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.

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