Friday 31 May 2013

Nearly Fried FiSH For Dinner - Window Washers Lucky

Two window washers became trapped roughly four stories above downtown Traverse City on Thursday afternoon when their basket crane struck and downed a Consumers Energy power line. Click to enlarge.
Life and death drama in air over Traverse City - A harrowing incident in downtown Traverse City concluded with happiness and relief when two window washers climbed off a fire engine ladder unscathed, roughly an hour after their basket crane struck a 46,000-volt power line and left the men suspended roughly four stories above the ground.

Traverse City Fire Department Chief Jim Tuller said the men seemed to be in “good spirits and in good health” as emergency medical personnel examined them in an ambulance. ”We brought them down without incident,” Tuller said. The Fish Window Cleaning employees became trapped in their crane outside River’s Edge condominiums near Lake Avenue and Cass Street at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Exactly how the crane struck and downed a Consumers Energy power line remains unclear.

The collision sent electricity surging through the piece of heavy equipment, eventually lighting the crane’s tires on fire. It also knocked out power for about 3,400 Consumers Energy customers in the area of Old Mission Peninsula, Consumers Energy spokesman Roger Morgenstern said. City firefighters arrived on scene to extinguish the blazing tires. They and other emergency personnel then roped off a parking lot behind the condominiums and the Hagerty Center with caution tape to keep spectators away from the crane and the downed line.

Two stranded window washers prepare to move from their disabled basket crane to a fire engine ladder in downtown Traverse City on Thursday morning. Click to enlarge.
A Consumers Energy employee was hoisted to the height of the window washers in a separate crane at about 11:30 a.m. He then served as a spotter while a firefighter rode an engine ladder to the same height and helped the trapped men out of the basket crane and onto the ladder, Tuller said. Tuller said his department’s firefighters undergo extensive electrical emergency training sessions. “They involve a lot of videos just like this, but they almost all end badly,” Tuller said.

The window washers did not speak with members of the media following the rescue. Jeff Trick, a Fish Window Cleaning sales employee who watched the rescue take place, declined to identify the window washers by name, but he said they were lucky to be alive. “Thank god they’re alive. That’s all I have to say,” Trick said. Bree Sanford, a Fish Window Cleaning general manager, did not return a call for additional comment.

Nearly fried Fish for dinner.
Consumers Energy crews restored power to their customers on the peninsula at about 12:30 p.m. Roughly 650 Traverse City Light & Power customers south of downtown near the Hagerty Center also lost power from about 10:30 a.m. until noon, said Tim Arends, TCL&P executive director. TCL&P crews discontinued power to a circuit in the area because the downed line caused a surge in a nearby TCL&P street lamp, and for the safety of rescue crews and the trapped window washers. TCL&P also experienced power problems near the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Boon Street, Arends said. Crews continue to work on those problems Thursday afternoon. It was not clear if they were related to the power line downed by the window washers.

Window washing truck gets stuck in power lines, disrupts power for thousands -  Thousands lost power late this morning after a bucket truck that was washing windows got stuck in a 96,000 volt power line. Consumers Energy said it is their understanding that no one was hurt. Nearly 3,400 Consumers customers are without power, but officials estimate power will be back within the hour.  In addition, 636 Traverse City Light and Power customers lost power but all have since been restored. Most of the customers affected by the outage were located on Old Mission Peninsula and near downtown Traverse City.

UPDATE: Power Restored to Grand Traverse County Residents -  The two window washers who were stuck in the bucket truck are now safe on the ground. Neither of them were inured. Thousands are without power in Grand Traverse County after a window washer accidentally clipped a power line. Two window washers were still stuck in a bucket truck. They got caught up in the power line after the bucket truck tires caught fire, and the power line came down across several vehicles. The line was clipped near Hagerty Insurance in Traverse City. Nobody was hurt.

Thursday 30 May 2013

Window Cleaning News

PSE&G Children;s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick had their windows washed by a couple of Superheros today. Window washers from Alpha Window Cleaning of Wanaque, NJ dressed up as Batman and Spiderman to wash the outside of windows of the hospital.
Superheroes scale PSE&G Children's Specialized Hospital building for some super kids (New Brunswick) — Gotham City has nothing over Hub City as the caped crusader Batman, along with fellow comic book superhero Spider-Man made a special appearance at PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital to surprise patients and families in the pediatric rehabilitation unit. Alexander Galvis of Englewood portrayed Batman and Julian Lopez of Englewood portrayed Spider-Man Wednesday as the men washed windows at the hospital and visited with patients. Both men work as window washers for Alpha Window Cleaning based in Wanaque.

“Our patients at the PSE&G Children's Specialized Hospital spend every day working really hard recovering from serious injury, or being born too early — all preparing to be home with their families. As we do that work, we want to make sure we provide opportunities to remind all of us that regardless of how sick, injured or fragile our patients are, they are still children and we need to find ways to create fun and smiles,” said Amy B. Mansue, president and CEO of Children’s Specialized Hospital. “Many thanks to Alpha Window Cleaning for bringing joy and laughter to our families; it is an essential part of the healing process.”
Window washers from the Wanaque-based company immediately agreed to dress as the famous superheroes when hospital staff approached Alpha Window Cleaning owner Ronn Kidd with the idea. The superheroes then went inside to make their rounds on the units and greet patients for pictures. They met with about 25 children, ages 4 to 21. The children are recovering from brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, premature birth, developmental delays or life-changing illnesses. “We have been cleaning the windows of PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital for years now and we jumped at the chance to help these kids feel even a little better. We know these patients are going through a tough time,” Kidd said. “The look on the kids’ faces when Batman and Spider-Man descended down the building was priceless. But the real super heroes are these children and we can’t wait to do it again next year.”

Amazing Spiderman puts on annual Missoula show: - The Amazing Spiderman made a stop in Missoula Saturday, and it was quite the show. The superhero made an appearance on the Millennium Building in downtown Missoula on Saturday morning, and the kids and adults loved it. Spiderman, also known as Carson Routhe, puts on a show once a year for the Clark Fork Farmers' Market. Carson is a window washer by trade who says he was impressed by Spiderman as a kid - so he loves the reaction he gets from children now.

Window washing truck gets stuck in power lines, disrupts power for thousands (Traverse City) Thousands lost power late this morning after a bucket truck that was washing windows got stuck in a 96,000 volt power line. Consumers Energy said it is their understanding that no one was hurt. Nearly 3,400 Consumers customers are without power, but officials estimate power will be back within the hour.  In addition, 636 Traverse City Light and Power customers lost power but all have since been restored. Most of the customers affected by the outage were located on Old Mission Peninsula and near downtown Traverse City.

In Dangerous Jobs, Trust Is Vital - It would have been easy for management to tell workers at the Marsh Landing Generating Station, a $700 million electricity plant in Antioch, Calif., to just scale the ladder and get on with the project. But throughout construction, supervisors emphasized that work should be completed safely, no matter the cost in dollars or time.
So when foreman Chris Derrico saw a ladder at an odd angle, he had the crew take the time to erect a scaffold. "In ironwork, everything is based on trust," he explains. "On this job, they went above and beyond. Any tool we needed, any safety equipment, they were willing to purchase … When they give you that type of leeway, everybody is willing to do their best."
Eric Johanson, project manager for Omaha, Neb.-based Kiewit, which built the station, says trust-building begins on an employee's first day. "We'd just talk," he says. "'What's important to you? What do you like to do away from work?' That's the reason we all want to work safely--so you can go home and do something with your family." Johanson meets with new employees 30 days after they begin to see if they have concerns. "If you don't follow up," he says, "it's all for naught."
At 20/20 Window Cleaning of NC in Raleigh, N.C., president Jack Evans values consistency. "If a new employee sees you give a veteran a break, you lose trust," he points out. "You have to be consistent, be a leader by example."
David Bruce Fryer of Fryer Roofing in Fresno, Calif., believes trust comes from keeping employees informed about workplace decisions. Many on his team see safety harnesses as cumbersome. "They had to see this was something we all agreed was beneficial," he says. "By having a safe workplace, we've been able to reduce costs, which makes us more competitive and gets us more work, which relates directly to them."

ITV’s Grimefighters - a popular TV show in the UK
ITV Grimefighters firm to close: A cleaning company featured on ITV’s Grimefighters is to be wound up voluntarily by insolvency practitioners at Oldham-based firm Bridgestones. Ace Cleaning Company Limited (ACCL) is to be wound up following a meeting of creditors which took place on 7 May 2013. Jonathan Lord of Bridgestones is the insolvency practitioner appointed to handle the liquidation of the business.
The most recent annual accounts filed with Companies House show that the company had amounts falling due of £712,905 within one year as declared at the end of February 2012 against total current assets of £280,457. Company directors Melvyn and Graham Booley have directorships of another cleaning company – The Cleaning Agency Limited. Melvyn Booley is also a director of another company – Outland Projects Limited – together with Charles Hayward.
Coincidentally, Hayward started a similarly named company called Ace Cleaning Company (Leicester) Limited in April 2013. The Booleys have previously held a string of directorships of other cleaning businesses, including G&M Cleaning Company Limited, G&M Janitorial Supplies Limited and Hockton Cleaning Limited.
Ace Cleaning has three offices in Coventry, Leicester and Tamworth offering cleaning services to businesses in the Midlands. ACCL was incorporated in 1995, but Ace Cleaning Company in its former guise was originally founded in 1969, developing from an office window cleaning service business to all aspects of commercial and industrial cleaning. Insolvency News has contacted both Ace Cleaning Company Limited and insolvency practitioner firm Bridgestones for comment on this story and has, so far, not received a response.

Dirty Britain: Britain is an island obsessed with cleaning. But we’re not as clean as we’d like to think and the 400,000 men and women who do our dirty work know the truth. Unseen and unheard, they keep our filth out of sight and prevent us from drowning beneath our mountains of waste. As Dirty Britain returns for a second, two-part series, we uncover the truth about the grime hidden within our green and pleasant land.
In episode two, we meet the cleaners who make a living scrubbing the homes of the super rich.  There is a part of Cheshire known as ‘Footballer Alley’, where the houses are worth on average £1.2 million, making it one of the most expensive places in the UK.  Sarah Creighton and Christine Collins are paid to make these vast homes sparkle. 
Sarah says: “Very high profile people live in them you know.  Footballers, TV stars.  How the other half live.  Would be nice wouldn’t it?  I can dream.  You think you’ve got things clean but then, all of a sudden, you see a smear and you have to keep working with it, you know. I think I’m probably OCD. I just never stop cleaning, honest to God.”
In Britain’s densely populated cities, 18 million feral pigeons thrive, living off our rubbish and discarded food.  Their corrosive droppings spread disease and cause millions of pounds worth of damage to our buildings every year.
Window cleaning is one of the riskiest professions in the UK and Terry Dunford spends up to eight hours a day suspended high over the city in a one-foot wide cradle, exposed to the elements. Terry says: “The cradle takes all day like to go from top to bottom. Freezing as well. It’s a nightmare.  I wish I was in there, in the warmth.”
However he reflects: “I’m happy doing this - it’s not the hardest job in the world. They don’t pay the best wages but I got my little flat, my girlfriend, I got a cat.  I’m happy, you know what I mean? You get people with loads of money and they’re not happy.” Episode: 2. Transmission: Tue 11 Jun 2013 - 9.00pm - 10.00pm.

The Men In Kilts mission is to “bring smiles into the world…one kilt at a time!” Just like the Army, Men In Kilts is fighting to make the world a better place. Even if it is something as simple as making someone smile, Murphy’s passion for caring for his country and all the people in it, carries on in his work at Men In Kilts.
From Camo to Kilt: Chris Murphy Shares Why He Chose Men In Kilts After Leaving the US Army: Veteran, and now Men In Kilts Boston Operations Manager, Chris Murphy knows he made the right decision to go into franchising and his experience has been very rewarding. The transition from US Army Specialist as a Military Police Officer, to that of a kilt-wearing window and exterior cleaning technician might seem odd from an outsider’s perspective. But in all reality, it makes perfect sense. Chris Murphy, Operations Manager at Men In Kilts Boston, served in the US Army for just under 11 years and during that time was deployed to Iraq twice. He spent a year in Baghdad where he provided personal security to Tier 1 government officials. After being back in Boston for six months, Murphy volunteered to go back and this time he travelled to Fallujah where he worked with Iraqi police on daily operations and helped them to develop procedures and protocols. Murphy’s time serving in the Army was nothing short of rewarding, but he was ready for a change.
Deciding to become a part of a franchise was deeply rooted in the support systems that Murphy knows are in place for franchisees. “The brand and operational support that comes from the franchisor is definitely a bonus. From fellow employees, the franchisor, and even other franchisees, there is always someone there to help you. In the Army, it is the same way. There is an endless system of support and everyone works together as a team,” says Murphy. The transition from military to civilian was pretty easy for Murphy. “In the military, I was used to long days of training and work, and not having a set schedule was pretty standard. Being a part of a franchise is very similar. I could have a job that requires me to work earlier than 8 am or later than 5 pm, and I just have to go with it. So, when I came back to work full-time in the franchising world, it was pretty smooth.”

Summer entrepreneurs -Logan MacDonald (left), Kurtis Watts, Matthew Roth and Reed MacDonald are university students who provide their own summer employment with their own business.
Summer entrepreneurs back in play: Washing windows may not be the job of a lifetime but Reed MacDonald said being your own entrepreneur makes for a valuable experience. The 21-year-old business student from St. Albert started Sods & Odds last year with his brother and two friends. The company provides window washing, lawn care, spring clean-up and driveway sealing services in the summer months between their university studies. “I have to say, it just kind of happened. We ran through a few ideas and thought of different things and finally said maybe we do lawn maintenance or window washing,” he said. “As students you don’t have a lot of capital to start up a company but with window washing all you need is a squeegee and ambition.”
It wasn’t always that easy. MacDonald said they worked hard on getting the business on its feet. In the first week, they handed out over 1,000 flyers but only received three calls for jobs. They also dealt with customers who refused to pay them or questioned their ability to do the job. But MacDonald said there are also perks to being a young entrepreneur. “In some sense it can help you because people see that you are a student and want to help you,” he said. “As long as you are persistent and keep going you’ll be able to do it.”
It is not uncommon for students to create their own business in the summer, said Ray DePaul, director at the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Calgary-based Mount Royal University. Most student-run businesses are landscaping or window washing companies, but there are also entrepreneurs who run shops for drive-through oil changes or own a food truck during the summer.
DePaul said the skills and mindset students pick up during these few months give them valuable knowledge in the future, whether they stay in the business or not. “This can really help a student grow and the lessons will be remembered forever,” he said. “They finish a course and things will trickle out of their memory. But if you go out and see how valuable it is and how important it is to make your livelihood that summer it will stick with you much better.”
He added that all new businesses have credibility issues to face – whether you are in your early twenties or late fifties. But there are many industries and activities linked to younger people, such as web design. And many people will go out of their way to help see students succeed, he said. The major mistake any business owner can make is misunderstanding their customer’s needs. DePaul said entrepreneurs need to differentiate their business from others or find a niche in the market that will get them hired. “If you start your own business you wear multiple hats and you are expected to solve all kinds of problems yourself and you have very little support which can be scary,” he said. “And that’s why one of the key things you can do is get some mentorship and get people who are helping you.”

Scouts To Clean Hospital Windows (Wrexham, UK): Wrexham Scouts are set to help out their local community by cleaning windows at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital. As part of the national Scout Community Week which takes place from the 3rd to the 9th June, youngsters will be helping out with several projects including the one at the Maelor, helping Keep Wales Tidy with Himalayan Balsam clearance, and helping out North Wales Police.
David Morris from the Scouts works at the Maelor Hospital and thought up the window cleaning project: “My job takes me out and about in the hospital and I noticed the windows were a bit dirty. I contacted management who were only too happy for the Scouts to help out give the place a spring clean.
“We’ll be concentrating on the ground floor windows on the main corridor so we don’t effect patient care. Groups across the District have been really keen to get involved.” The Scouts are looking for cleaning materials to help complete the window cleaning. David added: “We’re asking if any companies in Wrexham could donate sponges, cleaning fluids, and importantly squeegees and extendable poles so younger Beaver Scouts can reach the windows, or even give us a donation so we can purchase this equipment.

Window cleaner to the rescue of an elderly man in house fire drama: An elderly man was rescued from his South Bank home when a fire broke out in his kitchen this afternoon. A window cleaner who was in the area threw water from his bowl onto the blaze and extinguished the flames before firefighters arrived. The fire was started by a chip pan. Crews from Acomb and York Fire Station got the householder out of his home in a street off Nunnery Lane. He was suffering from smoke inhalation and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Bottle man Rab is Central FM’s ultimate Local Hero -  He’s the retired window cleaner who’s raised more than £100,000 for Strathcarron Hospice by collecting empty ginger bottles. Rab Simpson’s remarkable effort on behalf of the Denny facility was formally recognised last week when he was named charity hero of the year at the 2013 Local Hero Awards at Airth Castle. The annual event, organised by Central FM, celebrates people from across the Forth Valley who go that extra mile on behalf of others. Those that make the awards shortlist have all been nominated by members of the public.
Rab (77) was also bestowed with the title of Ultimate Local Hero, which is decided from the list of winners on the night – although he had already headed home by the time his name was read out! Angela Gillies, fundraising manager at Strathcarron Hospice, said: “The hospice nominated Rab for this award to recognise his extraordinary efforts in raising more than £100,000 for the hospice over the past 20 years. “We can’t thank him enough for everything that he’s done.”
Rab started collecting empty glass Barr’s bottles in 1990 and regularly donated the money generated to the hospice in Fankerton. He even invested in a small truck so he could drive around the country to collect donations, regularly travelling as far as Glasgow. His achievements were officially recognised in 2011 when he was presented with a mounted stone ginger beer bottle from 1905 by Robin Barr, former chairman of AG Barr.

 Window Cleaner Liam and Mandy on the booze cruise with Capital FM staff.
Window man’s first foreign holiday - A man who had never stepped a foot out of Britain made his first trip abroad with his mother after winning a radio competition. Window cleaner Liam Keys, 31, of Illingworth, was taken to Majorca after his mother entered and won a Capital FM breakfast show competition. Mandy Green, 50, from Hull, answered the question: Which of these is an island on its own? She guessed right and three days later Mandy and son Liam were on their way to Leeds Bradford aiport; heading for the Balearic island for a 24hour holiday.
Liam said: “I was anxious about flying at first but it was brilliant - I’ve got the bug for travelling now.” Mandy said: “I brought Liam up alone so I couldn’t afford to take him abroad when he was little. “I thought it would be a good taster before his first foreign family holiday in August.” Liam has only recently become the owner of his own passport.
During the one-night all expenses paid vacation, the mother and son duo were taken on a booze cruise with Capital FM DJ’s Hirsty, Danny and JoJo, radio staff and 20 other competition winners and their party-partners. Liam, pictured with the radio crew and other winners, said the picture was taken to humorously wind-up his wife who is known as ‘Twinks’ - one of Hirsty’s Daily Dose breakfast show’s most ardent fans. 
Liam’s wife Rachel had told the show’s presenters that she wanted no pictures of her husband with bikini clad girls but Capital FM say Hirsty, Danny and JoJo say they had other ideas. Hirsty said: “It was non-stop fun in the sun and an extra bonus to be able to send Liam on his first ever plane trip and wind up one of our biggest fans.” 

High drama as gutsy women dare to bare! A gutsy group of women have dared to bare all for a Calendar Girls style shoot in aid of charity. Cast members from the Kilmacolm Dramatic Society stripped off as part of a bold production of 2003 comedy film Calendar Girls. Just like the original Calendar Girls, fledgling stars Claire McClatchie, Gill Durham, Eleanor McKellar, Suzie Dunlop, Kate Watt and Claire Fraser have also unveiled their very own nude calendar - with a total of 250 copies being sold out within a matter of days.
Photographs from the shoot show the women posing with a number of strategically placed objects to maintain their decency - some of which include a watering can, sponge cake, tea cups - and even a bottle of vodka. Reflecting on the "liberating" experience, mum-of-two Claire McClatchie, who played leading character Chris in the performance, said: "It was such a fun experience and it has caused an immense stir within the village. Just a month before the performance, the six women teamed up with photographer Carol Biggin to put together the shots, providing them with plenty of laughs along the way. "Many of the photographs were taken in my kitchen - we were all praying that the window cleaner wouldn't come round!" Claire chuckled. 

Corner Baja Bean says goodbye: After 21 years of serving up California-style Mexican food, Baja Bean Co. on The Corner is closing. At Midnight on May 31, the iconic Corner hangout will serve its last margarita. Fortunately for area taco-lovers, the Baja on Route 29 will remain open, as will locations in Staunton and Richmond. Owner Ron Morse tells Dish that his other concept, Station 2 in Richmond's Shockoe Bottom, is still very much open, and a new venture in Richmond, Postbellum, will be opening soon. Despite the success and growth of his other restaurants, the closure of the Corner Bean has hit him and his employees hard.
"It was a business decision," says Morse. "When we opened on the Corner in 1992 there were nine restaurants; now there are around 33 places. Fifteen years ago, if you were on the youngish side, you went to the Corner. Now it’s the Downtown Mall." Even Morse’s window washer was nostalgic when learning of the decision to close, telling him that he remembered when Morse’s wife was pregnant with their first child. “My vendors — they’re more like friendships,” Morse says.

You Dropped a Bong on Me - Could Amanda Bynes have killed someone by tossing glassware out of a 36th-floor window? Actress Amanda Bynes accused the New York Police Department of sexual harassment on Tuesday, after her arrest last week for allegedly throwing a glass bong out of her 36th-floor apartment window. Bynes, who claims the item was a vase, has been charged with reckless endangerment. Could a bong dropped from that height kill a pedestrian?
Yes. A 36th-story window is about 460 feet high. By the time a bong dropped from that height reached the ground, it would likely be traveling 115 miles per hour. (It takes a bong more than 350 feet to reach terminal velocity. Air drag would have minimal effect on the speed of the falling bong.) A typical glass bong weighs between 2 and 3 pounds, which means it would have been carrying more than 1,100 foot-pounds of kinetic energy on impact. Therefore, if the bong were unbreakable, the victim’s skull would have to absorb nearly 34,000 pounds of force to bring it to a stop before it crashed into the brain. That’s about 10 times more force than the strongest human skull can tolerate. Studies on cadavers suggest that it takes between 475 and 3,800 pounds of force to break a skull, depending on the location of the impact.
Not all of the force would be absorbed by the skull, of course. Some of it would go into shattering the glass and sending the fragments flying. It’s unlikely, however, that the breaking bong would absorb enough of the force to save the victim in the event of a direct hit. The glass in a high-quality bong is 5 millimeters thick, about as thick as a home window pane. Imagine trying to shatter a window at high speed with the crown of your head.
Even if the bong struck a victim square in the crown, there have been extraordinary feats of survival after a major collision. Five years ago, for example, a window washer in Manhattan plunged 500 feet to the ground and survived, even though many people die after a 40-foot drop. Falling glass has killed people in the past, but window panes are more often to blame than bottles or bongs. In 1923 a 9-year-old Wisconsin boy died when a window pane dislodged from its frame, fell 60 feet, and struck him on the head. In 1999 a piece of glass fell from a 29th-story window in a building on Wabash Avenue in Chicago, killing a woman.

Wind wrenches window from hinges (New Zealand) -  A fifth-floor office window was wrenched from its hinges and crashed to the footpath below in central Wellington this morning. Darrell White said he was walking his 19-month-old son to daycare about 7.30am. ''I heard a sound like boards slapping together in the wind.'' He turned and caught a glimpse of a window pane falling from the Molesworth St building. ''It smashed through the sidewalk awning, sending large and small shards onto the sidewalk. There was a woman nearby who had just passed under the area. She appeared unharmed and went along with her morning routine.'' What stuck most in his mind were the shards of glass that came through the awning. ''It would have diced someone had they been walking underneath it.''
Keywai Construction director John Fletcher confirmed his company was earthquake strengthening the building. He said a contractor left the window open last night by accident. ''In the high wind this morning it has wrenched it off its hinges.'' The window, approximately 1.5 metres by 800mm, hit the awning above the street, shattering its perspex. ''Potentially it could have blown out into the road. It could have been more serious.'' He said the window was usually locked.

Large glass window topples onto Lancaster city street: A close call on a Lancaster city street this morning resulted in lots of broken glass, but no injuries. A large pane of glass from a pedestrian bridge in the 500 block of North Duke Street toppled onto the road, but missed any passing cars and people, officials said. The block was closed for over an hour, until 10 a.m., as glass was swept off the road. Also, city firefighters inspected the bridge to be sure the remaining glass from the double-pane window was secure. The shattered pane had been cracked for a few days and was being prepped for replacement, fire officials said. "I'm assuming these gusts of wind finally made it give way," Lancaster city fire Capt. David Longenecker said after completing the job. The bridge connects Lancaster General Hospital and another hospital-owned building across the street.

Mark Haskin, of Shine Window Care, washes windows in downtown Midland on Wednesday afternoon. Haskin said that after lunch he planned to ask various downtown businesses if they were interested in having their windows cleaned.
Shine Window Care opens in Midland: Owned by Jim and Mary Reif and managed by son-in-law, Mark Haskin, Shine Window Care and Holiday Lighting is the epitome of a family business. “We think it is amazing that we will get to spend more time with our daughter and son-in-law,” said owner Mary Reif, in a press release. “We are so excited to provide a wonderful service to the community we love, creating jobs and building relationships in the process.” After daughter, Lauren, moved from Holland to Mount Pleasant to enroll in the physician’s assistant program at Central Michigan University, Jim and Mary saw an opportunity to grow closer to Lauren and Mark through a new family business venture, Shine Window Care.
It was in Holland, where Mark and Lauren had been students at Hope College, that Haskin received his first exposure to Shine Window Cleaning. “I really loved working for Shine when I was living in Holland,” he said. “When we first discussed the opportunity to bring this business to Midland with Jim and Mary, we knew that it was a good fit for everyone.”
Jim, a surgeon at MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland, saw an opportunity to bring to Midland a company that provides window cleaning, house washing, gutter service and holiday lighting services. “The way the people at Shine headquarters talked about Mark when I first inquired about the business really made me excited about this opportunity,” he said. “In our family we do what we can to stay close and connected. Starting a business together is a tremendous opportunity for our family to focus on what is most important, all while servicing our community.”
The Reif’s franchise covers Midland, Bay, Saginaw and Isabella counties along with the surrounding areas. Even though Shine is based in Michigan, the company has an impact worldwide through Shine Inc., an organization that advocates for orphans in Africa. The company website states: “Shine in Africa exists to 1. educate on the great need of the orphans in our world today 2. connect you to organizations and ways to help 3. provide financial assistance to organizations caring for orphans.”

Window Cleaner for Madonna? Madonna uses DNA cleaning team for tour - Music star Madonna has a 'sterilisation team' to wipe away any DNA left in her dressing room during her world tour. And she has ordered aides to leave no trace of her at any venue after she moves on to the next event. This is the claim of promoters overseeing the Portuguese leg of the singer's MDNA tour, which will last more than seven months and span 80 countries. "We can only enter after her sterilisation team has left the room," said concert promoter Álvaro Ramos. "There will not be any of Madonna's DNA - no hair or anything. "They will clean up everything to protect her and make her feel comfortable. We cannot even look at the dressing room after it is ready or even open the door."
Only the tour organisers and Madonna's own entourage are allowed backstage passes to the shows. The singer's team has built her dressing room according to her own specifications to include fake ceilings and fake walls to ensure that no hidden cameras can be concealed. Madonna's other demands in the past have included ordering a new toilet seat at every venue. A source close to Madonna said: ''She is a perfectionist and expects the best. But then at her age and with her status, why shouldn't she?''

Open for business (Geelong, Australia) - A first look at the grand new facilities ahead of its June 1 official opening, which follows years of construction, controversy and $115 million. The five-storey, 92-room resort boasts numerous conference centres, a restaurant, golf club, bar, day spa and fitness club all available for everyday use. Resort manager Dean Newell said the building was delivered six weeks earlier than scheduled. "We've been planning for a long time, and I look forward to getting up and running," he said. Eighty new staff were hired last week to work alongside the 40 existing workers at the centre. The spectacular coastal views are capitalised with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and all 92 resort rooms face the ocean - lots of work for the full-time window cleaner.

Workers left my gutter in disrepair, now I can't contact them - Question: John contacted Smart Consumer about gutter cleaning and repair at his home. He employed a man who arrived on spec at his door offering a gutter cleaning service. It transpired that part of a gutter needed repair, which the man, with his assistants carried out. "The job seemed well done," said John, "but the following day a neighbour noticed that the gutter had not been sealed properly and so with some rain it could leak." He contacted the man. Initially he promised to call out to repair the job, but during further telephone conversations he gave various excuses as to why he could not come back. He then stopped answering John's calls. John wants to know where he stands now.
Answer: If a service isn't carried out with the necessary skill, with due care and diligence, or if the parts used are not of merchantable quality, you are entitled to a remedy. The problem here is that John does not know the surname of the man, nor does he have a business address. Such details are crucial. After all, if someone won't answer the phone you have no other way of contacting them or to take small claims action. The lessons learned here are many. Firstly, if someone calls to the door offering a service, don't feel pressured to purchase there and then. Instead, get details of the service, including price, and take time to think about it. An honourable business will want your custom today or tomorrow. In addition, it is also important to get full contact details when you hire someone so that you know who they are. Get full price details so you can compare the cost with other service providers. Finally, once the work has been completed to your satisfaction, get a receipt so that you have proof of purchase. You'll need this if something goes wrong later.

A former Blackpool window cleaner who travelled the world entertaining troops with his music during the Second World War has celebrated his 100th birthday. Great-grandfather Bob Hargreaves, who now resides in Annacliffe Residential Home on Newton Drive, became a regular face in Blackpool when he ran the Spar shop on Daggers Hall Lane for 30 years from 1958 to 1988. Mr Hargreaves moved to the town from Clitheroe after the Second World War. He had previously run a pub in Tockholes, near Blackburn and worked as a window cleaner. And the centenarian was also a musician who utilised his talent during the war to entertain troops across the world.

The new ABCB regulations (Australia) address concerns about the increasing number of children being injured in window falls by introducing more stringent window barrier requirements for open-able windows in habitable rooms of residential buildings. Effective 1st May 2013, the updated requirements call for the inclusion of window barriers for open-able windows in early childhood centres or bedrooms in houses, apartments, hotels and similar dwellings, where the floor below the window is more than two metres above the surface beneath.
The NCC changes require windows to be fitted with a suitable device or a screen that restricts the window opening to 125mm. The device or screen can have a child-resistant release mechanism, which allows it to be removed, unlocked or overridden to facilitate window cleaning or maintenance. However, a barrier is not required for a window located 1.7 metres or more above the floor of the room in which it is located.

Mayor Bowen loves to play football on pro women's team: When defensive linebacker No. 90 steps on to the football field to play the game, the competitive nature of the pro football player comes out. What many people in Lindsey might not know is that its Mayor Sandi Bowen is that football player. 
Bowen is on the roster of a woman’s pro football team called Thee Toledo Reign. Bowen, who served on village council before being elected to mayor of Lindsey in 2012, also owns and runs Sandi’s Village Cafe in town, owns a window washing business called Clear View Enterprises, is a massage therapist and an athletic trainer.
She’s had numerous injuries. She’s had a concussion, black eyes, a suspected fracture in her lower back, broken ribs, numerous strains and sprains, cauliflower ear, dislocations, broken wrist with surgeries needed and her left finger has been broken so badly that she has to wear her wedding ring on her right hand.

Leonard Marsh, the co-founder of the Snapple beverage brand, has died at age 80: Snapple began in New York in 1972 as Unadulterated Food Products, which sold natural fruit juices to health food stores. Marsh, a window washer who would later serve as CEO of Snapple, launched the business on the side with his brother-in-law Hyman Golden and childhood friend Arnold Greenberg, who each threw in $6,000. The three grew up in Jewish Brooklyn. Marsh, the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia, worked as an egg dealer and in the garment district before setting up a window-washing and office-cleaning business with Golden before their burgeoning new venture took off. The trio didn’t introduce the brand name until 1980 and its popularity quickly soared as consumers clamored for healthier beverage options.

Bill Pertwee, who has died aged 86, was a comedy actor famous for his role as the cantankerous air raid warden Hodges in the television sit-com Dad's Army. Hodges had two missions in life: to prick the pomposity of Captain Mainwaring and to make sure no-one flouted the blackout. His catchphrase, heard in many of the comedy's 80 episodes between 1968 and 1977, was: "Put that light out!" He was born the youngest of three brothers in Amersham in Buckinghamshire and came from a large theatrical family that included the playwright Michael Pertwee, the screenwriter Roland Pertwee and the Doctor Who star Jon Pertwee.
After leaving school, his first job was making parts for Spitfire cannons; he then worked for around five years as a window cleaner. By this time his cousin Jon had become a big radio star in shows such as Waterlogged Spa and it was while he was at one of Jon's showbusiness parties he got a break. In the improvisational way of showbusiness in those post-war days, he was also offered an acting part. It was the start of a career in entertainment. He gave up window cleaning and went on tour with Jon. And there was a pay rise too: he was now on £5 a week.

Carl W. Blake passed away at his home in Stockton surrounded by his loving family on May 26, 2013 at the age of 50. Born in San Bernardino, he has lived the past 23 years in Northern California. He worked for a number of years as a window washer for high-rise buildings, and most recently was a truck driver. His greatest joy came from spending time with family. He was a people person and he enjoyed telling stories and especially sharing his knowledge with others. He is survived by his beloved wife Laurie Blake of Stockton, children: Ricky Stone, John Blake, Sara Blake, Shelley Hoskins, Cassey Withers, Chriselle Hernandez; 12 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. A Funeral service will be held at 1:00 pm on Sunday, June 2, 2013 at the Evergreen Chapel at Cherokee Memorial Park, Hwy 99 at East Harney Lane in Lodi.

Suspect 77 is arrested in Tyne-Wear derby - Manacled to a police officer, this is the moment a suspected soccer yob was arrested over the derby day disorder. Detectives are hunting around 100 people over the shameful violence which erupted on the streets after Newcastle United’s home defeat to rivals Sunderland. Police swooped to arrest suspect number 77. The shocking riots followed the lunchtime game at St James Park, on April 14.
Newcastle followers clashed with police at Strawberry Place, near the ground, before moving on to nearby St James’ Boulevard, Westgate Road, the Centre for Life and Central Station, following the route Sunderland supporters would have taken.
Now Det Chief Insp Ged Noble, who is leading the probe, has revealed his team has identified around 100 people they suspect were involved. He said: “No right-minded person would want to see that sort of behaviour on the streets of Newcastle. “We believe approximately 100 people were actively involved in the violent disorder. “They are the ones that have done something significantly violent in one of the locations where disorder occurred or have been present in all the locations, that showed a determination by these individuals to get involved in serious or significant disorder.”
One of the 100 suspects was arrested yesterday. Detectives identified the 19-year-old as someone they wanted to speak to from video footage. And when his image was circulated officers were able to identify him. Officers called at his home in Felling, Gateshead, at 7am. He was not there but relatives said he was working as a window cleaner nearby. The teen, scratched his head when officers turned up and interrupted him at work.

Teenager threatened with crowbar by bogus window cleaners - Man with "appalling" criminal record jailed for eight years over attack. A teenager was threatened with a crowbar after two men posing as window cleaners forced their way into his Birmingham home. Craig Johnson, 30, of no fixed address, was jailed for eight years at Birmingham Crown Court . Johnson, who had previously admitted robbery, and had an “appalling” criminal record was also ordered to remain on licence for 12 years. 
The court heard that on the afternoon of February 6 this year the 18-year-old victim answered a knock at the door of his home in Wylde Green , “a place where he was entitled to feel secure”. Johnson and another man claimed to be window cleaners looking for work and asked the teenager where his parents were to establish whether he was alone. When the victim tried to shut the door, Johnson used his foot to keep it open and the two raiders then forced their way in. He was then grabbed by the throat and the second man produced a crowbar and threatened him with the weapon as he lay on the floor. Johnson then went to look for valuables and at one point the victim was taken upstairs where he witnessed the defendant make an untidy search of rooms.
The raiders were eventually disturbed by a dry cleaner delivery man and, as they fled from the address, pulled telephone wires out. Recorder Benjamin Nicholls said at the time of committing the offence Johnson had been on licence for a serious conspiracy to rob as a result of which he had been recalled to prison. The judge said he was extending the licence period because he was satisfied the defendant represented a risk of causing serious harm to members of the public. He said he accepted no serious physical harm was caused to the victim.

‘Notorious’ Shipley conman jailed - A burglar who posed as a cheerful window cleaner to trick money out of elderly people and rifle their homes has been jailed for four years. Notorious conman Luke Brewster preyed on his vulnerable victims to fund his drug addiction, Bradford Crown Court heard. Yesterday, Brewster, 28, of The Sidings, Shipley, pleaded guilty to fraud and burglary on the day he was to stand trial. It was his third series of similar offences for posing as a window cleaner to fleece pensioners in Bradford.
On January 8, Brewster, who was on prison licence, armed himself with his trademark cloth and squeegee and went to Ivy Bank sheltered housing at Baildon. He got into the secure warden-aided flats after workmen left a door propped open. Brewster tricked a 76-year-old man into handing over £4 for having his windows cleaned. He was then offered a cup of tea and given a bottle of wine by a resident in his 80s. He repaid the man’s kindness by stealing his wallet containing £300, prosecutor Michael Greenhalgh told the court.
In January last year, Brewster was jailed for five months for posing as a window cleaner to prey on a vulnerable elderly couple in Thackley. He was convicted by Bradford and Keighley magistrates of fraud by making a false representation after he turned up at the couple’s home asking for money. The 87-year-old householder gave him £20 and Brewster said he would return with the change.
The court was told that Brewster was “notorious” for posing as a window cleaner, with eight previous convictions for similar offences. In August, 2010, Brewster was locked up for 31 months for tricking his way into the home of a woman aged 94 and stealing £8 from her purse. Bradford Crown Court heard that his frail victim, who was deaf and registered blind, had lost the will to live since he sneaked into her bedroom.
Brewster had knocked on other doors posing as a window cleaner and asking for money after seeing a similar scam on television. In mitigation, his barrister, Gerald Hendron, said Brewster stole to fund his drugs habit. He was ashamed of himself and knew he must be punished.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

UK Window Cleaners Pay More For Car Insurance

Expect to pay more if you have the word 'car' in your job title.
Your job title could be costing you a fortune in car insurance (By Ben Griffin) - We've always known a person's job title can affect the price of their car insurance premium, but have you stopped to think just how much? has, and the results are quite staggering. The insurance comparison firm suggests car salesmen pay more than 13 times than the average fully comprehensive car insurance cost of £736, that figure based on statistics obtained between March 2012 and March 2013.

The average annual premium for a car valeter was an eye-watering £4,817. In fact, and this is somewhat ironic, four of the most expensive average car insurance premiums in's list applied to people with the word 'car' in their profession.

Window cleaners were quoted £4,607.12, professional footballers £4,038.10 and car dealers £2,883.85. The survey went on to look at occupations that had the lowest average annual premium. A bursar at a state school pays only £372.46 while a head of personnel and secretary PA only had to shell out £384.50 and £393.30, respectively.

It comes as no surprise to learn a police inspector trained in advanced driving should expect to pay just £402.86, coming fifth place in the lowest average annual premium list, while a principal officer of civil services pays £396.30.

Insurance premiums are calculated based on driver statistics and probabilities. Therefore changing your job title (or lying about it) may not result in a favourable outcome ─ and if an insurance company finds you lied, you may void your insurance and not get a payout if you're involved in an accident.

"There are still distinguishing factors that can affect the cost of your car premium," head of insurance Gemma Stanbury explained. “These factors include the type of car you drive, the area you live in, your age, your profession and your own driving history.

"However this does not mean that every Bursar, Secretary and Police Inspector will be able to get a cheap deal. Each driver will be quoted on their own data - but your profession can significantly affect your insurance cost," she said.

Top five profeessions quoted the highest comprehensive car insurance premium: Occupation - Average Annual Premium:  
1    Car Salesman    9640.33
2    Car Valeter    4817.37
3    Window Cleaner    4607.12
4    Professional Footballer Apprentice    4038.1
5    Car Dealer    2883.85

Top five professions quoted the lowest comprehensive car insurance premium: Occupation -  Average Annual Premium:   

1    Bursar State School    372.46
2    Head of Personnel    384.5
3    Secretary PA    393.3
4    Principal Officer Civil Service    396.3
5    Police Inspector    302.86

Your job could cost you thousands in car insurance: Some professions pay through the nose, but choosing your job title carefully can minimise the premium. Insurance premiums vary by thousands of pounds depending on the driver's profession, according to research published today by The price comparison website has found that its average quote for car salesmen – £9640 – is thirteen times the average cost of £736. Other professions which are hit hard by insurers include car valeters (£4,817), window cleaners (£4,607) and professional football apprentices (£4,038).
Gemma Stanbury, head of car insurance at, said: “Whilst over the last year we have seen a drop in average car insurance prices by 9.8 per cent, there are still distinguishing factors that can affect the cost of your car premium. These factors include the type of car you drive, the area you live in, your age, your profession and your own driving history. suggests that whatever a driver's profession, telematics can reduce the premium for careful drivers. It has a smartphone app which uses GPS to measure acceleration and braking and check for speeding. Smooth drivers who stick to the limit pay less than those who drive harshly and speed.
Recent research for The Evening Standard by the rival price comparison site,, has pointed to another solution. Choosing carefully from similar job titles can cut a driver's premium. However, Kelly draws a distinction between choosing a job title with care and being dishonest. He said: "Although giving extra thought to your job title could save you money, it’s important that you are as honest and as accurate as possible in all aspects of your insurance application. "Being dishonest with your title, like saying you’re a civil servant when you’re actually a television presenter, may result in your insurance being invalidated or even cancelled, which will cost you a lot more than what you would save by misleading your insurer.”

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