Wednesday 16 January 2013

Window Cleaning News

RISING FORTUNES: Two high-rise window cleaners get to work at a department store in the Siam Square area. They are among the millions of workers nationwide who are benefiting from the 300-baht daily minimum wage, which the government has defended by pointing out how no businesses have closed as a result of its introduction. 

TJ Hale, bought the New Jersey "Men In Kilts" franchise rights late last year after many years in the awning business (Monmouth and Ocean Counties). After deciding he was ready for a change, he started exploring other business opportunities. That’s when he came across Men In Kilts – and the rest, as they say, is history. “I wanted to be in business for myself, but having the support a franchise model provides appealed to me. The team at Men In Kilts and all their franchise owners were so helpful during my research. The further I looked into the window cleaning industry, the more I realized what a huge opportunity this was. The idea of wearing the kilt is just brilliant. People come up to me and ask for my business card, it’s amazing. They always have a smile on their face, wanting to know about the kilt or even take pictures with me,” says Hale.
Hale sees tremendous potential for Men In Kilts in his area. “My territory has some parts badly hit by Hurricane Sandy; I actually worked a lot in advance of my official opening doing volunteer work for storefronts and residences. It’s been really rewarding giving back and getting involved in the community,” says Hale. “We’re committed to delivering a fantastic experience for our customers. Our team is excited, and looking forward to a busy Spring cleaning season on the Jersey Shore. Just remember… No Peeking!” says Hale.

Fish Window Cleaning has clients seeing clearer: Eric Gardner of Fish Window Cleaning saw an opportunity to start his own businesses based on the significant growth in residential and commercial buildings in the Des Moines area. Commercial customers comprise 75 percent of Fish Window Cleaning’s business, with residences making up the remaining job calls. “We just recently started the business, so we are busy acquiring new clients and working with them. We are excited about getting the business off the ground and expanding,” he said. Gardner talked with The Des Moines Register about his new business.
Q. Do you have a lot of competition? What sets the business apart from others?
There are other window cleaning companies in town, ranging from large businesses down to single-person shops. We are fully insured and bonded, which can be very important for customers. We also pride ourselves on having uniformed, professional cleaners. We have a long track record of successes across the country.
Q. How did you find yourself as owner of a window cleaning business?
I was a senior consultant with a third-party administration firm in West Des Moines. Starting my own business was something I had been thinking about doing for a number of years and when the opportunity came up, I was in a position where I could take that chance.
Q. What is included in your standard cleaning service?
We clean the windows inside and out, wipe down the sills and remove any cobwebs that may have accumulated. The add-ons to our standard service for residential cleanings include cleaning gutters, chandeliers and mirrors. For commercial customers, we can clean the mirrors and chandeliers.
Q. Do you work year-round?
The weather in Iowa does impact the business somewhat, but we do have the ability to clean windows year-round. In the winter, we bundle up and wear gloves. Employee safety is very important, so in the summertime, we keep an eye out for thunderstorms, particularly lightning — and if the wind chill is 40 below in the winter, we won’t be cleaning windows outside until it warms up a bit.

Living free and easy in America: A few weeks ago, I formally launched my new business; it’s called “Squeegee Squad,” and we specialize in window cleaning and exterior home cleaning. So far, so good. I’m having a great time, and my customers love the service. We also offer a “free gift” with every cleaning estimate, a marketing strategy developed by my wife (and business partner) Susan, whom I consider a true marketing genius. In response to an advertisement, a lady called recently and asked me to come to her home and give her a cleaning estimate. Great! The marketing is working! I scheduled the appointment, and then asked if she had any questions. She thought for just a moment, and then asked: “Am I going to get my free gift?” I assured her she would, even if she decided not to hire me to clean her windows — no strings attached. About an hour later, she called me back and asked (you can’t make this up): “Do I have to pay you to clean my windows?” I politely explained to her that we do charge for our services, and added that this enables me to pay my employees, who will work very hard to make her a happy customer. She immediately replied: “Well, I don’t want you to clean my windows if I have to pay for it! I want to cancel my appointment.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
I firmly believe that this was not a unique, isolated episode, but rather a sign of the times; it’s a symptom of the erosion of our society. But what else can we expect when the word “entitlement” has become the most common four-syllable word in the English language? Consider that over half of all Americans receive some sort of financial benefits from the federal government. It’s one thing for a business — especially one that sells to consumers — to offer special deals of one sort or another where it offers something for “free.” A classic example is “buy one get one free.” We all know that you’re not getting anything for free – you’re simply paying half price for two. Such are the ways of the marketplace and the laws of supply and demand. Sure, I offer a “free gift” with every cleaning estimate, but the cost comes out of my marketing budget. I fund this budget with revenue from paying customers that I deduct from my profits. So that gift might be free for you, but somebody is paying for it: me.
Please don’t take this as a complaint; I do it voluntarily, without coercion, and with great pleasure. Still, it seems that every year more and more of our fellow citizens truly have expectations of getting something for nothing. Alas, there is no such thing. If you receive something of value without paying for it, then someone else has paid for it, or will pay for it. And there’s the rub: The government can’t raise enough money through taxation and other revenue sources to pay for all of its promised entitlements, so to get the money it needs, it issues debt – lots of debt. Our nation is borrowing vast sums of money in order to give it away. Your share of this debt – and the share of every man, woman and child in this country – is now more than $52,000; this figure increased by nearly $16,000 per person during Mr. Obama’s first term in office. But don’t worry; you’ll never have to pay it back. After all, it’s not your debt – it’s the government’s!

Jeremy Lamb, of Excelsior Springs, uses high-pressure hot water to clean the exterior of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Kansas City on Wednesday, Jan. 25. Lamb, a 20-year- veteran of high-rise window washing, uses a main line and a safety line to dangle from the center. Lamb, a supervisor with Shawnee Mission-based MTB Services, has been working on cleaning the interior and the exterior of the building for about a month. He plans to be finished by this weekend.

INDIANAPOLIS — For those wondering what Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels may bring to his next job as a public university president, it may be helpful to consider the details of a story he tells about window washers. Twenty years ago, the then-corporate executive Daniels was head of a commission assigned to figure out how to make Indianapolis city government operate more efficiently. Among the many questions the commission asked was why the windows on the city-county building were being washed weekly — much more frequently than nearby similar structures owned by private companies.
The answer: It wasn’t because the windows were so dirty, but because the city had four window-washers on its payroll and had to do something to keep them busy. “This is the power of the tiny example,” said Daniels, during a break from cleaning out the Statehouse office he’ll vacate within days. The commission’s findings triggered sweeping changes in the delivery of city services — including many that were contracted out to private companies — and resulted in a 40 percent reduction of city employees and about $230 million in savings.
That experience came after Daniels had intimate exposure to both local and federal government; experience that ranged from working for Richard Lugar, when the now-retired U.S. senator was Indianapolis mayor in the early 1970s, to working for Ronald Reagan in the White House before becoming President George W. Bush’s budget chief. Experiences, coupled with his years as a top executive at the pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly & Co., that helped shape the views that Daniels brought to his eight years as Indiana governor. “I developed along the way some sense that government, absent results-oriented management, absent the transplanted accountability (of the private sector) would just drift on….” Daniels said. “It was ‘Well, we’ve got four people, so I guess we’ll just wash (the windows) once a week, even though they don’t need it.’ ” Daniels isn’t ready to say much about whether there are too many window-washers, or other inefficiencies, at his next place of work: Purdue University. “We’ll just have to wait and see,” said Daniels, diplomatically, before noting Ohio State University’s recent decision to lease out its parking lots to private investors to operate for the next 50 years, in return for a lump payment of $483 million.

Tony Conlon, of Henshalls Insurance Brokers, in Newport and Shrewsbury, said snow-covered paths and walkways around commercial premises were a particular danger point. “Employers and anyone who is responsible for the management of any business premises have a duty of care to make sure staff, customers and visitors are all safe, no matter how bad the weather gets. So it’s vital that every business takes simple precautions to reduce the risks and that plans are put in place so that everyone knows what actions to take when bad weather arrives.”
Tony said employers should ensure they had plenty of grit, sand or rock salt on the premises, and assess whether they had enough brooms and shovels, or whether they may need specialist equipment such as grit spreaders. “Give someone at your workplace direct responsibility for supervising the gritting and snow clearance, so that they can step in as quickly as possible. “Snow is easier to clear before it becomes compacted, so the quicker it can be cleared, the better. And grit can be spread in the evening when the threat of winter weather is announced – this will reduce the amount of work that might need to be done in the morning before the real working day can begin.”
Tony suggested employers should start by identifying key access routes and areas that may be affected in severe weather. “Think about the main pedestrian access routes to and from buildings, main traffic routes onto and off the premises, employee car parks, and goods inwards/dispatch areas where vehicle unloading takes place and forklift trucks may be in use. “Decide when gritting will take place, either in the evening or the morning, and which areas will be a priority to be cleared first. But most of all, make sure your workforce knows exactly what plans are in place for gritting and snow clearance, and who is responsible for each part of the process.”
Tony said employers should also make sure that all fire doors and exits were cleared of any accumulations of snow so they could be opened easily, and that there were safe routes leading away from the exits. “Don’t forget any staff who work outside too – assess their risks and maybe leave jobs like window cleaning or high level work until the icy or snowy conditions have cleared.”

Doug Taylor, 90, celebrates his birthday with a yoga class in Leicester: Doug, who lives in Braunstone Frith, Leicester, has been practising yoga for about eight years, so it was the perfect way to celebrate turning the big "Nine-O". Doug attends classes with yoga teacher Nerissa Fields twice a week, but also practises at home and swims regularly. "I used to work making tyres for Dunlop and then, when I was made redundant, I bought a window cleaning round, so I've always been active. "When you've worked for years and then you retire, your body's not used to it if you just stop. You've got to do something. "I like yoga because it's easy movements and it's not too strenuous for me, and you feel better after a class. "I really enjoy it – I come to classes twice a week if I can, and I even do it at home." While his knees aren't what they once were, and he has had two hernia operations, Doug is determined to keep up with his yoga. "I wouldn't say any of the positions are my favourite," he said. "The hardest is salute to the sun, because I have to be careful with my knee, but I still have a go. "It's not hard. I think everyone should do it."

Mierle Laderman Ukeles turns maintenance into art: Last week, Mierle, who is the first and, to date, only artist in residence in the history of the New York City Department of Sanitation (a title she has held since 1977), was speaking at the Brooklyn Museum’s daily staff roll call. She told the museum’s crew of maintenance workers—among them window washers, security guards and floor sweepers—that even though their work can seem boring and repetitive, what they do is “the first kind of culture.” The Observer met with her at the museum later that day. “Here’s the museum with all this stuff,” she recalled telling the workers, “and then there’s what you do. You are culture, and your work is culture. And the endless hours that will never be done, that’s what enables us to be in an institution like this.
In the conceptual artworks she has been making for over four decades, Ms. Ukeles, who is 73, has kept her focus on people and how they live. In Brooklyn, she was preparing for a performance in which she would conduct a series of live interviews with a museum security guard, a window washer and a sanitation worker, as well as architects and city planners, asking each person a series of questions: How do you personally survive? What do you need to do to keep going? What happens to your dreams and to your freedom when you do the things you have to do to keep surviving? What keeps New York City alive? What does the city need to do to survive after Sandy?
After our interview, Ms. Ukeles talked with the window washer she would be speaking with on the day of the performance—Margaret Johnson, who lives on Staten Island, has straight black hair pulled back tight in a ponytail, speaks in a deep rasp and goes by the nickname Peggy. She has a friendly but tough, weathered face. She was told they’d have 15 minutes to speak. “I don’t want any more time than that!” she told Ms. Ukeles. “I am shy. I’m a talker and all that, but when you put me on the spot? No. Blam-o.”
On the day of the performance, Ms. Johnson was washing the windows in the lobby while Ms. Ukeles was talking to other people. After a few hours, she stopped working and sat at a table with Ms. Ukeles in front of a small audience. “What do you do to survive?” “I am a three-year survivor of cancer,” Ms. Johnson said. “To me, being able to get up, have a job and not be bedridden, and to have the next day, is how I survive. I was bedridden for a whole year. My husband took off work, and I had stage-four cancer. We had no income. Every day I wondered if tomorrow would come. And it did. The most fearful thing in the world is not knowing if you’re going to be here tomorrow.”

Question: I need a new logo for my small business.  What should I do to ensure I get the most effective one?
Answer: Your company logo is the heart of your brand image. It affects whether people accept what you want to tell them, including your sales message. To ensure you have an effective logo, follow these steps.
First, realize your logo should be communication, not artwork. Your logo should be a visual, shorthand statement of who you and your company are. Most important, your logo must be credible and contain specific credibility traits.
When you give your business card to a prospective customer, you want the person to feel you are an expert in your business and are trustworthy, the two stems of being credible. I have developed 10 essential rules of credibility-based logo design for proven logo effectiveness. Here are the four most important. 
Symbolize your business in a way that says you are an expert in your field. If you are a house painter, you symbolize “house” and “painting.”  If you are a window cleaner, you symbolize “window” and “cleaning.” This communicates that you are an expert in your business, like the familiar key icon on a keymaker’s sign.
Apply design overtones that communicate your company can be trusted. Tom Housen, owner of Housen Painting in New York, applies the latest painting techniques. Thus a contemporary design motif is appropriate.  An old-fashioned design motif would be inappropriate for Housen Painting, though it would be appropriate for See’s Candies.
The third essential rule is to keep the logo simple, so the focus is on the desired traits and the logo is usable in many situations.
The fourth is create a logo with high “in-your-face” boldness and impact. This often also makes the logo unique and memorable.
Crystal Clear is a window-cleaning business: You should plan the credibility traits with your designer before any design work begins. Define your company’s expertise and what makes your company believable in its line of work. You want a planned credibility-trait verbal strategy that is brief and simple, which gives the client and designer a specific direction for design exploration. Finally, you and your designer should work with one source for all your logo implementation to ensure the design and colors are the same in each application. A good logo-implementation company will make sure the logo sizing is correct on a business card, website page, cap, T-shirt or vehicle sign. Quantity discounts are usually available when purchasing from one source.

A fraudster who tried to cash a cheque for £500 was caught out by shop staff who got suspicious, a court was told. Joe Adam Barraclough, 21, had gone into the Money Shop, in Manchester Road, Burnley, hoping to end up better off, but left empty-handed after the cheque was confirmed to be not valid. The town’s magistrates heard how cheques from a batch belonging to a company had got into the wrong hands and people were trying their luck with them. Some had been successful. Barraclough, a window cleaner, of Airdrie Crescent, Burnley, admitted fraud by false representation. He was fined £35, with a £15 victim surcharge. Scott Parker, defending, said someone had approached Barraclough and told him if he cashed the cheque, he could keep half the money. The solicitor added: “He rather foolishly attempted to pass the cheque.”

A Daniel Island Park resident reported a vandalism to police, after discovering a damaged screen window at her home. The complainant stated that between December 24 and January 12, an unknown person or persons bent the frame on her screen window with what appeared to be a prying tool. No entry was made into the residence, according to the police report. A professional window cleaning crew had been at the home during the time period in question, stated the complainant, but at the time the report was taken she did not know whether or not the workers had caused the damage.

Theft of £4 cost window cleaner his job and home: A window cleaner has lost his job and his home after stealing £4 from a customer after a night out. The theft will now cost Wayne William Jefferson an additional £149 in court costs and compensation, plus 100 hours in unpaid work. The 21-year-old, of Vulcan Road, Barrow, appeared at Furness Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and pleaded guilty to stealing cash from Maureen Burke on December 14. Mr Andrew Dodd, prosecuting, told the court Jefferson turned up at Mrs Burke’s home at around 8.45pm, asking if she could phone a taxi for him. The court heard Jefferson was invited in to wait, and Mrs Burke left him alone in the kitchen for a few minutes. When she went back in, her handbag, which was on the kitchen bench, was open and her coin purse was missing. Mr Dodd said: “When she went outside to challenge him, by that time, the coin purse had been discarded. She actually stepped on it.” The prosecutor then explained Mrs Burke’s home is covered by CCTV, which showed Jefferson throwing the purse away.
Mr Mike Graham, defending, said Jefferson had been on a work’s night out and had drunk “to excess”. He said: “He had arranged, with his work colleagues, a taxi home. “He hasn’t a clue how or why, but he ends up on Laburnum Crescent, by the Tally Ho. He vaguely recognises one of the houses so he goes in. “He has no significant recollection of the particular event, but he totally accepts that must have happened. “He has a vague recollection of being on a pathway emptying his pockets. He’s profusely apologetic about this situation.” Mr Graham added: “As a direct result of this, he’s lost his employment, he’s lost his relationship, he’s lost his accommodation, so the ramifications have been significant for him.” Sentencing Jefferson to his 12-month community order, presiding magistrate, Mr Steve Sim, said: “You went out of your way to see Mrs Burke and she let you in. This is a breach of her trust.”

Accused man cleared of taking and crashing recovery truck in Ferryhill: A man accused of taking a recovery truck from its compound, before crashing into a newsagent’s shop and abandoning it, has walked free from court. Formal ‘not guilty’ verdicts were recorded by a jury at Durham Crown Court following a judge’s directions on the second day of the trial of defendant Steven Mark Deakin today (Wednesday January 9).
The 43-year-old window cleaner from Intake, in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was accused of taking the Iveco truck from Denhamfields Garage yard, in Ferryhill Station, County Durham, on the evening of Wednesday August 15 last year. A pursuit followed through Ferryhill, in which the truck mounted a kerb, was driven over grass, struck a pursuing Mitsubishi Shogun, before coming to rest in the front of Kelly’s Newsagents and an adjoining house, in Osborne Terrace. The truck was left in situ, having caused structural damage to both properties, and the driver fled. Mr Deakin was arrested by police in nearby Linden Road about 45 minutes later. The court was told the son of the truck owner saw the vehicle being driven from the yard earlier that evening.
He said he caught a short glancing view of the man at the wheel and later said he saw Mr Deakin detained by a policeman, shortly after his arrest. In evidence he told the court he believed it was the same man but, under cross-examination, he said he could not be 100-per cent certain. Mr Deakin denied charges of aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.
Following legal submissions put forward by his barrister, Lorraine Mustard, at the end of the prosecution case, Recorder Alistair MacDonald directed the jury to formally record ‘not guilty’ verdicts. “The issue decided is that no jury properly directed could convict on the evidence we’ve heard. “What this case depends on is identification of the driver of that recovery truck that evening.
“Suspicion is simply not enough and, on my direction, it’s just not safe that a proper conviction can be found here.” Recorder MacDonald discharged Mr Deakin, who has been in custody prior to trial, allowing him to be released later in the day.

A Penryn windowcleaner is handed ten years behind bars for three rapes. One involved a fourteen year old girl. Truro Crown Court heard how Peter Brewer from Burnthouse carried out the attacks over almost a decade. The thirty-two year old will have to sign the sex offenders register for life. Brewer was acquitted of three further rapes and an indecent assault. Judge David Ticehurst said that he had had little or no regard for his victims. An aggravating feature was that offences had been committed over a period of time. Defence counsel Robert Linford told the court that Brewer was effectively a man of good character with a good work ethic. He had served in the Army until being discharged on medical grounds. The judge ordered Brewer to sign on the Sex Offenders' Register for the rest of his life.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Louise Osborne of Truro CID said: “The police investigation commenced following disclosure from two victims. The investigation led officers to identify other offences with other individuals. “We welcome the sentence and we hope this verdict will help to give some closure to the victims and allow them to move on with their lives. This has been an extremely difficult time for those involved who all showed great courage in coming forward. Their actions have led to bringing this man to justice which has resulted in today’s sentence. "Hopefully this sends out a message that no matter how long ago crimes were committed, if the victims have the courage to come forward and speak to police, we will investigate and prosecute.”

How would you feel about hiring a person who'd previously been jailed for fraud? Or someone who had served a sentence for an assault-based crime? Dr Catriona Wallace, the owner of three Sydney businesses, says that, given the right circumstances, it's a great idea. "Interestingly enough, women who've committed fraud make really good employees because they're normally extremely clever and they often come from a white-collar background, so they've worked before in a business environment," Wallace says. She employs six former inmates of the Dillwynia Correctional Centre in her businesses (a management-consultancy firm, a market-research company and a window-cleaning firm). "And because they've learnt their lesson . . . they're very grateful. They work absolutely extremely hard to make up [for what they've done], to constantly demonstrate that they're worthy of having a job."

Miner faces financial ruin after suing his own trade union: Former miner Paul Newbury of Sutton in Ashfield faces financial ruin after spectacularly losing a court action against his own trade union, the Union of Democratic Mineworkers (Notts Section) and its claims handling company, Vendside Limited. Newbury was forced to abandon a four year long claim in which he had alleged that the Union had failed to secure him adequate compensation under the British Coal Vibration White Finger Scheme in 2003, despite having received over £20,000. Newbury had alleged that he should have received additional damages because he had disabilities which forced him to ask others for help with household tasks. He also claimed substantial loss of earnings because VWF had forced him to leave the mining industry. As the case proceeded, evidence mounted against Newbury who claimed money to pay for help with gardening, DIY and window cleaning. He was unaware that the Union obtained surveillance which showed him to be capable of these tasks, apparently without difficulty.

Students get intensive science lessons at STARBASE: Class is back in session across West Virginia after the holiday break, and fifth grade students in the Eastern Panhandle and the Charleston area have the opportunity to participate in STARBASE. The five-day program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense offers lessons in math, science and technology that supplement what students are learning in school.This was the fourth day for this class and one of the lessons focused on nanotechnology. Teacher Ashley Spies gave students three assignments. One involved conducting an experiment to determine which piece of canvas fabric should be used to make waterproof tents. During the lesson Spies told the students about the various products available because of nanotechnology. She mentioned things like waterproof pants, antibacterial socks, window cleaner that makes the glass repel water and magic sand, which was invented to help clean oil spills from the ocean.

One Born Every Minute - TV review: Meanwhile a window cleaner, come gardener, called Billy let his partner Sara do most of the talking before the birth. Looking like a rabbit caught in headlights, Billy struggled to muster many words of encouragement for Sara as she lay across a bean bag to try an active birth. When he did utter some words it was bizarrely only to reveal he fancied eating eggs benedict just as Sara’s contractions took hold. Billy’s only job came as Sara ordered him to call the midwife using the emergency button but proceeded only to find the light switch instead. But with the help of jolly midwife Lucy, they were soon joined in the world by their daughter Hazel weighing in at 8lb 1oz.
The show focuses on midwives in the maternity units at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital. It is fly-on-the-wall filmmaking at its most natural and engaging. There are no film crews piling into the delivery room or annoying celebrity narrator telling us what we already know. Instead the story is told simply through the relationships of the three couples featured – and the midwives tasked with making it the experience of a lifetime. Just to help the show ebb and flow, birthing scenes were interspersed with lighter moments from the midwives as they shared banter and took a wry look at life from the staffroom. For those who think One Born Every Minute will just deliver the same show each week, you’re right. And that means the chance to see couples – and the midwives – going through the most uplifting, extraordinary, moving moment they will ever experience in their lives.

Liberia: Hot Businesses for Under U.S.$50 -  That Will Give You Thousands of United States Dollars in Profits Without Much Stress. In time pass so many people believed that large sum of money was required to be able to own and operate a business. The myth that the big corporation is the key to the economic development of a nation is just that, a myth. The reality is that all major economies depend greatly on the small businesses as the backbone of the economy. All of the small businesses combined provide more activity for the economy in the form of jobs, production, and financial returns than any single corporation.
HOME WINDOW CLEANING SERVICE- This is a service that is desired by many people but it is not commonly available. The second challenge is that when the service is found the price that is required by the potential provider is just too high and the customer is not willing to pay it. The reality is that while customers will be willing to pay to have their home windows cleaned, it is at a very low priority. The only thing that will induce people to accept the window cleaning service on a regular basis will be the price. For a price of one US dollar per window, the wise business owner will get between twenty to fifty windows available for cleaning each and every week or two. The successful person will approach this type of business from the volume possibilities and not from the price per home. The customer will also provide all of the supplies necessary to do the job. The investment to get this business started will range from ten to fifty dollars. There is minimal cost because a ladder will be needed to do the job properly.

Window cleaners a glass act: Perry Window Cleaning employees — from left, Justin Hall, John Jones, Kevin Cooper, Brian McGurer and Lee Rowland — systematically wipe the glass while descending from the top of the 24-floor PNC building Downtown. The crew was hard at work last week. Click to enlarge.

Interserve wins c.£6m facilities management contract with London Borough of Southwark: Interserve has won a five-year, circa £6 million facilities management contract to provide a range of support services at the London Borough of Southwark's headquarters. Interserve has been delivering cleaning services, including daily office cleans, washroom cleaning and window cleaning, and pest control services to the council since 2004. This new facilities management contract builds on this successful service delivery and will see Interserve additionally provide maintenance and engineering services, inter-site mail, security and vending services.

Greenscape wins £180,000 cleaning contract: Maintenance and gardening firm Greenscape has been awarded a £180,000 cleaning contract for nearly 400 homes across Birmingham. The homes, made up of flats and houses, are all managed by Birmingham-based housing association Midland Heart, which manages more than 32,000 homes. Greenscape, which has bases in Wednesbury and Coventry, beat 12 other businesses to win the three-year contract. Work will include the cleaning of communal areas and the annual cleaning of carpets and flooring, as well as other maintenance tasks throughout the term of the contract. To allow cleaners to have hot water throughout the day to carry out the best possible cleaning service, Greenscape has equipped its vans with a unique water storage tank that provides large quantities of water heated by the engine.

A week after the storm, Monte, the owner of the grey clapboard house, returned home with a box of paper towels and four bottles of window cleaner. "I stood in the middle of the house and I started getting upset and I called my wife and I said, ‘What am I doing here with paper towels and Fantastik?'” he told me. “We’re done, the house is done. Everything that we did here, that we built for our future, for our retirement, is done.” Monte was standing outside his home during our interview, bundled against the cold in a puffy black vest. His front door was covered in plywood. “They’re going around talking about people rebuilding, rebuilding ... How do you live in here?” he asked, with disbelief. There are about 165 homes in Foxbeach. At last count, 105 homeowners were interested in getting buy-outs and leaving.

50 years ago today: Dozens of firemen fought a series of fires in the 102-story Empire State Building yesterday working from the 34th Street side of the building. On the 33rd Street side, a crew of window washers calmly continued work."        

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