Tuesday 31 March 2009

Window Cleaning News & Video

Mark Strange of "Beautiful View" from Toronto, Canada gives us another installment with a few more unbiased reviews of products from Window Cleaning Resource in the window cleaners workplace, this week - "Unger angle arms."

Cleaning up at Young Business Awards: Twenty seven year old Eunan McKernan of Ballymoney based Proclean has been recognised by Advantage NI and Invest Northern Ireland for being amongst the most successful and inspirational young entrepreneurs in the Ballymoney area. Funded by Invest NI, Advantage NI celebrates the spirit of enterprise that is alive and kicking in young people aged 16-30. Eunan was inspired to start up in business by his brother, who is also a cleaning contractor. Proclean commenced trading in February 2007. The company is based on domestic and commercial maintenance cleaning that includes window cleaning, power washing, pvc cleaning and carpet cleaning. Customer satisfaction and competitive pricing is high on Proclean’s list of motivators. Using only the latest in technology to ensure the highest levels of efficiency Proclean delivers to the demands of its market. As Proclean goes from strength to strength Eunan is still not content with stopping here, as he sets his sights high for the future of the business - just as any entrepreneur would! In the future Eunan wants Proclean to have more cleaning machines and more vehicles on the road, creating employment in the local area.
Vail Valley company to offer free window cleaning: In an effort to stimulate the small business economy in the Vail Valley and Summit County, C&K Window Cleaning recently announced it will provide free window cleaning for small businesses. The offer is good only for those who call on April 17 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. “If small businesses are going survive these turbulent times, we are going to have to help each other when we can, because Washington DC doesn’t give a damn about us,” C&K Window Cleaning owner Tracy Matthews said. “That’s why I have committed to help the small businesses of Summit and Eagle Counties by offering free window cleaning so they can better present their products and services to the consumer and hopefully increase sales. This is not the cure all to fixing the local economy, it is a very small step”. The offer applies to ground-level storefronts, lobbies and showrooms.
Sing Up, we've got the wrinkly blues: A Leighton film-maker has come out of retirement to post a music video on the interactive internet site YouTube highlighting the plight of Britain's pensioners. Bruce Barlow, 67, of Steppingstone Place penned the words and music to A Pensioner's Blues. The action illustrates the anger and frustration of older people trying to live a comfortable life on a fixed income and the apparent apathy of the government and forces of law and order to their plight. Featured characters include a shifty-looking window cleaner, a burglar, hooded thugs, a definitely dodgy David Cameron lookalike and a jobsworth policeman. Click on the picture for the video featuring a ladder climbing window cleaner.

Shawn Gavin shows us the backpack & Mike Draper his water fed pole skills at their last demo with products from Reach Higer Ground.

HOLLAND, NJ. Although Norbert Hirst Jr.'s Kleen and Fresh Co. has been cleaning carpets for 22 years, he is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. That's because in 1989 he met a man who revolutionized his technique. The paths of Mr. Hirst and Jim Wulf crossed because they patronized the same supplier. Mr. Wulf is now retired, but in those days he operated Magic Carpet Care in Bucks County. "He saw that I used a portable and asked if I was interested in learning how to clean carpets the right way." Without revealing any trade secrets, Mr. Hirst recalls, "The next three years I did my apprenticeship with him and he taught me every aspect of the industry, including building my own truck-powered carpet- and furniture-cleaning equipment. This same unit is still in use today."
Another highlight of the Holland Township company's history came in 1997 when Mr. Hirst met his wife Deborah, who would also become his business partner. In 1998, she increased their business by 30%. He said, "She runs the office and is the pleasant voice you talk to when setting up your appointment."Over the years, the Hirsts added Oriental rug cleaning and window washing to their services and may soon add tile and grout cleaning.Although the company's carpet cleaning is not yet 100% "green," says Mr. Hirst, jobs can be done that way by request. He can also use hypoallergenic products, if that's what a client requires.
HIS creditors have lost millions and some could go to the wall but high-flying Gold Coast developer Jim Raptis (pictured) is back in business. The man who has transformed the Glitter Strip's skyline has also shown a Midas touch for survival after pulling off a $1 billion rescue of his embattled Raptis Group. But angry subcontractors and suppliers branded him "Teflon Jim" after, for the second time in his career, he cut a deal with creditors which will see them paid a fraction of what is owed. While a majority of creditors agreed to throw him a lifeline, others said Mr Raptis did not deserve another chance. They said his companies should be liquidated and pursued for possible insolvent trading. "Why would we want that person (Mr Raptis) to run the company again?" businesswoman Katrina Pollard said.
Highrise window cleaning company boss Paul Scott said businesses owed about $10 million by Raptis would be "lucky to see 4c in the dollar" and some would not survive. "Teflon Jim's a good name for him," Mr Scott said. "He's used the legal system to get what he wants and he'll be back in business next week. We'll struggle to survive it." The Raptis Group and associated companies collapsed late last year with debts of around $1 billion, leaving subcontractors out of work and a $700 million Hilton Hotel project in Surfers Paradise in limbo.
Court for window cleaner who glued up Wirral alleygates: A disgruntled window cleaner’s one-man anti-alleygate campaign cost a Merseyside council thousands of pounds. During a crusade lasting almost two years James Norman, 47, glued up alleygates on his Rock Ferry and Tranmere patch. Liverpool Crown Court heard the council installed the security gates to crackdown on vandalism, anti-social behaviour and drug dealing. But furious Norman believed Wirral Borough Council was ruining his business. After falling while trying to climb over a gate he began to sabotage the system by sticking putty in the locks. Giving Norman a two-year conditional discharge Judge Bruce MacMillan said: “These difficulties were not insurmountable, you could have just asked a resident to borrow a key. “Instead of that you glued up the locks on various gates that the local authoritywent to considerable trouble and expense to install atthe request of local residents. “When these locks were glued by you the gates were inoperative and all sorts of anti-social, disruptive behaviour, so unpleasant to the residents, recommenced.” Norman, of Palmwood Close, Prenton, admitted 14 counts of criminal damage. He was arrested after he was caught on camera when officials installed CCTV. Anya Horwood, prosecuting, told the court more than 150 locks were broken. But Norman only admitted 30, causing £6,240 worth of damage which he was ordered to repay. Miss Horwood told the court following his crime spree the council decided it was “economically unviable” to keep replacing the gates.
Jacob John Jennings, 20, of Coon Rapids, had been working as a window washer Saturday morning, March 21 outside an office tower near Interstate Hwy. 494 and Normandale Blvd. in Bloomington, Minn. He died the next day at Hennepin County Medical Center. While the Star Tribune reported he had been working with his brother, Randy Jennings, Bloomington Deputy Chief Perry Heles noted a co-worker witnessed Jacob sliding down an angled window trying to grab onto something. Slipping out of view, Jennings was later found on the ground with significant head injuries, Heles told the Isanti County News on Monday. “It’s a tragic accident. He probably wasn’t wearing the safety equipment he was supposed to be wearing, though that hasn’t been established. It’s a logical conclusion when someone falls,” said the deputy chief, adding ropes, ladders and harnesses were found at the scene. Along with police, the Star Tribune reported, state safety officials are also investigating the incident at the 21-year-old tower, which is 381 feet tall and comprised of 24 stories. It is one of four buildings that make up the 1.43 million-square-foot Normandale Lake Office Park. Jennings worked for City Heights, Inc. of Anoka. More details here.
Window washers clean the panes on the 69th floor of the John Hancock building in Chicago.
Another window cleaners cradle video, that obviously wouldn't pass an inspection - with two young guns in high winds at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia.
Jake at the Blue Cross in Philadelphia - impressive building.
And Finally: The best Asian disc jockey (DJ Aon) ever tells us his story through the power of video....

Monday 30 March 2009

The Power of Advertising by Windex

There's just something about these guys. You have to watch them. What if they drop it? How are they going to get around that corner? What if one of the suction cups gives? Wherever men are moving a big sheet of glass, folks just naturally stop to watch. And that's what they did one day on Chicago's busy Michigan Avenue late last year as two men, their hands gripping suction cups, struggled with a large piece of glass, by the looks of it perhaps 8 feet long and 4 or more feet high. Maybe it was for a store window. But there was something odd about this glass, as people up close noticed. It was amazingly clear. In fact, two men in white uniforms weren't carrying a piece of glass at all. They were actors, and the whole thing was a stunt. The giveaway was on the back of their uniforms. "Windex glass cleaner. Glass so clean it’s invisible."
The stunt was the idea from the creative minds at Windex’s agency Draftfcb Chicago. "It’s funny, it started off when we were sitting in my office talking about Windex and the proposition ‘glass so clear it’s invisible,’" says Rob Sherlock, chief creative officer. "Then one of the creative directors said, ‘I’ve had this thought about movers moving glass, but there’s actually no glass.’ Often these things get said and people say, ‘Hey, that’d be nice,’ but then nothing happens. But we decided we have to make this happen." For the men to carry the piece of glass that wasn't, the agency turned to Second City Chicago, the theater company that has produced the likes of John Belushi, Mike Myers, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner. The men were then outfitted in the white uniforms and suctions cups and off they went to play their parts.
Video of the stunt later popped up on YouTube and a number of ad blogs, and Sherlock says its success has caused Windex to consider rolling out similar stunts in other markets later this year. As an alternative campaign, the stunt worked on all the important levels. It was eye-catching, long on imagination and short on cost. "These are simple little initiatives that aren’t expensive and resonate massively," says Sherlock. "All you need are some actors and some suction cups."

More Clever Marketing....
SC Johnson Alleviates 'Window Washing Avoidance Syndrome' Across America: A recent study reveals that 80 percent of homeowners avoid cleaning their outdoor windows - a behavior SC Johnson has identified as Window Washing Avoidance Syndrome (WWAS). The most common WWAS symptom is "window pain," which includes moving outdoor window washing to the bottom of the to-do list because of the time, energy and hassle required to get the job done, combined with lackluster results. The Symptoms Speak for Themselves:
Prior to the development of treatment options, homeowners spoke out about their WWAS symptoms in the Windex(R) Outdoor All-in-One Glass Cleaning Tool Survey. Maybe Next Year - While 72 percent of homeowners think that windows should be cleaned at least a few times per year, only 42 percent say they actually do clean their windows that often. I'd Rather Be... - Almost half of homeowners (48 percent) would rather clean the toilet or shower than clean the outdoor windows. Feeling the Pain - While there are many excuses in the book, 38 percent of homeowners admit they avoid outdoor window cleaning altogether due to the time and effort required. Now, homeowners can enjoy neighborhood bragging rights for the cleanest windows and still have time to lounge by the pool or play with the kids.

Sunday 29 March 2009

Birds & Windows

"During the past winter and early spring, a pair of cardinals have been 'attacking' our house windows -- a male at the rear kitchen window and female at two front ground-level bedroom windows. They obviously think they see a rival bird, but their persistence has amazed me. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have, short of applying outside screens, to alleviate this problem. I'm afraid the birds may eventually injure themselves."
Ah, yes, a sure sign of spring is the repetitious and annoying pitter-patter of birds tapping window panes. Shiny hubcaps and rearview mirrors also sometimes catch their attention. Cardinals and robins are the most common culprits, but over the years I've also had chipping sparrows, towhees and even bluebirds muddying my windows. As days get longer, hormonal changes make birds, especially males (but sometimes even females), aggressive and territorial. Some individuals overreact, perhaps due to a hormone imbalance, and battle their own reflection. This can go on for hours each day and may last the entire breeding season. Usually it lasts just a few weeks. The result is muddy, messy and sometimes even bloody windows and unhappy homeowners.
The solution is to eliminate the reflections. Remove shiny hubcaps. Place paper bags over rearview mirrors while vehicles are parked in the driveway. Windows pose a bigger problem. Solutions include tacking two strings of several feathers to the outside of the window. Loose feathers usually indicate a dead bird, so they may instill fear in wild birds. Purchase a bag of feathers at a craft shop, attach one every 12 inches on a string, then tack two feather strings on the outside of each window under attack. Of course, putting screens on every window (sorry, Bob) is the simplest and most obvious solution.
Another option is the "Bird Screen", a flexible, transparent screen that's removable for easy window cleaning. Though originally designed to protect birds from accidentally flying into windows, the "Bird Screen" is equally effective at preventing birds from battling their reflection.

Vain wagtails get into a flap over car wing mirrors: Residents of a small village have been forced to take drastic measures to protect their cars after they were hit by an outbreak of vanity vandalism - by birds. The situation has become so bad that motorists have taken to making special mittens to cover their wing mirrors. Any mirror left uncovered in Withycombe's main street soon requires cleaning so many locals have saved themselves the labour by sewing special mirror covets for their cars. And the narcissistic culprit has been revealed as a flock of grey wagtails that live beside the local stream. Many birds become obsessed by mirrors at this time of year when they're sorting out their territories in readiness for mating but the situation in the West Somerset village has become just too messy for some proud car owners. 'They'll look at themselves in your wing mirror, then do their business all over it, then fly on to the window ledge of the house to have a go at the glass. It's as if they are saying "look what we've done". 'Many of us just got fed up with cleaning the mirrors, so we made the covers to save the bother.'

Scientific Studies of Window-kills of birds for reading or download. Click picture above for "Window Pain" by David Sibley.

Saturday 28 March 2009

Singing Window Washer's Sad Tale

PETERBOROUGH, TORONTO: Even in death, Lorne Clapper did not exactly go quietly into the night, with police and paramedics arriving at his home not far from the Comstock Funeral Home where he was laid out last week when, truth be known, he had already been dead three days. In the end, therefore, only the coroner was truly needed, not a parade of ambulance and police vehicles. But that would not be in context with his life. Quiet is not a word to describe Lorne Clapper. Foul play, of course, was never out of the realm of possibility when it came to Lorne Paul Flint Clapper - brother to five, uncle to 27 and great uncle to four - but this would not be the case for the odd and often controversial little man best known here as the Singing Window Washer. Instead, he died, at 41, of natural causes.
Christmas, especially, won't be the same. Four Christmases ago, I found him outside the Nutty Chocolatier on this city's main drag, a funky Christmas hat on his head and a battery-powered Happy New Year button twinkling away on his jacket - squeegee in hand, a pail of soapy water at his feet, Bubbles-esque glasses perched on his nose - cleaning the confectionery's windows and singing Christmas carols. O Come All Ye Faithful, he was singing that morning. He sang so loudly, in fact, that he once had hot water poured over his head by an above-store apartment dweller annoyed by his operatic talents, as well as the Christian hymns that often had made-up lyrics.
"I sometimes have trouble remembering the right words," he admitted back then. "So I just sing whatever comes to mind."
Four days earlier, as the news hook for tracking him down, he had been punched out by a 46-year-old Peterborough man who apparently didn't appreciate his singing of Joy To The World.
Lorne Clapper got punched out a lot, though, but he also punched back - sometimes in response to an insult, sometimes for little or no reason at all - and, because of this, and because of various stints in jail, he was a bit of a dilemma to the townsfolk here. Some supported him because of his perceived mental health issues (he told all who would listen that he was a severe epileptic, and would often feign seizures), while others wrote him off as nothing more than a common criminal.
There was very little middle ground when it came to Lorne Clapper, the Singing Window Washer. And that was the quandary.
At this visitation last Sunday, however, the crowd was already well out into the street when the doors to the Comstock Funeral Home finally swung open. Clapper's father, George, had gone to his son's home and retrieved his squeegee and pail, and had placed it at the head of the casket to symbolize his son's best-known role. "He had a rough life," the father said. "But he wanted to be on his own, despite the problems he faced." Lorne Clapper, Grade 3-educated, living on a disability pension, was actually born with spinal meningitis - the epilepsy was a cover, his father said - and, as a result, he had a shunt running from his brain, and a pump to drain the fluid.
"That's why he sometimes acted the way he did," said his father. "But he didn't want anyone to know." Complications from spinal meningitis can include hearing loss or deafness, brain damage, loss of vision, and hydrocephalus, an abnormal buildup of water on the brain. Perhaps if his detractors had only known. Add up the complications and it helps explain Lorne Clapper.
It was an eclectic crowd that came to the funeral home last Sunday to bid farewell to arguably one of Peterborough's more colourful characters. There were well-dressed men and women from the business community, blue-collar types, street people, the working poor, welfare recipients, old vets with poppies in their lapels and even a couple of leather-clad members of the Bikers' Church. The entire social spectrum had come to pay their respects, but not a word concerning the turnout for his funeral was published in the local newspapers. On a bulletin board, next to Lorne Clapper's blue wooden casket and his squeegee and pail, were photographs of Lorne Clapper as a boy - one of him beaming ear-to-ear with a freshly caught walleye and another of him, bare-chested and in swimming trunks, proudly holding a blue ribbon he had won for coming in second in a swim contest. It was a Polaroid shot. Written across the top were the words, Special Olympics, 1985, and, down below, were the words Merryvale School. Back in 1960, the Merryvale School in Campbellford, where Lorne Clapper's family still lives, was one of the first educational projects taken on by what was then called the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded, and was described as the first school for "intellectually disabled children" in Northumberland County. It was the last school Lorne Clapper attended.

Friday 27 March 2009

Friday Night Window Cleaning News

Mark Strange of "Beautiful View" from Toronto, Canada gives us another installment with a few more unbiased reviews of products in the window cleaners workplace, this week - "the ledger" from Jerry Rigdon of Companion tools.

Computer giant Google last week launched Street View – a map innovation allowing millions from all over the world to take virtual stroll up your street. But, as ANDREW DAGNELL finds out, some people might be surprised by what they see… The picture is just one of a number of amusing, embarrassing and candid shots captured by Google Street View – the new service which allows users to access 360-degree views of roads and homes in 25 British towns and cities, including Cardiff, Barry and Penarth. A couple of window cleaners are also photographed while working in the Canton area. Leisurely leaning against a wall, it’s not clear whether the pair are taking a well-earned rest after working tirelessly for hours on end, or simply skiving off work. The 23 other cities covered by the all-seeing Google Street View programme include London, Belfast, Southampton, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Oxford. And Google eventually plans to have the whole of the UK covered by its 360-degree imaging.

Camp Verde man plunges 18 feet: A man was taken to a trauma center Wednesday afternoon after falling 15 to 18 feet from a ladder. The man was washing windows at a house on Grippen Lane off Quarterhorse Lane in Camp Verde. Camp Verde Fire District spokeswoman Barbara Rice says the unidentified patient suffered traumatic injuries to the lower extremities and possibly other injuries. The injured window washer said he apparently lost his footing before falling. He was flown by medical helicopter to Flagstaff Medical Center.

Ex-window cleaner sells Grantley Hall, North Yorkshire, for £4.75m: Grantley Hall, a 160-room historic pile in North Yorkshire, is on the market for £4.75 million. Derek Pearson, the owner, is relinquishing his dream of turning the late 17th-century mansion into the epitome of the dream family home and relocating to Portugal. The coal miner-turned-property developer and businessmen acquired Grantley Hall just four years ago, paying £3million to North Yorkshire County Council. The estate was being used as an adult education centre, but the authority was unable to make the venture pay. Pearson's working life began with 11 years down the pit at Grimethorpe Colliery - whose band starred in the film Brassed Off - before he discovered a talent for property development, buying a house for £1,000 and selling it for £11,000. “When I was a boy I did a paper round, a window-cleaning round and brought in people's coal. I never had a day off in 30 years and would collapse on the bed after a 16-hour shift.” His property business led him to accumulate a number of building plots on the edge of Yorkshire towns such as Doncaster and Skipton. After selling Grantley, he plans to keep a pied-à-terre in the area and to build a villa in Portugal.

YouTube Gives Twitter Love: Google sprinkled a few extra features on YouTube last night, in a spring cleaning effort to catch up with the ever-popular Twitter. Viewers can now post a video they like on Twitter and users got a few tweaks when managing their content. Everybody is integrating Twitter functionality these days, as the microblogging platform gains more user traction. The most prominent example is Facebook, which redesigned its whole news feed to accommodate the need for real-time updates. And now it's YouTube's turn, but with not so much glory.

Police warn of bogus window cleaner in Okus Road area of Swindon: A BOGUS window cleaner is being sought by police. Swindon police Inspector Bill Giles said the officers had received a complaint about a man in the Okus Road area who told a resident on Wednesday that he had taken over rounds for the previous window cleaner. Although the bogus cleaner got into the woman’s house nothing appears to have been stolen. However, yesterday the original cleaner turned up at the house and said that he had heard about the scam from his other customers. It appears the bogus cleaner is seeking funds for jobs yet to be completed from unsuspecting residents. Anyone with information should call police on 0845 4087000 or Crimestoppers on 0800555111.

ACTOR Dieter Brummer has taken that old showbiz saying of "don't give up your day job" literally. After returning from a 10-year break to play a copper in Underbelly: A Tale Of Two Cities, the former Home & Away stud has returned to being a "construction maintenance worker", aka window-washer. The occasional actor says he doesn't mind his blue-collar "plan B". "The good part about it is I don't have to deal with people too much," Brummer said. "If I was pulling beers I would have to put up with guys saying: 'Oh you're pulling beers now and you used to be in Underbelly.'"

John Abbott of Whitney Stained Glass Studio Inc. in Cleveland works on renovating one of the 14 panels taken from the Cuyahoga County Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument on Public Square. The window work is part of a $2 million project that is nearing a midpoint. One of the panels that is nearly completed is behind Abbott. "The cleaning and repairing really brings the windows back to life, back to the way they would have looked then," said studio employee David Smith who spends about 60 hours on each window.

STUDENT-STAINED GLASS: The residents of Commons 5210 keep a fairly clean house, but they have made it clear: They are not washing any windows. In fall 2007, Gail Baltazar and her roommates upstairs in 5310 painted their sorority letters on their third-story bay window. Soon after, Ari Berkowicz and his roommates followed suit, painting the first three letters of the Hebrew alphabet on their window in 5210, 4-feet tall and visible from Van Munching Hall, two parking lots away. But now South Campus Commons says that if the residents of 5210 do not wash their windows, someone else will. After almost two years of inspections with nothing said about the windows, Commons management pulled an abrupt about-face, demanding the residents clean the windows, a makeshift landmark for students navigating campus, by March 27.
If the residents fail to comply, Commons management will charge the residents and send housekeepers to clean the windows, according to an e-mail sent to Berkowicz by Paris Rossiter, the Commons assistant director of operations. Berkowicz said he was told the charge was about $40, split between the four roommates. Baltazar and her roommates wiped their third-floor windows Monday afternoon, saying it was not worth the fight because only two of the current occupants are in the sorority and Baltazar is graduating in May. "Honestly, I'm moving out. I was just like, 'OK, we'll wash it.' If I were staying, we'd definitely fight it," Baltazar said. But Berkowicz and the rest of Room 5210 are not about to give in. "We'd obviously be more understanding if it was something offensive, something more than three letters on a window," Berkowicz said. "It's the Hebrew equivalent of A-B-C."

Support small local businesses: I would like to stress the importance of supporting locally owned businesses in this economically challenging time. Local businesses are run by individuals who are struggling each day, just as you and I are. They are not backed by large corporations, and they make just enough to keep their doors open. We own a local window-cleaning company and know the challenges of keeping 25 people employed. Buying your cup of coffee from a local coffee shop might just be enough for her to keep her doors open. Thinking that your purchase just might make a difference is a good way to decide where to spend your hard-earned dollars.

Thursday 26 March 2009

Las Vegas Window Cleaner Rescue

Window washers rescued from Encore amid high winds: Two men washing windows at the Encore were rescued around 9:15 a.m. today after the scaffolding they were working on was tossed by wind. They were working outside the 15th floor on the south side of the building when high winds caused a cable on their equipment to break, Clark County Fire Department spokesman Scott Allison said. Gusts pushed the men as far as 40 feet away from the side of the hotel-casino, Allison said. Several windows were broken during the incident and both men suffered minor cuts, he said. The men, who were not identified, were strapped into a harness on the scaffolding, Allison said. One of the men was transported to a local hospital, but Allison said his injuries were not life threatening. Allison said no injuries were reported to those inside the rooms along the 15th floor. Wind gusts reached 45 mph this morning at McCarran International Airport and a wind advisory was issued for Clark County until 10 p.m., according to the National Weather Service in Las Vegas.

Two window washers have been rescued with minor injuries after a cable snapped during high winds, slamming their platform into the glass face of a Las Vegas Strip casino. Clark County fire spokesman Scott Allison says rescuers broke out a 15th-floor window of the 48-story Encore tower to reach the men and pull them inside shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday. Allison says one of the men is hospitalized. The other was treated at the scene for cuts and bruises. Allison says windows were broken and glass showered the pool area when winds blew the platform against the tower. But he and a Wynn Resorts spokeswoman say no other injuries were reported. The National Weather Service says winds were gusting to 44 mph at the time.

Wednesday 25 March 2009

The Ionics Glyder Pole

The new Glyder pole from Ionics systems was one of the new products talked about at the last window cleaning show. Since 1997 Ionic Systems has manufactured the Reach & Wash® Window Cleaning System enabling thousands of window cleaners to clean higher, faster and safer. They are the world leader in window cleaning systems & currently supply to 29 countries. The Glyder pole: Weighing just 2.61Kg and made using only 5ft sections, the new pole will appeal to the window cleaner who does a lot of work under 30ft. Perfect for those who need a pole light and narrow enough (35mm) to comfortably use all day. Reuben Reynolds takes us through the videos one by one..

The first video: The E2 Compact 65 is a pole which can reach 65 feet, yet is constructed from 6ft sections, making it easy to handle with extending the pole being a one-person job. The second video is the E3-72, a truly groundbreaking pole. The ability to reach 72 feet will allow window cleaners to reach higher with poles than has so far been possible. This means that some contracts that would have required costly hydraulic platforms can now be reached with water-fed pole. High modulus carbon-fibre makes this pole easy to control even at this height.

Never seen a Reach & Wash system? To understand how Reach & Wash is used to clean windows, watch this video.

Reach and Wash Roadshows! Following the success of the Reach and Wash Roadshows in 2007, they'll be embarking on a new shows from March - April 2009. Details here.

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Window Washer Dies After Fall in Bloomington

Minneapolis: A window washer fell to his death outside an office tower in Bloomington while working with his brother and their sister's fiance, a relative said today. Jacob John Jennings, 20, of Coon Rapids, fell Saturday shortly after 10:15 a.m. at the 8500 Tower, near Interstate Hwy. 494 and Normandale Boulevard, the Hennepin County medical examiner's office said this morning. Jennings died the next morning, the examiner's office said, from "multiple blunt force injuries in a fall from height." Jennings, and his brother, Randy (Duke) Jennings, and future brother-in-law Joshua Westegard were working together when Jacob fell about 25 feet and struck "some type of cement planters" head-first, said Cindy Halgren, an aunt. "They don't know how he fell or why he fell," said Halgren, explaining what the family has learned from police. "He hit those planters first, then he hit the ground," she said. " If he hadn't hit head-first, he probably could've survived."
Police said Jacob Jennings was working on the southwest apex of the building at the time. "A coworker observed him sliding down the angled window trying to grab onto something," said Deputy Chief Perry Heles. "The victim fell out of view and was later found on the ground." Several of the coworkers flagged down a police officer on routine patrol and explained what had happened. Jennings was stabilized and taken by ambulance to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died Sunday morning. Ropes, ladders and harnesses were at the scene, Heles said, but "we don't know yet what types of safety devices he was actively utilizing." At about that time, the National Weather Service was reporting calm winds, with a partly cloudy sky and a temperature of 45 degrees. At 381 feet and 24 stories, the 21-year-old 8500 Tower is the tallest building in the Twin Cities suburbs. It is one of four buildings that comprise the 1.43 million-square-foot Normandale Lake Office Park.
The three window washers worked for City Heights Window Services of Anoka. Officials there were not immediately available to comment. The office park is managed by NorthMarq LLC. Lisa Dongoske, a senior vice president, said that her company has had a "very long, good relationship" with City Heights "without any incidents." Halgren said Jacob had worked for Citywide for about two years, and she was unaware of him having any incidents while on the job.
She said that if window washing "was not the perfect job for Jacob, nothing was. He liked heights."
Known in the family as a daredevil and a jokester, Jacob "did a backflip off the stage" during graduation ceremonies at Braham High School in 2007, Halgren said. "The kids just went nuts," she said. "The whole crowd went wild." More recently, Jacob during two graduation parties in the family "went to the top of a shed and did a backflip onto the trampoline," she said. "He wanted to make everybody a little nervous and laugh at the same time."

Safety Harnesses Save Two Window Cleaners - New York

FDNY makes Brooklyn rescue of window washers hangin' by a prayer: Two window washers were left dangling 30 feet above a Brooklyn street Monday when the scaffolding they were standing on collapsed in high winds. Antonio Rojas, 47, and Carlos Caseres (pictured left), 41, were both wearing their safety harnesses, preventing them from plummeting to the Flatlands street more than three stories below. "My first instinct was to grab the rope and stay calm," said Rojas, who has been washing windows for 26 years. "That's what you have to do ... If you lose your calmness, that's when things go wrong." The wooden, manually operated scaffolding was connected to the roof of the Kings Highway building by a pair of ropes, one of which gave way just before 2 p.m. on the blustery early spring day. As their frantic co-workers called 911, the two men could only pray the remaining rope would hold as they clung to it for nearly 15 minutes. "No one wants to die like this," said Rojas. "We're lucky this time."
Firefighters secured the men with a second rope from the roof. They then used a ladder to reach the men and pull them to safety. "The scaffolding was like a trap door and it gave way," said Chief Donald Howard of Battalion 33. "Without the harness, they would have fallen and landed on a metal picket fence."
The Buildings Department issued two violations to the building owner for use of rigging equipment without a rigger's license and failure to safeguard all persons and property during construction operations, officials said.

Monday 23 March 2009

Sex Shop Window Haunts Florist

A florist received an unwelcome surprise when the windows of her store misted up and revealed its past as a licensed sex shop. Every morning, large letters spelling out the store's previous function are clearly visible to passers by in Reigate, Surrey. Clare Ross, who owns Willows flower shop with her mum, Shirley, said: "We have done everything we can to get rid of it but it just won't go. "Every day it's back. I knew this place had been a sex shop but it was completely empty when we took it over. There were no signs of its past at all.
"Then suddenly these huge letters appeared in the morning condensation saying licensed sex shop above our Interflora sign." She sponged it away every morning only for it to come back the next day. She said: "I was worried it would put our customers off. There was a big hoo-haa when the sex shop opened because it's not that kind of town and it is very residential round here. "We are trying to sell love and romance, not sex." The Pillow Talk sex shop, part of a national chain, opened in the quiet street near the railway station, where dozens of children get the train to school every day, in 2004, despite a 289-signature petition and 173 letters of objection. The windows were blacked out with red film to hide the blue DVDs, sex toys and kinky clothes on sale inside.
Ms Ross, 40, said: "We did everything we could to get rid of the ghostly letters that came back to haunt us. We had a professional cleaner in, tried lighter fluid, petrol, scouring pads. Nothing worked. The glue from the sticky lettering has seeped right into the glass and the history is locked away there. "The only way to get rid of it would be to replace the whole window. But now everyone has got used to it, it's become a bit of a talking point. People come in to ask us if we realise there is sex shop emblazoned on our window and end up buying flowers, so maybe we'll keep it."
Perhaps they should try some "Rain-x" or other hydrophobic coating - this sometimes hides the ghosting - or perhaps the shop is happy with the publicity it's enjoying?

Sunday 22 March 2009

Window Cleaning Videos

Some random window cleaning videos for your enjoyment. First up some mirror cleaning in Fuerte Ventura, Canary Islands, Spain. The second, the same guy breaking every health & safety rule in the book, at the same time ignoring his own safety & those around him. 

Our jobs are safe....

Window washing fail...

The North & South of England - different ways to clean windows..

Phil Alexander creator of the Simpole shows us how strong the sections are by driving over them & working at height with the Gardiner water fed poles.

This Indoor Clean Pole is an innovative product from Baudoin Systems.  The system offers an ergonomical and practical solution for the cleaning of all kinds of vertically and horizontally glass and other smooth surfaces inside buildings, which are difficult to reach for window cleaners i.e. when desks, small cases or equipment are placed in front of a window.

ServiceMaster Clean by Deeland is one of the largest ServiceMaster Contract Services cleaning business in the UK. "Todays commercial businesses demand quality & value," some nice wording & selling points. Looks like a tucker pole!

Nick Kaczun (Lustre Luxury Cleaning & Services) of Toronto, Canada is featured on Doctor in the House. Lustre is Toronto's first luxury cleaning and services company providing services to residential and commercial clients throughout the city's finest neighbourhoods. Some more cleaning pointers & possible add-ons!

Finally, one for the ladies...

Saturday 21 March 2009

Security: A Thorny Issue for Window Cleaners

Window Cleaners beware the new craze in home security - the thorny growing plant. And don't they grow! A small four foot bush can be up to the second floor within the year. Personally I've had multiple cuts over the last few months & countless holes in my water fed pole hose. Just a warning - be on the look out!

Security is not all about barbed wire and bars. Nature provides a host of natural fences that make a better deterrent than most man made ones... Picture a climbing rose cascading over a wall, a beautiful site but not much fun to climb over! Bougainvillea is another riot of colour most of the year, but look closely and you will find a tangle of sharp barbs beneath the lush green leaves. If a thorny creeper is not suitable, then consider hedging with the indigenous Kei Apple (Dovyalis caffra). It is a rather prickly shrub but looks very good when cut (carefully!) into a neat hedge. A bonus is the female plants produce small apricot like fruits which are greatly loved by birds and humans alike. The Num Num (Carissa macrocarpa) makes a dense and thorny, but neat shrub. It has edible red fruits that are high in Vitamin C; follow the sweetly scented star shaped flowers! This dense indigenous shrub is also a favourite nesting site. For a thorny groundcover try the dwarf form, aptly named 'Green Carpet'. There are also many exotic plants that have thorns, barbs and spikes. The Firethorn (Pyracantha) have thorns that live up to it’s name. A scratch from one of those and you know all about it. The Hawthorns (Crataegus) might not be thorny, but tiny little twigs jut out from the stems and make an impenetrable barrier. Berberis have lovely little thorns and very attractive foliage. Some varieties have purple leaves while others are maroon. It's not only perimeter walls that need to be secured. Windows can be effectively secured by planting a Cycad alongside. I doubt though that your window washer will be too pleased!
If you have a house that lends itself to Cycads, then plants like Aloes and Yucca will also look good. Very often these thorny plants make the life of would be intruders very difficult, but are a haven for birds and other wildlife that use the natural fortifications to their benefit. Which all goes to show that security really is a thorny issue!

Don't pull large embedded objects out of your flesh. If it's a splinter, that's one thing. But you may want an emergency physician to remove a thorn, barb from a fence, fish hook, nail, or other large objects. A tetanus shot may be needed.
Clean cuts and scrapes with water and soap and bandage lightly. The old air-dry philosophy is losing favor. Bandaged cuts are less likely to be reopened. If a cut will not stop bleeding, seek medical attention. Peroxide, by the way, may slow the healing process. Stick with soap and water or just plain water. Smear on antibiotic cream and cover.

Friday 20 March 2009

Friday Window Cleaning News

Ladder find lands thief with a fine: When Phillip Akers found an aluminium ladder under a road bridge he thought it was his lucky day. But Akers, 29, of Hawe Farm Way,Herne Bay was spotted dragging it along Canterbury Road, Herne Bay. The ladder and a box cleaning fluid had been stolen from a local window cleaner the previous day Canterbury Magistrates were told. He pleaded guilty to theft by finding. Ian Bond, defending, said the ladder had been stolen and dumped under the bridge. Because there were three rungs missing Akers decided it was only worth scrap value. Akers was fined £80 and ordered to pay £60 costs plus £15 victim surcharge.

Downtown busker, window washer sang on street corners: Lorne Clapper, a highly visible downtown busker and window washer, has died. He was 42. Police, paramedics and representatives from the coroner's office were called to Mr. Clapper's Rubidge Street home Tuesday at about 7 p. m. City police Sgt. Dan MacLean said Mr. Clapper's death doesn't appear to be suspicious. Tim Saylor, a friend of Mr. Clapper's, said he heard the news of his friend's death last night. "A lot of people put him down because he sang on the corners," Saylor said. "A lot of people said he should learn another song, but why? He was happy. He's sharing the music he had in his heart with all of us." Mr. Clapper was well known to the downtown community, he said. "Maybe now he's washing windows for the big guy," Saylor said.

David Senior's 36-foot fall off the balcony of a St. Pete Beach hotel is notable because he was relatively unharmed. But he hardly fell into the annals of historic plunges in which people survived. Last year, New York City window washer Alcides Moreno survived a fall of 47 stories. His brother was killed in the fall. Moreno was traveling about 124 mph when he hit the ground, according to published reports, though his fall likely was cushioned by scaffolding that he clung to on the way down. Moreno broke 10 bones and suffered brain and spinal column injuries. He underwent 16 surgeries. Senior was traveling about 33 mph when his 36-foot fall ended on a concrete ledge Tuesday night.
Survival is often a function of an old adage: It's not the fall that kills you, it's the landing. In short, landing on the skull is almost always fatal, according to a study of 200 falls by Fordham Misericordia Hospital. Landing in a manner that damages the pelvic area or the nearby organs can lead to death. Feet-first is almost always better. People 20 to 40 have a markedly higher survival rate than those younger than 10 or older than 51. Alcides Moreno was 37; Senior is 26.
Sawbridgeworth - Police Warning Over Bogus Callers: RESIDENTS in Sawbridgeworth are being warned to stay on their guard after a number of reports about bogus callers in the area. Hertfordshire Police are currently investigating reports of a man calling at addresses in Sawbridgeworth, as well as Bishop's Stortford and Broxbourne, claiming to be collecting money on behalf of a window cleaning company. There were five reported incidents in the town on March 9 at properties in Bullfields and Leat Close. The man is described as white, aged between 20 and 25 years old. He is around 5ft 11in tall and of a slim build. He has short, light brown hair and was wearing a three quarter length beige jacket. Bishop's Stortford Neighbourhood Team Sergeant Chris Hunt said: "In some of these cases money has been given to the caller in good faith. "We are investigating these calls fully and I would urge people to contact police if they have had any calls of this nature. "I would also advise people that if they are faced with a similar situation to challenge the caller, check with your usual window cleaning company and not to part with any money if you are in doubt.

Cosmetic upgrades can pay big dividends: In a sluggish housing market, fairly inexpensive cosmetic changes can make a big difference in whether a home sells quickly or lingers on the market. “It’s pretty important these days to do everything you can,” said Realtor George Strode of Re/Max Buckhead. A buyer likes a fresh look, spaciousness and ample closet and shelf space. Strode, a veteran Realtor, emphasizes that the smallest detail can matter when it comes to a sale at the best possible price. Have windows cleaned - Window washing, one of the services that Shalaby’s business provides, can make even the oldest home sparkle. Clean windows let in light and freshen up the entire ambiance.

More cuts in the service sector: The board also cut approximately $15,000 from the budget, decreasing money spent on window washing services and discontinuing uniform services for its custodial staff. If this proposal gains full House and Senate majorities and the governor’s signature, then school funding will essentially stay flat for the next two school years. Grosdidier said that if deep budget cuts are made at the state level, then the district would form a community advisory committee in April to help guide the district in making further cuts. In other actions, the board: Approved a $1,000 donation to the All-Night Prom.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors cut programs and services and delayed projects to help balance a projected $118 million shortfall in the 2009-10 budget. The board this week unanimously voted to cut $32.6 million in its first round of massive spending cuts, which includes layoffs and the elimination of vacant positions. Most of the cuts take effect July 1; others start immediately. The number of layoffs and eliminated positions is unclear, budget officials said. The cuts impact about half of the county's departments and cut deep into the county's $2.2 billion budget. Some of the effects include Cleaning services at non-public county buildings will be cut back, and so will the frequency of window-cleanings.

Home economics: Frugal families doing own chores. Beth Rogers is taking the family's finances into her own hands literally. The 35-year-old from Fayetteville, Ark., ditched her weekly housekeeping service and now mops her own floors. She and her husband, Stanley, work in the yard after canceling their lawn care contract. She cooks at home instead of the family eating out, and she told her husband to iron his own shirts rather than send them to the cleaners. Total savings? About $10,000 a year. "It made me feel embarrassed, because I realized the things we were hiring out was just me being lazy, or things I could do for myself," said Rogers, a stay-at-home mom who made the changes after business began to slow at her husband's car wash company.
Across the country, people are taking on chores that only a year ago were hired out to someone else. They're dyeing their own hair, shoveling their own snow, washing their own cars and taking up paint brushes to brighten their living room walls. The do-it-yourself trend has hurt some businesses and created opportunities for others. Procter & Gamble Co., which makes Swiffer dusters and Mr. Clean cleansers, expects an increase in sales of its cleaning products. But the company doesn't see it as evidence that maids are being fired. Instead, it's a sign people are spending more time at home and noticing the grime, said Marie-Laure Salvado, a spokeswoman for the Cincinnati-based company.
But he also acknowledged that luxury services like his may be some of the first things cut when household budgets get trimmed. "It's certainly not a necessity," he said. "And if it's a choice between putting food on your table or getting your lawn fertilized, that's a decision that's going to be pretty clear."

Too many jobs going to illegal immigrants: A janitor’s job opened up at an elementary school in Ohio, and within a week there were 839 applications. If that doesn’t tell our policy makers anything about a way to address the nation’s unemployment problems, I’ll help them out.Hundreds of thousands of people are desperate for work at the moment. Many will do almost anything honest. Though this job paid $15 an hour, they’ll work for less than that if they have to. But if menial positions don’t scare them away, something else sideswipes their hopes – illegal aliens who have already stolen work they’d like to have, who keep wages lower than they would otherwise be and who are themselves frequently exploited, sometimes sweating for less than the minimum wage. One answer is to send the illegals packing, thus eventually freeing up millions of jobs, and here is another: Change immigration laws to favor the skilled and educated, thus boosting the economy and helping it grow. Please, please, skip the argument that American citizens won’t do the work – they already constitute the vast majority of workers in virtually every field employing illegals – and cut out the blather that enforcement of our immigration laws would be either impossible or cruel or that only a bigot would worry more about the welfare of citizens than taking care of residents breaking the law. Hardly anyone is suggesting a massive, national sweep of the illegal aliens. The need is for an insistent crackdown on employers who have first been equipped by the federal government with reliable methods of figuring out who is legal and who isn’t.

High Q ascends to new heights in Japan: Safety systems provider High Q will test its limits in Tokyo after striking a deal through Austrade to provide rope access training to a Japanese company. Brisbane-based High Q is a leader in Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) safety training, using its systems to secure people working at heights. High Q will assist in improving safety and operation standards of industrial rope usage abroad. In a city of skyscrapers, the Japanese trainees will benefit from High Q’s IRATA skills in difficult situations such as large-scale window cleaning. Austrade’s Tokyo-based senior trade commissioner, Elizabeth Masamune, says High Q’s success is a testament to the skills of the Australian services sector. “High Q represent an excellent example of the diversity of Australian services companies that have the capacity to win business in Japan,” Masamune says. Over the 2007-2008 period Austrade helped 628 Australian businesses achieve deals in Japan worth $1.15 billion.

"Sunshine Cleaning" Amy Adams washes up crime scenes and her troubled life in this quirky comedy-drama that could be the next oddball indie sleeper. One day Mac suggests to Rose that she could make a lot more money doing specialized cleaning jobs -- in other words, putting her skills to work at crime scenes, or in houses where people have recently died (a profession that also features in Charlie Huston's recent novel, "The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death"). Rose doesn't much like the idea, but she desperately needs the money, and so she enlists Norah to help her. An early scene, in which the two women gamely go after a gruesome bloodstain with spray cleaner and little toothbrushes, has a dash of charm: Their chutzpah in the face of recent tragedy is touching.

Acid graffiti scars downtown Danbury: Downtown property owners are offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the vandal plaguing the city with a new form of graffiti.
Some 30 properties on Main Street, West Street, Ives Street and Elm Street, to name a few, have been hit with graffiti in recent weeks, according to Andrea Gartner, CityCenter Danbury manager. The downtown experienced a similar rash of graffiti in the fall. Publicity in The News-Times drove that tagger away, authorities said. This time the vandal is leaving his mark on doors and windows using an acid-based product that permanently scars the glass. Solutions such as "Etch Bath" and "Armor Etch-All" corrode glass, making removal impossible. The products are intended for crafts people who wanting to make etched-glass items.
Vandals mix the acid-based product with water, shoe polish or paint to create an easily applicable solution. The new graffiti -- and its impact on New York City subway cars -- was noted in a 2006 article in The New York Times. Property owners are left with a milky-white stain on their windows, Gartner said, and some of them have to replace the glass entirely. "This kind of graffiti tagging is not artistic. It is criminal," Gartner said. "There aren't any products that can get it off." Many of the marks read "Rize." Police may be closing in. "We will find him and we will prosecute him," said Ken Utter, an officer with the Danbury Police Department who is an expert on the graffiti subculture. If police gather evidence against a suspect, he could be charged with first-degree criminal mischief, a felony, because the sum total of damage to the properties could exceed $1,500.
Multiple charges of second-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor in which the damage exceeds $250, is another possibility. Joe DaSilva, who owns commercial buildings and rental apartments throughout the city, said three glass doors on Elm Street were hit, along with two large storefront windows. He estimated it will cost $2,750 to replace them.
The fall tagging spree, coupled with the acid graffiti now plaguing the city, is the worst graffiti Danbury has seen in at least a decade. Utter theorizes that since graffiti has gone mainstream and is accepted as an art form, young people are trying to emulate the artists. However, the vandals are giving the art a bad name. Six downtown property owners contributed money for the reward, including DaSilva, attorney Auggie Ribeiro, Union Savings Bank, landlord Mark Nolan, Two-Steps owner Tom Devine, and CityCenter Danbury. Anyone with information should call Utter at (203) 796-1662.

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