr Swann was given and have pledged to remove the painted lines marking the bay in Cliff Road, off Camden Road, in Camden Town. Mr Swann said a lack of parking spaces in his road meant he was forced to leave his car in the bay. Last week, the New Journal reported how internal memos in the parking department had instructed staff to find “quick wins” at a time when income from parking penalties was falling. Chief officers insisted the orders were aimed at understanding the drop in revenue rather than generating extra cash. A council press official said: “The parking bay is clearly marked for use by doctor’s permit holders only between 8am and 8pm each day and Mr Swann’s penalty charge notice was issued legitimately. “However, there are now no active doctor’s permits in the area so we are arranging for the bay to be changed to resident permit parking. As a result, we have cancelled Mr Swann’s PCN.” But the official warned: “Residents should not use the bay until it is re-marked.”

A window cleaner who drives his terminally-ill friend to window cleaning jobs was issued with a parking ticket that he says he should not have to pay. Chris Mead, 53, of Chiseldon, received the fine in May for parking on double yellow lines at the rear of the Iceland store in Swindon town centre. Mr Mead displayed a disabled blue badge in the front of his white transit van, which means he could park in this area for up to three hours, as long as he was not obstructing emergency exits. But Mr Mead was not the owner of the badge. Instead it was his friend, who has a brain tumour. Swindon Council has said he did not appeal against the notice within 14 days of it being issued, so the £65 charge will stand. Mr Mead, who said he parked on the double yellow lines for just 10 minutes, said his 52-year-old friend, who does not wish to be named, now has limited work as Mr Mead cannot transport him around Swindon for fear of getting further tickets. “He can’t drive as he was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour four years ago,” said Mr Mead, who runs C&S Window Cleaning. “I have been driving him to jobs in Swindon and picking him up when he’s finished.
“We haven’t had a problem in that time until earlier in the year. “He wants to keep working and now he can’t get to as many jobs because of this ticket. “The traffic warden even put the notice onto the windscreen when my friend was sitting in the car. “He might be disabled but he is not incapable of working. “He should be allowed to continue to work.” A spokeswoman for Swindon Council said: “Anyone who receives a fixed penalty notice has the opportunity to appeal against it and all cases are dealt with on an individual basis. “Mr Mead did not initially challenge the notice or pay the fine, which explains why the fine has increased. “We encourage Mr Mead to contact us, so we can address his complaint as soon as possible. “Ultimately, Mr Mead can also take the matter to the Independent Adjudicators and the decision of this ruling body would be final.”

Tuesday 28 October 2008

State Representative Ole - Does Windows

Above picture: Moderators signal time left at the debate between State Representative candidates Ole Hovde, Phyllis Kahn, and Ron Lischeid at Willey Hall on Monday evening. The debate was hosted by the Minnesota Republic and will be the only debate between these candidates before the election. In their first and only debate of the election, candidates for Minnesota House District 59B sparred Monday night at Willey Hall.
Fielding questions from the moderator and the audience, challengers Ole Hovde and Ron Lischeid fought to gain a foothold against 18-term Rep. Phyllis KahnHovde, the Republican candidate and University of Minnesota senior, advocated for fewer taxes and less spending throughout the debate. On tuition, Hovde said he would seek a tuition freeze and seek to work with the Board of Regents to determine University funding priorities. “What’s going to cut tuition costs are tuition freezes,” he said. Rep. Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, touted work-study programs as the best way to cut costs for students, while Independence Party candidate Lischeid advocated for a system in which Minnesotans use their state income tax to pay off their student debt. Kahn and Hovde also disagreed on how to promote small business growth in the state. “One of the things that I think is most important,” Kahn said, “is the idea of the educated workforce.” Hovde, who runs a window washing business, took offense to the comment, and called for lower taxes on businesses. “Promoting business and job growth is not by new taxes,” he said. “Small businesses drive Minnesota. Small businesses need to thrive.”

Hovde for state House: The Minnesota Legislature is divided into 134 districts, more than many other states in the country. District 59B surrounds the University of Minnesota, which has been represented by Brooklyn, New York native Phyllis Kahn since 1972. She has voted for more tax increases than almost anyone to sit in the House with her during her entire career. She has spent her time writing bills allowing fourth graders to vote. She has even been convicted of violating campaign laws. The people of our district (mostly college students) deserve a new voice to represent our needs and views at the capitol in St. Paul. There is no better person for the job than University student Ole Hovde.
Ole is a Minnesota resident pursuing a degree in political science at the University. He owns a small business (a window washing company) and has been active in politics for many years. I personally worked with Ole in the House of Representatives when we interned together during a session. He has the temperament and background to make a great representative for the 36,000-plus residents that reside in this district.
Ole Hovde below, "Does Windows" a member of the Master Window Cleaners of America.

Monday 27 October 2008

World's Biggest Window-Washing Job

The 6,500 windows over Biosphere 2's 3.14-acre laboratory get their first cleaning in 7 years. It's the biggest window-washing job in the world. Window washers will complete the Herculean task of cleaning all 6,500 windows that enclose the Biosphere 2's 3.14-acre living laboratory the week of Oct. 27. A crew of six window washers from the 5 Star Window Care company of Phoenix have been working from sun up to sun down for more than a week to clean the windows, which haven't been washed in seven years, said John Adams, assistant director of planning and facilities at The University of Arizona's Biosphere 2. Once cloudy, opaque glass in the 91-foot tall, 7.2-million-cubic-foot steel-and-glass space frame structure now sparkles, both enhancing the appearance of the stunning dome and increasing the amount of sunlight that 3,000 species of plants inside need for photosynthesis. Windows over the rainforest, savanna, wilderness and ocean biomes now shine. Windows over the desert biome are the last to be washed. Washing is a 3-step process. The crew first uses a special detergent and water-feed poles that look something like long car-wash brushes to break through years of biological and mineral build-up. The next step is pressurized-water rinsing using water filtered by reverse osmosis to prevent water spots. The final step is power rinsing using deionized water. Adams originally estimated that the window-washing job would take more than three weeks, but the crew is finishing in about two.

Skybot: Israels Robot Window Cleaner

Getting robots in to clean high-rise windows: There are some jobs that are strictly for risk-takers; police work, firefighting, Alaskan crab fishing (according to statistics), and, of course, high-rise window washing. While the world is likely to continue needing police officers and firefighters, and trappers will continue to brave the cold waters of Alaska to find the pricey crabs, high-rise window washers could become a thing of the past thanks to Israeli company Skybot. Skybot's robotic window washing system gets high-rise windows cleaned faster and cheaper than human teams, and at much less risk to human life. Washing windows on skyscrapers is harrowing work. Injuries or death from falls, while not common, occur frequently enough; on average, about 70 window washers - mostly non-unionized and using substandard equipment - die each year in the US, while another 130 are injured (the injury and fatality rate among unionized workers is far lower). Scaling the heights The greatest hazard in the care and cleaning of tall buildings is, of course, gravity. There are a number of methods used to clean building exteriors, depending on whether they are made of steel, stone, or other materials, ranging from pressure hosing using cleaning chemicals to old-fashioned soap and water using big brushes. Almost all methods, however, require trained service personnel to scale the heights of buildings, usually using scaffolds suspended from above the building, a platform connected to the ground, or from the booth of a cherry picker. And since window-washers - and hopefully their employers - want the work done in as safe a manner as possible, cleaning must take place during daylight hours, preferably in fair or good weather. If it's too windy or stormy, the work just won't get done - meaning an extra expense for building management, who have to pay staff, and schedule delays in getting important maintenance work done. According to Skybot's Yoram Barmohay, it's far more efficient to use robotics. Skybot's system, "combines the most advanced artificial intelligence technology and plain low-tech common sense," Barmohay tells ISRAEL21c. "The robots allow a fully automatic and consistent cleaning process, much more efficiently and better than any human team can accomplish." The Skybot system consists of a computer which controls the Building Maintenance Unit (BMU), the hanging scaffolds used by workers, to position the robot in the right place to carry out its assignment. Once the robot is positioned, the computer controls the robot's operations, analyzing the results through a variety of sensors. Using mostly distilled water and environmentally friendly detergents, the system applies a mechanized pad to the window and cleans, using innovative adhesion technology developed by Skybot to ensure maximum surface contact. After that, the robot wipes away the excess - and hey presto, your windows are clean. There's no chance of a worker slipping, since there's no worker to slip - and the robot, made of light, anodized aluminum, is connected to the BMU, solidly rooted to the ground, roof, or side of the building. Every day is a workday As the system cleans an area of the building, it can also dry a previously treated area - making Skybot quicker than human alternatives. "Our system can clean a surface of 500 square meters in an hour, compared to 250 square meters a human team can cover on a workday," says Barmohay. And office work stays private. "It's unnerving to see a person looking at your business from the outside when you're on the 45th floor," Barmohay adds. And for Skybot's robots, every day is a workday. "Our system can operate in any weather, in winds up to 45 miles per hour, day or night. And the system works just as well in hot or cold weather," Barmohay says, adding that Skybot can clean in a week what it takes a human team a month to cover. The Rishon LeZion based company was founded in 2000, and the first robot was installed in a Tel Aviv building in early 2002. The technology has been tested in Israel during hot August weather, as well as in several European locations, in the middle of winter. Currently, the system is deployed in the Netherlands, among other places, he says. "With the major construction of skyscrapers over the past 40 years, builders and managers have been searching for a safe, efficient cleaning system, and although some progress has been made, there has never been a system like Skybot's," says Barmohay. "We've had thousands of hours of experience cleaning windows, and at this point, we can clean a small building in perhaps an hour - instead of the day it usually takes." Not to mention the success Skybot has had with behemoth buildings in Israel and Europe. After extensive tests, the company is ready for mass production of the system. Barmohay says a host of investors, as well as the Chief Scientist's Office, have supported the project - and all of them have no doubt that Skybot's system will "clean up" the high-rise window washing business worldwide.

Sunday 26 October 2008

Contract Manager Stays Focussed During Recession

The Big Interview: Rory McNaughton, Managing Director, Contract Services:
Business is very good, given the economic climate. We are in an ever more competitive marketplace with new multinationals coming in looking for their piece of the action, but thankfully our sales are very strong and we are managing to keep our market share and margins high. Forward thinking and being one step ahead of the competition are vital and at Contract Services those are things we are good at.
We have been chosen once again by IKEA as their preferred contractor to provide complete electrical retail fit-out for the prestigious new store in Southampton. We have also booked some interesting jobs in the UK for Makro and Homebase. We have grown organically to be a multi-million pound company in just three years.
We have won our market share of the electrical, mechanical, building and cleaning sectors by paying attention to detail and our customers’ needs, by doing business smarter noticing our competition’s weaknesses and exploiting them. Being better at everything is always my aim. We have a great ability to mould our business around the specific needs of our
customers and this has proven itself to be a key to success. We intend to keep growing in one hand organically and on the other by acquisition. It is our goal to have a turnover of £15m to £20m within the next five to 10 years, while maintaining our award-winning customer service levels.
As all business people would agree, we need to be streamlining our business as we grow, doing business smarter, cutting costs where we can and keeping a steady hand on the tiller. As we grow the business we need to ensure that there are enough highly skilled worker available, from management to engineers.
The Government could help not only my business but all businesses within the Northern Ireland marketplace if they actually went to work. Local government has a lot to answer for. They should actually be doing the job that they are paid for at the time we need them most. Instead of bickering over nothing and dragging up the past, they should be working hard bringing investment and government funds into the local economy, boosting the work load for local business, which in turn brings jobs and inward investment, which in turn brings confidence. They need to cut red tape in tax laws and planning laws.
From the outset of bringing Contract Services from a concept/dream to reality, I was focused on building a company which treated its best assets (being my employees) as they should be treated. I have always offered better working practices, fully paid training services, better salaries, better vehicles, better holidays and above all a very personable, friendly atmosphere to work in. This is why I have some of the best staff members our industry can offer — a first class professional team who care for the continuing growth of the business.
The overall economy is bad. I fear they may bring back the ration books — not for food but for work! On a serious note, the country's finances govern all aspects in life and affect everyone from the top paid business persons to the local window cleaner. The Government needs to shake off the flu that America has passed on, at this time we need very strong decisive action to stabilise the markets and bring back confidence to the lending institutions. This in turn will filter down through the whole economy.
We are very busy and looking forward. Our order books are more healthy than ever, this is a fair achievement given the current state of the economy. I believe that some businesses shall be struggling to remain solvent. The business climate is tough and only the toughest and smartest shall survive.
I guess when I have built my business to a very comfortable level I would really like to give something back and help young people like me start up in business and better themselves through hard work. I also wish to get involved with a few charities and do some good for others struggling in the world.

Saturday 25 October 2008

The Pigeon Pane Barrier

The pigeon that found life is a real pane: After something crashed into Diana Matthews' conservatory window, it didn't take a genius to work out what it had been. Leaving a perfect bird-shaped imprint on the glass, it was clear that a clumsy pigeon had lost its way. Mrs Matthews, who lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire, noticed the imprint on the window in the morning sunshine. 'It was so detailed it was almost like an engraving,' she said. 'It was almost as if it had been dusted in talcum powder before it hit.' She was so impressed by the imprint which the bird left behind that she took this picture. She added: 'There was just one single feather left outside, but no evidence of the bird.'
A case of GG4?

Window Shopper & Cleaner

Police in Milan, Italy are investigating an unusual $1m (£628,420) robbery in the heart of the Italian fashion capital. It was, said the victim, "a masterpiece of its kind". It was certainly daring in broad daylight and on one of Milan's swankiest shopping streets. Staff at Pederzani's, one of the city's exclusive jewellers, thought nothing amiss when a window cleaner went to work on the plate glass display. Dressed in regulation overalls, he propped his ladder against the window. But then, instead using the bucket and squeegee to clean it, he calmly unscrewed it before scooping an estimated $1m-worth of jewels into his bucket and walking off into the Friday shopping crowd. This is not the first audacious crime to hit Milan's fashion district this year. In February robbers tunnelled their way into another top jeweller's escaping with almost $24m-worth of gems while its owners were away entertaining Hollywood stars at the Oscars. Click the pictures to enlarge.

Friday 24 October 2008

Friday Night Window Cleaning News

Glistening roof for tower: Copper roof to be surpassed as tallest ceiling in city Skylon's copper top. It's not just the autumn leaves that have turned from green to bronze. A recent makeover at the Skylon Tower has added some new lustre to a Niagara Falls icon. The top of the 520-foot tower now gleams like a shiny new penny, following a refinishing and sealing of its copper roof. Its look could last for decades, said the owner of a company that did the work in September. "What we're doing is restoring the copper to close to its original appearance, polishing it and buffing it up and putting a sealant on it," said Don Searle, the owner of Koala Building Maintenance. The Niagara Falls company that specializes in maintenance on high-rise buildings. It does maintenance work and window- washing for most of the high-rise hotels in the city.
The company had a dozen workers on the project from the end of August until the end of September refurbishing the copper roof on top of the 43-year-old observation tower. They stripped away the oxidization -the scientific term for rust -that had built up on the roof since the 520-foot tower was built in the mid- 1960s. Working high atop the iconic tower was an unusual job, though Searle said his employees enjoyed the view. "It's very relaxing -the best view in town." Despite the height, Searle said it was a very safe job because his company hired an engineer to prepare a work plan to keep workers safe in the unusual work conditions. They were working about fifty feet higher than the tower's observation deck level. The green appearance now stripped away had evolved over the years because the copper was exposed to rain and moisture in the air. It's the same process that gives the roofs on the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa their greenish look. When copper is left unsealed, the shine will turn to brown within a few months - think of how fast a penny loses its lustre. After years of being exposed to the elements, copper will turn green -think of the penny you find on the sidewalk. But the Skylon roof was treated with a sealant that should preserve the brighter copper colour for years to come, Searle said. People began calling the Skylon almost as soon as work began. As soon as 18-inch squares of green started to be stripped away, people began asking what was going on.
"We're taking down the 40 years of oxidization of that roof," Carr said. For more than four decades, the Skylon has been the tallest structure in Niagara Falls. At 524 feet from base to tip, the Skylon Tower is one of the tallest structures in Canada. The tower was built on a 13-acre site overlooking the falls at a cost of $12 million at the time. It opened to the public in 1965.
There are only about two dozen buildings in Canada taller than 490 feet (150 metres).
Most of them are office towers in downtown Toronto, including the 72-storey, 950-foot tall First Canadian Place. Toronto's CN Tower remains Canada's tallest freestanding structure at 1,815 feet and five inches. George Yerich has owned the Skylon since 1988. In the past 10 years, several high-rise hotels in the Fallsview area, including the Hilton, Embassy Suites and Sheraton Fallsview, each at 36 storeys have been erected. But the expansion of the Hilton Niagara, currently under construction on Fallsview Boulevard, will be 58 storeys. Once it's finished, the top of the new hotel will be higher than the Skylon's observation deck. Canadian Niagara Hotels has city hall's approval to build a 59-storey hotel tower on Falls Avenue, near the site of the old Oneida Tower that stands over Casino Niagara's site.

Team takes on new heights in rappelling training: CJ David peered up at the top of the Equitable Center in downtown Salem on Monday afternoon and watched Salem Fire Capt. Joel Malstrom rappel down the side of the building. "That's cool," said the boy, who turned 8 years old Monday. "I want to do that when I get older." Malstrom was training with the department's technical-rescue team, which includes 21 members, said Division Chief Reed Godfrey, who oversees safety and special operations.The team trains for high and low-angle rope rescue operations, confined spaces and vehicle extrication. Rappelling off the Equitable Center's 80-foot-tall roof was ideal for firefighters to learn from if they were ever sent to rescue, say, a painting crew or window-washing crew stranded by broken scaffolding, Godfrey said. Some of the workers who were repainting the outside of the Equitable Center stopped to watched the firefighters practice.
"Our painters are quite thrilled that they're being proactive in saving them," said Susan Miller, the Equitable Center building manager.

Memorial night for tragic young dad: A Memorial night is being held for a young dad who died after falling from ladders at work. Window cleaner Graham Clark, 21, from Tyne Dock, South Shields, fell 15ft at a house in Laygate, South Shields, on May 31. He suffered serious head injuries and spent almost a week hooked up to a life support machine, which was switched off after tests showed he was no longer responding. His fiancée, Katie McGovern, 18, was pregnant at the time and recently gave birth to their second child, Rhianna, a sister for 11-month-old Mason. A friend of the family is now organising a night in his honour at Whiteleas Social Club, Oswald Street, South Shields, on Friday, November 7, from 7pm to 11pm. Tickets are £4, available on the door, and funds raised will be donated to a charity of the family's choice.Dad Michael, 50, said at the time of this son's death: "Graham might not be around any more, but he will never ever be forgotten."
A mustached foreigner looking for love in New York City sounds like it could be the plot to Borat. Pussyfoot, the new comedy from first time writer/director Dusan Sekulovic, has already drawn comparisons to the 2006 comedy. This feature, however, began shooting in late 2005, a full year before Borat put Kazhakstan on the map. In Pussyfoot, resident alien Irwin (Dusan Sekulovic, also starring in the film) is looking for girls. Not women. Girls. Preferably Jewish ones with one leg. We find him at the beginning of the film pining over having business cards with an important sounding title in order to attract these girls, with something like Executive Production Manager (Irwin is actually a window cleaner for Transparency Inc.). He ends up with a box of misprinted cards (instead reading Produce Manager), and it's back to square zero in finding someone to love him for him in this "second coming-of-age" story.

It took Guinn a year-and-a-half to learn the cobbling trade, but he has also taken on another one, something he initially learned as a teenager: window washing. "It's been a good sideline," he said, acknowledging a school of thought which says achieving streakless windows amounts to something of an art. "Some people say it is. I just say it takes a lot of practice." This day, the tools of his window-washing trade were outside in the bed of his pickup truck. Meanwhile, the space inside his place of primary employment was crowded with the other goods of his livelihood, including his tools, hats like the one he was wearing, belts, polish, even moccasins for folks who prefer that form of footwear. Looking around, Guinn pronounced himself satisfied with his surroundings. As for the future ... "This is probably what I'll be doing," he said with a smile, "until I'm not."

15-Second Pitch-Bluebird Window Cleaning: Business: Bluebird Window Cleaning. Number of employees: Two. Contact: David Vogeli. The company's pitch: Bluebird Window Cleaning is an authorized dealer of the restoration process that removes moisture and condensation from in between window panes. We can save customers up to 70 percent over the cost of window replacement while eliminating foggy window problems and restoring windows' original R-value, the measure of resistance to heat flow.
3M Earnings Call, Third Quarter 2008: Safety, Security and Protection Services sales rose 27% to $1 billion with the recent acquisition of Aearo Technologies contributing 19 points of growth. Organic sales was 9%, led by growth in personal protection solutions, protective window films, and cleaning solutions for commercial buildings. Operating income rose 42% while margins increased 2.3 points year-on-year to 22.8%. Sales were strong across the globe, led by double-digit sales increases in the U.S. and Asia Pacific.

Cleland family compete at Idol 2008 final: A 12 year old school boy and a singing window cleaner from the same family in Cleland have snatched a spot in the regional final of the nationwide Idol 2008 competition. St Aidan's High School pupil Ryan Hardie (pictured) and his uncle Samuel Pratt (39) battled their way through auditions back in September and now they are in with a shot of reaching the grand final which could see them win a recording contract to release a single.Ryan impressed judges with his rendition of the Bob Seger track Old Time Rock And Roll and Samuel opted for swing classic Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra to bag a place in the regional final.Now the singers are practicing hard before they have to face the judges all over again at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall on November 2.

A Warwick-based window washing and blind-cleaning service won the third annual Orange County Chamber of Commerce Business Idol Award for 2008. is owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team of Pete and Tammy Artusa. The firm has been in business less than a year, but beat 14 other local businesses for the award. The Orange County Business Idol competition was held as part of the Chamber’s Expo Business Trade Show at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor. Runner-up businesses included Wiles Chiropractic of Marlboro and Lippincott Manor of Wallkill. The Artusas will receive a marketing makeover for their business valued at more than $12,000. The grand prize includes a written business plan, design and printing of a new trifold brochure, free chamber membership for 2009, free booth at the 2009 expo, miscellaneous public relations and advertising consulting, and free advertising on radio and television.

Bugs 'at the cutting edge of solar technology.' Queensland researchers say insect wings could hold the key to better solar panels and self-cleaning surfaces. The researchers from Griffith University's scanning probe microscopy department have used advanced microscopes to observe and measure structures on the wings of about 200 common insects. They recreated the nano-structures - measuring in the millionths of a millimetre - on man-made materials such as plastic to either repel or attract water. Research leader Greg Watson said creating a surface that adhered to anything or a surface that nothing adheres to was one of the ultimate goals of material science. "Insects that lay their eggs in water such as dragon flies have super-hydrophobic (super water-repelling) structures on their wings in order to repel water," Dr Watson said. "This enables them to skim close to water bodies and fly off dry. "Others, such as certain termites, have super-hydrophilic (super water-attracting) structures that attract and adhere to water. "This ensures that when the insect comes into close proximity with a suitable damp nesting site the insect is immobilised at this location, forcing it to detach its wings, find a mate and nest."
He said while insect wings appeared smooth, they actually feature a landscape of highly specialised nano-sized structures, the depth, proximity and size and shape of which determine their special ability. Researchers have since managed to take nano-scale imprints of the wing structures to duplicate the structures on polymers to create materials with the same properties as the wing. "The possible applications of this research are enormous and varied," Dr Watson said. "If we could make fabrics with super hydrophilic and hydrophobic patterning, we could use these to collect and channel water from the air. "Self-cleaning water-repellent coatings on ships would save a fortune in fuel costs and minimise the use of toxic antifouls, and of course anti-reflective properties could be applied to everything from window glass and spectacles to solar cells and stealth aircraft. "Nature has provided us with a free proven technology that has been finely tuned through evolution over millions of years to aid species survival."

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