Thursday 31 December 2009

Window Cleaning News: Welcome 2010

Goodbye 2009, welcome 2010 - watch the whole of Sydney's New Year's fireworks display to welcome in the New Year by clicking the pictures below.

Resolutions for Lombard: New Year, New Focus - The issue: For residents to remember the small businesses in town and shop locally. The problem Due to the struggling economy, many small, local businesses are suffering since most people are doing much less shopping. “We appreciate business and rely on patronage in order to keep the doors open, especially in this economy,” Roberts said. Local stores throughout Illinois have experienced difficult times due to low patronage. As residents try to save money, they are hurting local businesses.
How to fix it: “The more business we get, the more hours we can give our employees, who will in turn spend more money locally,” Roberts said. If residents shop at Lombard shops, they will not only be helping business owners, but also employees, who are experiencing pay cuts. “All of us together can help grow our community,” Roberts said. Lombard offers many local shops including Mr. Z Foodmart, F.J. Furniture Inc., Five Star Window Washing, and Clancy’s Butcher Shop. The variety of stores makes downtown Lombard a one-stop-shop for any retail needs. When residents support these businesses over big chains such as Jewel or Target, local shops have a better chance of remaining open during these tough times.

A Suffolk couple have told of their “living nightmare” as they wait on a Home Office decision that could see their daughter deported back to America. Kursten Dixon, 19, is currently living with her mother, stepfather and younger brother and sister in Ashwell Road, Bury St Edmunds, but visa regulations mean she could soon be on a plane back to America and an uncertain future. Matthew Dixon, 29, her stepfather, said Kursten was paying a terrible price for a decision she made when she was just 17. Mr Dixon met Kursten's mother Taressa in Oklahoma, where he was teaching football, in 2001, and they married soon after. He initially stayed in America with his wife and her three children - including Brooke, now 15, and Gavin, 12 - until 2007 when the family decided to move back to England. He said: “There had been a stabbing at the children's school and problems with guns so it seemed right to come back to Bury St Edmunds. Kursten had a boyfriend at the time and chose to stay in America.” When the relationship ended, Kursten decided to rejoin her family in August last year but having turned 18 her visa application was denied and she was forced to come later in the year on a six-month temporary visa.
Mr Dixon, who runs a window cleaning business with his wife, said: “When she arrived at Heathrow she was interrogated for 15 hours due to her previous visa denial. “It was a terrible time and we were doing everything we could to stop her being sent back.” Eventually Kursten was given two days to spend with her family before finally being granted a stay of six months. Since then the family have spent more than £10,000 on lawyers in their battle to keep Kursten in England. Mr Dixon, who plays football for Thetford Town, said: “She and all of us are in a living nightmare that is taking its toll on my wife and family.

An Internet Solution to Youth Unemployment? Three Sacred Heart Girls College leavers were unhappy to find that positions in the current employment marketplace are few and far between. “Finding work had never been a problem for any of us in the past,” says Ruby, spokesperson of the group. “Girls from our school were known as being industrious and reliable. Now, suddenly, positions just don’t exist.” Unwilling to spend the time between High School and University unemployed, the girls tackled the problem with research, going straight to Google.
If there were so few work opportunities, they decided, then they would have to 'create' their own – businesses that is. Their research came up with a newly established business directory website that concentrated on the 'delivery' of services (or products). The girls had previously provided baby-sitting/child-minding services, cleaned houses and even undertaken gardening duties for extra income. The website definitely seemed suited to their skills, easy to find, and it allowed a business listing free of charge. “Rather than place little signs on supermarket notice-boards, we decided to establish new businesses on-line.” From lawn mowing to window cleaning, the numbers of local services provided by youthful business-people are increasing nationally, and with the current stats on unemployment showing over 100,000 out of work, the girls may have found the natural solution.

Angry Ealing leaseholders say they have been forced to pay thousands of pounds for work that was never carried out. Justine Walker and her neighbours in Sheridan Court, Northolt, say they are unfairly billed for a long list of services every year, including pest control, graffiti removal, towing away abandoned cars, gardening, window cleaning and other maintenance work. This year the 14 leaseholders were even ordered to meet the cost of unblocking a council tenant's toilet, a cost which should have been met by the council. Ms Walker, who has battling Ealing Homes, who manage the flats, for nine years, said: "Fighting them is incredibly stressful. People have moved out because they have got so fed up. We all feel like we're banging our heads against a brick wall." The 39-year-old added that the charges are extortionate. Unblocking the tenants toilet cost more than £300 and just changing a light bulb racked up a £85 bill.

Sister pays tribute to popular Billingham window cleaner: A popular window cleaner who served the same Billingham round for 27 years died just days before Christmas. Jeffrey Ward was found on December 20 at his home in Dawson House, Billingham. A post-mortem examination revealed he had died of coronary artery disease. Jeffrey was born and bred in Billingham and attended Davy Hall Campus. He married in his twenties but divorced and lived on his own for the rest of his life. He worked alone on his round which included Teesdale Avenue, Stokesley Crescent, Central Avenue, Cotswold Crescent and Pentland Avenue for 27 years. His sister Dee Dixon said her brother was well-liked by his customers and they were welcome to attend his funeral on Monday at St Hilda’s Chapel, Teesside Crematorium at 3.45pm. “Jeffrey really loved his job and cared about his customers,” she said. “He had the same round for 27 years. He worked on his own and didn’t earn a lot of money.”
“It took me months to persuade him to go on to working tax credits because he wasn’t earning enough money to live. “I said to him you’re only charging some of these houses £1.50 but he said they were older and he didn’t want to put the money up in case they couldn’t afford it.” Jeffrey had been due to spend Christmas with his Dee and her family. She said: “He’d been really looking forward to it. “It’s been a terrible time. He was found sitting at his computer and the police said he hadn’t got up to call for help so it must have been very sudden. “We found out that he had a dizzy spell recently but he didn’t tell us because he wouldn’t have wanted to worry us. “Jeffrey was a simple-living lad who didn’t have much but he was so pleasant and really cared about his customers. “He was happy with his little life, liked his TV programmes and didn’t really go out much. “His job was quite sociable. He used to chat to his customers all the time and always made sure he did the best job he could.”

John F. "Floyd" Peters: Floyd slipped away from us the night of Dec. 21, 2009, at Richboro Care Center. He was born in Marlton, N.J., on Aug. 26, 1915. In 1941, he joined the work force of Rohm and Haas and retired from there as a chemical pump operator in 1978. While employed at Rohm and Haas, he started and operated his own window and floor cleaning service. For approximately 20 years, he maintained both jobs. After retirement from Rohm and Haas, Floyd worked until 1995 with his son, John, in his son's landscaping business. Throughout most of his life, he enjoyed good health and outdoor pastimes. He was proud of his physique, which he attributed to his amateur boxing career and his love of sailing, swimming, and water-skiing. He routinely visited Long Beach Island in the summer and enjoyed the beach and fishing.

A patient at Stracathro Hospital has accused the Scottish Government of putting political dogma before the welfare of the public. Mike Guthrie, who is recovering from a hip replacement operation, said the hospital should stay in the hands of a private operator and not be taken back into the NHS fold in January. The 63-year-old window cleaner said he had to wait just four weeks from his first appointment until the operation. He has been told he will need another hip within two years, but the wait will be at least 18 weeks. The hospital was threatened with closure until it was taken over by private healthcare firm Netcare as part of a £15million, three-year contract. Despite it providing thousands of operations to patients from Grampian, Fife, Tayside and Forth Valley, and having no health-acquired infections, the Scottish Government decided it should be taken back inside the NHS.
Mr Guthrie, of Grampian Way, Kirriemuir, said the care he received and cleanliness was “unbelievable”. He added: “I went in at 3pm and was operated on at 6.45pm and was up the next morning. It was a day short of four weeks from the time I saw the surgeon until I got my operation.” He said the Scottish Government only wanted to take it back into the NHS because the hospital was working and ministers saw it as a vote winner. “It is all to do with politics, they are not thinking of the care of the public,” Mr Guthrie said. Mr Guthrie’s case was raised in the Scottish Parliament by Tory leader Annabel Goldie yesterday as she challenged First Minister Alex Salmond over the contract.

Halstead's MP claimed £21,528 in expenses in a 12-month period, which included having his ‘playhouse’ cleaned. Sir Alan Haselhurst’s expense claims from April 2008 to March 2009 have been published online this month. Two invoices from a window cleaning company billed the Sir Alan for “cleaning exterior of main house and cleaning playhouse” at his band H Duddenhoe End home. In total, the deputy speaker, who represents the Saffron Walden constituency, claimed £468 for window cleaning during the financial year. With regards to the playhouse claim, Sir Alan said: “It was the shorthand of my window cleaner. “The outhouse is a workshop and garage. “We have a table tennis table in there.”

Another way to change your fitness in 2010 is to add more oomph to your daily activities. You may think of activities such as vacuuming, laundry, window cleaning and gardening as chores, rather than opportunities for exercise, but do them with diligence and you can really work up a sweat. Get a pedometer. This simple clip on device counts the number of steps you take. Ideally, we need to aim for 10,000 steps each day for good health. It will give you an idea of how many steps you are taking and where to pick up some slack.

Court rejects city law protecting janitors: A Pittsburgh ordinance designed to protect janitors from losing their jobs in Downtown office buildings violates Home Rule law. The Supreme Court issued an opinion on the matter Monday. City Council enacted an ordinance in 2004 governing building complexes with more than 100,000 square feet of floor space. If the owner switches security, janitorial, maintenance, stationary engineering or window-washing contractors, the new firm has to hire the old firm's workers. If there are too many workers, some can be let go in order of seniority, and any can be fired for cause, otherwise, they can't be fired or laid off for 180 days. "During a recession, it's amazing the Supreme Court would have such a lack of concern for working people across the state," he said. "Pittsburgh was trying to create a stop-gap measure to protect workers." Justice Debra Todd wrote a seven-page dissenting opinion saying that the result of the majority decision is unreasonable and in direct conflict with the general assembly's intent for home rule municipalities. "Indeed, after today's decision, municipalities which have adopted home rule now possess less power than non-home rule municipalities," she wrote.

Braun, 46, said he has been fascinated with horror ever since reading Edgar Allan Poe's "A Tell Tale Heart" in high school. Although Braun has worked a variety of jobs - he's currently a window washer - his real passions are death metal music (which he plays assiduously) and writing. In the past two years, since taking up fiction seriously, he's gained some recognition beyond Downstate Story, winning honors on various online venues specializing in the horror genre. Don't make the mistake, though, of assuming Braun is as troubled as the title character in "Freaks." Like most people, Braun says he simply enjoys a good scare. "A lot of people have deep, profound reasons why they write," Braun said. "I do it just because it's fun."

Man in moon will wear blue to ring in New Year: The full moon Four Corners residents will see Thursday really does live up to the idiomatic expression “once in a blue moon," which means extremely rarely. In Durango, the full moon will rise at 5:11 p.m. New Year's Eve and set at 7:23 a.m. New Year's Day. It will be the first time since 1990 that the second full moon in December occurs on New Year's Eve. Ordinarily a blue moon - defined nowadays as the second full moon in a calendar month - occurs about every 2.5 years.
Historically, a blue moon was the celestial equivalent of the odd man out because usually each month had a full moon. But the lunar cycle of 29.5 days complicated reckonings, particularly for ecclesiastical authorities who had to establish a date for Easter. A 13th full moon that sneaked in would throw the liturgical calendar out of whack. So now Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls on March 21 or thereafter. Under the new calculation, Easter can fall as early as March 22 or as late as April 25.
Blue moon apparently has a nice ring to it. Businesses across the country have so designated themselves: Once in a Blue Moon Window Cleaning in Bayfield. “My daughter and I were kicking around names for the business eight years ago when I saw a client - a single guy I clean for only occasionally," owner Shirlene Hendrix said Tuesday. “When I said, 'I clean for him once in a blue moon' I knew I had hit on the name."

When a crazed pedestrian carjacker jumped onto a BMW coupe in downtown Vancouver Tuesday, what followed was carnage-with a Hollywood conclusion. After speeding in reverse on a busy street and hitting three vehicles, the stolen Beemer careened into the CBC's new studio. Four people were sent to hospital, including the suspect, in the "bizarre carjacking" Tuesday morning, said Vancouver police spokeswoman Const. Anne Longley. Police were called about 10:35 a.m. when window-cleaner Chris Hill reported that a violent confrontation was unfolding below him at the intersection of Cambie and West Georgia streets.
Hill told The Province a relatively well-dressed man approached the stationary BMW, gesturing and shouting at the driver, and then jumped on the hood of the car. The male driver got out and chased the pedestrian off, apparently threatening to beat him, while a female passenger got out and urged her companion to get back in the car. The driver got back in, pulled around the corner and parked on West Georgia, then jumped out and ran across the street to get help from another driver who had seen the conflict. Meanwhile, the pedestrian was stamping around the intersection, venting at bystanders. "He was going on that he was God and he could part water," Hill said. "I think he was a bit disabled in the head."
Next, Hill says, the pedestrian jumped into the parked BMW with the woman still sitting in the front passenger seat. He apparently started the car in reverse, but before he got far, the car's owner and another man ran at the BMW. The owner ripped open the driver-side door and tried to yank the carjacker out. But the BMW accelerated backward against the flow of traffic on West Georgia, and the two men were sent tumbling to the street. Gaining speed, the stolen vehicle hit one car and then smashed into a black SUV, shearing off the driver's-side door. The BMW then hit a third vehicle before veering onto a sidewalk and crashing into the ground-floor windows of the CBC building on West Georgia, a block north of Cambie.

Wednesday 30 December 2009

Less Windows To Clean in the Future?

Glass vs. plastic
Another technical advance that should help push OLEDs into the big leagues is the eventual ability to put OLED material on plastic, creating a whole new generation of formable, flexible, even dynamic displays. In addition to the application and form-factor advantages, the ability to produce flexible displays using a roll-to-roll process is expected to bring new cost and volume advantages to display manufacturing.

"Initially, plastic will replace glass for two reasons: it is unbreakable and it is much lighter. So the benefits of going to plastic over glass will start there," said Tom Miller, vice president and general manager for DuPont Displays' passive-matrix business (Research Triangle Park, NC). "The next benefit, which is more compelling and will create new kinds of products, is the moldability of the display—with plastic, we can begin to see displays molded into kitchen appliances, auto dashboards, and other applications that are not flat. And when manufactured on a roll-to-roll basis, for the first time we can create displays of any size, even floor-to-ceiling."

In roll-to-roll manufacturing, paper, plastic, or metal foil can be coated with a material in a continuous process that drastically improves manufacturing costs and volumes when compared to batch processing. It is not a new technique, having been used in the printing industry for years, but it is a concept new to the optoelectronics and microelectronics industries. Companies such as E-Ink (Cambridge, MA) see roll-to-roll as a perfect fit for their technology. E-Ink has demonstrated an electronic ink display attached to a flexible silicon thin-film transistor backplane as part of the company's effort to develop electronic "paper" products. Here, the electronic ink is printed onto a sheet of plastic film that is laminated to a layer of circuitry. The circuitry forms a pattern of pixels that can then be controlled by a display driver. These microcapsules are suspended in a liquid medium that allows them to be printed using existing screen-printing processes.

Glowing wallpaper brightens future for lighting: Glowing wallpaper could replace lamps for lighting homes and offices, according to the government-backed Carbon Trust. The trust has given a £454,000 grant to Lomox, a Welsh start-up company, to accelerate the development of its "light emitting wallpaper". The material, which uses organic light emitting diode or OLED technology, runs on very low voltages and is twice as efficient as today's energy-saving bulbs. It could reach the market as soon as 2012, said Ken Lacey, chief executive of Lomox.

Other companies are investigating OLED technology, either for flat displays or for room lighting but have not succeeded commercially because of high costs and short operating lifetimes. Patents filed by Lomox overcame both problems, Mr Lacey said. Manufacturers would apply its light-emitting chemical on to wallpaper with low-voltage electrical connections: "It gives a very natural, sunlight-type of lighting with the full colour range." The Lomox technology might also be useful for outdoor sites, where mains power is not available. Computer and television displays are another future application.

"Lighting is a major producer of carbon emissions," said Mark Williamson, director of innovations at the Carbon Trust. "This technology has the potential to produce ultra-efficient lighting for a wide range of applications, tapping into a huge global market." The trust is looking for other technologies with good commercial prospects and significant carbon-saving potential, he said. They would be eligible to receive up to £500,000 in grant funding from its applied research scheme.

Organic light-emitting diodes - OLEDs - emit light when a current flows through them. Unlike conventional LEDs, OLEDs are made from layers of plastic and other organic (carbon-based) materials. Examples are already in mass production for displays in MP3 players and phones. Sheets of OLED material are proposed to replace light bulbs and fluorescent tubes for house and office lighting. There are several reasons why OLEDs are causing so much excitement amongst makers of gadgets and lighting products:
  • The materials are deposited by industrial coating processes which are cheaper than the techniques required to make conventional LEDs.
  • They are inherently thin.
  • They can be made on flexible plastic substrates - which will almost certainly lead to full colour flexible displays less than 1mm thick.
  • All colours, and multi-colours, are possible
  • However, there are drawbacks:
  • OLEDs are not yet as efficient at making light as conventional LEDs, although they are getting closer and already beat ordinary light bulbs.
  • Certain materials in OLEDs are incredibly sensitive to moisture which leads to short life, particularly on plastic substrates. This is the main reasons holding back flexible OLED manufacture.
  • LED technology can be divided into two: 'small molecule' championed originally by Kodak, and Cambridge Display Technology's 'polymer' type sometimes called P-OLEDs.

Tuesday 29 December 2009

Coast to Coast for Window Cleaner

A Colorado man is using a love of the outdoors to promote the love of Jesus Christ. Daniel Johnson of Colorado Springs is hiking through the country as part of the "Coast to Coast for Christ" program. "I am hiking from the top of Maine to the bottom of California, spreading the word of the gospel," Johnson said. The 38-year-old window washer began his hike in June, heading up and down much of the Appalachian Trail. He now is following the American Discovery Trail, which follows U.S. 50 from the East Coast to the West Coast. He hopes to end his journey in August in California.

Johnson said the life path leading to the hiking trail took a little longer to navigate, with about four years of thinking and praying before the idea became a reality. The idea first came to him when he saw television reports about a man hiking cross country, but not for any specific purpose. "I thought, this guy is getting all of this publicity for no real reason," Johnson said. "Why isn't someone doing this for the cause of Christ?" Now 162 days into his mission, Johnson said he is thrilled to be spreading the word. He relies heavily on churches and the kindness of strangers in his journey, he said, often speaking to groups about his mission and making new friends.

When not staying at a church or with locals, Johnson camps outside in a tent he carries with him, something he has only had to do once during the chilly winter months. "That was a pretty cold night," he said. Johnson has been staying with Phillip Smith of Davisville since his arrival in the area. Smith lives about 100 yards from a section of the North Bend Rail Trail, which is part of the American Discovery Trail. Both Smith and his wife are avid hikers, and he said he admires Johnson's spirit and drive. "He is hiking my hike," Smith said. "I wish I could be doing this."

In about two weeks Johnson hopes to be in the Cincinnati area, touring the Creation Museum in nearby Petersburg, Ky. "I would like to have people able to come out and meet me while I'm at the museum," he said. Johnson said those interested can track announcements and updates through his Web site, as well as through Twitter, YouTube and other social media.

A Texas native is walking across the country for Christ, and Monday he made his way into Belpre to make sure his message was heard. The 38-year-old first began his journey across the country on June 4th in Maine, and his goal will be to make it to the border of Mexico. Johnson is traveling solo and counting on help from others with his accommodations while dealing with the winter elements. He has a 42 pound backpack he travels with, but he said nothing is going to slow him down. "I've seen other people walk across the country or bike across the country for their cause. I thought all the publicity people get with that someone should be doing that for the cause of Christ," said Johnson. Johnson is planning on getting to California by August.

Thursday 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas Window Cleaners!

A window cleaner dressed as Santa Claus waves to photographers at a shopping mall in Tokyo yesterday.

Merry Christmas to all the readers of the blog, hope you have a great one however which way you decide to spend it. All the best, Karl.

One last chuckle before the big day...

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Window Cleaning Videos

Tony Evans of "A New View window cleaning" gives us another episode in the new second "weather or not" winter edition.

Chris Dawber aka "Wagga" shows you how to modify your Wagtail if you can't be bothered carrying a screwdriver around. Also another inside view of his modified tool.

Dean of "Advance Window Cleaning" shows safety on the job when gutter cleaning.

Norman Wisdom queuing up or his first window cleaning job. You may remember the original Norman Wisdom video when the UK's weather was similar to it is now.

Don't give up your day job part 1...

Don't give up your day job part 2...

More silly antics 20 floors up...

This Spanish themed music entitled "The boyfriend of death" is justified...

And the window washer...

Monday 21 December 2009

Window Cleaners Dream

Sherwood businessman hopes to realize dream of orphanage: Jorge A. Pina believes there are five priorities in life – God, himself, family, church and community. “Those are my priorities to live a life better,” said Pina. “It’s not all about me. It’s not about me at all.” To prove his point, the Newberg resident who is vice president of Sherwood’s Streakfree window washing service, will soon hit the road to showcase his talents as a musician to help those in need. His ultimate goal is to raise funds to construct an orphanage in Mexico.

Pina said he’s already had visions of what that orphanage will look like and how he will accomplish his goal. “Someone keeps telling me: ‘You’re not alone, you’re not alone,’” said the 24-year-old Pina. “I don’t know how the money is coming … I just believe,” He said he’s had times when he’s been cleaning a window and someone will pull out $50 and ask that it be used for Pina’s quest to build the home for homeless youth. Pina said he’s visited the location in Vera Cruz, Mexico, where he wants to build his orphanage, having spent numerous hours playing soccer with the bare-footed children in the community.

“There’s such a huge need,” he said of the orphanage he hopes to see constructed in Vera Cruz, Mexico. “The reason I chose that (location) is because I saw a need in that area.” A 2002 graduate of Newberg High School, life for Pina hasn’t always been easy. He grew up in Mexico and was told at age 4 that he had end-stage renal disease. A kidney transplant from his father failed so he began dialysis seven years ago. Now, three days a week, he travels to the Da Vita clinic in Sherwood for 31/2 hours of dialysis. He said he likes the facility because he can have the dialysis performed early in the morning and have the rest of the day to himself.

Sunday 20 December 2009

Custom Websites For Window Cleaners

Cork Ireland: The last half of 2009 has had quite an effect on the South of Ireland with the worst flooding in 85 years being reported in some areas. The wet weather isn’t dampening the spirits of one window cleaner however. When the rain stopped work once too often, Nathanael Jones of Avondhu Cleaning Services decided something had to be done. “When heavy rain stops me cleaning windows I normally take the opportunity to catch up on paperwork, update my marketing materials & tweak my websites, but the weather was so bad this year that I soon found myself up to date and getting frustrated indoors with nothing to do” He says.

“It became obvious to me that I needed another business that could fit around my window cleaning, but that wasn’t so dependent on the weather, and since I had some experience in the field it was only a matter of time before was conceived”

Providing website services mostly for small businesses, Avondhu Internet Services has been growing steadily over the past few months and has received great praise from its clients. “I believe the same approach should be taken with website design as with window cleaning” says Nathanael. “All my window cleaning clients get a full 100% satisfaction guarantee,.. why should I offer anything less with a website?”

When questioned about his future, Nathanael is adamant that he’s not quite ready to retire the mop and squeegee though. “I’ve always loved working outdoors, and I don’t ever want to give that up to sit behind a desk full time,.. but the success of my new venture means that I have the best of both worlds, and hopefully will continue to do so for some time to come”.

Want affordable advertising that works for you 24/7, 365 days a year? Want to be confident that your business gets high profile search engine rankings? Want it all with no fuss or hassle, and for a surprisingly small price? You've come to the right place!

Avondhu Internet services has the solution for you. From simple domain management and e-mail setup to a complete website design service, whatever your budget we have an option for you. Personal service and attention to detail are the cornerstones of our business. We make sure everything is explained in plain English, and guarantee no hidden charges or extra's.

  • Website design, updates and customisation.
  • Search engine optimisation and marketing.
  • Domain registration and hosting services.

Saturday 19 December 2009

R.I.P. Anthony Acevedo + Other Window Cleaning News

Anthony Acevedo | Window cleaner, 43: Anthony Acevedo, 43, a window cleaner at some of Philadelphia's most lofty buildings, died in his sleep Monday from heart failure. Mr. Acevedo was responsible for cleaning the windows at One and Two Liberty Place, Mellon Tower, the Independence Blue Cross building, and Commerce Square. Mr. Acevedo tackled dirty windows on high-rise buildings built in the 1980s, and more recently at the Comcast Tower and Kimmel Center. In 1999, he joined Jenkintown Building Services Inc. and branched out to training novice cleaners. He was a master rigger, able to design and set up rigging to place cleaners outside the toughest buildings, friends said. "Big Ant," as friends called him, learned his trade from his father, Augustine.
"I remember seeing him on his father's shoulders as his father walked down the street, pole and bucket in hand, yelling 'Window Man,' as he solicited new accounts," said friend Paul Stringer. By his late teens, Mr. Acevedo was working with the cleaning crews. In recent years, his focus shifted to managing projects and setting rigging. Born and raised in Kensington and Northeast Philadelphia, he graduated from Lincoln High School in 1984. In 1991, he moved with his family to Jim Thorpe, Pa. In 2006, he moved back to the Northeast. Window cleaning, sports, and friends were his passions, said friend Butch Chapman. He is survived by his father; stepmother Nancy; two sisters; and nine brothers. His mother and another brother predeceased him. Funeral services will be from 9 to 11 a.m. today at Edward Melber Funeral Home, 524 Center St., Jim Thorpe. Donations may be made to the Anthony Acevedo Sports Scholarship Fund, c/o Jenkintown Building Services Inc., 101 Greenwood Ave., Jenkintown, Pa. 19046.

Dad's anger as son's killer freed: A devastated dad today called for tougher sentences for drink and drug drivers after his son's killer was set free after serving less than half his sentence. Mark Anderson was jailed for seven years in April 2007 after he knocked Anthony Shepherd from his Yamaha motorbike in Gainsborough Avenue, Whiteleas, leaving him to die by the roadside. Anderson, who was high on drink and drugs when he was behind the wheel of the stolen Vauxhall Astra, later had his sentence reduced to six years on appeal. He admitted causing death by careless driving through consumption of drink or drugs, perverting the course of justice, driving while disqualified and failing to stop or report an accident.
Now Mr Shepherd's dad (pictured), also called Anthony – has received a letter from Northumbria Probation Service saying Anderson is now out after serving less than three years. And although he is banned from entering South Tyneside, the news has still come as a bitter blow to Mr Shepherd who today called for tougher sentences to get the dangers of drink and drug driving message across. Window cleaner Mr Shepherd, 55, said: "I think about our Anthony every day and it just makes you mad this guy – this piece of scum – is now out walking the streets. Is three years all our Anthony's life is worth?
"They need to be kept behind bars for their full sentence. If people know they will spend years in jail if they kill someone by drink driving, it might make them think. "But until it happens, I think you're always going to get people taking chances and not thinking anything's going to happen to them. I just want anyone who has had a drink to stop and think before they get in their cars. "I know nothing is ever going to bring our Anthony back but I have to do what I can to try to persuade people not to drink and drive. "I don't ever want another family to go through what we are going through. It's hell. These people who drink and drive or take drugs and drive; they have no idea the devastation they leave behind – it never leaves you." His call comes as Northumbria Police launched its annual drink and drug campaign aimed at warning motorists not to take risks behind the wheel of their cars this Christmas.

Cheques out, but what does it mean for everyday payments? Cheques will be abolished in 2018. So how will you pay the milkman? Or buy school lunches? And how will small businesses cope? Money writers investigate..
I'm a sole trader who runs a window cleaning business, and many of my customers pay me by cheque. What am I going to do?
This group is expected to see the biggest impact when cheques disappear in 2018, not least because many won't be able to invest in the technology the industry is relying on taking over from cheques. Sole traders tend to take cheques from individuals they may not see from one year to the next, and while their younger customers will probably be happy to adopt alternative forms of payment, their older clients will struggle after 2018. Credit card company Visa Europe says it is working on a mobile-to-mobile payment system. Users could either pre-load their phones with a cash balance, or pre-register it to their debit or credit card. If you need to pay a window cleaner after he has finished doing the house, simply send him a text, and the money instantly moves from your account and into his. Great for those who have mobiles, but not so good for those who don't, who will have to pay in cash, or ring up their bank to make money transfer.
It's a similar story with the internet. PayPal already lets individuals move money via the email system. A PayPal customer sending a friend (or window cleaner) the money simply logs on the PayPal site, and, two clicks of a mouse later, the money arrives in his account. Movements from a PayPal account linked to a bank account incur no charge, while those registered to a credit card face a 3.4% charge, plus 20p. If the window cleaner wanted to set up a PayPal business account, he would pick up the transaction charges, which fall in size, as the number of transactions grows.
However, it will probably cost less than operating a business bank account, which charge businesses to deposit cheques. For example, HSBC's fee-free business direct account lets holders pay in up to 20 cheques a month, after that they cost 75p each. Other business accounts charge anywhere between 30p and 60p, but these incur monthly charges.

Belen’s ‘Miracle Window’ is still a mystery: Ramon Baca y Chavez and his family were well known and well respected in Belen in the 1920s. Don Ramon had served as the community's justice of the peace and police judge for many years. Always eager to improve their well kept home on Gilbert Avenue off South Main Street, the Bacas had bought a new windowpane from the Becker Dalies store in December 1926. Measuring 20 inches by 32 inches, the window had cost only $1.15, or roughly $13.50 in today's money. Sixty three-year-old Ramon and 59-year-old Eulalia had not noticed anything unusual when they had installed their new window. But that had all changed on June 1, 1927.
On that Friday morning, Eulalia had returned from attending daily mass and was cleaning her backyard when she glanced up at her east-facing attic window. To her surprise, an image of Christ ascending into heaven was clearly evident in the window in colors of soft blue, green, red and brown. Eulalia called Don Ramon to come see the breathtaking vision. Devout Catholics, the couple was sure they were witnessing a miracle, especially because the image of Christ had appeared in their window shortly after the Lenten season had ended.
Word of the miracle window soon spread through Belen and beyond. Men, women and children flocked to the Bacas' home to see the image for themselves. By June 27, the Belen News reported, "Thousands of people from different parts of the state have motored to Belen to see the strange apparition." Many more visitors came by the Bacas' house during the Belen fiestas later that summer. Believers prayed at the window, asking for special blessings for all those who had traveled from far and wide to attend the famous fiestas.
The Bacas' window became so well known that the Southwestern Indian Detours Co. made it a special destination by 1928. The Detours offered Santa Fe Railway passengers opportunities to interrupt their train travel to take excursions by car to local attractions, including Indian pueblos and Spanish mission ruins. The Southwestern Indian Detours may have profited from the miracle window, but the Baca family never did. Many people offered to buy the window, and a showman promised the Bacas thousands of dollars if they would allow him to build a fence around the family's property and sell tickets for the chance to see the image.
But the Bacas never considered selling tickets, souvenirs or refreshments, although these commercial ventures may well have made them rich. Instead, the Bacas graciously displayed their window at all hours of the day. Like custodians of a sacred shrine, they believed that it was their religious duty to share their miracle and their faith with others. Many priests and nuns had joined the crowds of reverent visitors. In fact, so many visitors arrived to see the image that the Bacas began to board up the window at night, for fear that someone might hurl a stone or otherwise damage the miracle left in their care.
Visitors soon realized that the image of Christ could only be seen in daylight, and could not be seen from the attic's interior. Located about 12 feet above ground level, the image could be viewed from any angle in the yard below. Some said that if they gazed long enough, they could see the Christ figure's arms move. Observers saw as many as three images in the Bacas' window. Visiting the site on July 1, 1927, Jim Whittington of Santa Fe reported that when he stood below the window he could see "a figure of the Christ child seated in a chair with a basket of roses nearby. Standing further from the window the figure of Christ, the man, could be seen. Standing still further away the figure of Christ's mother is clearly outlined."
Of course there were skeptics among those who came to see the window. Doubting Thomases wanted to examine the window from inside the house to see if the strange phenomenon was caused by light reflecting off an image on the attic's wall. No such image was found in the vacant attic. In fact, a black cloth was placed over the window's interior surface, but rather than eliminating the image, the dark background just made it clearer. Others wondered if the image was a reflection of an object in the surrounding area. After careful scrutiny, no such object was discovered.
Despite Eulalia Baca's objections, glass experts arrived from Albuquerque to test the window, cleaning it inside and out with various chemicals, acids and even gasoline. But nothing altered or affected the image. According to another theory, advanced by a Santa Fe newspaper, "pictures may have been put in the glass by some process similar to that used in making stained glass windows and through an error this picture glass was sent to Belen." Countless visitors attempted to photograph the apparition from the Bacas' yard or roof. A movie company even tried to film the scene for a newsreel to be shown in movie theatres. But not even the most sophisticated cameras could capture the image. Once developed, pictures and movies always came out blurred.
Over the years, only one person ever photographed the window successfully. Using a simple, low-cost camera, Fernando Gabaldon of Albuquerque had accomplished what all others had failed to do. A poor invalid, Gabaldon made his unique photograph into postcards, and asked Judge Baca to sell them to visitors for 25 cents each. The judge agreed, giving all the proceeds to the image's only successful photographer. Like many others, Fernando Gabaldon had come to see the Bacas' window in hopes that a miracle might cure his illness. Some visitors were cured, although others, including Gabaldon, were not. The window was never known as a healing site like the legendary Santuario in Chimayó or other holy sites in New Mexico or the world. With time, the image was said to have faded, and the number of visitors declined. The Great Depression of the 1930s limited travel for many would-be pilgrims from beyond Belen.
The Bacas brought the miracle window with them when they moved to a house on Dalies Avenue. Tragically, the window cracked in the move, but the pane was not shattered and the image of Christ was untouched. Many considered the window's survival a miracle in itself. The Bacas installed the glass in the second floor window of their new home so that visitors could still see it from the street below. When Don Ramon and Eulalia died in 1950 and 1951, respectively, their daughters, Ana Maria and Beatrice, continued to live in the house and display the famous image of Christ.
Meanwhile, the house on Gilbert Avenue was sold to Bob Garley in 1967. After water damaged the property in the terrible flood of 1969, the Garleys remodeled the building and have lived there ever since. Until a local historian came by on a recent Saturday morning, no one had ever asked them about the miracle window. The only unusual phenomena the family has experienced are when Bob's daughter, Lydia Pino, and other relatives sometimes hear strange knocking on doors and inexplicable footsteps on the staircase. Many Belen residents still remember seeing the miracle window at its Dalies Avenue location. Some recall uttering prayers of devotion as they passed by, especially if they had loved ones in the military during times of war. Some prayed as they walked to class in the old high school several blocks away, especially when they faced final exams or other personal challenges.
The miracle window was moved for a third time when Ana Maria and Beatrice moved to Albuquerque, and put the glass into storage in the early 1970s. In the mid-1980s Phil Baca, Ramon and Eulalia's grandson, brought the window to his home in Longmont, Colo., for safekeeping. Leaders of the Valencia Country Historical Society learned of the window's long history, discovered its location in Colorado and helped negotiate its return to the Rio Abajo in 1999. As generous as ever, the Baca family lent the window to the historical society, which kept the priceless item in a vault in the local Wells Fargo bank until its recent move to an equally safe place in town. The Valencia County Historical Society displayed the miracle window at a large reception in the Wells Fargo bank building on February 27, 2000. Anthony Baca presented a brief history of his grandparents' window and led the singing of "De Colores," a song he called a "reflection of the colors and visions that have been seen in this window" for more than 70 years.
For many, Belen's greatest mystery remains a mystery. What a New Mexico Magazine author wrote in June 1941 remains true today: "To date, no one has given a satisfactory (scientific) explanation concerning the vision." For others, Belen's greatest miracle remains a miracle. The image may have faded with time, but the faith it inspired in thousands remains as strong and as lasting as ever. (The Valencia County Historical Society will display the Miracle Window at the Harvey House Museum through the month of December during regular museum hours, starting on Sunday, Dec. 13, from 1 to 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.) Other related blogs here.

Residents feel exposed by city's order: Yan, a government employee in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, says his wife paid more than 700 yuan ($100) this week to get a protruding balcony cage outside the window of their bedroom removed. The worker, who declined to give his full name, said the couple feared the metal bars over their window, fitted to keep their home safe from burglars, might put his government job at risk. As a result, "we have to hang our clothes to dry in the room because our apartment doesn't have a real balcony," he said. Starting in late November, the local government began handing out an order to its employees, telling them to remove protruding window cages from their homes before Dec 20. The order also warned leaders of government departments in Kunming that they would face serious consequences - believed to include firings - if they failed to accomplish assignments. The order was issued as the city pushed to win the title of National Sanitary City, awarded by the central government. The order from Kunming has drawn widespread opposition from those affected, who complain about the inconvenience and loss of property. They also worry about the risk of their homes being ransacked by burglars.
At a press conference on Dec 13, Chen Yong, deputy mayor of Kunming, said protruding window cages were damaging the look of the city, encroaching on public space and disrupting the work of the city's sewerage department, local media reported. Chen said some people had even attached cages onto the outside of windows and added platforms, using the space for kitchen functions and washing. Such additions are commonly seen on homes built in the 1980s and early 1990s that do not have balconies. The government is also trying to get such additions removed from homes owned by regular citizens - not just government employees. They have until Oct 1 to comply. Local officials acknowledged they had run into resistance from citizens and government employees. More than 150,000 sq m of space attached to more than 8,670 households had been removed as of 6 pm on Thursday, according to a municipal official surnamed Liu who is in charge of carrying out the order. The government will try to prevent a surge of burglaries by helping with anti-theft initiatives and push to keep the renovation cost reasonable, Liu said. Chen, the deputy mayor, has reportedly promised that there will be a compensation plan, aimed at offsetting the cost of the work, in place by Dec 25. "The plan is still under discussion," Liu added.

Friday 18 December 2009

Welcome To Professional Window Cleaning

Mark Strange of "Beautiful View" from Toronto, Canada who has released many videos for the window cleaner has just announced the release of his new DVD. Launching in Jan 2010, Mark says -"My tutorial DVD "Welcome To Professional Window Cleaning" is your first step in jump starting your career as a professional window cleaner." "This very affordable DVD covers more range than your average window cleaning tutorial found anywhere else." "You'll learn everything from what tools to buy, how to use a squeegee from the basics, right up to the most advanced techniques." "I'll also show you the latest specialty tools available and methods for cleaning high windows and windows that are located around obstacles." Click the picture above to take you to his website.

Thursday 17 December 2009

Picture of the Day + Window Cleaning News

Above: SQUEAKY CLEAN: A window washer cleaned the windows of a building along Bishop Street in downtown Honolulu yesterday.

Window dressing for Christmas/New Zealand: If you're feeling the pinch as we head into Christmas, spare a thought for Santa. A week before the big day, he and his elves set about earning a bit of extra cash for gifts by taking on a window cleaning job at the Holiday Inn in Featherston St, Wellington. Hotel general manager Heather Idoine-Riley said the hotel's windows were always cleaned about this time of year, when the equinox gales were over, so summer guests could enjoy the views. This year, the crew from Bright Sparks suggested they do it in costume. The hotel was full, and guests were warned there were window cleaners outside, but they were all surprised to see Santa and his elves abseiling down the building. "People in conference rooms were coming out and saying, 'Hey, did you know Santa's outside?'," she said. "Everyone was just tickled pink. It's the spirit of Christmas."

PORTLAND, Oregon: No matter where you go in Oregon or Southwest Washington, people are talking about the weather. And they're making the best of the blustery conditions. Some jobs require their workers to be out in the cold, from gas station attendants to tree farm workers. So on days like this, "the hands and toes get real cold," said David Hein, a worker at a Christmas tree lot. Mike Long also is familiar with working in the elements. He's a window cleaner. "We also do high-rise window cleaning and you definitely can't do that in the high winds," Long said. KATU's cameras caught up with Long as he gassed up his business rig - after it had some trouble getting to Portland through the Columbia Gorge winds. "I was goin' down Interstate 84, and I thought I had the ladders tied down," Long said, "but my 40-foot ladder come off the top of the van." He was able to tie it back, with no accidents or property damage. It's all part of living in the Northwest, and working with the wind.

Don't forget to subscribe to Don's site to receive news of when the videos come out! Don says "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone! I’m really busy right now, and I haven’t had to discount my prices at all, in spite of continuing bad economic news…"

Cat helps window cleaner Jay clean up: Window cleaner Jay Gardner had a clear vision of his aims when he made his debut in this year’s Caterham Academy Championship. After making it to the finals of a single-seater scholarship, the 28-year-old former motocross rider knew he had the ability. And after building his own Caterham sports car, Gardner, who lives in Barrowford, is celebrating after mopping up in the seven-round series. “The scheme involves you buying a Caterham off the factory in kit form, which you then build yourself, and included in the price is the race licence, a track day to set-up the car and entry into the championship. “That comprises seven rounds, with three sprint meetings at Curborough, Pembrey and Lydden Hill and then four races at Anglesey, Rockingham, Brands Hatch and Mallory Park.” And Gardner proved to be the class of the 30-stong field, winning four rounds on his way to the title and taking the lap record at Rockingham and Mallory. “The points table is designed to ensure a close-run championship, and it certainly works. I won it by just one point in the final at Mallory Park,” he explained. After collecting his trophy at a gala dinner in London, Gardner is now looking ahead to 2010. “The Academy is for first-timers only, so I’m looking to move up to the next level, which is the Caterham Roadsports Championship.

Potential Strike Update: Broadway House Staff Union and League Meet Today - Negotiations for the new union contract (the current one expires on December 31) that covers over 240 theatre service workers began on December 3, 2009 and resumes today between 32BJ SEIU and The Broadway League. Variety reported on Tuesday that the members of SEIU 32BJ have now voted to authorize a strike should the union's bargaining committee decide that one is necessary. While this doesn't mean that they will strike, it does bring the threat of a strike closer to reality.
Discussions with other unions including Equity who might also then honor a strike are also said to be underway. Earlier today, Stephanie Gaskell of the New York Daily News reported that Broadway may be acing yet another stagehand strike, as a group of about 150 cleaning workers who tend to many of Broadway's houses - members of 32BJ SEIU - are threatening a strike if dissatisfied with their current contract negotiations. The demands of the workers include a $1.50-an-hour pay raise and and no health insurance cuts. Says 32BJ's secretary-treasurer: "In this environment, every employer is complaining. Broadway is doing far better than anybody."
With more than 110,000 members in eight states and Washington, DC, 32BJ is the largest property service workers union in the country. 32BJ is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), an organization of over 2 million members united by a belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide. To raise industry standards and improve lives, SEIU and 32BJ focuses its resources on organizing new members into the union. The union consists of security officers; doormen, porters, and maintenance workers; bus drivers and aides; window cleaners and food service workers.

Partners In Grime: Two of London's leading windows cleaning firms merge to offer what could be the UK's most reliable window cleaning services available., London's most prestigious residential window cleaning company today announced a rock solid partnership with the very well known and trusted commercial window cleaning firm, All Clean Services., established in 1985, offers high quality window cleaning with award winning customer services to domestic and residential clients across London, with clients ranging from members of the Royal Family to other well known celebrities, while All Clean Services, an equally reputable and long standing window cleaning firm, performs commercial window cleaning with clients such as Selfridges and many other well known landmark buildings across the Southeast. According to's general manager, Mr. Sean Sheen, the partnership will provide both residential and commercial clients with a one-stop shop for all window cleaning solutions. "It is going to make life much easier for our customers since they won’t have to deal with two different companies, and it means that our companies partnership creates a real force to be reckoned with for our competitors."

Essex Police urge residents to contact them about conman: A bogus window cleaner has been targeting elderly people in a village. Police say the con-man struck twice in Theydon Bois, on Sunday, December 13 at the homes of women in their 80s. At one address he claimed that he had cleaned the windows and charged £5. But the windows had not been touched. At a second address he charged £3 but is thought to have taken about £15 by tricking the woman out of change from a £20 note. Again the windows were not cleaned. Police have urged residents to be vigilant and to call them if they are approached by a stranger claiming to be their window cleaner. The man involved was white, aged about 40 to 50, about 5ft 10ins tall, and had short dark hair. He was wearing a grey jacket. Anyone with information should contact Epping police station on 0300 333 4444.

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