Thursday 31 March 2011

Another Window Cleaner Electrocuted - South Africa - R.I.P Elky

Shock fells window cleaner: A window cleaner plunged four metres onto a pavement after suffering an electric shock in Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon, said Netcare 911. Spokesperson Jeff Wicks said he was critically injured and was taken to Milpark Hospital. The incident occurred at the intersection of Small and Bree streets in Johannesburg. Wicks said the man was thought to have been thrown from his cleaning platform after making contact with an electrical transformer.

Tragic OAP was yards from home when he died: An old age pensioner was just yards from his home when he was knocked down and killed on Thursday evening. And now Alexander McClymont’s devastated family are calling on the council to make the corner where he died safer for pedestrians. Alexander, or Elky as he was known to his friends, was trying to cross the road at Bonnyton Road’s junction with Fullarton Street when the accident happened. Elky leaves a family of four children – daughters Jackie, Andrea, Audrey and son Stevie – seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
The sprightly 70-year-old, who used to work at Glenfield and Kennedy, was better known in Kilmarnock as a window cleaner in the town centre. Said daughter Jackie: “Dad was a really fit man and had a lot of living left to do. He walked everywhere and I know he felt 21 inside. “This is a bad corner where dad died. The pavement runs out and he was having to cross to where it starts again. Perhaps the council should consider lights or a zebra crossing. “When we were putting flowers down another elderly man was trying to cross the road and he was almost hit too.”
The family are still in shock over their dad’s sudden passing, but want to give their thanks to the people who came to his aid following the accident. Added Jackie: “We think dad probably died either at the scene or shortly before he arrived at hospital, but we haven’t all the details yet. “We do know that there were people there helping him and we want to sincerely thank everyone who was with him. We are really grateful.”

Wednesday 30 March 2011

R.I.P Window Washer - Gandy Ochoa

Window washer electrocuted in Huntington Beach.

A man washing windows at a three-story medical building was killed Tuesday morning when an extension rod he was using came in contact with a 12,000-volt power line, authorities said. The incident was reported about 6:30 a.m. at Beach Boulevard and Newman Street, said Jeff Lopez, deputy fire marshal with the Huntington Beach Fire Department. The body was lying on the sidewalk on Newman Street, adjacent to the Beach Medical building in the 17700 block of Beach Boulevard about four hours after the accident. The Orange County Coroner's Office removed the body about 10:30 a.m.
Jeff Lopez, deputy fire marshal with the Huntington Beach Fire Department, said the man was using an aluminum extension rod to reach the third story with his brush. "It came into contact with the power line, which shorted to the ground and electrocuted him immediately," Lopez said. It appears the man was walking around a tree when his equipment touched the power line, Lopez added. Coroner's Office officials identified the man as Gandy Ochoa, 27, a Pomona resident. Power was out while authorities removed the worker's brush, which hung from the power line above the sidewalk on Newman Avenue. The office building was briefly evacuated, Lopez said.
Yesterdays sad breaking news with video here.

An Southern California Edison lineman gets ready to disconnect the power after a window washer was electrocuted when his washing equipment touched a power line running along Newman Avenue behind Huntington Beach Hospital this morning about 6:30 a.m.
A Southern California Edison lineman disconnects the power to a line running along the North side of Huntington Beach Hospital on Tuesday morning. A window washer was electrocuted when his washing equipment touched the power line running along Newman Avenue behind the hospital.
A window washer's brush hangs from the power line above the sidewalk on Newman Avenue in Huntington Beach this morning after the washer was electrocuted near Huntington Beach Hospital about 6:30 a.m.
A Huntington Beach police officer places a barrier to block the view of the body of a window washer who was electrocuted while washing the windows of a medical building next to Huntington Beach Hopsital this morning. The window washer was electrocuted when his washing equipment touched a power line running along Newman Avenue.
Initially people thought that the fire by the roadside was a downed cable, but it turned out to be the perished victims body alight.

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Another Water Fed Pole Electrocution

Worker Electrocuted to Death in Huntington Beach: Huntington Beach - A man washing windows at a medical office building in Huntington Beach was killed today when the equipment he was using came into contact with a 12,000-volt electrical line, authorities said. The accident happened at about 6:30 a.m. at Beach Boulevard and Newman Avenue, according to the Huntington Beach Police Department. The worker, whose age and name were not immediately released, was standing on the ground and washing windows of the three-story building when the accident occurred, Huntington Beach fire Capt. Jeff Lopez said. "He was using a long extension rod with a brush at the end of it ... and he had to step around a tree, it appears -- And as he did so, he brought the brush and the extension rod away from the building, and he came in contact with the power lines above him -- 12,000-volt power lines -- and tragically, it killed him." The building was partially evacuated briefly as a precaution while firefighters determined that the power line was secure and not posing a hazard, Lopez said.

A man washing windows at a three-story medical building was killed Tuesday morning when an extension rod he was using came in cotact with a 12,000-volt power line, authorities said. The incident was reported at about 6:34 a.m. at Beach Boulevard and Newman Street, said Jeff Lopez, deputy fire marshal with the Huntington Beach Fire Department. The body was lying on the sidewalk on Newman Street, adjacent to the Beach Medical building at 17742 Beach Blvd for about four hours after the incident occurred. The coroner's office removed the body at about 10:30 a.m. Jeff Lopez, deputy fire marshal with the Huntington Beach Fire Department, said the man was using an aluminum extension rod to reach the third story with his brush. "It came into contact with the power line which shorted to the ground and electrocuted him immediately," Lopez said. It appears the man was walking around a tree when his equipment touched the power line, Lopez added. Power was out while authorities removed the worker's brush that hung from the power line above the sidewalk on Newman Avenue. The medical office building was briefly evacuated and is now fully occupied, Lopez said. The worker's name and age were not immediately released.

Stolen Scrims Have Window Cleaners In A Lather

Window cleaners left high and dry after binmen dump their cloths: Two window cleaners were left high and dry on the job . . . after binmen carted off their gear. Stephen Fawkes and George Millar were in a lather after discovering their bag of expensive cloths had been tipped into the back of a lorry by refuse collection workers. The pair, who were cleaning windows at a home in John Lang Street, in Johnstone, discovered their scrim cloths had disappeared when they returned to their bucket for fresh water.

And after chasing down a refuse lorry, they claim they were told their cleaning materials had been piled in with the rubbish. Stephen, 22, said: “I was up the ladder at the front of the house and George was round the back and when I went back to the bucket I noticed our bag of cloths was gone. “It was then that I spotted the bin lorry up the street and I ran after it and asked the guys if they had lifted a plastic bag from the street. “It turns out one of the boys had thrown it in the back of the truck, along with the waste from the wheelie bins, thinking it was rubbish that had been left out.

“Needless to say, there was no way we could get the bag back so that was us for the day. “We couldn’t do any more windows and as we’d only just started the shift we were pretty raging about it.” Nineteen-year-old George’s dad, Charlie Millar, runs the C&J Cleaning Services business. He contacted Renfrewshire Council’s environmental department to report the blunder in a bid for compensation for the dumped cloths. But he had his bubble burst when council chiefs refused to take responsibility for the missing cloths.

Charlie said: “Inside the bag were about 20 scrim cloths worth £5 a time and a few standard cloths so there was at least £100 worth of materials chucked in the back of a bin lorry. “I don’t understand why anyone would think it was rubbish when they were sitting beside a bucket of water and a spare squeegie. “However, the council said their guys wouldn’t have touched it because they’re not trained to lift bags. There’s no chance of being refunded. We’ve been left to pick up the tab.”

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “One of our employees lifted a bag that had been left beside a bin and threw it into the refuse vehicle. The window cleaner approached the employee but told him not to worry as the bag only contained rags. If this wasn’t the case the council has a well-established procedure that people can use to make a claim to our insurance company.”

Monday 28 March 2011

Birds In A Flap Over Clean Glass

What Can You Do To Prevent Fatal Bird Strikes? Be aware that birds collide with windows all year long. Spring and fall migration seasons, however, see dramatic increases in fatalities. Extra precautions taken during the migration periods may be very beneficial and well worth the effort. Basically, anything that cuts down on the reflective, see-through qualities of your windows may make your home or business more friendly to migrating birds. Scientists call attention grabbing designs on windows, “visual noise,” that cry out, “Watch out!”

Retro-fitting At Home and at the Office: Assess your situation. Many homeowners find that bird crashes occur at certain windows. Often windows that are installed on opposite sides of the house present to birds a clear passageway.  Focusing on the windows where birds run into problems may make the task of preventing strikes less daunting. Place bird feeders as close to windows as possible or far away from windows. A bird only needs a distance of 3 feet to gather enough speed to fatally crash into a window. Placing a feeder very close to a window limits the bird’s ability to attain crashing speed.

Decals can be effective if, and only if, they are placed very close together. Some, specifically marketed for this purpose, are quite attractive and give the appearance of etched glass. But they must uniformly cover the window surface at 2 inch intervals to work well. Posting post-it notes in bright colors, again placed closely together, on windows during the spring and fall migration seasons has also been found to be effective. The advantage here is that this solution is inexpensive and once the migrating season ends, they can be easily removed. Duct tape may be used to create patterns as well, but it may be more difficult to remove.

Dr. Christine Sheppard from the American Bird Conservancy has found another inexpensive technique for preparing home windows for migration. Non-toxic tempera paint, used to create patterns on the exterior of windows, is according to her “surprisingly doesn’t wash off with rain, but comes off easily with a damp cloth.” She encourages parents to get their children to help paint designs on windows within their reach. If you’re not up to free form painting, stencils are available at art stores.

Birds screens that can be purchased in various sizes and shapes or customized and attached to exterior windows and sliding doors are also effective as they are a more forgiving surface at impact than glass. Frank Haas in Pennsylvania owns the Bird Screen Company and sells to homeowners online or on the phone. The screen may be attached using screw hooks or with suction cups. The screens are no more than 36 inches wide and therefore do not have a commercial application. (

Some buildings have retrofitted using netting to cushion bird collisions. The Ornithology Department at Cornell University has netting on their glass windows. The same product that is manufactured to keep birds out of fruit crops can be used to protect them.

BirdMaster, a firm that provides elegant and unobtrusive netting for protecting historic buildings from infestations of bird pests, pigeons, starlings and sparrows are the experts that can also design netting systems to protect against bird strikes.

In the New York Metropolitan area, the New York City Audubon Society will provide consultation with office building managers to customize a specific approach to address the problem. Turn off unnecessary lights. Ask your municipality to adopt ordinances that would require shielded, downward pointing light for new construction. Share this information with others. Most people are shocked that the problem is such a big one and has garnered so little publicity.

How should I care for a stunned bird after it flies into a window? According to the Bird Conservation Network, more than 100 million North American birds die each year from window collisions. Even outside of spring mating season when birds are more likely to be confused/distracted, bird collisions are extremely common simply because birds do not recognize glass as a barrier. Ornithologist Daniel Klem of Muhlenberg College tells National Public Radio: "It's a very common phenomenon. Birds are deceived. They just don't see glass as a barrier and this is a problem for them."

So here's what you should do in the event that you hear that distinctive thump against a window and go outside to find a stunned bird. Observe the bird for a few minutes. Often, stunned birds with no physical injuries like broken wings can recover quickly from a window collision without any human assistance other than a watchful eye to make sure no potential predators (e.g. your cats) swoop in for a quick lunch.

If the bird remains inactive after five minutes or so, pick it up carefully - carefully being the operative word here - keeping it upright so it can breathe and not restraining it. You can don a pair of gloves if you see fit. Place the bird in a box with a lid (shoeboxes work fine) lined with paper towels or a soft cloth. Poke a few holes in the box large enough to allow for some ventilation. I'd keep a couple of dedicated traumatized bird "rehab boxes" at the ready.

Next, place the box in a warm, dark and secure (read: cat-free) area of your home where the bird will be able to "reboot" in peace and quiet. According to Wild Bird Watching, when a stunned bird is removed from all stimuli there's a greater chance it will heal from a potentially fatal concussion. Do not try to feed the bird, give it water or play the role of doting bird nurse. Just let it be.

After an hour or two, take the box outside, staying as far away as possible from your home or other structures. Open the box/bag and hopefully the bird will fly off, craning its neck to give you an appreciative, midair wink as it rejoins its buddies. You may need to pick the bird up once again to help it achieve takeoff.

This is the best-case scenario. If the bird is still in a vegetative state or seems worse off than when you first found it, close the box back up, take it back inside to a safe place and contact your local licensed bird or wildlife rehabilitation center for further instruction. Something to note: It's illegal to keep a wild bird in your care. A little post-trauma assistance is fine but if after a few hours in your care the bird is still struggling to snap out of it, it's time to seek outside help.

If the area around your home proves to be a bird magnet again this spring, I'd also take some preventive measures. Sure, it's great to know how to take care of a stunned bird, but you should probably collision-proof your home. The National Audubon Society offers an authoritative list of things you can do including strategic bird feeder placement, installing window decals and drawing your curtains or blinds.

More info here:
Bird-Friendly Building Certification
Aqua Tower Gets Proggy from PETA for Being Bird Friendly
Mirrored Tree House Built In Sweden (With Bird Film)

Bird-Friendly Glass Designed With Help From Spiders: There's such a thing as bird friendly glass, believe it or not. A German company called Arnold Glas makes Ornilux, and recently collected an international design award for its spider-web inspired product. Estimates are that more than 100 million birds die every year in the United States from collisions with windows. The number is about 250,000 a day in Europe, according to Arnold Glas. A special ultraviolet reflective coating makes the Ornilux glass visible to birds, but doesn't obstruct the view for us humans.

"The highly effective coating which, when looked at against a backlight, seems like a randomly unfolding layer of the game Mikado pick-up sticks, is barely visible to humans and integrates seamlessly into architecture ..."
The latest version of the glass, called Ornilux Mikado, received the "red dot" award this year from the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, Germany. Judges noted that the glass uses the same techniques that spiders use to keep birds from flying through and destroying their webs. The glass was developed in conjuction with the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, which tested Ornilux on Central European garden birds and found they recognize it better than ordinary glass. The coating reduces bird strikes by an estimated 75 percent, is more effective than stickers and also helps insulate a building, Arnold Glas says. The glass is making its way to the states. The Detroit Audubon Society is one of the latest organizations to highlight the product.

The first installation of Ornilux was in the spring of 2006, during the modernization of the 100-year-old enclosed swimming pool in the German city of Plauen.

Sunday 27 March 2011

Window Cleaning News

Workers clean windows at a newly contructed commercial building in Kuala Lumpur. According to central bank annual report, Malaysia's economy will expand by between five and six percent in 2011, spurred largely by strong domestic demand. The export-dependent economy suffered a 1.7 percent contraction in 2009 due to the global slowdown.

The Cleaning Show 2011 - ‘an outstanding event’: Anybody that had concerns that the current economic climate might damage the quality of attendees at The Cleaning Show 2011 needn’t have worried - the event closed its doors on Thursday 3rd March following three vibrant days which both exhibitors and visitors described as ‘outstanding’.The official number of visitors attending this year’s event is 7652, with the vast majority being in a position to purchase or specify equipment and services. Martin Scott, exhibition sales director, said: “The Cleaning Show 2011 exceeded all our expectations, and was a clear demonstration that the UK cleaning industry continues to thrive despite tough economic times. As organisers we were struck by the quality of the exhibits and the amount of genuine innovation on show. From our exit survey, it appears that visitors were similarly impressed. We welcomed almost 90 new exhibiting companies to this year’s event - I look forward to seeing them all again in 2013.”

You may not win $9,000 in a month as he once did, but André "The Pirate" Goyette says he can still turn you into a fearsome force down at the pool hall. Goyette, a former Eastern Canadian billiards champion and a four-time West Quebec title holder, has partnered with the Ottawa- area video company Chromavision Productions to release Focus on Billiards, a DVD instructional series for enthusiasts at all levels. In 1977, Goyette had a chance to go international and play in England. He says he analysed the situation (pool sharks, like chess players, are nothing if not analytical) and decided to stay put: he had a family, a successful window cleaning business and real estate investments.That same year, while playing snooker, a variant on billiards, he achieved a 147-point break, the highest possible score under most circumstances. While professionals usually do this once, Goyette says he's done it six times. Small wonder he can boast about being ranked among the 20 best players nationwide for two decades by the former Canadian Snooker Association. Goyette says he still enjoys competing in tournaments and gives private lessons. Billiard halls, he adds, have cleaned themselves up since the grungy old days.

Charity does begin at home: Rents waived. Food parcels. How one Devon town is pulling together in recessionary Britain: Everyone's offering special deals - 'Credit crunch breakfast - five items for £2.50'. At Madison Beauty, regulars are stretching out the gap between hair appointments and cancelling their manicures. Decorators, window cleaners and mechanics are all suffering. Madison's Laura Gleeson, 20, says: 'Everyone knows someone who's been made redundant - so it affects everybody. There's no them and us, we're all in it together.' 'Without the Food bank people could have starved.' 'We had nothing in and no money and, by the time we heard about the Food Bank four or five days later, we were living on bread and water - literally. God knows what we'd have done without the Food Bank.'

Woman on top for 44 years - DIAL AN ANGEL marks another successful year: Research recently published by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, shows only about 8.4 per cent of board members and 3 per cent of chief executives are women. One Australian owned and operated company has had a woman in the CEO role for the last 44 years and that makes them pretty unique! Founded in March 1967 by Dena Blackman, DIAL-AN-ANGEL® grew quickly from a one person, one-telephone office to 10 offices nationwide, four of which are franchises. The Company now employs 50 full-time staff with over 10,000 registered Angels® providing quality home and family care to tens of thousands of satisfied clients.
Dena commenced the business on a $200 bank loan whilst caring for her three young children. To put Dena’s achievement into perspective it was only one year after the removal of the marriage bar in the Commonwealth Public Service. It required all women once they were married to retire from the workforce! Moreover, it took until 1971 for the first bank to provide a loan to women without a male guarantor. None of this deterred the young working mother and DIAL-AN-ANGEL was born. DIAL-AN-ANGEL Pty Limited is a private, family owned and operated Australian company. It is the only national agency specialising in the provision of home and family care. The company provides assistance with all home-based services, housekeeping, childcare, Eldercare-at-home™, in-home nursing, gardener-handyman services, window cleaning, in-home entertaining and corporate functions.

More than 40 local businesses are going head to head in the finals of the Croydon Business Awards. Nearly 100 companies entered the main awards, organised by South London Business, with more than 800 further businesses nominated via text in the additional Shop Local categories. Family-owned Chequers Contract Services was started in 1987 as a window-cleaning company by brothers Gary and Paul Jeal. It now turns over more than £6m per year and has 450 staff delivering environmentally sensitive cleaning and building services to schools, houses and commercial buildings. Kate Ward, company director, said: "As a family-run business, our family values are carried through to our staff."

The work of a Mexican satirical documentary photographer among the group of photographers introduced to London for the first time. Dulce Pinzon, a Mexican artist who has made a series of satirical documentary works that celebrate the bravery of Mexican immigrant workers in New York. One image (pictured) shows a window cleaner dressed as Spiderman, at work high up on a tower block. Pinzon’s photograph, from an edition of eight, is priced at £1,850. Other works in the exhibition range from £650 to £7,500. Also see here for previous blog on Dulce Pinzon.

John McKenzie - The Window Cleaner, circa 1930 £2,500: Framed carved oak relief with colour applied, in an integral frame 14 1/4 x 6 3/4 in. (36 x 17 cm.). ‘I keep on drawing and re-drawing until what I’ve produced simply asks to be carved’ (John McKenzie, Abroath Herald, 1 February 1963). The remarkable work of John McKenzie has only recently come back to light. Despite exhibiting his slates at the Royal Scottish Academy Summer Exhibition, the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts, and in two solo exhibitions at the Public Library in his home town of Abroath, he had no interest in the commercial aspects of his work and sold no more than a handful of sculptures during his lifetime. Using initially oak panels, in the 30's, and later Welsh slate, in the 1940's,  and working with engraver’s tools, he produced three to four reliefs a year, which amounted to less than a hundred in his entire career. By day a charge-hand messman on HMS Condor (and later a railwayman), the reclusive McKenzie indulged his passion for carving by night and at the weekends. Producing in equal number scenes of contemporary life and scenes of antiquity, it is especially in the former that he found his most distinctive voice. His images  are rich in symbolism, which though often obscure is always engaging. Liss Fine Art are currently preparing a catalogue of his work. Click picture to enlarge.

Monday Morning Brain Teaser. Today's question: Which occupational group has the highest rate of horrible nightmares? Federal News Radio's scientific advisory board is still analyzing the data, so it will be awhile before we have an official answer. But if I had to guess I would say it's a tie between the window washers and federal employees. Maybe give the edge to feds as having the most unhappy dreams. Think about it... The board of director of companies that employ and supply window-washers to skyscrapers DON'T want them to fall. There would be lawsuits, paperwork, hearings, insurance, etc. That's why they give their people good equipment and check up on them.

Chris Halliwell: profile of murder suspect in Sian O'Callaghan investigation: Declared bankrupt last January, the 47-year-old had only been working for Five Star private hire in Swindon for a couple of weeks before he was arrested. Not new to the taxi scene, he was known by the other local drivers for the fact that he always used to wear a suit to work. Previously employed by United Radio Cars, he had also tried his hand at construction and window cleaning. Originally a window cleaner, Mr Halliwell lived in a rented flat on the County Road in Swindon before moving into a two-up two down terrace in nearby Broad Street with his girlfriend Lisa Byrne, a shop assistant, in the late 1980s.

Carlos Samojluk, 51, a devoted husband and father died unexpectedly March 19, 2011, of a massive stroke. Carlos worked in the Napa and surrounding areas as a commercial window cleaner for the last 16 years. He is survived by Karen, his wife of 28 years; daughter, Ashley (Andrew) Clark of Suisun; son, Nicholas of Napa; parents, Nic and Marta Samojluk of Loma Linda, Calif.; sister, Nancy (Jim) Peterson of Fort Collins, Colo.; sisters-in-law, Dianne (Tom) Lee of Victorville, Calif., and Sherry (Larry) Oropeza of Claypool, Ariz.; brothers-in-law, Robert and Jimmy; father-in-law, Bing from Payson, Ariz.; two nieces, three nephews, one great-niece and many cousins from around the state and Oregon, countless friends and “framily.” He is greatly missed.

Sadler’s Wells and the Barbican Centre will embark on an unprecedented collaborative programme to present a month-long season of 10 works choreographed by the late Pina Bausch from 6 June to 9 July 2012. The series will feature Der Fenzterputzer (The Window Washer) (Hong Kong, 1997).  In 1986 Pina Bausch, the influential German choreographer, who died suddenly at the age of 68 in 2009, started a series of international co-productions, which were created at the invitation of specific global cities. Her company would live in each city for a period of time, before returning to Wuppertal to create a new work inspired by their visit. She described her approach and commitment to creating co-productions as “almost all our pieces have been co-productions, evolved from the meeting of different cultures – whether in Hong Kong, Brazil, Budapest, Palermo, Japan or Istanbul. Getting to know unfamiliar customs, music and traditions led me to transform into dance what is unknown but is part of us all. Getting to know the unknown, sharing it, and experiencing it without fear.”

Croydon men have been sentenced for their part in mass violence before and after the Chelsea v Cardiff City FA Cup match in Fulham last year. Ben Satchell, a 20-year-old window cleaner from Onslow Way, Croydon, was sentenced to eight months in a young offenders’ institute and a six-year banning order having previously pleaded guilty to violent disorder. Detective Superintendent William Lyle of Hammersmith and Fulham borough police said: "These sentences demonstrate this kind of behaviour is entirely unacceptable to the police, the thousands of law-abiding football fans and the general public.

Civil service red tape report exposes litany of waste: Home Office contractors travelled six hours from Liverpool to South Wales and back to change a single carpet tile, it has emerged. The extraordinary trip was exposed in a report detailing the red tape that saw probation service chiefs repeatedly summon workmen halfway across the country to clean windows, paint walls or fix blocked toilets. As households across Wales scrimp and save to meet the costs of rocketing bills, the whistle-blowing report revealed a litany of waste, including: Window cleaners were repeatedly sent from the Midlands and Manchester areas to bail hostels in South and Mid Wales.
Probation service chiefs told us that their central contracts for bail hostels and offices across Britain actually saved money. But after just a handful of telephone calls Wales on Sunday found they were wasting hundreds on each trip. A carpet-fitting firm in Liverpool told us that they would charge several hundred pounds to travel to South Wales to do a small job once fuel and time costs were taken into consideration. In comparison we found a local firm willing to do the work for between £35 and £50.
Window cleaners told us they would do a small job for a fiver – while a company in Birmingham said that with travel costs it would cost them up to £100 to do it. The waste was revealed in a report by probation union Napo which estimated the total cost of the waste was £15m in the last six years. Other revelations in the report included two window cleaners being sent from Birmingham to clean a small window that has bars on the outside to prevent it being opened in an industrial estate workshop. The report also highlighted a case in Mid Wales where two window cleaners arrived from Manchester, for a job that took an hour. They had travelled 240 miles.

Civil rights struggles right from local leaders' mouths: Now, they were ready to hear first-hand what it was like to be black in New Orleans 50 years ago. "In 1961, the stores would sell to the colored. That's what we were called back then - colored, " Elliott Willard said. "But you couldn't work there unless you were custodians or window washers."

Clinton Potts' career as a jockey has taken him around the world. His numbers last year are proof of his success. In 2010, his 596 starts resulted in 107 winners and earnings of $2,214,069. Jockeys generally earn about 10 percent of their winnings and, according to Potts, get to keep about 35 percent of that after taxes and expenses. Insurance, for instance, he said is very expensive. Last I heard, Potts said, as far as getting insurance, riding horses is the most dangerous occupation in the country. It used to be high-rise window washers, but their equipment has gotten better.

Saturday 26 March 2011

The Norman Rockwell Window Washer

Chehalis man waxes nostalgic about his brush with Norman Rockwell: The Tacoma Art Museum is now featuring an exhibit of Norman Rockwell's iconic work that evokes memories of a simpler time. For Jim Stafford of Chehalis, it evokes memories of his past connection to the famed artist. "(Rockwell) was my hero to start with," Stafford said. "Art was the Saturday Evening Post."

Rockwell's illustrations donned the covers of 323 Saturday Evening Posts - one of the first magazines to reach a million subscribers. Fifty years ago, back when Stafford was a budding artist, he wrote Rockwell a letter asking if he could visit. He got a letter back: "I'd be glad to have you stop in any time." "Oh I was a little stunned, quite," Stafford said of receiving the answer.

Stafford said when he arrived, Rockwell looked at him and said, "you'll do." "I said, 'Do for what?' and he said 'Do for a Post cover I'm working on,' oh my," Stafford said. That session became the September 1960 cover - the window washer with a wink. Rockwell was known to to make the models make faces or wink. "Really put a wink in it, twist your face," Stafford said. "(I) had hair in those days so I looked better."

The illustration puts the young serviceman in the company of presidents, movie stars, and good ole everyday folks. But it didn't get Jim any more modeling gigs. "No, Hollywood overlooked this old guy," Stafford said. But not Steven Spielberg, who bought the original oil. Stafford says has another story about this piece - he says Rockwell tried to set him up with the secretary. "He tried to line me up with her, he says 'take my car, boy she's a looker,' " Stafford said. But Stafford told Rockwell he couldn't afford the gas or girl. "Well, when I saw the picture (of her), I realized I should have," she said.

Stafford earned $30 posing for the painter and some priceless Rockwell recollections. "Scenes of life gone by, simpler older days," he said. The exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum runs through May 30.

The Saturday Evening Post was a US magazine published weekly. It ran from 1821 to 1969. The publisher claimed the Post was descended from The Pennsylvania Gazette founded in 1728 by Benjamin Franklin even when the magazine's first issue was published over three decades after Ben Franklin's death. The Post was also host to the rise to fame of cover illustrator Norman Rockwell.

Friday 25 March 2011

London, England - Just Another Day Window Cleaning

LONDON, ENGLAND - A photo illustration of window cleaning tools ready for use on the 50th floor of the One Canada Square skyscraper on February 8, 2011 in London, England. Currently the tallest building in Britain, it lies at the heart of Canary Wharf, the business and shopping district on the River Thames. To clean all the windows of the building takes a month, with the cleaners suspended up to 190m from the ground. As always, click the pictures to enlarge. Previous blogs here & here.

LONDON, ENGLAND - A window cleaners harness catches a ray of sun on the 50th floor of the One Canada Square skyscraper in London, England.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Window cleaner Jamie Graham steadies the cleaning gondala against the side of the balcony above the 50th floor of the One Canada Square skyscraper.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Window cleaner Jamie Graham at work on the 50th floor of the One Canada Square skyscraper.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Window cleaners Lee Mason (left) and Paul Wright (right) pause for a break in their cleaning gondola outside the 50th floor of the One Canada Square skyscraper.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Window cleaners at work on the One Canada Square skyscraper.

LONDON, ENGLAND -  Window cleaner Jamie Graham at work on the currently vacant 50th floor of the One Canada Square skyscraper.

LONDON, ENGLAND - A crane and gondola ready for use on the 50th floor of the One Canada Square skyscraper.

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