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.

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