Thursday, 24 June 2010

Window Cleaners Rattled By Canadian Earthquake - R.I.P. Jose Herrera

Quake in Ottawa, Canada — Books and bottles rattled off shelves; bricks came loose from some buildings; downtown highrises were evacuated; and several Ottawa schools were examined for structural concerns. But other than some limited property damage — and a few minor injuries — Ottawa escaped relatively unscathed Wednesday from what scientists describe as a “moderate” earthquake, centred in nearby Val-des-Bois, Que. The quake did unnerve the nation’s capital and could be felt across much of eastern North America, from Montreal to Chicago, Illinois. The quake struck at 1:41 p.m. with a magnitude of 5.0 and lasted between 20 and 30 seconds, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). It was centred an estimated 20 kilometres underground. Dan Galipeau, who owns a window cleaning company in Ottawa, said his workers were on a scaffold at the Lester B. Pearson Building on Sussex Drive when the quake hit. “My guys, they freaked,” Galipeau said. “They stopped cleaning immediately, went down, and called me.”
Window washers Steve Moore and Jon Martin were hanging outside an office building in downtown Kitchener, but somehow didn’t feel a thing when the ground shook 10 storeys below their suspended platform. “We’re on cables, so we’re always moving up there anyway,” Moore said after obliviously finishing the job and getting his feet back on firm ground about half an hour later. “If I felt an earthquake, I would have been the first person down,” Martin said. “Those are grounds for going home, right?” The partners had a birds-eye view as area buildings emptied out, but figured there must have been a fire or some other mishap.
Once here on Prince of Wales Drive, the 27-floor Château Royale was swaying from side to side and many people were seen carrying elderly people down the stairs. Once outside, we realized that the whole city was being affected as we could hear sirens everywhere. An interesting sight to see was the window-washing crew suspended in the air holding on for dear life 15 storeys in the air across the street.
John Carone was in his home office, on Courtland Drive. He could feel a shudder under his desk. Then his chair moved. "I got up, and I thought, 'I'm nuts,'" said Carone, an accountant. He looked outside. His wife, Robin, was standing on a chair, washing a window. "I'm watching her, and I'm still feeling this shake," he said. "I thought, 'Wow, she's pretty strong.'" The tremors probably wobbled off a fault line that runs under Lake Erie, said Scott McKenzie, a geology instructor at Mercyhurst College. He felt them at his home in Millcreek Township.

Man injured in Orinda electrical accident dies: SAN JOSE — One of the two men severely injured in an electrical accident in Orinda this month has died, Santa Clara County officials said. Jose Herrera, 51, died early Wednesday morning at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, according to Santa Clara County Public Health Department spokeswoman Joy Alexiou. Information regarding the cause of death was not released because of privacy reasons. Members of Herrera's family have declined interview requests. The condition of the other man injured in the accident, Eduardo Guerra, 30, has improved from critical to serious, Alexiou said. Herrera and Guerra suffered second- and third-degree burns over most of their bodies when their cherry picker came into contact with high-voltage electrical lines the morning of June 5. An employee of Santa Clara-based Delta Window Cleaning, for which the two men worked, said Herrera had been employed there for 25 years. Window Cleaners Electrocuted in California.

Aqua-Dapter: Water Fed Pole Control - Following on from the previous blog on Steve Jones's "Aqua-Dapter." Please check out the new website that has been greatly improved from the old one including a 3D view of the new producct & mechanism. The "Aqua-dapter" is fitted to the top section of your pole, and connected to your brush. The control mechanism is operated from the handle, by pulling the hose to switch the water flow on and off. The tap can also be turned manually if you are working on ground level windows.

Take Your Dog to Work Day: Take Your Dog to Work Day simple Dos and Don’ts:
DO: - Bring a leash, a pillow, a water dish, food and all other amenities your dog may need throughout the day. Walk him often. No one scores big office points for a dog that pees, or worse, on corporate carpet. Make sure your job is OK with it in advance. Some coworkers may be allergic, highly fearful or the company, if it’s incredibly draconian, may not even allow dogs in the workplace at all. These are the same types of companies that may not allow your own bathroom breaks or maternity leave. Clean up any messes immediately, preferably not using your coworker’s favorite scarf.
DON’T: - Make everyone pet your dog. Yes, we know, he’s rightly the center of your world, but, alas, not everyone in that world out there happens to be an animal lover. Leave him unattended. This is a tough one, but a necessary one. Even the sweetest of pooches can act up when the proverbial mouse is away. Bring him to a job that is just dumb to bring a dog to. This includes window washing, restaurant kitchen work and along for the ride if you happen to specialize in roadkill pickup. Also know your dog and warn others of some of your pooch’s quirky behavior.

New lead paint rules cut risks - at a cost. Houses built before 1978 could contain the toxic metal - The Foxcroft two-story home looks like a scene from a sci-fi thriller: Yellow tape blocks the entryway, onlookers are warned away by a big "CAUTION" sign at the walk, and worker wearing what looks like a white hazmat suit plus mask pushes through two layers of plastic screening to get inside. Alien germs? A crime scene? Try replacement windows.
The plastic-swathed south Charlotte house is a glimpse into the future of some renovations to older homes. Workers who renovate homes built before 1978 now must be certified in how to contain the paint containing lead, a toxic metal. For the Foxcroft renovation, Dgien estimates the new rules added about 15 percent, to cover materials, labor and cleanup. On smaller jobs, the extra steps may not add as much. John Marino, owner of Window World and Siding and Carolina Cabinet Refacing, said the new rules are adding maybe $100 to $150 to his jobs for extra time. Responsible contractors, he said, are going to talk to customers in older homes and not give in to pressure to cut corners. "If they say 'Listen, I don't care about the lead test, we're going to look the other way,' we're going to test anyway," he said.
Rick Bainbridge, CEO of Bainbridge Crew in Charlotte, said the rules will likely add 10 to 15 percent to the cost of the home renovations his company does. Customers may balk, he acknowledged. "They have to realize the costs are part of the law," Bainbridge said. Homeowners need to avoid the temptation to go cheap, he said. "Right now you've got everybody in the remodeling business that's jumped in it, from custom builders to commercial contractors.... Every consumer, when they're having work done, should look to see if that contractor is a certified lead renovator. If not, run for the hills." See previous content here.

You can’t be afraid of heights if you’re part of San Diego fire’s Heavy Rescue 4. Sometimes nicknamed the SWAT team of firefighters, this is the crew that is called when window washers are stranded on the side of skyscrapers. While that has happened only four times in the past two years, the unit trains much more frequently, as members did Tuesday alongside a crew of Chula Vista firefighters. With a “Good luck, buddy!” shouted his way, San Diego firefighter Oscar Rodriguez rappelled down the side of downtown’s 480-foot Vantage Pointe condominium tower to a window-washer box.

Here's a view of Trump International Hotel & Tower that I bet you've never seen--unless you happen to be a helicopter pilot. Nevertheless, this aerial perspective nicely shows off the skyscraper's taut, elegantly-detailed curtain wall. And it's fun to peer down on Trump's outdoor terraces and their tiny swaths of shrubbrery. Oh yes-we also see the racetrack-like circuit for the skyscraper's clunky-looking, window-washing contraption. Reminds me of an oil well-except, of course, it's more than 1,000 feet above the sidewalks of Chicago.

My best assignments are when no one can get in somewhere and the public needs to know,” says longtime photographer George Gongora, who is pictured rooftop at the Caller-Times this week and in a 1968 portrait at left. Gongora retires today after four decades with the newspaper. George Gongora climbed trees, crossed police lines and even dangled from the top of a high-rise building to capture images. It was all part of a relentless commitment to tell the story of his community. Gongora retires Thursday after nearly 44 years as a Caller-Times staff photographer. One Saturday when the two were working Gongora was sent to find a candid photograph around town for the next day’s paper. Hours later Gongora returned. He went straight to the dark room, developed a print and then handed it to Jimenez for review. The photo was of a window washer working on the side of a tall building. It was not taken from the ground. Jimenez asked Gongora how he got it. Gongora told him he took the elevator to the top where he convinced a maintenance worker to tie a rope around his waist and lower him two stories so he could get a photo. “I told him whatever you do, don’t do that again,” Jimenez said. “I was just astounded.”

Manitoba, Canada - Culex Tarsalis mosquitos are hatching across the Central Plains but the question is how many, and do they carry the West Nile virus. Dr. Tim Hilderman, Medical Officer with Manitoba Health, says no one knows for sure. He does note there's been a variation in numbers since 2003, when the first case of West Nile was diagnosed in Manitoba. Although precipitation plays a role, Hilderman says it's temperature that's the big determinant. He notes where there's heat, there's most likely Culex Tarsalis Mosquitoes. Every Manitoban can reduce their risk of infection by limiting time spent outdoors during the peak biting hours of dusk and dawn, using repellent, wearing light coloured loose fitting clothing, and making sure door and window screens fit properly, and are free of holes. Apart from decreasing your risk of being bitten, you can also make it less hospitable for mosquitoes in and around your home. This includes reducing standing water, cleaning eaves troughs, emptying bird baths, pool covers, barbeque pits, and covering rain barrels, and old tires. So far, Hilderman says only a small amount of Culex Tarsalis mosquitoes have emerged in the province. Most importantly, he adds none of the mosquito pools collected have tested positive for West Nile.

Water Fed Polers be aware: The North West of England faces a possible hosepipe ban to conserve water supplies in the face of a drought. Water company United Utilities will seek permission from the Environment Agency on Friday to draw more water from lakes and rivers. Following the driest start to the year in the region since 1929, many reservoirs have fallen to below half their capacity. A radio and newspaper campaign to use water wisely has been running throughout the region since last week. "It's been an unprecedented period of dry weather since December 2009, and we need to take action now so we can tap into available water resources if the dry weather continues," said John Sanders, United Utilities' Water Regulation and Strategy Manager. "We're monitoring the situation day by day but if we don't have any significant rainfall by the end of this month we will need a hosepipe ban to help conserve essential supplies," he added.
Last month, rainfall was just 38 percent of the long term average for the region. Haweswater reservoir in Cumbria has fallen to 61 percent capacity, nearly 20 percent below normal for this time of year. The firm will ask to increase the amount of water taken from Ennerdale reservoir in the Lake District to supply the Whitehaven area of West Cumbria. The possibility of more applications to take more water from both the Windermere and Longdendale Valley reservoirs is being discussed. Trevor Bishop, Head of Water Resources at the Environment Agency, said: "We are working closely with United Utilities to make sure they are doing everything they can to secure water supplies, manage customer demand and tackle leakage."

Southwall Technologies Inc., the worldwide innovator of high performance, energy-saving films and glass products, has been awarded a $1.43 million stimulus grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to develop advanced technologies aimed at making homes and buildings more energy efficient. Southwall will use the funding to accelerate development of higher performance and lower cost Heat Mirror low-emissivity and solar-reflective films and multi-cavity, suspended-film insulating glass technology to enable the broad commercialization of "super-insulating" R-10 windows.
According to DOE, the nation's 114 million homes and 74 million square feet of commercial floor space account for 40 percent of US total energy consumption and 39 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions. Because windows are the energy-efficiency weak link in homes and buildings, DOE is focusing grant funding on the development of innovative technologies that can create energy-saving windows that insulate like walls.
"The designation of Southwall as a DOE grant recipient recognizes our leadership in developing lightweight, multi-cavity insulating glass technology that promises to drive the performance of a new generation of cost-effective and energy-efficient windows," said Dennis Capovilla, Southwall chief executive officer. "We are pleased that DOE is working closely with industry to accelerate disruptive technology innovation that can dramatically reduce our nation's energy use." Southwall is one of seven California-based companies, including National Semiconductor and Applied Materials, to receive a coveted DOE grant for advanced energy-efficient building technology projects.

Day in Pictures, June 23: A reflection of a highrise is cast under a window washer Wednesday, June 23, 2010, in downtown Cleveland.

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