'Red' Rider sees the light - Blind unicyclist refuses to give up passion: David “Red” Davis used to ride motorbikes. The 56-year-old Worth resident once rode a wheelie for 21 miles at the old Santa Fe Speedway in Willow Springs in an attempt to get into the Guinness Book of World Records. He would have, too, had a better-balanced rider not beat him by a couple miles that day in 1983. Davis no longer rides dirt bikes. A degenerative eye disease has rendered him legally blind and put an end to that, but he refuses to quit riding altogether. He has traded in his motorbikes for cycles of another kind — the kind with no motor and, yes, one wheel. Weather permitting, Davis rides his unicycle along the west side of Harlem Avenue, south of 115th Street near the Water’s Edge Golf Club. Davis, on a challenge from a friend, took up the unicycle in July 2003 thinking it could help him get healthier and shed some weight. He bought his first unicycle for $30, and today owns 20 including one with a homemade snow tire and a 1930s antique model with a wooden wheel and a solid rubber tire. Despite his eye condition Davis, who never married, has succeeded in making a comfortable life for himself, he said. In addition to collecting disability he stays active and earns enough money so that he does not have to depend on others. He has worked in a junkyard and as a darkroom technician, wedding videographer and window washer.
Homeowners bring a renewed glow to holiday contractors: Ian Callahan, owner of Calflex Window and Carpet Cleaning, got into holiday lighting in 2005 and found himself almost overwhelmed with the volume of work his first season. Callahan, who does business as Reno Christmas Lights, says he's on track to double his revenues this year from 2010 — in part because of a spike in his window and carpet cleaning business that allowed him to bring on additional employees. Large homeowners in upper-crust neighborhoods — Arrowcreek, Eagles Nest, Caughlin Ranch — account for the bulk of Reno Christmas Light's clientele. Commercial accounts remain flat. “There is no shortage of market share out there for us,” Callahan says. “I had a plan this year to market to the middle class more and do some lower-end lighting packages, and I got lower returns on that than on my usual programs.” Callahan says revenues from holiday decorating are crucial to helping Calflex Window and Carpet Cleaning get through its slowest months, which are January and February.
When Tim Gehrmann (left) washes windows as part of his job on the UW-Madison campus, he tackles one pane after another, until finally the payoff emerges: a wall of gleaming windows that makes life better for those looking out and those looking in. Gehrmann is one of more than a dozen campus facility repair workers who contributed more than $100 this year to Partners in Giving, the annual workplace campaign for state, university, and UW Hospital and Clinics employees that benefits more than 500 charities.
With more coming out of their paychecks for health care and retirement under recent changes to collective bargaining for state workers, "these guys have really taken a hit," Grueneberg said of his crew. He credits Gehrmann with rallying the crew to kick in more this year so their boss would have to, too. Grueneberg has matched half or all of every dollar given to charity by his crews.
Window cleaner Chris Miles is top Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator: A window cleaner has been named Ryedale’s Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator of the year. Chris Miles was given the award for his enthusiasm and willingness to be involved in any matters to benefit the community of Sherburn, near Malton. Mr Miles has worked with officers to develop a scheme to keep an eye on the elderly people in the village when the weather conditions are bad and is helping to set up a Junior Parish Council and possibly a Junior Neighbourhood Watch. The award was presented to Mr Miles by assistant chief constable Sue Cross at the Neighbourhood Watch annual general meeting.
Before fixing what you're looking at, check what you're looking through. It was a beautiful sun-filled day. I had driven 300 miles to see her. She was 94 and had been in one room for close to 8 months. I was her first-born grandson, and she was so happy to see me. But after catching up, we sat in silence on the edge of her bed, and, finally, she complained how gray a day it was. I realized then that her one window hadn't been cleaned in almost a year. When I said this, she chuckled, as only someone 94 can, and uttered with her Russian accent, "Got a dirty eye, see a dirty world." It is the same with our minds and hearts. For our very self is the one window we have into this life. And so often, we suffer the mood of a dirty window, believing the brilliant world gray. Perhaps the purpose of authentic relationship is to help each other keep our minds and hearts clear. Perhaps inner work is the ordinary art of window-washing so that the day is fully the day.
How much should you tip your postie for Christmas? Postmen and women are banned from taking tips over £30. Does anybody actually do that these days? Scrooges up and down the land will be nodding in agreement at the news that bosses have banned postmen and women from accepting tips of more than £30. A more generous Christmas bonus could be seen as breaking the new bribery laws, the Royal Mail fears. And friendly householders who want to shower particularly hard-working posties with a pricey bottle and some mince pies should think twice too – offers of hospitality worth more than £25 will have to be cleared by line managers. But would anyone dream of tipping £30? In fact does anyone still tip at Christmas? June Wilson, 67, retired, Edinburgh says - "I tip our postman, the dustbin men and the window cleaner, and my hairdresser." "I don't tip much – £5 for people who do deliveries and £10 for the hairdresser."
U.S. Says Mexico Tortured American in Custody: The U.S. Justice Department has determined that an American convicted in Mexico of drug trafficking was tortured by authorities while in Mexican custody, a move that immediately freed him from prison and added troubling official allegations of abuse in Mexico's drug war. The Department's Parole Commission, an agency that sets release dates for Americans convicted of crimes abroad and transferred home, said that Shohn Huckabee, 24, was "tortured in foreign custody" after Mexican soldiers said they discovered marijuana in his car. Mr. Huckabee denies the charges.
The torture allegations, reported in a 2010 Wall Street Journal article, stem from a December 2009 incident in which Mr. Huckabee and his friend Carlos Quijas were arrested while returning home after a day spent across the border. The Mexican military, who stopped the men just as they were reaching a border bridge, said they found two suitcases of marijuana in their vehicle. The Americans offer a different account. They say the military planted the marijuana in their vehicle after stopping them. The men say they were then taken to the military base, where they were beaten, subjected to electric shocks and threatened with death. During the trial, three window washers who witnessed the arrest testified that they had seen the army put suitcases into their vehicle.
Inside the power of the tower: Images of diaphragm walls, skeletal frame systems and elevator shafts might not sound like a colourful depiction of the high life, but a new intricate detailing of the inner workings of the mighty skyscraper might well be one of the most interesting books published all year. The Heights by Kate Ascher is like a super-detailed Dorling Kindersley book for adult nerds - mixing facts with the hyper-complicated realities of building a giant tower. Created in collaboration with 13 different designers, the book tells the history of the skyscraper as a concept from early skyscrapers such as The Home Insurance Building of Chicago (considered to be the first skyscraper as it supported its own weight) through to the modern "supertalls" such as the Petronas Towers in Malaysia and the Shanghai World Financial Centre.
It took her about a year to talk to experts and work out how to articulate the myriad systems that make up the skyscraper. Although Ascher concentrates on the basic framework for a "typical" skyscraper - there are obviously constant changes in the limits of what giant buildings can do - the study also covers specific examples of innovation from the bullet-shaped, counterweighted lifts in Taipei 101, which rise at 915m per minute (or 55km/h); to the window-washing booms that had to be custom-built to navigate the curved geometry of the Petronas Towers.
The materials and demands put upon skyscrapers mean they won't last forever - despite the innovations outlined in the book. But, as a defining symbol of the 20th and 21st centuries, it's fair to suggest that these buildings are our own societal monuments. "People have always liked tall things," Ascher says. "We still keep the pyramids around, we still keep the gothic cathedrals around. While the skyscrapers aren't built to last anywhere near as long, I think as long as people like cities and coming together they will remain a representation of what people have always liked - height as power, height as statement."
Glass Balconies under £200, are you sure? Costing from well under £200, stylish glass Juliet balconies from Balcony Systems are opening new horizons of design possibilities. These Juliet balconies are one of the most affordable, durable and beautiful balustrading solutions on the market today. At £178, the BAL 128 model (1,280mm wide handrail size) with a bronze handrail is the most cost-effective Glass Juliet balcony on the market today. An optional self-cleaning coating on both sides of the glass that reduces cleaning maintenance has further increased the product’s appeal to homeowners. Balcony Systems says sales of its Juliet balcony range have doubled this year compared to 2010 as purchasers realise the advantages of a low-maintenance and corrosion-resistant, long-term balustrading solution that not only looks good, but is simple to install.
Pensioners left penniless by break-down: Elderly villagers have been left penniless after Post Office problems cut them off from their pensions. A problem with card-reading kit has meant users of the part-time Post Office outreach services for Longhorsley, Scots Gap, Stannington and Whalton have been unable to access their accounts. Many of those who use the service are unable to travel to branches in other communities and, in some cases, residents have faced more than a week without cash at one of the busiest times of the year. Fellow Longhorsley resident Edith Atkinson, 80, has similar fears. “You can overlook this problem once, but not when it is happening a lot,” she said. “I have no vehicle to get out so I rely on this post office. If I can’t get my money and I have bills to pay I have to take it from the gas or the window-cleaning money so I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Health officials warn of poisons kept at home: Abu Dhabi: The lack of simple cautionary measures when using chemical products at home is resulting in an increased number of cases of poisoning, senior health officials said in the capital yesterday. Within the last two years, at least eight deaths have occurred across the country as a result of accidental exposure to pesticides, they added. "While poisoning has also occurred from other household products like bleaches and window cleaners, as well as from over-the-counter medicines, we have specifically noticed the increased use of agricultural pesticides in homes. These create harmful fumes that can result in death when an individual is exposed to them for even a few hours," Dr Yasser Sharif, head of the Poison and Drug Information Centre (PDIC) at the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), told Gulf News.
Three baby boys have more than just their date of birth in common. Bradley Carruthers, Cody Cooper and Jack Gallagher also suffered from the same deadly heart condition and underwent the same life-saving operation at the same hospital. The three youngsters, all from Greater Manchester, were born on 15 October with the same defect, which meant their major heart vessels were in the wrong place, which would prove fatal unless corrected. The trio underwent a four-hour operation at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool on consecutive days just over a week after their births and have returned to their homes within a few miles of each other. '“But what is quite unusual in my experience is to have three babies born with the same condition from the same region and then operated on on three different days, one after the other.' Cody’s mother Michelle Bleakley, aged 34, and her window cleaner partner, Curtis Cooper, aged 37, discovered Cody’s problems at a 20-week scan at the Royal Bolton Hospital. Ms Bleakley said: 'We were terrified. I spent that weekend crying' Cody arrived at 39 weeks weighing 7lb 4oz, after hospital staff managed to delay the labour for 15 weeks.
Charged over death of brother: A man is due to appear in court accused of killing his brother. Anthony Marshall, 50, of Broom Road, Carville, Durham, has been charged with manslaughter after the death of Morpeth karaoke singer Michael Marshall in August. The 52-year-old died two hours after an alleged attack at Sanderson Arcade in Morpeth town centre on Tuesday, August 23. Mr Marshall, who was known around the Northumberland town as Little Elvis because of his love of karaoke, was taken to Wansbeck General Hospital after the attack but later died from his injuries. His brother is due to appear before South East Northumberland magistrates next week. Former window cleaner Mr Marshall was the son of a Vickers Armstrong engineering veteran.
Repairs At Lambert Close To Completion: The last pieces of glass are arriving at Lambert Airport this week to replace windows in the main terminal damaged by the Good Friday tornado last April. Each section of special glass was individually fabricated to fit large glass windows that line four domes along the from of Terminal #1. "They aren't windows you can go pick up at a store so every single window was a different size," said Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. The terminal was built in 1956 so glass making techniques are different today. Now the glass is constructed with a protective film in the center.
"An explosion near the terminal or another tornado will cause glass to shatter within its frame," said Hamm-Niebruegge. "With the new film inside it actually keeps the glass in the windows and holds it intact so it doesn't fly which is great," she said. Film applied to the original windows after the 9-11 attack did stop large chunks of glass from flying into the terminal during the April tornado, but there was still a considerable amount of broken glass on the floor. Windows surrounding the entry ways at the terminal and in the parking garage will also be replaced soon. Insurance and a $75,000 grant from FEMA will cover the multi-million dollar cost of replacing the glass.