Monday 28 February 2011

Free Flyer Creator (Today Only) + Window Cleaning News

Giveaway of the Day - Easy Flyer Creator 2.0: You have till 6 a.m. GMT (London Time) tomorrow to download for free. Easy Flyer Creator is easy to use desktop publishing software that help you to design, create and print flyers, brochures, leaflets, certificates, photo frames, tickets, door hangers from templates in just 5 minutes! You are provided with more then 100 Free Templates. Easy Flyer Creator is the best way to create, print and share interactive flyers, brochures, leaflets and other marketing material: after making flyers you can Print and Share the Documents via FTP and Email. Sorry - windows only. Info' here. Download here.

 Winter weather: Will Scott of Capital Window Cleaning washes off the glass canopy of the TD Tower building on Westmorland Street in Fredericton on Friday afternoon. Friday's storm, which dropped between 20 and 30 centimetres of snow on the Fredericton area, left many people as they woke up this morning facing a task that's become all too familiar this winter - cleaning out plugged driveways.

Consett man sets up Scott's Access Training: A former oil rig worker has started his own business to train people how to safely climb rigs and skyscrapers. Andy Scott from Consett, County Durham, set up Scott’s Access Training to teach people how to use a rope and harness to manoeuvre around the outside of high buildings. Andy, who worked on the oil rigs for 14 years, said: “Rope access training is for any person or business where the work would be made easier by being able to get up and down the side of a building using a rope and harness. “I mostly train people who want to work on the oil rigs because it is a highly desirable skill for that industry. But we also train people like window cleaners who need better access to large buildings.” He has received Government accreditation for the training he provides, alongside other members of his family. Wife Rose runs the office and two of their children have also taken the training for their jobs in the offshore industry. “The certificate we provide gives people the chance to earn much higher salaries on the oil rigs and, for those onshore, it can really widen the scope for their business.”

Few people can say they have gone from window cleaner to mayor. But Rex Griffin has done just that. Cr Griffin was the late Brian Naylor’s window cleaner in the 1980s when he owned Griffin’s Window Cleaning business. He cleaned windows and drove taxies before and after his 9-5 job in the Australian Public Service. It was the only way he could afford to send his children to his school of choice. “It wasn’t so uncommon to work two or three jobs in those days,” Cr Griffin said. “The window cleaning and my football umpiring was how a lot of people up here got to know me.” His position as Whittlesea Mayor entitles him to an annual salary of almost $89,000, which includes the use of a council vehicle.
For 33 years, Cr Griffin worked in various federal government departments. In the 1980s, he was a medical fraud investigator, and a social security undercover investigator during the ‘90s. “I’d be sitting out the front of cafes looking a real sight, in thongs and T-shirt, with an earpiece in my ear,” he said. The extra money helped pay his $30,000 home loan, which, he said, “was like a noose around my neck”.
He and wife Hazel bought their Epping family home in 1980 and have lived there since. They raised two sons and two daughters and mourned the death of their eldest son, Matthew, in 2009. Cr Griffin is a life member of the Wye River Surf Life Saving Club and was its president from 1992 until 1996. In 1990, he was elected to Whittlesea Council. “Every time I’ve been voted back in, I’ve always had the most votes,” Cr Griffin said.

The Excuse is Gone - Healthy exercise by doing simple chores around the house: "Next time you dread the thought of window cleaning time, remember it's another way to burn calories and work your upper body." According to the American Institute of Reboundology, 2 of the top 10 reasons people don't exercise are exercise boredom and perception that exercise is too difficult. But, in reality, both of these objections really are just myths based on bad information or previous bad experiences - perceptions. 3. Cleaning windows. Raise your hand if your windows are less than "clear"! Sure, cleaning windows is not the most fun activity but one that almost all of us need to do a few times a year. Next time you dread the thought of window cleaning time, remember it's another way to burn calories and work your upper body.

Support for self-employed and small firms vital to drive recovery: The recent Finance Act imposed the highest marginal tax rate on Ireland's self- employed and small companies, and these are the people who must be supported if the economy is to grow again, the president of the Irish Taxation Institute, Andrew Cullen, told its annual dinner last night. "The marginal rate of tax for self-employed individuals is 3pc higher than an employee on an equivalent salary. Tax policies must encourage, not punish, entrepreneurship," Mr Cullen said. Mr Cullen challenged the remarks of German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Ireland's low corporate tax is in some way linked to the property crisis. "It only serves to bring additional pressures on Ireland at a time when we need certainty and confidence in order to keep inward investment and encourage growth," he said. "The issue of the corporate tax rates and a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base will be under the spotlight yet again next month as EU leaders prepare for two major EU summits. Click the picture if you're Irish!

Medford - The owner of a Washington Township window cleaning service has been charged with stealing jewelry from his customers' homes. Mark Tonelli, owner of Magic Window Cleaning Company, was arrested Thursday morning and charged with stealing about $7,500 worth of jewelry from a Medford home on Dec. 6, 2010, police said. Tonelli had been hired by the homeowner to clean the house's windows. Tonelli also faces on similar charges of theft out of Haddonfield and Harrison Township, police said.

Gnome-lover locks up gnomes: Gnome-lover Ron Broomfield has been on high alert, fearing for the safety of 1,700 little friends since the hit animated movie Gnomeo And Juliet came out. The 76-year-old, who answers the phone ‘Ron the gnome’, has locked hundreds of his diminutive buddies inside. ‘I’ve got the ones in the front garden set in concrete and the smaller ones have been brought into the house,’ said Ron, of Alford, Lincolnshire. He said the odd one or two had ‘gone for a walk’ before and he was taking no chances with the success of the 3D film voiced by James McAvoy and Emily Blunt. Broomfield, a retired window cleaner, is said to dress up as a gnome at least twice a week. 'I've always loved them and had the beard since I was in my 20s when I started my gnome collection back then,' said Broomfield.

Recipe for an empty storefront: The corner windows of the Placer Market and Bakery are big enough to reveal the spacious emptiness inside — the bare shelves and unused oven and fliers advertising now-irrelevant baked good prices. As for recent business, Hanson said the bakery had been making it, despite the cold winter weather, and was gearing up for heavy traffic in the summer.  On Jan. 12, the Placer Downtown, LLC, locked the bakery out of its premises after terminating its lease. According to the complaint the bakery owners filed two days later, this action was “intended to cause the bakery to fail, or to gain leverage to force unpermitted ease modifications upon the Bakery.” The shop was not without its financial problems, however. Kleen King, Inc., filed a complaint in October stating that it was never paid for more than $1,000 of window cleaning and floor maintenance services it completed at the shop in June. Van’s Thriftway has “Placer Market” on the list of entities from which it doesn’t accept checks. Williams admitted in an interview that with the bakery closed, the business itself doesn’t have money to spend. But with inquiring calls coming in on a regular basis, the couple wants to make one thing clear. “People are assuming the bakery failed and it did not,” Hanson said.

ACCIDENT, CHAGRIN BOULEVARD: A Columbus man, 29, was not seriously injured on Feb. 14 just before 3 p.m. when the 2003 Ford van he was driving, owned by a window cleaning company, hit an icy patch in the roadway and slid off the north side of the roadway, striking a large rock in a yard and then coming to rest on top of the rock.

Pembrokeshire tradesmen warned about parking on double yellow lines: Pembrokeshire's new parking regime means an end to the days when tradesmen parked on double yellow lines with a note on their windscreen. Now they will have to pay at least £25 if their work means that their vehicles have to be left in ‘no parking’ areas – or risk a fine. Builders, window cleaners, removal men†and glaziers are among the trades who may be granted parking waivers or dispensations by Pembrokeshire County Council. They will need to apply three days in advance, paying a £15, non-refundable fee. If the application is allowed, they will then be charged £10 for each space required.

Knowing how council spends your money - priceless: Every time more than £500 is spent, information about the purchase must be made available for public scrutiny. And items for October and November 2010 can now be viewed online here. Meanwhile, £755 was spent on window cleaning at the Think Tank, in Ruston Way, Lincoln. A further £2,469 was spent on internal cleaning. Communications manager at the City of Lincoln Council Chris Dunbar said the authority would continue to publish monthly data as part of its commitment to greater transparency. "The data list also does not list our income, which often offsets costs, particularly in relation to running our buildings and other facilities. "Our aim is to provide value for money and to obtain the best value on everything we purchase and our annual published accounts show that we consistently achieve this." Unison's regional head of local government Andy Belfield said: "The simple fact is that for every £1 councils spend, 60p goes into the local economy, which is one of the reasons we are so concerned about rushing through council cuts.

OSHA fines company $70,000 for Hollywood water tower accident: Federal safety officials have imposed a $70,000 fine on the company that was refurbishing the city's water tower in October, when two workers were seriously hurt. Investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration noted that the St. Augustine-based M Brothers Paintings Inc. had 15 safety violations when a scaffold collapsed and sent the two men tumbling into the empty tower. The workers, Meliso Valderrabano, 22, of Jacksonville, and Carlos Bustamante, 43, of Houston, were hospitalized for a few weeks after a dramatic, six-hour rescue operation. They have since left South Florida and could not be reached for comment Tuesday, when the fine imposed on Feb. 17 was announced. The two were performing scheduled maintenance at the tower on Sheridan Street near Interstate 95. They were standing on a swinging scaffold like the ones window cleaners use when one of the sides gave way inside the tower, sending the men to the bottom of the tank, officials said.

Home Improvement Projects You Should Never DIY: The anemic housing market and weak economy has forced many homeowners to take on home improvement projects on their own. But even if you’re handy around the house, there are some things better left to the professionals. We checked in with contracting experts nationwide to find the home improvement or renovation projects you should not attempt without the help of an experienced contractor. Cleaning the Gutters - “First of all you should never be on a ladder without someone standing there in case you fall,” advises Kavovit. “When things are uneven, like the turf in your front yard, that can throw the ladder off.” Many homeowners aren’t proactive when it comes to cleaning the gutters and wait until leaks form. Having it done two or three times a year should prevent any major last minute catastrophes during a rainstorm “Don’t wait until you notice leaks occurring in your basement or you look outside and see your gutters filled with water and leaves,” Kavovit said. “It’s dangerous getting out there and fixing things during bad weather.”

An odd-job man stabbed and battered an 88-year-old great-grandmother (pictured) to death and stripped the jewellery from her fingers, the Old Bailey has heard. Daniel Franklin, of Felixstowe Road, Abbey Wood, is accused of murdering Irene Barrett, who he had known since his childhood, in a “vicious and prolonged” attack at her home. Jurors heard she either caught him stealing her money or refused to give him any when he visited her 15th floor flat in Valiant House, Charlton.Mrs Barrett’s son told the jury that he had warned her to stay away from Franklin. David Barrett said: “I was told we had this problem with missing money and she said she had concerns about the window cleaner. “I only knew him as Danny. I said I would clean her windows and she should tell him she didn't need his services anymore.” He added: 'She expressed surprise at the number of occasions he visited, not just to clean the windows.' Mr Barrett described his mother as a “very friendly, welcoming person”. Mrs Barrett has also mentioned the missing money and her concerns about Franklin to her granddaughters Lisa Reid and Karen Burgess, the court heard. Mrs Reid told jurors: “She said something like ‘I'm fine but I think Danny, the one that cleans my windows, he's been nicking my money’. “She said he must have been doing it for years and people had told her not to accuse him of it.

Beware the carpet cleaning hard sell: New Forest residents are being alerted to a carpet cleaning ‘promotion’ which could leave them out of pocket. Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards service has investigated complaints from householders about the hard-sell tactics used by a Dorset cleaning company. A low-cost promotion is offered, but depending on what services are carried out, the final price can greatly increase. Many home owners feel pressurised into accepting a higher price after the carpet cleaning technician demonstrates different services in the home. The Safer New Forest Partnership advises householders and business owners to be wary of carpet cleaning offers after a number of cases recently involving local people. It advises against dealing with cold callers at the door or by telephone. Anybody considering having work done can use Hampshire County Council’s Buy with Confidence Scheme, which recommends approved local traders. Cold calling puts unwanted pressure on householders – just say no to this sales approach.” The Safer New Forest Partnership has free No Cold Calling window stickers available.

Barry man escapes New Zealand earthquake: A Barry man has narrowly escaped being caught up in the devastating earthquake that has left more than 75 people dead in Christchurch, New Zealand. Window cleaner and magistrate John Viney, of Cadoxton, was on a two-week tour and had stopped in the South Island city before returning to Wales. shallow depth of 5km (3.1 miles) on Tuesday lunchtime and has become the country's most deadly natural disaster in 80 years. John, speaking from Sydney Airport in Australia on Tuesday - the day news of the tragedy broke, said: "I had been in Christchurch for the previous four days, staying in a hotel and visiting all these places now damaged. "I left there to fly to Sydney and missed it by 12 hours. "I can't believe the pictures I am watching at Sydney Airport. "The hotel I was in looks bad."

Oscars 2011: Even the Losers Get $75,000-plus in Swag Bag - You don’t have to bring home the gold to win at the Oscars. The losing nominees will get a gift bag worth more than $75,000 (perhaps much more) in a swag bag titled “Everybody Wins at the Oscars.” The bags are delivered the next day so nominees don’t have to carry the booty around at the Academy Awards and parties and will make even losing more bearable to these saddened souls. We are not sure which of the following items are delivered separately, but the basic package contains most of the following:
The losing stars will have no shortage of places to go to drown their sorrows. They will get a $12,000 Belize getaway in Cayo Espanto — a private island, a $5,000 all-inclusive week-long fitness retreat from Live In Fitness Enterprise and a $16,000 all-inclusive getaway to Huvafen Fushi luxury resort in the Maldives compliments of Premier Tours. They can entertain themselves with their new Motorola Zoom Tablet. The winners get a secret bag that is worth twice the price to reportedly include 21 stays, three nights each, at a luxury hotel, according to LA Weekly.  A $151,200 value, though we could not confirm this one. If so, it raises the value of the package to nearly a quarter of a million dollars.
There are a dozen other curious gifts like all-natural dog-cleaning supplies, including “Doggie Slobber Window & Glass Cleaner.” Since many of them have been getting other pricey goodie bags all week, it pays to be a loser. Not bad for being a bridesmaid, not a bride on Oscar night.

Earthpawz products will be Hollywood-bound again, this time to be presented to 27 Oscar nominees in baskets arranged by Present Times on Charing Cross Street. “I never expected to be part of something that is sort of, so Hollywood, especially when you start out with something that’s all about the environment and your dog,” de St. Croix said. “I’m really honoured to be picked to be in the gift bags and just excited to have that kind of exposure and be recognized as a great green product.” Earthpawz environmentally friendly cleaning products have been gaining a following since de St. Croix began formulating them in September 2010. Initially available in 40 pet stores across Canada, the product line is now being sold in 700 stores throughout Canada and the United States. “I think the biggest thing that makes it stand out is that the formulation works so well,” she said. “The first thing I hear back from people who try it is how fantastic it works. The benefit that it is toxic-free is such a big one, but people are actually using something that works better than what they were using before.” Earthpawz products are specific to pets and the messes they leave.

ORANGE PARK, Florida: The case of a toddler who was largely unharmed after falling from a second-story window is closed. A 2-year-old boy fell around 5:30 p.m. Saturday at a home on the 300 block of Sunstone Court in Orange Park, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Office. Investigators said the toddler fell out the window but was unharmed. The mother of the boy had been cleaning the home, when she opened the windows to clear fumes from the air. She went to work shortly afterwards and left her husband watching the children.

This one is lost on me - American humor? It was just a normal day in the life of a window washer. He had been cleaning windows for three hours with no near end in sight. As he was looking into the office he was cleaning he saw a man stealing some material from the safe...

Sunday 27 February 2011

UK Window Cleaners Protest At Banks Greed - Now Worldwide

A window cleaner works on the windows at The Bank of England in London.
Royal Bank of Scotland was yesterday the subject of an embarrassing revelation in an internal document which suggests that "influential" people are more likely to receive a mortgage from the bank than unimportant people. The gaff by RBS came in a circular to staff last month which said that loans in certain areas of London would have to be reduced because house prices had risen so high that further increases were unlikely. The Scottish bank said the guidelines could be overturned in "exceptional circumstances". These include if "the customer is influential in the community". This is the latest public relations scandal to hit banks recently, after guidance by Halifax to employees that it did not want to take on certain sections of the workforce including cabbies and window cleaners. The bank, now part of HBOS, apologised to customers.

UK Uncut protesters outside Barclays at Piccadilly Circus, London.
At midday in Islington, North London, 50 activists set up a laundry in an RBS branch in reaction to the Islington Council threats to cut services to the elderly, including a much-needed laundry service. The activist set up washing lines, clothes horses, buckets for handwashing, and a team of window cleaners on the outside. The protest was attended by over 15 pensioners and the local MP Jeremy Corbyn.
A year before his tragic death, American civil rights leader Martin Luther King gave a speech in which he spoke of the human tragedy of the Vietnam War and the deleterious effect it had on funding for the poverty programme at home. But he also spoke more philosophically, declaring: “We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” His words are as relevant today as they were then.  Banks like RBS-Natwest represent the ‘thing oriented’ society – the promotion of profits regardless of the social costs. We have heard of the role of RBS-Natwest in the financial crisis that in turn precipitated the cuts.

UK Uncut and US sister group stage more protests at banks: UK Uncut, the anti-cuts campaign group, staged protests at more than 40 bank branches throughout Britain on a day when the group's American counterpart, US Uncut, staged at least 50 protests.
The fast growing British group, still under six months old, staged the Big Society Bail In protests to show the range of services it says have had to be cut in order to support the financial sector. Last week the group focused on Barclays, which admitted it paid just £113m tax in the UK in 2009 on reported profits of £11.6bn.
This week the protests were aimed at 84% state-owned RBS, which has revealed that more than 100 of their bankers were paid more than £1m last year, while total bonuses reached close to £1bn on the bailed-out bank's reported losses of £1.1bn for 2010. Other banks' branches, including NatWest and Lloyds, in which the Treasury holds 41% of shares, were also targeted.
In Islington, protesters turned up at a branch of RBS with buckets of soapy water, washing lines and clothes pegs in to highlight claimed council cuts to services for the elderly. Supporters included the Labour MP for Islington North, Jeremy Corbyn and pensioners from the borough.
Emma, speaking for the demonstrators, said: "The banks caused the financial crisis yet it's ordinary people across the country having to pay for it, through cuts to vital public services. By propping up banks like RBS with billions of pounds of bailout money the government has forced cuts to services like laundry help for the elderly, which is why we're here today. "The cuts are a political choice, not a necessity."

Saturday 26 February 2011

Amateur Window Cleaners Raise Their Game

Clean Windows: How to Reach, Wash and Leave Them Spotless (by Nikki Pepper): We've got products you can make at home, tools that won't break your budget and the right way to reach and cleaning those screens. Growing up, if window cleaning was on your chore list, it usually meant swiping at a few windows with some newspaper and glass cleaner. But when you're the grown-up, you see all the different steps involved: Getting to the second floor windows, tackling the screens and using eco-friendly (and wallet-friendly) cleaners. No worries, we'ev got you covered - these videos should answer all your window-cleaning questions.

To see a lambswool and squeegee method for cleaning glass, watch this video.

Having trouble reaching second floor windows and want an inexpensive option? Check out this short clip on how to create your own money-saving tool to reach any window.

If a squeegee is too large to get in between panes of smaller windows, learn how to resize the squeegee (genius!) in a few simple steps.

Now that you have the tools and methods intact, what solution do you use? While there are many products you can buy at the store, you may prefer a homemade option. Check out this clip and pay attention at the 40 second mark for a window-specific recipe.

Now that the glass is shining, it's time to get the window screens just as clean. Here's a video showing a method utilizing a baby pool - yes, a baby pool, in your backyard.

Friday 25 February 2011

Cornstarch As Window Cleaner

Reader Tip: Natural Window-Cleaning Solution - Reader Peter Casey shares his tip for streak-free windows, passed down from his DIY-loving grandfather. My grandfather's house always had the clearest windows I had ever seen. One year, to learn his secret, I came over to help with some spring-cleaning chores. Being a do-it-yourself sort of fellow, he didn't use a single paper towel or commercial cleaning product to clean. Instead, he mixed 2 cups of hot water with 1/4 cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of cornstarch. "The vinegar gets anything off the window," he beamed, proud of his homemade window cleaner. "But it's that little bit of cornstarch that really gives it the shine!" After shaking the solution up in a spray bottle and spritzing the windows, we wiped them down with crumpled newspaper. Unlike paper or cloth towels, newspaper is absorbent without leaving lint behind. Those windows sparkled in spectacular fashion! From that day on, I have used this method to clean the windows in my own home. It works like nothing else and keeps my windows shined to perfection.

Corn starch, cornstarch, cornflour or maize starch is the starch of the corn (maize) grain obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel. Thomas Kingsford is credited to have been the inventor of corn starch in the 1840, while he was working as the superintendent of a wheat starch factory in Jersey City, New Jersey. Until 1850, corn starch was used primarily for starching laundry and industrial uses. Corn starch is used as a thickening agent in soups and liquid-based foods, such as sauces, gravies and custard. It is sometimes preferred over flour because it forms a translucent mixture, rather than an opaque one. As the starch is heated, the molecular chains unravel, allowing them to collide with other starch chains to form a mesh, thickening the liquid. It is usually included as an anti-caking agent in powdered sugar (10X or confectioner's sugar). For this reason, recipes calling for powdered sugar often call for at least light cooking to remove the raw corn starch taste. Baby powder often uses cornstarch.

Ingredients: 1 part vinegar - 1 part alcohol - 1 part water
    Directions: Combine in a spray bottle. This can be used on windows, mirrors, appliances, faucets, etc. I find that it works better (read: less streaking) than store bought.

    RE: Homemade Glass and Window CleanersBy Steve Miller (Guest Post): As a professional window cleaner for over 30 years, let me tell you from experience and experimentation; Newspapers or vinegar are NOT the best choices for home made window cleaning solution. I've tried them all extensively. 
    Most window cleaners use a few drops of dawn or joy dish washing soap in a bucket of water. If you want to us as a spray, add some Alcohol, rubbing alcohol works but is not the best choice. for Window shield washer fluid add more alcohol- to prevent freezing, not an issue if you don't have freezing weather.
    It's not the chemical that produces the streak-free clean window it's the training, practice, skill & techniques of the professional that make the difference. Professional tools also help. But why waste your hard-earned free time cleaning windows? It's easy to hire a pro... just look up Window Cleaners in the YP or Google "Wndow Cleaners (+your location"and spend that free time doing something you enjoy!

    Thursday 24 February 2011

    Window Cleaning News With Shepherd's, Ferrari's, Jim Beam & Pitted Glass

    State drops complaints against Shepherd’s: The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has dropped its two-year investigation of prevailing wage law complaints against the Shepherd’s Co. of Fulton, a faith-based construction company. Shepherd’s Co. also operates as a window cleaning firm and does business in Fulton, Jefferson City, Columbia, and the Lake of the Ozarks. It has more than 2,000 commercial and residential accounts in Central Missouri. The state agency has reached a non-monetary settlement with Shepherd’s Co. Under the settlement, the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations admits its long and costly investigation of the Fulton company failed to find any violations of state prevailing wage laws.
    Tom Mahaney, Shepherd’s general manager, said last year the firm had expenses and lost business costs of at least $1.5 million that are associated with the state agency’s investigation of the firm. Scott Charton, a spokesman for Shepherd’s, said he believes total expenses for the firm, including costs associated with forming a new company and legal costs, eventually will total more than $2 million. The settling parties admit to no violations of state or federal law or authority in the agreement, Charton said. The settlement agreement provides that no notice of violation of Missouri’s prevailing wage or minimum wage laws will be made by the department on Shepherd’s projects that have been under investigation.
    Shepherd’s Co. issued a statement saying that the “essential faith underpinning the Shepherd’s Company partnership has not changed, nor will it change. Shepherd’s Company is hopeful the settlement with the state satisfies any concerns or possible concerns that any public governmental bodies may have, or have expressed in the past. In the spirit of Christian forgiveness and fellowship, Shepherd’s is moving on, and looks forward to continuing its high quality service and workmanship for all clients, private, corporate and governmental.” Shepherd’s will continue operating as a partnership but will also form a separate corporation that will be used to bid on government contracts that are covered by state prevailing wage laws.
    During the investigation, Labor Department Director Larry Rebman had written letters to Columbia Public Schools and the Missouri Department of Transportation telling them that the firm was the subject of a wage hour violation investigation. That prompted both government agencies to discontinue projects with Shepherd’s. After asking for extensive records from the firm, Shepherd’s Co. filed a federal lawsuit against Rebman and Carla Buschjost, director of the department’s Division of Labor Standards. In their federal lawsuit against the state agency, Shepherd’s Co. accused the state agency of  not providing due process to the company under the U.S. Constitution.
    Based on unnamed complaints, the state agency began the investigation in 2009 that Shepherd’s Co. was outbidding union competitors. The state asked Shepherd’s to turn over virtually all of its financial records, customer lists, payroll records and numerous other documents. Shepherd’s fought the requests for a year and then turned the records over in 2010. It later filed the federal lawsuit against the state agency. Mark Comley, a Jefferson City attorney representing Shepherd’s Co., said Wednesday as part of the settlement he has dropped the federal lawsuit.
    Comley said the company is now organized as a general partnership. Comley said as part of the settlement agreement, the firm will become a subchapter S corporation. “That will create a better paper trail for payroll and record keeping. Shepherd’s Co. has agreed to do this as part of the settlement,” Comley said. Shepherd’s Co. is operated by Shepherdsfield Community, a faith-based group that lives in a communal lifestyle. Members of the community voluntarily contribute their earnings to the community and they all share in proceeds from business ventures.
    Dragon slayer Tony Earnshaw driven by Ferrari fantasy: As a 12-year-old lad Tony Earnshaw was in the back of a police car waiting to be taken from his foster parents to a council care home when a Ferrari sports car flashed by. He told the officer: “I can’t wait to get one of those.” According to Tony the officer replied: “Son, where you are going, there is only one way to get one of those - you would have to steal it”. He said the words have has stayed with him ever since. Fast forward 13 years and he is on Dragons’ Den, the hit BBC TV programme for wannabe entrepreneurs - although more often, a graveyard for dreams. He and colleague Steve Pearson deliver a smooth presentation asking for £100,000 so they can take their commercial cleaning business nationwide.
    On the panel was North East-based tycoon Duncan Bannatyne, who offers the full £100,000 for a 35% in the business, which they accept. A further 12 months on, with Duncan’s regular input, the company has won new contracts worth around £2m and the future is looking very bright for Tony. A far cry from when he walked into the council care home. He described how there were metal bars on the windows while in the pool room the cues were chained to the floor so they couldn’t be used as weapons in fights. Tony said: “Don’t get me wrong, the staff were very good and tried their best to make you feel at home. But at that age it is still the last place you want to be.”
    Without naming names, he said one fellow resident at the time suffered a drug-related death while others have fallen into a life of crime. But Tony went a different way. He persuaded the man in charge of the care home in County Durham to let him go to Biddick Comprehensive School near his former family home in Washington, Tyne and Wear. As he had been bullied and taken into care after his single mum was taken into hospital, Tony was barely able to read or write but progressed rapidly. By 15, he had a milk round and his first taste of working life. At 16 he left school with eight GCSEs to go into sales by day, flipping burgers by night in his first business venture - a £50 fast- food trailer. With a brisk nightclub trade, he made £3,000 in a matter of months - then sold the business for £2,000. He bought a window-cleaning round for £300 which made him his money back in the first fortnight. Six months later, he sold that business for £6,000. Tony said: “I turned up to buy the round with an two big drums of water in a clapped-out old van which was like something out of Only Fools and Horses.“But my entrepreneurial spirit was really taking hold by then and I knew that I wanted to pursue my dream - and get that Ferrari. Despite all my problems I was always business-minded. “I told the window-cleaning business man I was going to build up the biggest cleaning company in the North East and he just laughed and said: ‘I will be watching you.’ But within six months I had my own depot, two vans and I was the biggest, taking £6,000-a-month.” He again sold that for a healthy profit, taking £16,000, before an HND in business helped him establish UK Commercial Cleaning Services in 2007. The company has expanded, now covering Newcastle, Sunderland, Teesside, Leeds and London, with franchises in the pipeline for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
    The Dragons’ Den appearance helped him pick up the Institute of Directors North East Young Director of the Year Award. He now employs 40 staff, has a £200,000 house in Durham and a £30,000 Range Rover as he bides his time for that long-awaited Ferrari that cost between £140,000 and an eye popping £1.2m brand new. Probably in red,” he said. “I am not there yet, but I will get it,” said Tony, who is single, and whose mum Sandra, 42, is now well again and studying to be a chef while his younger brother Gavin, 21, is at university. “Just because I went into care did not mean that I was going to be a loser. I was there for two years and there were some bad boys who had been kicked out of mainstream school. Many may have ended up in prison, but by 14 I knew I had to change and stand on my own two feet. “Nobody was going to do that for me, but I did not want to go to jail. The key is ambition but problems in your past do not mean you cannot do something with your life. “Everyone is born the same way - there is no reason why you cannot achieve the same things.”

    Residents claim bad propane ruined homes: Consumers, who had purchased what they believed to be a safe and reliable product, have discovered the hard way that may not always be the case. Bob Eskew and Linda Maxwell, Margie Southern Woodrum and Jackie and Shirley Jiles are among the growing list of local consumers who know the problems of dealing with propane gas allegedly contaminated by fluorine. Contaminated propane allegedly caused etching in the glass in their homes, but even worse are the health issues involved. Eskew and Woodrum have lost most of their vision. Both have undergone significant health concerns in the last few years, including ongoing respiratory problems and flu-like symptoms. For years they have unsuccessfully fought a battle to get the company responsible for the sale of the allegedly contaminated fuel, Green Country Propane Sales Inc., to pay for damages to their homes and medical expenses. Green County Propane purchased the propane from Coffeyville Resources and Refining and Marketing LLC of Kansas.
    Pictured above: The window may look like a good washing would help, but Linda Maxwell tried washing the glass in picture frames and in the windows of her home, west of Sallisaw, to no avail. Maxwell claims glass and metal objects were pitted and etched by contaminated propane gas.

    Too much Jim Beam in the Kitchen? Dan Kitchen withdraws from council appointment race: Whiskey apparently played a part in Dan Kitchen’s decision to throw his hat in the ring for a soon-to-be-vacated Aspen City Council seat, and the fact that he has too many good ideas is why he withdrew his application on Tuesday, Kitchen said. “They aren’t going to pick you,” said Kitchen, quoting the feedback he got from family and friends on his decision to pursue a temporary appointment to fill Councilman Dwayne Romero’s seat. “They said, ‘you’re a caveman, you have too many good ideas.’”
    Kitchen jokingly admitted on Tuesday that when he considered serving in public office and subsequently submitted his application earlier this month, he had been drinking Jim Beam and wasn’t thinking clearly. Add that to his belief that since the planet is going to self-destruct anyway, Kitchen, 58, said traveling for the next year, and spending time with friends and family, sounds like a better plan. Besides, the window washer said he’d be too frustrated with the slow bureaucratic pace of government - noting that he first suggested bear-proof trash cans in 1992 and it took years for local governments to require them, and he’s been waiting for a solution to the entrance to Aspen for decades. 
    He also said he wouldn’t be a good candidate because he’s technologically illiterate. “They’d have to have special meetings for me,” to follow along, Kitchen said. With Kitchen out of the running, there are eight Aspen residents vying for the two-month appointment. Romero will vacate the seat on Monday so he can take a job as Gov. John Hickenlooper’s economic development director.

    Wednesday 23 February 2011

    Window Cleaning In Newcastle More Dangerous Than Afghanistan

    Cadets and reservists honoured for work: It's not being on the frontline of a war zone that worries Paul McKeown, but window cleaning on Tyneside. He was one of scores of volunteers honoured yesterday for their role in supporting the armed forces. Dozens of members of the Territorial Army, cadets and other reservists gathered to be recognised for the part they play in protecting the country. And despite operating in one of the most dangerous places in the world, Sapper McKeown said being on the lookout for suicide bombers and insurgents wasn’t half as dangerous as his civilian job on Tyneside.

    The 47-year-old, from Newcastle, said: "I’m a window cleaner and about a year before I was posted to Afghanistan I had an accident at work which almost killed me. "I fell off my ladder and fractured my skull in five places, broke my ribs and had fractures to my arms and legs. They say Afghanistan is a dangerous place, but the closest I’ve come to death was on the streets of Newcastle." The grandfather-of-one spent seven months last year in the war- torn country operating in Kabul providing close protection work for high-ranking diplomatic figures.

    He joined the TA three years ago but was a member of the regular Army between 1979 and 1993. He was among the volunteers honoured with certificates by the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear Nigel Sherlock. They were recognised for their work during an hour-long presentation ceremony at the TA Centre in Heaton, Newcastle. It was a family affair for the Carrolls, as husband and wife Jospeh and Theresa Carroll from Newcastle picked up awards for their TA service. Joseph has served abroad while Theresa has been based back in the UK.

    Corporal Paul Smith, from Low Teams, in Gateshead, was given a commendation for his services in Afghanistan. The soldier has been in the TA for 19 years, and recently spent six months in the war zone. He was responsible for ensuring supplies reached front-line troops. Cpl Smith, 39, said: "I was chuffed to get the award, very honoured. I love my job. There are dangers, but you get used to being places like that." Mr Sherlock said: "It has been a pleasure handing out the awards. All these people here give up their spare time to give something to the wider community."

    Tuesday 22 February 2011

    A Window Cleaners Battle With Prescription Medication

    A Tupelo (Miss), man's battle with prescription meds: Have you ever been prescribed a painkiller and worried about become addicted to it? That worry may be justified as prescription drug addiction has now replaced alcohol as the number one substance most abused in the nation according to National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependance Tupelo Office spokesperson Dody Vail.

    Someone who knows all too well about prescription drug dependency is Henry Surface. He began a descent into the world of prescription drug addiction and even to his amazement-survived. Surface is the owner of a business appropriately called "Shiny Surface." "I work as a window washer-believe it or not-with a heck of an education but, pride has taken a back seat in my life and I think that's helped a lot with recovery-that and faith in something besides myself," Surface said.

    He's recovering from years of prescription drug dependancy. He became addicted to drugs after he was prescribed a painkiller following surgery. Then, the nightmare journey would begin. He had to have a bigger fix. He would ultimately lose his family, lose his job as a math instructor. He would even become homeless.

    Surface says one prescription would lead to another and another. "I found that they were enjoyable. They felt very good and all my problems seemed to disappear-including the pain but, the more I took, the more I needed," Surface said. That's a problem growing with rapid speed in the nation according to Vail. She assesses people with drug and or alcohol dependency.

    "Opiates are extremely addicting in a short period of time so, our tolerance grows very quickly and then more and more is needed for the same effect so, it gets people before they realize it in many cases," Vail said. That would be the case with Surface. Eventually, he would be prescribed Fentanyl-a tremendously strong painkiller. "I'd put the patches on and they wouldn't work well enough so, I'd cut the patches open and start eating the gel," Surface said.

    One night, he thought his life was over. "After about six months use of the Fentanyl, I lay in bed one night. I felt my respiration slow down and eventually, it stopped. I could hear my pulse. I was in a total paralytic state. Somehow I regained my thought-my feeling and I said, no more," Surface said.

    The road to recovery hasn't been an easy one but, Henry says those days of addiction are behind him for good. These days, life is much better for him. He has been reunited with his son. He believes he has a new mission in life and that's to be happy, healthy and sober. "It's been a mega inspiration to me. It makes me feel like if anybody has a problem you can get out there. You can change it. You can be anything you want to be," son Caleb Surface said. "I cannot even compare it to the actual drugs themselves. The feeling of reconciliation with my son is far more superior than the feeling of opiates," Surface said. Vail says prescription drug dependency is also growing in popularity among teens but, the problem is being found among all age groups.

    Anyone can become addicted.

    Monday 21 February 2011

    Photo Of The Day + Window Cleaning News

    Photo of the Day: We are used to looking up at window washers, but this is an interesting perspective on an everyday scene. There are lots of great elements to this photo, including the angle, the lines, and the person on the street. A tilt-shift lens can be an overused gimmick, but it really works in this image.

    Sunshine Cleaning Company in Marin County announced their participation in International Monetary Systems (IMS), a barter network and trade exchange. IMS is a professional system which allows companies to exchange services instead of exchanging cash. Sunshine Cleaning Company’s involvement in IMS expands their Marin commercial cleaning, maid service and janitorial services for businesses and individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Bartering is an old practice which was used long before cash exchanges,” said Daniel Muithya of Sunshine Cleaning Company. “Our participation in today’s world allows our cleaning services to be exchanged for another service which is identical in value.”
    For example, if an IMS participating restaurant seeks commercial cleaning services from Sunshine Cleaning Company, then that restaurant will exchange a food service with Sunshine Cleaning Company which is similar in monetary value. All goods and services are exchanged through IMS with “trade dollars” which values the cost of specific services in nearly every industry. Sunshine Cleaning Company not only saves cash through this process, it also expands their immediate market. All participating businesses seeking commercial cleaning and janitorial services in Marin are able to search for Sunshine Cleaning Company through the IMS network. In other words, by participating in IMS, they automatically have access to the client base.
    The IMS network currently has more than 16,000 members nationwide and continues to grow each day. Some examples of exchangeable services include printing, repairs, travel, office equipment, corporate gifts and company meetings. 

    Window cleaner robbed ‘friend’ - A thieving window cleaner befriended a 90-year-old woman before snatching cash from her bedroom on three occasions. Nedeme Leigh, 20, took £61 in cash from elderly Grace Painter’s purse after watching TV with her at her home in Blagdon Road, Whitley. Reading Crown Court heard on Thursday last week that the young drug addict stole at least £20 at a time from the pensioner on October 3, 10 and 11 last year. John Upton, prosecuting, said: “While at her premises cleaning windows he asked to use the toilet. After the last visit on October 11 Mrs Painter noticed £61 was missing from her purse. “The police view was that Mrs Painter, because of her age, was not entirely clear what had been taken and when, but was adamant £61 was missing.” When questioned by police Leigh admitted he had done some window cleaning for Mrs Painter and had taken about £20 on each of three occasions.
    The court heard Leigh had described Mrs Painter as “a nice lady” who had trusted him and he admitted he had taken advantage of her. Mr Upton added that the defendant had offered in a police interview to pay Mrs Painter back at a rate of £7 to £8 a week. Leigh admitted three counts of burglary at Reading Magistrates’ Court on October 29. At his sentencing, Henry James, defending, said Leigh had come from a “very troubled background” which had involved drug use and he had sought help to stop his habit. “He formed a friendship with this lady which makes this betrayal all the worse,” he said. Mr James added Leigh was “ashamed” of his actions. Leigh’s mother sat motionless in court throughout the proceedings. Describing the offence as “mean and unpleasant”, Judge Ian Grainger sentenced Leigh, of Queen’s Road, Central Reading, to a 12-month supervision order. He further ordered Leigh to undertake a six-month drug rehabilitation programme and pay £125 compensation.

    New pro in the ring aiming for debut win: Stafford boxer Grant Cunningham faces his biggest test as a fighter when he makes his professional debut at Walsall’s Town Hall at the end of the month. An amateur boxer for nearly nine years, Cunningham has been lined up to face journeyman Davy Jones from Scunthorpe in his first scrap, at super middleweight. Nearer home, Cunningham has carried out his gym and road work under the watchful and experienced eye of Woodward, who added: “He’s got the ability, both physically and mentally and he is buzzing. But he knows he must take one fight at a time.” It is the crucial first rung of the ladder for the former Staffordshire (twice) and Midland amateur champion, who runs a local window cleaning business.

    Speck by speck, dust piles up: The world has a dust problem. There is more of it than there used to be. Apparently, the amount of airborne dust doubled in the 20th century, according to a recent scientific paper in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. The claim sounds outlandish. The amount of dust in the world must be a constant. The finding was somewhat surprising even to Natalie Mahowald, the lead researcher on the study and an associate professor of atmospheric sciences at Cornell University. Climate change seems to be one source for all the new dust. Human land use is another, she said. Alternately, I asked, have researchers considered the possibility that the dust might have come from under my bed? Recently, my wool Schlitz hat fell down there. When I retrieved it, the hat had grown a full, gray rabbinical beard.
    Dr Mahowald’s study didn’t measure dust from human sources, like our burping tailpipes and pilling sweaters, she explained. “Dust is such a vague term. I’m being very particular here: soil particles suspended in the atmosphere.” Mahowald seemed to have her hands full figuring out what all that dust might do to the earth’s oceans and climate. Academia can be petty that way. So I compiled my own advisory panel of lay experts. They were people who live in white apartments and people who collect books by the myriad. The future is looking like a dustier place, I said. What can we do to prepare? We could start by closing the windows, said Jane Novick, who lives on the fourth floor of a prewar building on Fifth Avenue, overlooking Central Park. The buses and taxis crawl by all the time, she said.
    All that cleaning can have an unintended consequence: Oddly enough, it actually breeds dust. In fact, cleaning is one of the three main sources of household dust, according to research on indoor particles. Cooking is the second; movement is the third. Every step disturbs tiny particles of dirt, fibre, soot, pollen, paint, food and dead skin. In common parlance, it’s all dust, said Richard Flagan, the chairman of the chemical engineering department at the California Institute of Technology. As soon as these motes lift off a carpet, “you induce air currents” that propel them around the room, he said.

    Lonsdale manufacturer Raven Products is one of SAustralia's great international business success stories. Raven also produces the category-leading range of Glidex advanced window cleaning systems and new recycled rubber ramps to improve access and mobility. Raven Products business development manager Rennie Colston says the focus on energy efficiency is not just because it is a comfort issue, but is increasingly a cost issue involving the energy and carbon footprint. Raven Products was founded by Peter Raven, an inventor and innovator, in 1950 and it has been growing ever since. An early product was its Glidex window cleaning equipment, which remains an Australian market leader in hardware stores.

    About Kellen & Me - Audio Tree's first artist plays an electro-folk-tapeloop-rock, promising to be refreshing to all ears. Kellen & Me is a one-man musical experience that has a sound larger than one man. The artist's main responsibilities are crafting and performing songs, as well as handling all the food and liquor purchases for his entire operation. Prior to the conceptualization of KELLEN & ME, Kellen worked in the monkey pits as an electro-spectomatrist and as a window washer in his hometown of Chicago during the dead of winter (which he claims is enough to make a grown man cry). Currently, the final elements are being applied to Kellen's first, full-length album release. Kellen's new LP will erase your numbness to music when it unveiled in the Spring of 2011.

    Michigan resident Susan Smith says corporate assistance really helped her franchise business. Smith's husband ran a Fish Window Cleaning franchise. In 2008, he suffered a fatal heart attack. Smith was forced to close the store. However, after her husband's funeral, a man from Fish corporate stayed to guide Smith through the first week after reopening; the district manager and headquarters also helped. Smith's business has since been named Fish Franchisee of the Year for her size territory.

    Leading support services provider OCS Group UK Limited has successfully retained its contract with St David's, Cardiff for a further 3 year term. Valued at £8m, the contract includes security, cleaning and support services. The contract is multi disciplined with security and cleaning as the two main services provided, supported by window cleaning, pest control, washroom hygiene and the new customer information team which was TUPEd across from Land Securities. OCS initially won the prestigious contract for security services, but has since progressed to provide added support services and has built up a bespoke facilities package with the client. St David's is the largest shopping destination in Wales and welcomed 36 million visitors last year. The centre was also nominated in the Building Cleanability Awards in 2010, in which they were a National Finalist.

    All County Windows plans job fair -Vernon - All County Window Cleaning, the largest window cleaning company on the East Coast, is having a three-day job fair Monday through Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 47 Route 94. The company is looking to hire up to 40 people to fill positions in the office, sales, residential window cleaning, commercial window cleaning and power washing.

    An 84-year-old Chicago native stranded in the Arizona desert for five days says he survived by drinking windshield wiper fluid. Henry Morello said he was trying to drive to his home outside of Phoenix when he took a wrong turn. He realized his mistake, attempted a U-turn and crashed into a ditch. "I tried to walk away but I fell down," he said.  "Then the battery went dead.  My phone went dead." For five days he says he sat and waited, using floor mats to stay warm during the cold nights. His only food was a plate of leftover pasta in his car, but he said it was too dry to eat.  Left with no water, he tried drinking windshield washer fluid to stay hydrated; a move not recommended by his doctors. Henry Morello said that despite the near death experience, he’ll most likely venture out that way again. "I’ll go back there, it’s my favorite restaurant. They got the best prime rib there is," he said.

    General maintenance and upkeep at Youngstown State University are likely victims of the budget reductions this semester after operating funds were cut in fiscal year 2011's midyear budget adjustments. "[The reduction] will cut into any contracts and materials or supplies we need to buy," Executive Director of Facilities John Hyden said. Facilities saw a $149,468 cut in funds, or about 10 percent of the Finance and Administration division's $395,561 operating fund reduction. Hyden said things might not be attended to right away, if at all, just because they are not aesthetically pleasing. So if the necessary supplies are not available, walls that need painted, small cracks that need fixed or windows that need washed will remain on Facilities' to-do list until supplies or funds to buy supplies are available.

    At last - a good home for unwanted flyers: In the past few weeks I've had leaflets through from people who want my unwanted gold (yeah, because I have a ton of that) or my broken jewellery (or any other 'antiques'). I've had calling cards from tree surgeons, carpenters, cleaners and ironers, gardeners, window cleaners, persons who can jet wash my patio (I don't have one), replace my fascia boards, (my what? Is that something cosmetic for me or the house?) power clean my oven, and wash my carpets and soft furnishings. There are loads more. And that's not even including the pesky catalogues full of plastic tat and overpriced make-up that get left by local distributors each week. So, as I've been standing waiting for the kettle to boil and idly leafing through the pile that I've accumulated, I realised I could potentially pay for someone to deal with almost every part of my life, from cleaning my car to bringing me pizza at teatime. It's tempting to note down their numbers.
    How I would love to have someone come in and maintain the garden, and if I believed in ironing, it would a delight to offload it on to someone else. As for having my carpets and oven cleaned, I'm totally sold - that is so going to happen. I didn't even know mobile oven cleaners existed. Now I know that they do, I'm going to keep them in business.In fact, the only thing I haven't had a flyer through for is dog walking. Not that I have to worry about that, as Matilda is still resisting all efforts to go outside beyond the garden. It's thanks to her I have started saving all the junk mail: once shredded it makes excellent 'litter' to line her puppy crate with. And all those plastic charity collection bags make very good 'nappy sack' substitutes. Some might say it's all most of it is fit for. Me mainly. As much as I want that oven and carpet cleaning man round.

    Glass Doctor of Ramsey earned the prestigious 2010 Angie’s List Super Service Award, an honor given to companies with outstanding consumer ratings over the past year. Glass Doctor belongs to a group of fewer than five percent of registered companies that meet the eligibility requirements to be considered for the award. To earn The Super Service Award, Glass Doctor maintained a total and overall grade of “A;” rated by the consumers, have received a minimum number of reports; are not in the Angie’s List “Penalty Box” and did not have an unsatisfactory rating with the Better Business Bureau. The franchise also received the award last year for their windows services. “Our Super Service Award winners are the cream of the crop when it comes to providing consistently high quality customer service, as judged by the customers who hired them,” said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List. Angie’s List is the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service companies.

    Victim’s dad ‘gutted’ as thug avoids prison: A father whose son was brutally stabbed by a teenage thug has slammed the legal system after his attacker escaped a prison sentence. Neil Boyd’s 19-year-old son Liam was one of three young men to be stabbed outside the Townhouse pub in Market Street, Ely. The triple stabbing happened in the early hours of July 10 last year. The attacker was a 17-year-old boy from Ely, who cannot be named for legal reasons. He walked free from Cambridge Magistrates’ Court last week after he was handed a 12-month youth referral order. He was also ordered to pay £200 in compensation to Mr Boyd and £50 compensation each to his other two victims. Liam Boyd’s father Neil, a window cleaner from Ely, said he was “gutted” with the sentence and has vowed to write to MP Jim Paice and to the courts to challenge the decision.

    Daniel Radcliffe shows off his moves as he prepares for musical theatre debut: As the actor prepares for his debut musical theatre role on Broadway, the 21-year-old has given a sneak peek of his dancing skills in a new photoshoot for U.S. Vogue. The English star shares the stage with three scantily-clad showgirls in a stunning shoot by acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The shoot comes as Radcliffe prepares to star in the New York revival of 1960s musical How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, which starts previews next week. In a departure from his role as the bespectacled wizard, Radcliffe will play the lead role of J Pierrepont Finch, a bow-tie wearing window cleaner who works his way up the corporate ladder thanks to a self-help book. How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, written by composer Frank Loesser, originally opened on Broadway in October 1961. The musical follows the fortunes of window cleaner Finch as he attempts to work his way to the top of the World Wide Wicket company.

    In late 2009, the council’s overview and scrutiny committee published a report listing a host of shortcomings, including cramped rooms, sub-standard washing facilities, uncared for community rooms and poor disabled access. Mr Butler, who is also deputy chairman of the council’s sheltered homes forum, believes there are still too many failings. He said: “It’s not how you should treat people. “It’s also the simple things – the guy who used to do our window cleaning retired, and he was never replaced. “It’s unprofessional.”

    John Rabenold of the Deferred Deposit Association says payday lenders provide a valuable service to 180,000 Kentuckians who have nowhere else to turn for short-term loans. Rabenold says payday lenders employ 2,000 Kentuckians, at an annual payroll of $35 million. Their building leases pump $20 million into local economies, plus another $30 million for goods and services, like signs, window washers and carpet cleaners. “The banks, I don’t think, really have an interest in making the smaller loans, or at least the ones that I’ve talked to don’t,” said Ford. “If they did make a smaller loan, they have fees that they can charge to make up for those differences."

    I have started to feel those first stirrings of unease that I always get at this time of the year. It may be the early glimpse of pale sunshine which shows up the smudges and smears on the window panes, or the seasonal rustle in the letterbox as the leaflets advertising carpet and upholstery cleaning come through. Or perhaps it is the distant buzzing of a power drill that sets off the mood. Spring is an unsettling time for dedicated non-handymen. It sets off our restless search for something to keep us otherwise occupied. What causes this home-improvement urge in spring? There is definitely something that awakens the deep-seated human grouting instinct. I don’t really accept the theory that it’s all about nature renewing itself, because if that were the case, we’d be better off sprouting buds.

    Three tips for sweet success: Can anyone build a fast-growth company? They occur in any region and in any sector. There is no easy, off-the-peg formula – but there are common characteristics, writes Brian Groom.
    1. Grow: First, the sine qua non is to have the ambition to grow. You are unlikely to expand without the determination to do so. Those who set out to run a lifestyle business will probably stay doing just that.
    2. Innovate: Fast-growers tend to be disproportionately innovative. That can mean anything from inventing a new technique for window-cleaning to internet technology that out-smarts your rivals, or simply a better way of training and organising your workforce.
    3. Find a gap: You need to spot a market opportunity that others are missing. That can be a fresh development in an old industry– such as exploiting the “retro” market for nostalgic brands of sweets – or one that is restructuring. It could also be latching on to a trendy high-technology sector.

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