Wednesday 30 April 2014

R.I.P. Bob Hoskins The Window Cleaner Who Became A Household Name

Arguably Hoskins was the perfect big-screen Cockney: immensely companionable, and someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. Bob Hoskins, known for roles in films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Long Good Friday, has died from pneumonia at the age of 71.
Bob Hoskins: the window-cleaner who became a household name - Bob Hoskins, known for roles in films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Long Good Friday, has died from pneumonia at the age of 71. As a star – he was certainly that, and at 5ft 6in maybe the shortest one Britain’s ever produced – Bob Hoskins boasted the inseparable Cockney traits of being immensely companionable and someone you wouldn’t want to mess with, often at the same time. His first major film role, it’s true, gave us rather more of the latter: as Harold Shand, the indomitable antihero of John Mackenzie’s The Long Good Friday (1980), he was a fireball of raging ambition, stopping at nothing to consolidate his empire.

It was only later that a cuddlier and sadder Hoskins emerged from that blistering initial impression. If Harold felt like a character practically defined by small-man syndrome, Hoskins charged into the rest of his film career as if determined to seem less angry with every subsequent part. The key transitional film was Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa (1986) – another classic take on seedy London criminality, but one with an undisguised romanticism at its core. Hoskins’s George seems so obviously tired of the scene that he’s a much more redeemable creation: a gangster with soul.

This performance, which won Hoskins Best Actor in Cannes and an Oscar nomination, was just the boost he needed to make a go of things in Hollywood, and a busy decade followed as the pay-cheques piled up. Robert Zemeckis and co made the noble decision to cast Hoskins, instead of the mooted and much more obvious Harrison Ford or Bill Murray, as the private dick hero of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988). It can’t have seemed too enviable a job, on paper – months on sound stages acting opposite a non-existent lapine co-star? But, through sheer energy and force of personality, Hoskins knocked the role of Eddie Valiant for six. It must have been gratifying beyond belief when the film was a smash hit, and this one-time window cleaner found himself installed at last as a household name.

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Scaffold Rescue In Memphis

Two men escaped serious injury Tuesday morning when their scaffolding failed.
Crews rescue men dangling from downtown building: MEMPHIS, TN -  Emergency crews were called to the Sterick Building downtown where a few men were seen dangling from the building. The men were rescued just after 9 a.m. on Tuesday. Witnesses tell WMC Action News 5 that the men are window washers. The Sterick Building is located at the intersection at North Third Avenue and Court Avenue. WMC Action News 5's Nick Kenney is at the scene where the men were rescued. He will explain what happened and how they were brought to safety on the news at 5 p.m.
Two men escape injury as scaffold fails near top of Downtown Memphis building: Two men escaped serious injury Tuesday morning when their scaffolding failed, leaving at least one of them dangling more than 28 stories above Downtown MEMPHIS, TN. Both men were part of a crew from the Structural Waterproofing and Restoration company, charged with preventing further deterioration of the long-vacant Sterick Building at Third and Madison.

As the men used a motor-driven scaffold to scale the 29-story building a little after 8:30 a.m., one motor malfunctioned. While that motor stopped around the 26th floor, the second one kept climbing to the 28th. That left the scaffold in a precarious position, hanging diagonally, Memphis Fire Department spokesman Lt. Wayne Cooke said.

One of the workers toppled off the lower side of the scaffold, but was saved by his safety harness. Although he dangled off the scaffold for several minutes, the man and his colleague both managed to break open a window in the building and clamber back inside. “One motor got stuck in the down position and basically one side kept going and the other stopped,” said Mike Kennedy, Structural owner. “This rig is safer than most rigs. All the safety mechanisms worked, and nobody was hurt.”

As the men worked to save themselves, an MFD special operations team trained in such rescues was slowly making its way up the building’s stairwell. Nine firefighters carrying rope and other mechanical gear in bags weighing up to 100 pounds climbed all 29 stories before determining that the men were safely inside. “We hiked it all the way up,” MFD Battalion Chief Ronny Beasley said, “and when we got to the top, they told us the service elevator was working.”

The drama played out as several Downtown workers watched in amazement. “I looked back and saw glass shatter. The scaffolding broke,” said Kimberly Thompson, a nearby parking-lot attendant who said she watches the men work every day. “The harness saved him. That’s what saved his life.” Greg Tate, a security guard at a nearby hotel, guessed that the man dangled for at least 10 minutes before working his way back inside. “I saw the guy hanging off the edge,” Tate said. “They’ve very fortunate people.”

Perhaps surprisingly, each witness said the man remained calm as he dangled over Third. “No, no, he wasn’t yelling. I would’ve been,” said Frederic Merritt, who works in a barber shop directly across from the Sterick Building. “I joke when those guys all the time, ‘You don’t get paid enough.’”

Monday 28 April 2014

Will Smith Lookalike Washes Windows In Vancouver

Canada has it's own Will Smith.
Will Smith Lookalike Washes Windows In Vancouver: Well, this is the best selfie we've seen in a while. Two Vancouver women snapped a photo of themselves with the window washer working outside the highrise they were in — and the man just so happens to look exactly like Will Smith.
Kelly Kong (right) was at her friend's Yaletown apartment in downtown Vancouver when the duo noticed the worker and couldn't resist getting him to pose for them. The combination of Vancouver Will Smith's thumbs up and goofy grin results in what we consider to be pretty much the perfect selfie. Job well done by all. They Are Legend, Pursuit Of Happyness achieved, etc. etc.  Can you say Fresh Prince of Vancity? 

Will the real Will Smith stand up?

Sunday 27 April 2014

New Orleans High Rise Rescue

Jorge Gomez, left, and Willis Everidge are all smiles after being rescued Friday morning, April 25, 2014 from a dangling, broken scaffolding they from which they were washing windows at the Capital One building in downtown New Orleans. They hung outside the 48th floor for about ten minutes before a window was broken to pull them in. St. Charles Avenue was closed at Canal Street for emergency responders until the window washers were brought to safety.
Dangling window-washers rescued: Three window-washers were pulled to safety Friday after the platform they were working on at a New Orleans high-rise gave way, leaving them dangling from the building’s 49th floor on safety harnesses for about 20 minutes. Rescuers were called to the 53-story Capitol One building on St. Charles Avenue in the business district after the platform gave way shortly after 8:30 a.m.
Jorge Gomez, 58, said there was no warning before one of the cables supporting the platform from the rooftop gave way. He said he started praying. “I said to myself, dear Jesus please don’t let me die.”

Gomez said he and the other men, Willis Everidge, 55, and Kevin Hines, 46, all of New Orleans, were washing windows for Acme Window Cleaners at the building’s 49th-floor level when the cable snapped. All were thrown from the platform and began swinging above the street on the building’s east side. The building fronts the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line. “It happened so fast, in about two seconds. There was no warning. It was like jumping out of an airplane,” Everidge said.

Rescuers smashed windows to pull them into the building. The men appeared to be shaken, but not hurt. Firefighters and police closed off traffic after the rescue as the platform continued to dangle above a side street. Both Gomez and Everidge said they had been washing high-rise windows for decades. Gomez said he had no intention of giving up the trade because of the incident. He said he had worn the same safety harness for 17 years. “I feel good. I’ll be back doing my job on Monday,” he said.
"Part of the rigging gave loose. Safety equipment on harness attached separate from the rigging caught their fall," said New Orleans Fire Chief Tim McConnell.
Two men were washing windows on a downtown skyscraper when their swing stage gave way. They were left dangling some 40 stories above the ground. On man was clinging on to the scaffolding the other hanging by safety equipment. "Part of the rigging gave loose. Safety equipment on harness attached separate from the rigging caught their fall," said New Orleans Fire Chief Tim McConnell. Shards of glass and debris fell the the ground as first responders worked to rescue the men. Two windows of the building were broken to pull the men inside. After several minutes onlookers cheered as the men were brought to safety. The empty swing stage still dangling as a reminder of how dangerous this job can be. Jason Jones was on scaffolding on a nearby building. He saw the situation unfold and dialed 911. "One guy was hanging from a rope. The lifeline really saved him," said Jones. "That's what we do. But sometimes things happen you just have to be careful," said window washer Victor Banades. Streets were shut down while first responders got the scene under control. People passing by just stared in awe at the rescue and the thought of what could have happened. As for the workers who were just on their way up? "We were about to get on it today, but not anymore after this," said Banades.

Pulled to safety by quick thinking glass contractors and fire fighters, two veteran window washers are grateful to be home in one piece.
NEW ORLEANS - Two window washers are counting their blessings after a dramatic rescue on Friday. The duo were dangling 40 stories off the ground after a cable snapped. They had to be rescued by the New Orleans Fire Department which trains for such hair-raising calls. "We was on the 49th floor when the cable just popped," said window washer," Jorge Gomez. Dangling over the street, veteran window washers Jorge Gomez and Willie Everidge had no idea how to get down. For about 9 minutes, they and the spectators below, hoped another cable wouldn't snap. "I was trying to figure out how to get down. Could I climb down?" said Everidge. "It came out as person trapped, but it also came out as someone dangling on the side of a building," said NOFD Capt. Marco Iverson.

The fire department's Squad 2 got the call on Elysian Fields Avenue, turned their truck around and headed to the scene. Capt. Iverson was on the ground. "Right when we got to the building, we could actually look up and see the scaffolding hanging on one side, or the rig hanging on one side and then another gentleman on one line holding on to the building by himself," said Iverson who is also familiar with the layout of the building which he regularly inspects. The NOFD says it has two heavy rescue units which train specifically for rescues like this one at the Place St. Charles building in the Central Business District. "Place St. Charles and One Shell Square are the two tallest buildings in the City. You need a little over 600 feet of rope to go from the very top of the roof to the ground floor," said NOFD Capt. John Delao.

Fire officials say on every shift 16 people are specially trained as part of the heavy rescue unit. They're ready to jump into action, bringing along the right equipment like a pry tool which helped bust out a window in about two minutes to reach a window washer on Friday. Pulled to safety by quick thinking glass contractors and fire fighters, two veteran window washers are grateful to be home in one piece. "When God gave me the strength to hold onto [the building] and I see the glass started breaking. I said, 'Thank you, Jesus. I'm safe,'" said Gomez. NOFD says six units and 20 firefighters responded to the rescue call. Fire officials says the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be investigating why the cable snapped and that fines could follow.

Friday 25 April 2014

Cleaning Windows At Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace gets the waterfed pole (wfp) treatment. Click to enlarge.
If you could see what I could see when I'm cleaning windows! Man with an extra-long extendible pole makes sure the Queen gets a clear view from Buckingham Palace.
  • Window cleaner gives his client the Royal treatment with his extended brush.
  • A pole measuring approximately 100ft long is essential for the job.
  • The brush was located at the end of a pole measuring approximately 100ft long.
In reality, the extended 9 section wfp shown here would be no more than 60 ft.
Without the help of scaffolding or ladders, it is seemingly an essential piece of kit for buffing Her Majesty's windows up to the required royal standard. Just how easy it is to manoeuvre is anybody's guess, although the gentleman carrying out the task appears to have had a fair amount of practice.

The window cleaner has a tough job making sure the gooseneck doesn't twist at such heights.
Mail Online is certainly not aware of any breakages and one assumes the window cleaner gave the windows a good polish after washing them to eradicate all streaks, smears and smudges. And he probably felt under a huge amount of pressure to do a proper job: the pictures show he was cleaning the windows under the watchful gaze of one of the soldier's from her infantry unit The Queen's Guards.

A deep gooseneck is needed to reach over the sills. There are 760 windows in Buckingham Palace. All windows are cleaned every six weeks to keep them clean.
Wigan's most famous Ukulele playing star George Formby famously brought out the lighter side of a window cleaner's lot with his 1936 hit When I'm Cleaning Windows. In it, he fondly sang about how 'for a nosey parker it's an interesting job'. Yet with both feet firmly on the ground, and some 760 windows at the Palace to plough his way through, it's like that our man has neither the time nor the opportunity to peek through her Majesty's net curtains.

Window Cleaning News
China exports unexpectedly fell in March: A window cleaner moves past an advertisement poster of a jewelry boutique in Beijing, China Thursday, April 10, 2014. China reported an unexpected contraction in exports in March, raising the danger of job losses as Beijing tries to overhaul its slowing economy.
Window cleaners hang from the facade of Ngee Ann city mall in Singapore - Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more. Comments left on 'Say "No" to an overpopulated Singapore' refer to Filipinos as "f**king vermin", "scum", "shit heads of a third world country" and "undesirable underlings". Some are calling for Singaporeans to show up at the event to make trouble. One guy even called for men to "put on our number 4s with full battle order" to "surround the Pinoys".
Window Washer Critically Injured After 6-Floor Fall: A window washer has been hospitalized with critical injuries after falling six floors Thursday evening. Crews responded to the 1800 block of 7th Street NW around 6 p.m. for the accident. Police say the winow washer fell from the 9th floor of a building to the 3rd floor. An investigation is pending.

Workers abseiling from building: Falls from heights are a major cause of death and injury in Australian workplaces, according to Safe Work Australia.
Working at heights deaths: Self-regulation failing to prevent fatal building falls, unions say - Unions are calling for tougher safety regulations and enforcement to stop workers falling to their deaths at worksites, saying more people will be killed unless self-regulation is scrapped. Falls from heights are a major cause of death and injury in Australian workplaces, according to Safe Work Australia. Of the 800,000 Australians who work at heights, including tradesmen, cleaning, and maintenance workers, on average 26 of them fall to their death each year, and almost 8,000 are injured.
Working At Heights Association secretary Gordon Cadzow says regulators are not enforcing the safety standards. "It's the second largest cause of death in industry," he said. "There has to be a policeman and the policeman has to enforce the law. "Falling from height, there's no second chance. I've been close to fatalities in the past and I don't want to get close to them again." In 2011, 45-year-old West Australian builder Bernard Wills was on his first day on a new job - a high shed under construction near Esperance - when he fell through a skylight to his death. Late last year, Wills' employer was fined $65,000 for not following safety procedures. His family believes his death could have been avoided if safety standards had been strictly policed by regulators.
"The failure to do these safety measures resulted in his death and that's why he isn't here today," his sister Theresa Curley said. "I think that there's enough knowledgeable and experienced people within the whole industry, from the regulators right down, that can look at these problems with working at height risks and reduce the probability that someone who was so inexperienced would find themselves on that roof and have the opportunity to risk their life."
Lack of safety regulations likened to 'Wild West' - For those who work at heights, their lives literally depend on the ropes and anchors holding them up. There is a certification system to ensure their safety, but it is hopelessly unreliable and unregulated, with abseil anchor points often left untested. Peter Ferguson from the Australian Rope Access Association argues that people are being allowed to get away with not applying the rules. "It's pointless having regulations if they aren't policed, and the policing just simply isn't happening at the moment," he said.
Gren Hinton from Proaccess window cleaning says safety checks of equipment and structures are hit and miss. "Some of them will be tested, some of them won't be tested." "And there's no certification or accrediting body for the companies installing. You can't trust anything. It's basically the Wild West out there." Engineer Clive Austin and his team were hired to carry out maintenance on a Melbourne apartment building.  They checked the abseiling anchors and found that, while they were certified, they were woefully faulty. Mr Austin asked the building owners to replace the anchors. Instead, his company was replaced. He reported this to the regulator, which did nothing because the replacement team had not started. "We reported that to WorkSafe," Mr Austin said. "They said they wouldn't investigate because it didn't constitute a building site."
When put to Len Neist of the Victorian WorkCover authority that six workers required to do heavy maintenance on one site must surely constitute a workplace, he responded: "We have limited resources". But Mr Austin says that is not good enough. "There needs to be some sort of regulation to make sure that the anchors are safe," he said. "We want to come home."
Mr Cadzow says falls from ladders are another big risk. "When we looked at ladders, over 90 per cent inspected were not to Australian standards," he said "We've taken this data to the regulator and asked him to treat this as a serious matter. The response has been disappointing."Plumber Keith Dickman was working up a ladder on a construction site in Melbourne when he fell and died.  In 2012, the Victorian Coroner's Court found the defective ladder and unsafe work practices contributed to his death. 

Click picture to take you there.
The Mole and Jersey Show Season 2 Episode 2 - This show just keeps on getting better & better!!
Victoria Police tougher on crime than grime as cleaning budget cut: Victoria Police has been forced to cut back on cleaning at police stations as it grapples with ''a difficult time of fiscal restraint''. A leaked email to staff from western region Assistant Commissioner Jack Blayney said cleaning services would be reduced at police stations and other Victoria Police buildings to slash costs. ''You will also be aware that we are moving through a difficult time of fiscal restraint. We are not the only organisation that needs to reduce costs,'' the email said. Mr Blayney said the force was investigating other ways to reduce spending and he would monitor the new cleaning regime - which may be an interim measure. A police spokeswoman said there would be no change to the cleaning of police cells, locker rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and toilets. ''However, general cleaning, including vacuuming, dusting, and internal window cleaning, has been reduced on average to three times a week.'' She said the cleaning cuts were expected to save Victoria Police about $1 million a year.
Window cleaner’s epic 48-mile Norfolk Coast Path run for Crohn’s and Colitis charity: Karl Warnes, from Castle Acre, ran almost 50 miles along the Norfolk coast path to raise money for in aid of Crohn's and Colitis UK. He was supported by his brother Craig Warnes and cousin Robin Clarke, who completed the journey on cycles. Karl Warnes, from Castle Acre near Swaffham, said he had never previously run more than 14 miles before taking on the epic 48-mile route from Hunstanton to Cromer on Good Friday. He completed the gruelling challenge in 9hrs 25mins, battling against wind, rain and difficult coastal terrain underfoot, including sand, loose shingle and muddy footpaths. The 24-year-old was backed by his brother Craig Warnes, also from Castle Acre, and cousin Robin Clarke, from Great Dunham, who both also completed the journey on bicycles, carrying much-needed supplies of water and energy snacks. The run has so far raised more than £800 for Crohn’s and Colitis UK – a charity founded to offer support and research into the bowel conditions which can devastate lives and have no known cure.
Mr Warnes’ 21-year-old girlfriend Rebecca Mack has suffered with Crohn’s for seven years. “It is important, because my girlfriend has Crohn’s so I wanted to raise awareness really,” he said. “I have only done about 14 miles before. I play football every other week and I go the gym, but I’ve only done proper training for a long run since Christmas. It has been whenever I have had time to run in the mornings or at the weekends. “I was hoping to do it in under 10 hours, so I’m very happy. Some of it was a pebble beach and the weather was pretty bad at times as well, which does not help. There was a lot of wind and heavy rain, that was the worst part.

One-Armed Biker Leads as Paulistas Take to Cycling: David Sousa was left for dead. At dawn on March 10, 2013, a car slammed into him while he was cycling on Sao Paulo’s main road. Only after finding Sousa’s severed right arm in his car did the hit-and-run driver stop. That’s when prosecutors say he tossed the appendage into one of the sewage-choked waterways that criss-cross the biggest city in South America. In fact, the 22-year-old Sousa survived. And after fellow cyclists took to Avenida Paulista, the scene of the injury, behind a standard of a plastic arm holding a fistful of flowers, Sousa became the face of a nascent biking movement. “Sometimes I wish I had a gas mask,” Sousa said during a recent ride in which a speeding car forced him into a storm drain. A few blocks later, another almost hit him while it was backing out of a driveway. Since getting back on his bike, rigged so he controls both front and back brakes with his left hand, Sousa has been knocked off twice by cars in collisions.
He hopes the case against the driver, whose lawyers dispute prosecutors’ allegation that he was under the influence of alcohol and that he was at fault in last year’s accident, brings compensation to help pay for business classes he began after losing his job as a window washer. The arm was never found after a six-day search by firemen. Sousa tried public transport to get to school from his home in eastern Sao Paulo, a region that has been largely engulfed by sprawling slums, known as favelas, but he can’t stand the long waits and overcrowding. “The bike facilitates my mobility,” said Sousa, who is riding a new BMW sent to him by an anonymous businessman who read about his accident in the newspapers. “On my bike, I can do what I want when I want.”

Traders are challenging shoppers to spend a fiver at local retailers to give their high street a boost. Supporters of the Totally Locally Cheadle scheme say if people spent just £5 a week at independent shops it would be worth an extra £2.9 million to the town's economy. The campaign was launched at the town's St George's Market on Saturday, following the success of Totally Locally in Leek. Marc Briand, who is co-ordinating the schemes in both towns, hopes Totally Locally will achieve similar results in Cheadle. "Research has shown that if you spend £10 at a supermarket it's worth about £20 to the local economy. But if you spend it at a local retailer that value rises to £50, because that business will use other local businesses, such as accounts, suppliers and window cleaners." A 'Fiver Fest' will take place in Cheadle on Saturday, May 10, coinciding with the next farmers' market. The event will see local retailers offering special £5 offers to help promote the campaign's message.
Watch This Window Washing Video, If You Dare … Chicago - WARNING: If you get dizzy standing on a chair, you might not like this video. However, if you are interested in what it feels like to wash high-rise windows, this video is totally for you. Armed with a brush and wiper blade, window washer Michael Kelly strapped a video camera to his helmet and posted to YouTube about 20 minutes of stomach-churning video as he slowly slid down a building in the Financial District at 175 W. Jackson on Monday. The view is fantastic, although disconcerting at times–especially if you get skittish at higher altitude. Using a suction cup as a grip, Kelly deftly moves from side to side around stone and brick pillars to attack his target. For the most part, the only sounds you here are the thudding of the suction cup and the sloshing of cleaning solution. It seems Mr. Kelly has done this a few times before. Sitting in a small seat and guided by a sturdy rope, Kelly quickly applies soapy water and swipes is wiper blade a few times and then bounces and slides along the side of the building, sometimes floating away from the building and looking down at the street below.
Pure Window Cleaning Reach and Wash on St Michael's Mount: It's a tough and challenging job when the annual spring clean for St Michael's Mount's windows comes along. Penzance-based Pure Window Cleaning Reach and Wash has had the task of cleaning the numerous windows every spring for the past three years. It is a job which takes three operators the whole day. The cleaning poles have to extend 25ft more than their usual length to reach up to some of the windows which are 60ft high. Owner Ian Strick said: "There are many factors that have to be considered when the annual clean comes along. "Tide times and wind speed have to be considered and because Saturday is the only day that the Mount isn't open to the public, it is the only day that we can clean them." Reach and Wash is a family-run business, established for 20 years and, added Mr Strick, it has three operating guidelines: remaining safe, staying green, and ensuring the privacy of the customer. He says that as the company uses a carbon fibre extendable pole, no ladders are needed to reach windows and so the safety of the cleaner and privacy of the customer are guaranteed. Reach and Wash stay green by the removal of chemicals; the filters used in the purification of their water are from natural sources and recyclable and due to the use of pure water, no detergent residue is left behind and the windows look cleaner immediately.

Name your price to do that job on new ‘Jobbers’ website: Window cleaning, garage sorting, boat cleaning ... the list of jobs on people’s to-do list is usually long, and there’s never time to do it. These are also times of unemployment and underemployment — and with the culture of entrepreneurship strong in Bermuda, Stafford Lowe has founded a new venture to bring jobs and job seekers together. It’s called Mr Lowe said: “ is a new ‘job auction’ website designed to connect the people who are struggling with their to-do lists of jobs with the heroes in their local communities who are able to help them out. “The website operates a bidding system where a job ‘poster’ can advertise the task they need help with and the maximum price that they’re willing to pay, and ‘jobbers’ can then put forward a bid to try to win the job. The poster remains completely anonymous to everyone except the jobber the poster ends up choosing for the job.”
Just one month old, the website has taken off beyond Mr Lowe wildest expectations with almost 200 people signing up for it, and several jobs completed. “And we have five to 10 new jobbers signing up every day,” he said. “If the poster doesn’t like any of the bids they have received, they can just let the job auction expire and re-post it again later.” Those people who have signed up will receive e-mail alerts whenever a job in an area they have expressed interest is posted, so they can bid right away. He said: “While jobbers are encouraged to bid aggressively, posters are often very discerning about reading both the jobbers’ personal statements and the specific reasons they put forward in their bid for why they should be chosen. “It’s not really about which jobber is willing to do the job for the least amount of money, but more about finding the best person available to help at a price that’s fair.”

At the age of 42, most boxers — with the exception of George Foreman and Evander Holyfield — are reminiscing about their careers. Jerry Schwickrath of West Deer, a 1989 Fox Chapel Area High School graduate, was just beginning his. Last month, the now-43-year-old claimed a Golden Gloves championship in the Masters Division (ages 35 and up) at Three Lakes Golf Course in Penn Hills. What makes the accomplishment even more impressive was that the win was his first official bout.
“About a year ago, a friend of mine who's a boxing trainer invited me down to the gym, and I guess they liked what they saw,” Schwickrath said. “They convinced me to enter the Golden Gloves, so I began training.” Part of the training involved competing in the Tough Mudder competition that was held in August in Ohio. “It's a 12-mile obstacle course in mud, basically,” he said. “They have many events, and they're pretty grueling. You have to run five miles in 40 minutes, and there are a lot of hills. You have to jump in ice water, run in fire and a lot of other tough obstacles. That got me in pretty good shape.” Schwickrath, who didn't compete in any sports in high school, also credits his job with keeping him in shape. “I own a window-cleaning business, and I've got over 2,000 customers,” he said. “There's a lot of climbing involved with some of the places I clean, and it's the main reason I've kept in shape.”
Bomb squad called in as unexploded WW2 hand grenade found in Crosland Moor garden shed: Window cleaner Tim Rees told how he saw the activity while on his rounds. He said: “I saw the vehicles and thought the worst that it was a crime scene and then I found out they had found a hand grenade. “They had sealed off the area and at first people didn’t know what had happened. “I’ve heard the couple who found it have only just bought the house from an elderly couple who had died. “They were clearing out the house and garden when they came across it.” Army bomb disposal experts were called to the scene. The device was made safe and the army left earlier this afternoon.
UK small businesses still struggling to stay afloat: Micro-businesses across the UK, whether window cleaners, self-employed hairdressers or taxi drivers, are simply struggling to make ends meet and find the funds needed to grow their businesses. A recent Amigo Loans study revealed a fifth (21 per cent) have no idea how they will grow the business in the future, and a further 15 per cent say growth just simply isn’t possible for them right now.
Quotes of the Day - Linda Robson: "People used to ask me what my husband did, and I truthfully said that he was a window cleaner. But I was told that wasn't posh enough. Now I tell them that he is a glazing hygienist" - Birds Of A Feather actress Linda Robson.
The Shetland branch of “Women for Independence” saw an encouraging turn out at its launch on Thursday night at Lerwick’s Isleburgh Community Centre. A gathering of around 25 (including two men) engaged in a wide ranging discussion about matters relating to the future of an independent Scotland over a selection of home bakes and hot drinks. As the evening progressed, the existence of several more special interest groups came to light, including Window Cleaners for Independence, Hairdressers for Independence and North Yorkshire for Scottish Independence.
Brooklyn may have a collective case of Winter Weather PTSD: The winter of 2013-14 will go down in the books as one of the worst in a generation. There were over 15 snowstorms, consistently cold days, bitter winds, and commensurate numbers of people injured from falls, sprains, and car accidents. The first storm started on November 12 2013 and the last storm, a "light snow event" took place on February 18, 2014. Winter went on for three months, going on three years, it seemed. A local window washing business, a mom and pop, says customers are delaying their spring wash. Some people are still walking around in winter coats despite 50 degree weather. You'd think we lived in Maine.  It's like everyone has a touch of weather-related PTSD. New York's an indoor/outdoor city, with a lot of office workers and also a lot of people who go to not just jobs but school, classes, events, cultural venues and to eat out and see friends.  And everybody's got a lousy story from this winter.
Glass, by Alex Christofi: Westland commented: “Glass is a brilliant debut from a hugely talented young writer. A completely winning story of a young man finding his way in the world, it features window-cleaning, skyscrapers, a cathedral, first love, last love, family bereavement, a closet fascist, and a German intellectual. And the most endearing lead character I’ve ever come across. Gunter Glass stole my heart, and is guaranteed to steal yours.”

Opening the doors: When completing her MA in Fine Arts, Grayson made a huge painting of someone washing windows as seen from the other side of the window - "like the painter is trapped behind the canvas". The popularity of this piece encouraged her to create another - seeing a figure through a shower door. She then had the idea of a collaborative effort where several artists all start from the same concept of using a door. She made a list of people who she thought produced interesting work and approached them. Doors Unhinged was born.
Brighton motorists fined more than £3.5 million last year: City parking wardens issued fines worth more than £3.5 million last year. Motorists in Brighton and Hove were given 103,219 tickets for flouting parking regulations – boosting council coffers by at least £3.6 million if each ticket was paid within two weeks at £35.  Thirteen tickets were also waived because they were given to window cleaners. A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Window cleaners who are using equipment from a vehicle to carry out their work may apply to the council for a parking permit. “On seeing the badge the civil enforcement officer will check that window cleaning is in progress and if not a penalty charge notice (PCN) may be issued

It's a bird! it's a plane! No - it's somewhere in between. Melbourne researchers are developing drones that will detect and glide on natural air currents to conserve energy - something birds have been doing for millennia. In the right conditions, the drones could glide between buildings and skyscrapers for hours on end, barely expending any battery power, project leader Dr Reece Clothier of RMIT University says. He and his colleagues are working on specialised sensors that will enable autonomous drones to detect surrounding wind patterns in real time. The drones could use the information to navigate towards favourable updrafts, while also avoiding damaging eddies and turbulent air. "It's replicating what birds do," he says. "They know where these updrafts are, they fly to them and they hold their position."
The idea struck Dr Clothier and his research team as they watched birds surfing the updrafts between skyscrapers in Melbourne's CBD. "We thought, 'wouldn't it be great to develop an unmanned aircraft that could do exactly what those birds are doing?'" A prototype drone unveiled on Monday is named Kestrel - a homage to the falcons that hover on headwinds and then swoop swiftly on their prey. It's early days, but Dr Clothier says the technology could one day be integral. "Unmanned aircraft are likely to see a lot of applications that require them to fly in built-up areas," he says - from policing and inspecting buildings to surveillance and even window-washing. The research is focused on fixed-wing drones, but Dr Clothier says there's no reason it couldn't be extended to drones powered by rotors. The project is just the latest to look to nature for inspiration.

Finally – finally! – spring has arrived. The flowers are blooming, the trees are turning green again and – hey, how did those baseboards get so dusty? Amid all the joys of spring comes something not quite so inviting: spring cleaning. Done right, it can breathe new life into your home and free your spirit from the weight of clutter, soap scum and dog hair. “Spring is new beginnings,” said Beth Dannenhauer, owner of the Maid in Heaven cleaning service in Charlotte. “It kind of transcends into the house: ‘Let’s just give this a good cleaning.’ It’s good for the soul.” And, she points out, it’s also good for the body. Accumulated dust mites, airborne allergens and dust particles can make us sick, especially in today’s nearly air-tight homes.
“Healthwise,” said Dannenhauer, “it’s very important to get that house clean, get it disinfected, do those chores that you maybe don’t do but once a year.” But while most of us feel at least a tiny twinge of that spring-cleaning bug this time of year, not everyone actually rolls up sleeves and gets it done. We like the idea of a tidier, healthier home, but we don’t really like scrubbing baseboards. Geralin Thomas, owner of Metropolitan Organizing in Cary, says there are ways to make all those deep-cleaning chores feel less like, well, chores. “Sometimes it’s easier to do things in a group, surround yourself with people who are motivated and will keep you motivated,” she said. If your family members don’t quite meet that standard, enlist some friends or neighbors and create a traveling band of spring cleaners. One person’s house gets the deep clean one weekend, then it’s on to another group member’s house the next. Bring some snacks, play some music and be sure to indulge in a reward when it’s all done, maybe a night out or a glass of wine, Thomas said.
If you find yourself grumbling, instead of whistling while you work, keep in mind all the benefits a clean house offers the mind and body. “It’s very much like exercising,” Thomas said. “A lot of times you have to talk yourself into it, and then while you’re sweating it out it’s no fun. But the minute you’re done, you think, ‘I feel so much better! I’m glad I did it.’ ” Starting a spring-cleaning project can be overwhelming – so much grime, so little time. So we asked some experts, including Dannenhauer and Thomas, for their top five tasks and tips to inspire you to take out the mop and get moving. By the numbers - The American Cleaning Institute polled 1,777 adults about their spring-cleaning habits. Here are some highlights from that 2013 poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points: Washing windows: 80%
Waiting game at the Anglo trial - The jury in the trial of three Anglo Irish Bank executives were tasked one week ago today with deciding whether to bring the first convictions against Irish bankers under specific laws. Waiting around for a verdict is tedious, but people watching and observing the everyday goings on – such as the mundanity of window washing, where three men scaled down the side of the building, swinging from side to side with wipers and suds, caught most people’s eye. TV3′s Brian O’ Donovan went outside to capture the scene as taking images is prohibited inside the Criminal Courts of Justice.
Living Smart: Don't let dirty windows obscure your view of nature in full spring glory. Whether you do the job yourself or hire an experienced pro, few home investments are as immediately satisfying as clean, sparkling windows. Here are expert DIY tips that my research team gathered from top-rated window cleaners:
Start with the right supplies. If your windows are standard glass, not leaded or stained, and they aren't tinted, you should be able to safely use commonly available window-cleaning products. But you can always just clean with hot, soapy water and rinse with water and a small amount of vinegar to improve shine. Or, you can try these options: Combine a cup of rubbing alcohol, a cup of water and a tablespoon of vinegar. For glass that's cloudy, try straight ammonia. (Don't combine vinegar and ammonia, as they cancel each other out.) Good wipe-down materials include paper or microfiber cloths and newspapers. Avoid plain, cotton towels, which will leave behind lint.
For cleaning hard-to-reach outside windows, consider an extendable tool with a telescoping handle that has a soft scrubber on one side and a squeegee on the other. Spray the scrubber with cleaning solution, clean the window and squeegee to remove the cleaner. To more easily see streaks that will require a second shot of elbow grease, wipe the inside of glass in a different direction than the outside. For instance, go side-to-side on the inside and up and down on the back. Here's a tip if you find that your lower windows, or siding, have dark stains. Your mulch may be to blame. Cheap mulch may be infested with a fungus that, when mature, shoots black spores that stick to glass and siding and are hard to remove completely. If you have problems with this, consider switching to higher quality mulch.
Ideally, it's best to clean windows twice a year. That may be reason enough to hire out the work, but there are other reasons to consider professionals, including the dangers inherent in working on a ladder. In addition, expert window cleaners have the right supplies to more readily remove paint, glue and other material from glass. They also have experience in cleaning other window components and areas, including screens and sills. They can also identify and deal with window problems, such as screen patterns etched on glass, sashes painted shut, screens that don't fit right, clogged channels, non-working or damaged window weights in older windows, wood rot and insect infestations. A pro may also be your best bet if you have specialty windows, including leaded glass, stained glass and tinted glass. Before you hire a window cleaner, do a little research, since anybody can claim to be an expert in this area. Make sure the company has positive reviews on a trusted site, is appropriately licensed and insured, has proven experience, and is willing to provide a free estimate.

Patient Lenox Barden, 5, gives a high five to Iron Man through a window on the fourth floor of WakeMed Children's hospital. Three window washers dressed as superheroes rappeled down the side of the building Wednesday, April 16, 2014 in Raleigh to bring a little fun and excitement to patients and staff. This was the second year that Batman, Iron Man and Spiderman have “dropped in” at the hospital.
Superheroes visit WakeMed Children's hospital patients: WakeMed Children’s Hospital patients and their family members, along with hospital staff, had a surprise visit from three superheroes who dropped in outside the fourth floor lobby window on Wednesday. Mild-mannered window washers from Scottie’s Building Services donned Batman Superman and Iron Man costumes to become superheroes for a day, fighting grime and cheering up young patients at the Raleigh hospital. Pediatric patients that felt well enough (and their families) gathered in the Children's Hospital lobby to see the superheroes up close, exchange high-fives through the glass and take photographs. The superheroes also made special window drops for kids that could not leave their rooms. This was the second year that the hospital hosted the heroes.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Superheroes washed windows at Charlotte's Hemby Children's Hospital Tuesday, delighting kids and their parents. “I hope they're careful and they don't fall off the ladder or something,” said 9-year-old Mae Rainey as Superman, Batman, Spiderman and the Hulk came into her room. Nah, these guys are superheroes. “They usually save the day or something like that. Were they saving your day?” – MB “No, I didn't have any trouble.” – MR They're not the only heroes you'll find here. Mychael Kitriss, 9, has spent the last month in the hospital fighting leukemia. “I’ve never been to a hospital before and I didn’t know what was going to happen,” she said. It’s been hard for mom Lisa to watch. “There were a few days that she just didn’t think she was going to pull through it and I just kept telling her to fight like a girl.” She's getting her strength back, though nothing like her favorite superhero - the Hulk. “Every time he gets mad he had to go buy a new shirt. They’re just cool and they save other people and that’s really cool.” But Mom has a different take on the whole superhero thing. “She looks at those superheroes at being so much better. They do all these wonderful things and she has no idea how strong she’s been, and that she’s the ultimate superhero in all of this.” She's got the strength, now all she needs is the cape.
Metropolitan Window Cleaning’s Blake Dawson and Matthew Drape transformed themselves into Spider-Man and Batman to abseil down walls. Lachlan Fry, 5, in hospital for an infected broken arm, was already in Batman tracksuit pants and T-shirt, and couldn’t resist the chance to get a photo with the superheroes before going home for Easter. “He loves the hospital. It’s like a little hotel for kids,” said mum Kym. “They go to so much effort to make it not a scary place.”
Their superpowers? Boosting spirits at children's hospital: The superhero window washers made their first appearance at Lurie last year after Phil Kujawa, 46, the foreman of the crew, saw a news report about a similar event in another city. He mentioned the idea to his bosses at Chicago-based Corporate Cleaning and quickly got the green light. Then, Kujawa had the little issue of getting his crew to don the capes and tights. “At first, they were like, ‘I am not wearing that,’” Kujawa recalled. He emphasized how much it would mean to the kids, and eventually won over his crew. Each window washer, Kujawa said, was carefully selected for his experience and skill. (Because of the several architectural details on the building, Lurie Children’s is not an easy building to clean, he said.) What’s more, each man had to look like a hero.
Roberto Duran, 32, with a chiseled jaw and clean-cut good looks, would make a perfect Captain America, his bosses thought. Gerardo Vaca, 36, with a short, athletic build, seemed more a Spider-Man type. And Pedro Castro, 45 with a bushy mustache, was chosen to become Batman “as a little bit of a joke,” Kujawa said with a laugh. “We wanted to see what he would look like in a costume.” Now, he said, his team revels in the chance to assume the super identities. The heroes clean the windows, of course. But the real mission is to bring a bit of happiness to the kids.
At Lurie, officials built a whole day of events around the superheroes’ appearance. They call it “Superhero Day,” and send an advance alert to the staff asking everyone to don capes and masks. Though staff likely know what that super alert means, the arrival of the caped window-washers, via ropes from the roof, is kept secret from patients and families until the last moment. Video here.
£26k window cleaning bill for Leicester City Council - Leicester City Council spends £26,484 to have the windows of its buildings cleaned twice a year. Information about the council's contract with Ace Cleaning Company has been published following a Freedom of Information request by a member of the public. The council says it has 182 buildings – from offices to leisure centre, shops houses and residential homes – covered by its window cleaning contract, which will be up for tender in late 2016.

Police in Fermanagh have been helping householders to show doorstep criminals the door through a new scheme to keep rogue traders at bay. Using the new 'No Cold Calling uninvited traders' window stickers, developed in association with Trading Standards, cold callers can now be warned away and a contact number provided to report those who ignore the sticker's warning to Trading Standards. The stickers have been distributed throughout Northern Ireland in recent months. While it should be noted that not all cold callers are rogue traders, the project has been developed by police to put a stop to those unofficial traders who may over-charge an unsuspecting and often elderly householder for poor quality work or work that is never completed at all.
The stickers give a householder the opportunity to warn cold callers that they are not wanted at their door, that ignoring that warning could constitute a breach of Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations and that further action may be taken by Trading Standards. The project is not designed to apply to established callers such as a milk delivery or window-cleaners. Inspector Roy Robinson said: "Most callers at your door will be genuine but someone could be trying to gain access to look around your property or charge you far too much for shoddy or non-existent work.
Tall order to build platform at the peak of Burj Khalifa (Dubai): There is no questioning the bravery of the two base jumpers who leapt from the Burj Khalifa, but spare a thought for the team who had to erect a three-and-half-metre steel platform at the tiny peak of the tallest building in the world. The Burj Khalifa’s pinnacle has a circumference of just 1.2m and the base-jumping platform needed to support the weight of eight men during a day of base jumping, 828m off the ground. The task of ensuring this platform was put into place safely, and on time, fell to Megarme, a Dubai rope-access company, and its operations manager, Daniel Eede. “No one has ever built anything like this, it was completely new to everyone,” said Mr Eede, a UK national. “All in all we had 60 pieces of steelwork to build the actual platform and it all had to fit together perfectly. Obviously safety was our highest priority.”
The structure was taken piece by piece in lifts to the 159th floor, and then had to be hauled up the remainder of the structure using a cradle and, finally, by rope-hauling systems. The construction firm Eversendai built the platform itself, and every effort was made to ensure the stunt went off without a hitch. Prior to installation, a mock-up of the project was made at Eversendai’s building yard in Ajman, and minor adjustments were made to make it as safe as possible. Despite the unique event, Megarme is familiar with the world’s tallest building, as the company is responsible for the day-to-day window cleaning that takes place, and installing the fireworks on the structure for celebrations.
Mr Eede said the platform took four days to erect and he had been amused to see the online speculation about what was going on. “We started seeing people posting photos of the ‘mysterious platform’ and asking questions. But among the group we were all sworn to secrecy and we all found it quite funny.” He said that when the day finally came it was thrilling, and emotional. “These are two guys who are just living life to the fullest. Everyone says they are crazy but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. They were amazingly professional – and you saw the emotion when they landed safely.  “I have been involved in an incredible amount of rope-access projects – the Wembley Arch and London Eye – but this by far topped my career,” he said. He said that the pair of daredevils - Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet - went on to perform three more jumps that day.
On Earth Day Ash Burnell, president of Sun Valley Window Cleaners is holding the first annual Sun Valley Window Cleaners Downtown Cleanup. The event is being held in cooperation with the Downtown Kelowna Business Association and Powerplant Whole Foods (Martin McDermott). The two companies have come together to encourage residents and businesses to come out on Earth Day and make the downtown shine. Martin will be providing wholesome, organic raw food bars that day enticing shopkeepers and Kelowna residents to come out and pitch in. Ash does a fair amount of pressure washing and window cleaning in the downtown area for private businesses but noticed that there were many key areas that fell outside of anyone’s responsibility and are badly neglected. With the new revitalization of downtown, he feels that Kelowna residents and businesses should take ownership of this public space and keep it looking pristine. The entire crew of eight from Sun Valley will be volunteering downtown with their three commercial pressure washers and brooms cleaning up back alleys and key areas throughout downtown. The event will kick off at 9 a.m. at Kerry Park (across from Kelowna O’Bryan’s) and run until 4 p.m. The association will be coordinating the locations that are in greatest need and dispatching volunteers to those areas. Fuel up with a Powerplant bar and help Sun Valley Window Cleaners make this cleanup a Kelowna tradition.

Question: In the 100-year-old colonial house we bought, some Andersen windows used to have grids that are missing. You can still see the holes where the grids were fixed once. The other windows in the house are Pella windows with structured wooden grids on the interior glass, which look very nice. Who can install those missing grids on the other windows so that it doesn’t look cheap (not too flat), and at what cost? Andersen told us that they won’t do this. — Chevy Chase reader.
TW Perry, an Andersen dealer in Chevy Chase (301-652-2600;, can order replacement grids for you. Lou Skojec, the sales manager, said the best way to be sure of getting the exact parts you need is to go to the store with two bits of data for each window. Etched into the glass near a corner, you should find the letters AW plus a code that identifies the year the window was made. And on the edge of a window screen, assuming your windows have them, you should find a four-digit numerical code that a window dealer can use to identify the window size. For example, “2032” on an Andersen window means it is 24 by 38 inches. If you don’t have screens, measure the daylight openings, the visible height and width of each glass pane.
Getting grids that fit requires both the date and the size because companies change their designs over the years, Skojec said. For a window with upper and lower sashes, expect to pay $30 to $60 for a pair of replacement grids, he said. Once you have the grids, you should be able to install them yourself. Check when you pick up the grids, but the process usually involves placing the bottom tab in the slot, then bowing out the grid slightly to get the top pin in place. Then you repeat this process on the left and right. If you’d rather someone else do the installation, a window-cleaning company can probably help you.
Death Notices for April 22: Ralph Whitlock, 53, high-rise window washer, died Monday. Services pending. Mark Griffith-Riverside, Sand Springs.

Sacha: Smear campaign against me: SACHA Singh, the woman whose assault allegations against Tourism Minister Chandresh Sharma resulted in his resignation yesterday, is claiming that a smear campaign has been launched against her by United National Congress (UNC) and supporters. She made the claim yesterday during a media conference held at the offices of her businesses AMS Biotech Security Concepts Ltd, Affordable Window Wash Ltd AWWL and AmSure Trinidad and Tobago Ltd at Piarco Plaza, BWIA Boulevard. Businesswoman Sacha Singh, who is embroiled in assault allegations against her former boyfriend, MP Chandresh Sharma, got a $60,000 contract to clean windows at state-owned National Petroleum (NP) long before she met Sharma. Singh told the T&T Guardian she landed the job late in 2011 and she met Sharma in January 2013. “NP’s records would show that Affordable Window Wash Ltd cleaned their windows during 2011 and 2012.” Sacha Singh, the ex-girlfriend of former tourism minister Chandresh Sharma, has the contract to clean glass windows at National Petroleum (NP), St Joseph MP Terrence Deyalsingh revealed yesterday.
The 30-year-old from Trincity and former Miss TT/India had reported to police that Sharma, her alleged then boyfriend, hit her and pushed her down at Grand Bazaar mall on March 12. Yesterday Sharma tendered his resignation and it was accepted by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Yesterday at the media conference Facebook pages nude and semi-nude pictures were being posted. “And I hope and I plead to our honourable Prime Minister, who is a female, to please me help these people to stop posting my personal pictures. It is really defaming my character,” she said.  She noted the pictures were taken from her personal laptop by former staff and business partners three months after they were fired, and posted last June on a sex site. She recalled Sharma and his legal advisers and cyber police who assisted in having the site taken down about eight months ago.
Man posed as window cleaner to try to con people out of money: A man “in the grip of heroin” called at houses pretending to be a window cleaner collecting payment, a court has heard. One of the people Benjamin Williams tried to trick was a woman who had recently lost her husband, a court has heard, and his call left her feeling vulnerable. Swansea Magistrates Court was told that 26-year-old Williams had called at houses in Heol Caerllion in Cwmrhydyceirw and in Lan Street and Clydach Road in Morriston in the evenings, trying to trick people by saying he was there to collect their window cleaning bills. Most people were suspicious of the caller and he left empty handed — but one person handed over £10. A probation report presented to the court said that at the time of the window cleaner frauds, Williams was smoking 3.5g of heroin a day.

Wilkes-Barre police recovered about 100 bags of heroin from a rental car after responding to a suspicious person call. Police were called to Wilkes-Barre Window Cleaning at 140 Lehigh St. around 1 p.m. on Friday for a report of a suspicious person parked in the business' lot, according to an affidavit. When police arrived, Dashawn McLendon, 19, of 153 Park Ave., told them the vehicle was his, but police said the gray Nissan Altima came back registered as a rental from New York. Police said they smelled a strong odor of marijuana and asked McLendon if he had been smoking. He told police he had "weed" on him once police told him they were going to pat him down. Police placed McLendon into custody after finding a small amount of marijuana in his pocket, according to the affidavit. Police then searched McLendon's car and found two bricks - or 100 bags - of heroin stamped "High Voltage," as well as two loose bags of heroin stamped "Magic City." Police also recovered $723 and two cellphones. McLendon was charged with possession with intent to deliver and possession of a small amount of marijuana and jailed Friday afternoon, unable to post $100,000 bail.
Fake jobs conmen tricked Sunderland pensioner out of £5,000:  Two men who cheated a vulnerable man in his early 60s out of thousands of pounds have escaped jail. One of the men, Andrew Crosby, 38, struck up a friendship with the frail pensioner in October 2012 while washing his windows, and began to borrow money from him as well as overcharging him for menial jobs such as cleaning bins. Crosby, of Clovelly Road, Hylton Castle, Sunderland, charged as much as £90 each time he visited his victim. Realising the man was an “easy target”, Crosby then informed some other men, who began visiting the man and demanding money for jobs that had not been given the go-ahead. Another man, Dennis Middlemas, 49, was employed by these men to collect the money from the vulnerable man at his home in Sunderland. Judge John Evans said: “A total of about £5,500 was taken, not all by these defendants. “In essence, it was purported that they were doing work for him. “It’s clear that in addition excessive bills for window cleaning and wheelie bin cleaning were given.” The court heard that the victim became concerned about the never-ending bills and contacted the police.

CCTV released following Andover incidents: Police are appealing for two men to come forward following a number of incidents in Andover. On Friday 11th April the men entered a number of shops including Waitrose, Salvation Army and Noami House charity shop claiming to be window cleaners in order to access staff areas or get payment. A mobile phone was stolen from the staff area of one store and a charity box was stolen from the counter of another. Officers would like to talk to the men captured on the CCTV images about the incidents as they may be able to assist with the investigation.
A father who watched his son bravely tackle a burglar who ransacked a family’s home at Christmas says he’s “extremely proud”. Derek Shearer, 59, and his son stepped up to help on Christmas Eve when they spotted a gang racing away from a property in Selsey Close, Toll Bar End. Derek said: “This chap was knocking doors claiming to be a window cleaner. He was hopping about, it was a cold windy day. "He told me he was waiting to speak to a neighbour about cleaning her windows. I thought it was odd – he didn’t ask to clean ours.” In fact Jason Bradbury and unknown colleagues were burgling the house, and when they raced off Derek’s son brushed off his own health worries to follow them. Derek said: “My son told them they were going to get caught because of the CCTV. When they got abusive he backed off and they left. It shook him up. He couldn’t leave the house on Christmas Day.”
A predatory paedophile who advertised for his victims in a local paper and was described as a "monster in disguise" by one of the young boys he abused has had his sentence slashed - because he is ill and old. The 73-year-old, who cannot be named because it might identify his victims, was originally jailed for eight years for molesting three teenage boys in the early 1980s, including two he had employed for weekend work in a home handyman business in the western suburbs. He advertised in a local newspaper for boys to assist him as a handyman, window cleaner and gardener. During sentencing last year, a District Court judge said the offences against the three boys, aged between 13 and 14, had ruined their lives - with one of the victims going on to become a convicted child abuser himself.

In Mexico, Kidnapping is a persistent threat: Ransom demands here in Morelos, a small state just south of the capital Mexico City that by some counts tops the nation in kidnappings, have ranged from $13,000 to as low as $250, according to the state police. At such prices just about anyone can afford to be snatched. Becerra’s group is demanding the resignation of Gov. Graco Ramirez, who took office 18 months ago after campaigning on a vow to attack crime, particularly kidnapping. The group hopes to force a recall election in the fall, which if successful, would be Mexico’s first such removal of a governor by popular vote.
Some 1,700 kidnappings were reported across Mexico in 2013, nearly 10 percent of them in Morelos. Another 278 abductions were reported nationwide and 34 in Morelos in the first two months of this year, according to the government. Analysts say as few as 1 in 5 abductions are ever reported, in part because victims’ families fear police agents are involved with the gangs. Investigations and ransom negotiations frequently become complicated because victims are targeted by family members and acquaintances, Pineda says. Victims in such cases often are killed because they can identify their captors. Today, the remnants of those lieutenants’ gangs carry out many of the kidnappings, joined by newcomers who trade low-wage jobs for easier criminal profits.
“They’re the cartels of window washers and brick layers,” says Becerra, the anti-crime activist. Becerra’s group claims that Gov. Ramirez and his police have failed miserably — either from “stupidity or complicity” in their efforts to end the crime wave and must go. Ramirez, who is the state’s first governor from the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, says the complaints are politically motivated. He argues that he inherited the crime plague from predecessors who cut deals with gang bosses, giving them free rein.

Search This Blog