Monday 30 June 2014

Seattle's Window Cleaners

Clean sweeps: Seattle’s window cleaners have seen it all. It’s a clean sweep for Travis Seera as he soaps up a window at Seattle Heights, a 26-story condo building in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. Seera captures views of the city from ever-changing angles.
Clean sweeps: Seattle’s window cleaners have seen it all - With squeegees and guts, they keep our views clear. Travis Seera is sitting on the sun-drenched rooftop of a high-rise in Belltown, enjoying the last few bites of his lunch until it’s time to climb off the edge.

To the uninitiated who peer over the parapet to see where he’s headed, it feels like this could be Seera’s last meal. It’s a stomach-churning drop, one that has turned his safety cones, parked on the sidewalk 26 stories below, into puny orange dots not much bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. But Seera is unfazed. A high-rise window cleaner in Seattle, he’s gone over the edge hundreds of times and always comes back for more.

So does Ben Cruzat, a married father of three boys with another on the way. Now 36, he’s rappelled down Seattle high-rises with a bucket and a squeegee for 15 years. “I didn’t have any plans of being a window cleaner this long, and every winter I have a different plan,” says Cruzat. He’s smiling, but not laughing.

Sitting at a desk all day is not for 31-year-old Travis Seera. The college graduate, who majored in Bible studies and philosophy, has been a professional high-rise window cleaner for six years. His job at Puget Sound Window Maintenance gives him a window into the city’s soul.
Remember the subfreezing temperatures during the Super Bowl parade? Cruzat and Seera worked nine hours that day, hanging off ropes attached to the roof of a high-rise on Second Avenue; it was so cold they put methanol in their buckets to keep the soapy water from freezing. Seera, 31, wore four layers of clothing that day, including two beanies and gloves that did nothing to stop his fingers from freezing to the point of immobility. He cried that day. Everyone on the job did.

“In the winter, I look inside and I’m jealous,” Seera says. But then there are glorious days like this when light bounces everywhere, and the city admires itself in sheets of newly cleaned glass. Days when people tethered to their desks on the other side of the glass look out at Seera with envy.

Unlike most of us who spend our lives on the ground, Seera experiences the city from every angle imaginable: Up close, panoramic, cubist, upside down, outside in and spinning around. His is a world of stunning visuals, an ocular onslaught of ever-shifting perspectives. Whether he’s cleaning the green-glass dome of the Second and Seneca building downtown, or eyeballing lichen growing on cornices, his view is relentlessly novel.

Ben Cruzat heads over the edge of the 26-story Seattle Heights in Belltown to clean a new column of windows as he rappels down. His ropes are secured by steel anchors on the roof; the city doesn’t require anchors on high-rise buildings, so sometimes he has to improvise.
Seera has dangled over parapets on some of the city’s tallest high-rises and climbed hidden stairwells with keys to places even the building inhabitants can’t access. He’s been divebombed by nesting seagulls while turning the corner of a building on a rope. He is more than familiar with his own face. Seera sees how we live and work, how fog looks when it crawls from the mountains into the Sound. He knows how petty we can get when our cars get dribbled with water.

 He finds the city at its grimiest and makes it sparkle. Seeing the results of his labor matters to him. “A desk job is not for me,’’ says Seera, a Tennessee native who had one after he graduated from college. “I’ve got to use my hands. I’m proud of them.” He turns his palms up to show off the calluses he’s acquired working for Puget Sound Window Maintenancethe past six years. It’s a well-paying job with good benefits — medical insurance, a 401(k), three weeks paid vacation, mileage reimbursement and a hefty Christmas bonus.

Ropes, one’s a safety, support Ben Cruzat as he rappels down the building’s facade, cleaning windows on the way down. He’s seated on a boatswain’s chair, which was initially designed for working aloft on ships.
The average high-rise window washer makes about $17 an hour, Seera says. He makes considerably more. How much more? You can ask him when you see him. “So many people ask me what I make,’’ he says. “They’ll say, ‘I hope you get a lot to do that.’ They see it as crazy risky and kind of like, ‘Why in the world are you doing that?!’ Why? It's not an unreasonable question.

Hanging midair, Seera looks as though he’s riding the swings at the county fair. If he’s feeling playful, he’ll draw a smiley face in the suds. Or a heart, which usually draws a smile from the woman on the other side of the glass. “I’m all bluster,’’ he says. “I only have the guts to do that because there’s a pane of glass between us.”

Window cleaners Tai Koenig, Colin Ray and Mitch Jacobsen carefully maneuver a ladder through trees so they can reach higher-level glass. Although the trade has gotten safer, falls from ladders remain an occupational hazard that injures scores of window cleaners annually.
Glass is a tease that way: It simultaneously connects us and keeps us apart, which can make for some odd interactions. Some people pretend not to see Seera, even when he’s dangling right in front of them. Occasionally someone will open a window to say hi. Some wave or take photos. Mostly, they’ll do an eye check, then go back to work or playing solitaire or watching YouTube.

Glass can give people a false feeling of privacy. Building managers routinely post notices alerting their tenants that window cleaners will be on the premises. Still, some forget or ignore the alerts.

Ben Cruzat, left, and Travis Seera break for lunch on the rooftop 26 stories up. Their job gives them access to places off-limits even to the people who live in the buildings they maintain.
Seera recalls the mortifying moment when he was cleaning a medical tower and dropped down to a room where a woman was undergoing a gynecological exam. “She and the doctor saw me and started laughing,’’ he says, shaking his head at the memory. Now, he fights to clean the pediatric side. “The kids are so much fun. They’re terrified when you kick out and do a 360.”

One day he finished a drop, only to find himself standing a few feet from two sleeping women in a company nap room. He prayed they wouldn’t wake to see him standing there.

Seera can get lost in his head, too. He puzzles over people in condos with million-dollar views who cover their windows with cardboard or close their drapes year-round. He listens to books on tape through a Bluetooth ear set or talks to his momma. Sometimes he ponders the future.

Ben Cruzat moves safety cones to mark out the landing for his next 26-story descent from the Seattle Heights in Belltown. The Seattle native has been rappelling from high-rises for 15 years. He rethinks his career plans every winter, when the weather turns cold.
It may come as a surprise, but even in this high-tech age, the human hand remains the only viable option for cleaning windows. No one has figured out how to mass produce a self-cleaning window at a reasonable cost, and without cleaning, windows — and views — become permanently marred.

Most homes can be cleaned with an extension ladder. Some high-rises, such as downtown Seattle’s Columbia Tower with its 8,816 windows, have built-in scaffolding systems. But most high-rises are cleaned by a person hanging from a rope using a boatswain, or boatswain’s chair, originally developed by the maritime industry to inspect ship hulls and perform other work aloft. The chair is basically a plank with straps; it’s attached to a rope that is secured to an anchor on the building’s roof. The chair allows cleaners to work while sitting down, and gives them a place to hang their equipment.

Working gear for window cleaner Travis Seera includes a professional harness, climbing ropes and carabiners. He and his co-workers at Puget Sound Window Maintenance wear clothes designed for outdoor adventures.
Looking around Seattle’s skyline, you could get the idea that architects have it in for window cleaners. Some buildings have huge overhangs that make it difficult, if not impossible, to reach the windows without taking great risks or using customized equipment. Others are built without anchors on the roof, forcing the workers to attach their ropes to whatever stable object is there: a steel stairway, an air-conditioning system . . .

Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries has begun to address the issue, mostly by citing and fining companies that use “unapproved” objects for anchors. (Oddly, Seattle’s building code doesn’t require anchors on high-rises. Instead, the city leaves it up to the market to decide when and whether to install them, said Bryan Stevens, a manager at the city’s Department of Planning and Development.)

Seattle hasn’t had a window-cleaning fatality since 1998, when a 15-year-old worker was killed in a scaffolding accident at Northgate Mall. But there are injuries. Last year, L&I received 61 reports ranging from scratches to back sprains, rope burns and broken bones. Nationally, scores of injuries and fatalities have been reported to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration since 1994, most of them involving ladders.

When the Better Window Cleaning crew is done with the floor-to-ceiling windows of this house, there will be no streaks, spots or drops on the glass.
Seera, the high-rise cleaner, said he trusts his equipment — and himself, so the job doesn’t feel dangerous, even though he knows a fall would likely be fatal. One of his newer co-workers, however, recalled a scare when he leaned past his center of gravity and swung upside down. He got tangled up, and his hand was trapped under a rope against a railing, “I had to yank it out,’’ says Dan Warner, 31, of West Seattle, who has been practicing the trade for less than three months. His wife hasn’t come out to see him work yet, he says: “When I tell her stories, she’ll be the one getting a little nauseous.”

Still, “contrary to popular belief, it’s very safe, and it’s gotten much safer,’’ says Emmanuel “Manny” Ochsenreiter, owner of Windows 101 of Seattle, one of a handful of companies that sell specialized products to the window-cleaning industry.

Ochsenreiter, who has worked in the industry for 20 years, describes it as “a growing profession. Glass is becoming a big factor in building because it’s cheaper, so there’s a lot more windows to clean.” Statewide, 282 full-time workers were classified as window cleaners in reports to the state. That doesn’t include part-time workers, companies that don’t have to report to L&I, and people working off the grid, which appears to be quite a few.

“It’s an easy business to start because the investment is so low,’’ Ochsenreiter says. “A bucket and a squeegee, and you’re on your way. You’re selling your labor.” Hundreds of people start every year, and hundreds of people leave it, he says. The ones who stay tend to like the freedom.

Window cleaners Mitch Jacobsen, Colin Ray and Tai Koenig detail the windows of an architect’s home in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood using microfiber washers and #0000 steel wool to remove small spots barely noticeable on glass.
Mitch Jacobsen, 35, and Colin Ray, 30, fell into the residential cleaning business eight years ago. “We started with $3,000 and a car,’’ says Ray. It felt like a transitional thing — something to pay the bills and give them freedom to travel. It still does that, only now, their company, Better Window Cleaning Seattle, is licensed, bonded and insured, and employs their friend, Tai Koenig.

They run larger crews in the summer and pare down in the winter. Periodically, they’ll take a few weeks off to give their bodies a rest from the physically demanding job. “This has been good for us,” Ray says. They’ve met interesting people, worked inside and outside architectural wonders, and learned how to run a small business. “On a sunny day,’’ says Jacobsen, “our phone doesn’t stop ringing.”

Inside this home on Queen Anne, Tai Koenig and the rest of the Better Window Cleaning crew remove their shoes as they take care of business.
Ralph “R.D.” Swalwell is, by his own count, the oldest window cleaner in Seattle. “When you’re on the street doing windows, you are really on the front lines of life,’’ he says. He’s sitting in Alfie’s Food and Deli, an old-school haunt in the Denny Triangle that’s become his go-to place for pastrami sandwiches. Swalwell is 81, but looks a decade younger in a sensible blue windbreaker and black-and-white Hawaiian shirt.

He’s been working a squeegee in Seattle since 1962 when his uncle hired him as a janitor on the opening day of the World’s Fair. Soon after, Swalwell started his own cleaning service, calling it “A 2001 Space Cleaners” until his wife, Patricia, suggested he rename it “Lift-Off.” “My wife is a genius,’’ Swalwell says of the women he fell in love with when she was a widow with nine children. “I’m a lucky man.”

Initially, windows were only part of Swalwell’s custodial gig. But he tired of the night and weekend hours. He wanted a home life, a job he could control. He cast his eyes toward windows. “I was too old for high-rises, and I didn’t want to do homes,’’ he says, noting that tiptoeing around furniture and knickknacks made him feel clumsy. “What’s left? Storefronts.” He’s got about 300 customers.

R.D. Swalwell, 81, left, assisted by Tyrone Edwards, has been cleaning this Lower Queen Anne storefront for half a century. His job, he says, gives him a front-row view of life. He’s hoping to leave his mark on the world by selling his Lift-Off Window Cleaning service to someone who will do for window cleaning what Starbucks did for coffee.
“It’s a stress-free operation,’’ he says. “You don’t have anyone looking over your shoulder.” Swalwell has kept one storefront on Lower Queen Anne shining for more than 50 years. “Same windows, same tile, same sills, same door, same everything,’’ he says. “It’s like a time capsule.” In his heyday, Swalwell could make a storefront gleam in 10 minutes. He’d work his way down the block, charging $10 a storefront. Now he charges $15 a storefront.

Swalwell still works 4½ days a week. He rises at 6 a.m., hooks up with his “crew” of one at about 7, breaks for lunch at 11:30, and heads home to catch the 5 o’clock news with his wife. His sole employee, Tyrone Edwards, does the physical labor. Swalwell helps keep things moving: he drops off the portable cleaning carts he designed, and circles the block in his van until Edwards is ready for the next string of storefronts.

Swalwell’s wife runs the business, and even launders four dozen blackened towels each week. “There was a time I worked to keep the business alive,’’ he says. “Now it’s the other way around. Now the business keeps us alive.” He’s not talking financial.

Cleaning windows gives you all the time in the world to think, and Swalwell lets his mind wander wherever it wants. “I want to be part of the 1 percent, not in terms of wealth but in terms of leaving a footprint,’’ he says. “Most of us: Poof! What did we leave that was delible, something tangible?” He dreams of selling his business to someone who will do for window cleaning what Howard Schultz did for Starbucks. “That’s what I want to do, leave a footprint, something that will be here when I’m gone.”

Friday 27 June 2014

The Best Window Cleaning Company In The World Is Up For Sale!

5 Star Window Cleaning employees are the only employees you’ve ever met that are paid on customer satisfaction.  Your happiness determines how big their paycheck is!  Just another way we prove that we are a customer service company… that just happens to do windows!
You may remember a blog on Curt Kempton & his window cleaning company; 5 Star Window Cleaning in a blog post a few years back? The time has come & a unique opportunity is waiting for the right person to own the best window cleaning company in the World! can own an incredibly unique and awesome business: An Amazing Culture... That Happens to be an Amazing Window Cleaning Business. Curt Kempton talks about selling his business & the reasons for doing so...

It's bittersweet to get to this day in 5 Star Window Care's history. When I first started the company I thought this would be the last business I ever worked at. I loved it, and because of that I built it to be exactly the kind of business I wanted to retire with. When I graduated from Arizona State University I took every bit of learning I had gained at the WP Carey School of Business and began building my legacy. And let me tell you, this is a sweet business. Really sweet. But in a world filled with hype, I feel like I need to explain what makes this company WAY different than any other window cleaning company you've ever heard of.
A really different (public) approach to selling the company 
  • I have decided to open up the sale of the business to the public for several reasons:
  • I don't have to sell it, but it's the best thing for the company.
  • It's not about the money at this point, I need to find the person who can carry on the legacy and I think I am more likely to find the right person this way.
  • I need to be able to determine if the new owner is going to be a culture fit.
  • I will be sharing numbers down below, but you MUST understand the premise of this sale before even considering this sale.
A few things that make this a really a cool company
  • What we are: "A customer service company... that just happens to do windows" a tagline that we live and breathe every day
  • A company-wide vision: "The absolute best customer service to ever enter our customer's homes" And we purposefully improve ourselves each day for that.
  • The best owner responsibilities ever: "To improve our people so that they can do their jobs better than anyone ever has"
  • This commercial we made
  • Our customer parties (celebrating our customers)
  • Our incredibly awesome monthly team meetings
  • Our certification program (the BEST and most competent employees you'll EVER find in the industry)
  • Our unique pay system to incentivize employees just like owners
  • The most pristine reputation of any company (We have a trove of internal and external reviews I can show you)
  • Our company is just one big game for a greater good-- we are not simply window cleaners. We have a much higher purpose, and our culture proves it.
Not only do we live by the ’5 Star Standard’, but we were recognized by the International Window Cleaning Association.
Why would I sell such an amazing company?
If you're anything like me, you are reading this and thinking to yourself: "Whatever... if this company was so great, he'd keep it forever or just hire a manager and continue on with it indefinitely." I thought the same thing... I have tried that. For 3 years. I have basically given this company no more than 3 hours of my time per week for the last 3 years. And if you look at the graphs on the next page, you'll see what I mean. 

But before we get to the numbers of it all, let me explain why I have wrestled with this for so long, and why I am finally taking these measures. I have built a culture of responsible, incredibly competent, pleasant people who do what they do like true professionals. About 3 years ago my software product (built for window cleaning professionals) started taking a lot of my attention. I would spend hours a day polishing, building, and expanding a tool that originated on our website as an online bidding tool, and has transformed into much more. 

This software started taking over not just my attention, but as I started helping lots of business owners with the tools I was building and then consulting, I found that my heart was also being sucked into this new direction. I want to make it clear that even though I was running out of time in the day, my love for 5 Star never waned. In fact it started amazing me that the company was doing great things even with minimal input from me. I was really proud of what was being accomplished for the first time in spite of me... and not because of me. 

It was in some ways like watching a child grow up to be independent. But I felt guilty. I was noticing that even though the company was doing ok, it wasn't growing. If I was doing what I should have been doing, like going out and selling, networking, meeting with customers to collect referrals, energizing the community (as a company like this could) there should have been exponential growth.

We had an incredible base... in fact we grew right through one of the hardest hit economies during the big housing crisis. Our business' foundation was solid, but we weren't building anything new. We were just living comfortably in "the proverbial house" we built in 2011. And I was robbing the company. I was robbing the company of my time, but I was also using money from the window cleaning company to fill in the deficits we were facing in my software company... using 5 Star Window Care like a piggy bank. 

Everything I did was legal of course, but I should have been rolling the profits of 5 Star Window Care into mailings, online advertising, or whatever, but instead I was using it to make this new software venture keep it's head above water (Code is expensive, you know... and it's not like I was selling to a very large audience). So I had this constant guilt riding on my shoulder, but I was doing what I knew I needed to do in my heart. And I'm glad I did. 

But, it's now time. My software life is only getting more busy, and I am not on any trajectory to ever give 5 Star Window Care what it needs. Not to mention, that the software company is now cash positive and I don't need this "piggy bank" anymore. I need to set it free. Free to grow. Free to expand what it can do. Here are the goals I would like the new owner to be able to achieve that I personally should have over the last 3 years:
  • A new truck should be going on the road every 6 months.
  • Customer parties should be planned, marketed and made meaningful for months & years in advance.
  • This company should be making $1mil in revenue annually. Easily.
  • Employees should have cooler benefits. I have always given what I could, but I know that growth and focus could double anything I have done up to this point.
  • The owner should be visiting job sites and shaking customer hands no less than 70% of the time.
  • Safety training could be overseen more often (min 6 months, but probably more often) by the owner (we have pretty awesome stuff in place, but we could be better and more frequent)
  • There is more, but I don't want to overwhelm you. Yet.

So you see, I'm doing what I know is best for the business. The business has firmly been planted on the figurative rails, but it's stagnant and the employees deserve to have an owner that is stoking the engine and barreling down the tracks to allow for growth. We are in an incredibly competitive market, and we stand out. Our employees deserve to feel progress and forward momentum. As the owner my job has been to be the best support to the employees that they could ever hope to have, and in turn be "A customer service company... That just happens to do windows." And our higher vision is simple: "To be the absolute best customer service to come into our customer's homes". It's time for an owner to come on board who will not have the paradox of saying one thing, but whose actions show another. I'm tired of the contradiction I have become (which I never meant to be) and my 5 Star family deserves better. 

Ready to learn more?

Do you want to learn more about the specifics of what makes this business so amazing? Are you interested in understanding more about what makes it such a wonderful opportunity, for the right person? Awesome! I would love to hear a bit more about you, as well. Please fill out the form below, and I'll share with you a whole bunch more information about our financials, services we provide, websites, company timeline, and the cost to make this unique business your own. In order to share more, I'll need you to to simply sign the following "Non-Disclosure Agreement" and I will contact you as soon as I can.

Click the picture to digitally sign the agreement.

Thursday 26 June 2014

Smashed Leg For Window Cleaner

A ‘singing’ window cleaner who smashed his leg to smithereens in a shock fall has thanked kind hearted neighbours for saving his life.
Window cleaner smashes leg in horror fall: A ‘singing’ window cleaner who smashed his leg to smithereens in a shock fall has thanked kind hearted neighbours for saving his life. Father-of-four Craig Galloway had been working in Dunnikier Estate on Friday afternoon, the day before his birthday, when he tumbled 14 feet from a ladder onto a concrete path. “They didn’t just help me, they probably saved my life. “The pain was so intense, I really believe my heart could have stopped,” he said. “I’m so thankful.”

The 34-year-old from Cowdenbeath had been working on a ‘two-up, two-down’ property on Turnberry Drive just after 2.00 p.m. on Friday when the bottom of his ladder ‘pinged out’ from underneath him. “I didn’t actually feel anything at first, but when I tried to stand up I looked down and saw this open wound with a bone hanging out. I just went into shock,” said Craig. “My wrist had hit a fence on the way down but my right leg took the brunt of the impact -and the last time I checked I weighed 16 and half stone!”

The property owners were on holiday and Craig lay stranded behind plant pots. “I had to hop out to be seen but there was nothing connecting my leg to my ankle - my shoe was filled with blood and my sock had caught on the bone. My leg was just flapping about and the pain was excruciating,” he said. “I just kept shouting ‘help, help, I need an ambulance, hoping somebody would come before I passed out.”

First on the scene was a young boy who phoned for an ambulance and a lady who ran across the road to help. “I do her windows and I wear headphones and sing when I work. I’m really rubbish and she kept joking about my singing to keep me conscious! An older man came too and I knew by his expression that it was bad.”

That night Craig underwent a five-hour operation at Victoria Hospital - the first of many to rebuild his leg. Surgeons explained he had broken his wrist and ankle and his tibula and fibula had “shattered into hundreds of pieces.”  Craig, who had worked as a window cleaner for 12 years without injury, explained his job was now finished. “The doctors told me some bones have turned to mush. A full recovery will take at least a year. My leg will never heal to the point where it has the strength to bear that kind of weight on it again,” he said.

Thanking hospital staff for their care, Craig revealed the accident had forced him to re-evaluate all aspects of his life, including his relationship with partner Lynne Anderson. “It makes you realise what’s important,” he said. “That’s me and the other half talking about getting married now.” He added:“She and my mum deserve a medal for taking care of me.”

Wednesday 25 June 2014

WANTED: Window Cleaner For The Shard

Been looking to take your career to the next level?
Fancy getting paid to abseil down The Shard? It needs a window cleaner - A social enterprise is looking for people with a head for heights who want to be The Shard’s window cleaners. The unique opportunity was posted on jobs site Good People Connect, and pays up to £20,000 a year, depending on experience. You need to have abseiled before for the role, working 6am to 2pm six days a week, and need to be unemployed and living in Southwark. Here’s a video showing what the window cleaners at The Shard do: Window Cleaner for The Shard - Consider yourself a frustrated high-flyer? Been looking to take your career to the next level? Fancy peering through the glass ceiling from the other side for a change? Well this could be the role you’ve been looking for!

Social enterprise Good People Connect is looking for talented people with around five years of window cleaning experience to help maintain London’s foremost monument to wealth – The Shard. The deal is six days a week, around £20k a year, with a bucket and squeegee provided. Oh, and you have to live in Southwark. Talk about a high bar to entry. See the full job description below or here. risky poorly paid job puts banking compensation into perspective: How much should you get paid for dangling on a rope and cleaning windows up to 360m above ground level? More pertinently, how much should you get paid for dangling on a rope and cleaning windows 360m above ground level when you also have -

a. Five years’ experience in this art.
b. Willingness to work six days a week.
c. A qualification in working at heights?

Try….£320 – £390 ($535 – $662) per week. This is how much is currently being offered to ‘experienced vertical window cleaners at the Shard,’ the new iconic landmark on London’s South Bank. Needless to say, this is less than half the amount typically paid to front office summer interns at investment banks, who have yet to leave university.

Knowing how little the Shard’s cleaners are paid may not do much to directly further your finance career. However, it may make you feel more appreciative of what you’ve got – our survey earlier this year suggested that 40% of bankers in the City of London were unhappy with their bonuses for 2013.

Richard Miranda, a spokesperson for GoodPeopleConnect, the social recruitment agency which is advertising the Shard-cleaning positions, says they’ve had ten applications so far. The level of pay is fairly typical for window cleaning, even at heights, says Miranda. “We don’t set the prices – we just make sure that we don’t deal with zero hours contracts and that it will lead to long term sustainable employment,” he says.

In 2012, a window cleaner at the Shard had to be rescued after his ‘cradle’ swung wildly in a gust of high wind. And yet it could be worse – the jobs could be at Pret a Manger. 

More Shard news here.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

WCP Magazine For Window Cleaners

A new window cleaning magazine from the organiser of the Dorset window cleaning show, Mark Munro.
Window Cleaning Page (WCP): The Man Behind the show and this magazine is Mark Munro. "I had this crazy idea approximately a year ago that a cleaning show could be held on the beach in Dorset." "Some people laughed and said it could not be done." "However, after almost a year and many phone calls later the cleaning show was held on a wonderfully sunny day on 17th May." "This magazine is just a thank you to all the suppliers and over 450 customers who turned up and also helped to raise money for charity, I hope you enjoy the magazine and thank you all once again for your support." WCP magazine starts off with a "trade show special" featuring who came to the show & their stories. Go to this link to read or download the magazine.

Exclusive Giveaway for WCP Magazine Readers: For 50 years the name Unger has been synonymous with high quality and innovation. To celebrate the company’s 50th Anniversary, Unger have produced this professional quality squeegee rubber in a vivid shade of green, familiar to every window cleaner as the Unger company colour. This month Unger UK are offering 10 lucky WCP Magazine readers the chance to win a pack of 10 new Unger Soft Green Rubbers 35cm!

Also featured:
  • Sean Kelly - Firefighter, window cleaner, family man
  • The WhizzBizz & how the company was formed
  • The tax collector turned window cleaner
  • Willie Erken - the man behind Wagtail
  • OK-GO Jordan talks
  • Richard Franklin - cycled 70 miles to the show
  • Aquafed - ProGutter - XLine Systems + much much more

Monday 23 June 2014

Window Cleaner Mourned

The number of tributes left to Steve Burton have grown substantially over the weekend.
Steve Burton murder probe: Tributes to ex-Derby window cleaner flood in as woman charged with murder - A woman has been charged with the  murder  of Steve Burton, who died at his  Chaddesden  home on Friday. Julie Titheridge, 38, of Selkirk Street, will appear at Derby Magistrates' Court today. She was arrested on Friday morning after police were called to Selkirk Street at 4.30am, where Mr Burton was found injured. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Floral tributes built up over the weekend following his death.

Photos of the popular father, and items belonging to him have been placed at Sussex Circus, Chaddesden, where he liked to spend some of his time. Yesterday, friends of Mr Burton said they could not comprehend what has happened. Graham Hunt, 70, of Buckingham Avenue, Chaddesden, said: "He was a great guy and a really nice person. "I always used to call him 'chap' and we would always speak. "It's so tragic. I left my flowers and I think it's great to see so many."

One message said: "Well Steve, the last time your corner was decorated it was back in March for your 50th birthday. I hope you're reunited with your mum and dad." Toyah Manning, 32, lived a few doors away from Mr Burton on Selkirk Street. Looking at the tributes, she said: "I think this will become a shrine. It will be weird seeing these here instead of Steve. "I think he would absolutely love this. There are some lovely flowers here and I think they will stay here quite a while."

Other tributes were paid to Mr Burton on n social media sites. One read: "R.I.P Steve ...we were having a laugh the day before ....god bless mate you'll be missed by many xx." Rich N Lisa Fenton said: "Amazing guy – worked some of the same streets and always had a nice word RIP." And James Horrocks wrote; "R.I.P uncle steve. You were a brilliant uncle to me and helped me with everything I had. And he helped me if I had a problem with anything."

Donations have already been given in Mr Burton's memory and one post suggested: "I think a memorial bench should b made 4 him such a lovely man was liked by every1 such a sad time." This was echoed in another message when someone wrote: "I think all the people should pull together and get a bench in memory of steve n put it on his spot on circus."

Floral tributes to Steve Burton have been left in Chaddesden. sea of floral tributes have been left in Chaddesden as residents pay their respects to popular father Steve Burton. He was found dead during the early hours of yesterday and police  arrested a woman on suspicion of murder. Emergency services were called to the house in Selkirk Street, where the 50-year-old lived, at about 4.30am. But the former window cleaner was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hours of door-to-door inquiries and forensic officers gathering evidence followed as his saddened neighbours watched from their doorsteps. Two of his stepdaughters visited the site where floral tributes had been placed at nearby Sussex Circus, Chaddesden. Danielle Brown, 22, of Spondon,  found comfort in the colourful array of flowers and messages of support. She said: "I will remember him for liking a drink and wearing his hat. We were really close. "I used to visit him in Chaddesden a lot and he really was great."

Mr Burton's former partner, Nadine Hatton, 43, said she was stunned when she heard he had been found dead. She had been with him for 12 years and they had children Charlie, 20, and Carly, 16 when they were together. Nadine, of Derwent House, Huntington Green, Chaddesden, said: "I could not believe it when I heard he'd gone. "It's very shocking and I feel really sad and distraught. "He was a good father in his own way and was very kind. He was a very well-loved man and had a lot of friends in the area. "My children are being very quiet and have gone into their shells."

Nadine said Mr Burton found a lot of comfort in spending time at the floral tribute spot in Sussex Circus – a place where he met up with friends She said: "My children are beautiful and look like him with similar features. "I will miss him for the rest of my life."

One of his other stepdaughters, Amy Brown, 23, said she has found it difficult to get her head around the enormity of what has happened. Amy, of Berwick Avenue, Chaddesden, said: "It's devastating and I am going to find it very tough. I found him an inspiration. "I know that his memory will live on."

Community members also paid tribute to Mr Burton. Lorraine May, of Banger Street, Chaddesden, had known him for 16 years and was in tears when looking at the flowers. She said: "This tribute area will become like a garden of flowers because of the love people had for him. "He was a harmless man and everybody knew him. "Life will go on but he will be very missed."

Steve Burton, very popular window cleaner.
Scott Winson, 28, who lives in Derby, said Mr Burton was one of his best friends and spoke to him for the final time on Thursday – hours before his death. The 28-year-old said: "He was known as the Clint Eastwood of Chaddesden and you could not meet a nicer bloke. "I only spoke to him on Thursday and he was asking about my kids. "He was very outgoing and was really game for a laugh." "This will be a massive loss to Chaddesden and Derby because he was so well-known locally. "I'm very upset, it's such a shock. "Life will not be the same without seeing him around. "His death is incredibly tragic. He did not deserve to die like this."

Yesterday, as police officers investigated his death, parts of Selkirk Street were cordoned off and forensic officers spent time inside the property. Parents and residents said it was a shock to see such police activity in the area when they were taking their children to school. A police spokesman yesterday said: "A team of detectives will be working on the case and forensic specialists have been examining the scene." Kirsty Sharpe, 26, of Selkirk Street, said: "A friend called me to tell me what happened. You see things like this on the news but you never expect it on your street. "My message to his family is I'm very sorry for your loss and everyone is thinking of you."

Chris Herrod, 23, of Selkirk Street, said the incident could prompt him to move. He said: "It's usual to have police here on this street. It's not nice and we want to move." Sophie Kerry, 20, also of Selkirk Street, said: "This morning the police knocked on my door and told me there was a big incident. I was shocked." Selkirk Street resident Vicky, 26, who did not want to give her full name, said: "I got a bang at the door at 6.45am from the police. "Steve was a lovely man and was always friendly."

Friday 20 June 2014

Ex-ceed Innovation New Tubeless Waterfed Poles

Quick fits for the new tubeless waterfed poles at the base, instead of running tubing up the pole. Click to enlarge.
"Aqua-dapters sister company; "Ex-ceed Innovation" are launching a new range of unique products to the world of waterfed poles, starting with this new range of tubeless poles, advantages are:
  • 1) Only need one hose.
  • 2) Very tidy van storage,
  • 3) Hose's don't snag.
  • 4) Quicker pole change over.
  • 5) Ejector Sleeve protects fittings, no longer need for protector balls.
  • 6) Very quick and easy to add on sections.
The new quick release makes it easier to switch brushes. Click to enlarge.
The new quick release angle adapter works like lightning, "when everything is unattached it's like you have a bare pole," says Steve Jones of Aqua-dapter. "We thought of it some time ago, thinking how good it would be to have a tubeless pole, because of the advantages.. it is a patented concept." "In the next few months we are releasing a companion to the new pole, where there will be a brush storage box & pole storage." "You will see nothing in the van... no hose, no pole hooks, just a smart storage, tank and hose reel."

Steve says, "the mechanism for the tubeless pole is very simple, but we don't want to leak to much at this time." "We thought of it some time ago, thinking how good it would be to have a tubeless pole, because of the advantages stated above." "Ex-ceed innovation are looking at around 2 months to make a website with all the new gear & the pole featured in the photos is a prototype." "I joined forces with another designer who thinks like myself, so we work well & we bounce ideas off each other."

"The V-lite pole is a product of aqua-dapter, and will continue as such as the Ex-ceed innovation poles will be in the same vein." "The aqua-dapter being our starting product will still be a valuable addition." Can you can use aqua-dapter on the new pole? "People have asked if you can use the aqua-dapter on the new pole, and yes you can, there is a fitting kit!" "We are hoping to take window cleaning to the next level with Ex-ceed!" The Aqua-dapter poles & fittings are all available from their website. And will be available to the USA exclusively at Window Cleaning Resource in the future.
Contact Steve personally at

Click all pictures to enlarge.

Thursday 19 June 2014

How To Wash The Windows At Frank Gehry’s

To get to the next floor, the crane moves the rig out from the curtain wall, realigns the basket, and drops.
How to Wash the Windows at Frank Gehry’s 76-Story Eight Spruce Street: Conventional window-washing rigs slide up, down, and side to side to get around a building, but at Eight Spruce, the apparatus has to contend with lots of curves and angles. (Only the south face is flat.) Starting on the roof, two washers load their low-tech supplies—squeegees, dish soap, a bag lunch—into a custom-designed rig comprising six “baskets,” which move individually. A telescoping crane lowers the rig to a fixed position. Then a basket—or baskets, depending on the location—is pushed snugly against the glass-and-steel exterior. To get to the next floor, the crane moves the rig out from the curtain wall, realigns the basket, and drops. The job is managed by R&R Scaffolding, which also handles other unusually shaped skyscrapers, like the under-construction One57. Business is up 500 percent over the last five years.

$1.5 million to $3 million: Estimated combined cost of system installation (sans rig purchase) plus one round of cleaning.
428,000: Square feet of surface area.
2,000+: Windows.
25 mph: Maximum wind speed at which the rig actually works.
6: Months to complete annual cleaning
“I’m not really afraid of heights, but the first few months were a little iffy. You’re just looking out at those cables holding you up, wondering, Is this going to be enough?” —Juan Portelles, R&R Scaffolding

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Window Cleaning News

There's nothin' like cleaning the worlds largest 50' Coke bottle! Says red Rock Window Cleaning.
The Library Seattle Grew To Love, Or At Least Get Used To: The building's glass exterior is encased in a diamond-shaped steel grid. Window washers hook themselves up to carabiners, like mountain climbers, to scale the slanting transparent walls. Crews shoot television ads in front of the building, and crowds of tourists still come to ride the escalator up to the glass enclosed reading room with its expansive views of Elliott Bay and the surrounding downtown skyscrapers. Pictured the Betty Jane Narver Reading Room on Level 10 of the Seattle Public Library.
Slight cooling, warmer weekend as morning clouds persist - A window washer works in the shady side of the fifth floor on the Popular Community Bank building in Anaheim under a sunny sky Tuesday.
Real estate drones grounded: An award-winning South Australian agency has been forced to ground its imported drone ‘quadricopters’ on the demand of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Anthony Toop, managing director at Toop & Toop, told Real Estate Business the publicity associated with the agency’s use of drones, which are fitted with cameras to take aerial photos and footage of properties, alerted CASA to the technology being used for commercial use. Mr Toop, who previously said the drones had been the single best investment he has ever made, explained that he was disappointed with CASA’s decision to outlaw drones for real estate use. "The drones are a big subject,” said Mr Toop. “We introduced them not just for photos but for video as well. We got some awesome footage, but we got quite a lot of publicity about them. We started with one, $1,000 was all it cost, so we ordered another two because they were incredible. “Because of publicity around these shots, we had CASA send us a note stating that you can't do this. So if you're a child using one without a camera on it, go your hardest, but if you’re a real estate agent with a camera attached it’s illegal. Work that one out,” he added.
Mr Toop said the licencing requirements for the drones are very prohibitive, but Toop & Toop has managed to come up with an alternative while the drones remain out of the air. “Never one to be beaten, we can share one thing with industry that you may not have thought of,” he said. “And that’s now you can get these very long poles, that are traditionally used for window washing of three story buildings. Agents can stick a camera on the top of that and you can essentially get over the top of things and get some of the same impact.” However, Mr Toop believes it's only a matter of time before legislation catches up with technology and the drones will get the green light for commercial use in real estate. “The drones will hit the air, they won’t go away, CASA will catch up with the legislation,” he said. “It moves so quickly they will catch up. Drones will be huge.”
Window washing: A tall order - Calvin Barr, president of Ever-Clear Window Cleaning, and his crew will be spending several weeks sitting on bosun chairs with their feet dangling in mid-air cleaning the windows of the Skye tower at Waterscapes, on Sunset Drive. The work started this Monday on the 26-storey residential building, the tallest in Kelowna. The job is particularly difficult because of the overhanging cornice at the top of the building.  Click picture to enlarge.

Buildings with leaded glass windows need the lead replaced every 100 years. The basilica has at least 15 major stained glass windows held together with lead. Maintaining the historic Basilica of St. Lawrence in downtown Asheville, which celebrated its centennial in 2010, requires constant vigilance on the part of curator and property manager Bud Hansbury.
One of his latest challenges: Buildings with leaded glass windows need the lead replaced every 100 years. The basilica has at least 15 major stained glass windows with lead "cames," the dividers that both separate and hold together the separate panes of colored glass. In addition to this necessary 100-year maintenance, some of the basilica's stained glass windows have been damaged over the years, and a separate nonprofit, the Basilica Preservation Fund, is working to restore many parts of the building.
Of the 15 major stained glass windows at St. Lawrence, Calligan said, each window is comprised of many panels termed "lites." With an estimated total of 90 lites, he anticipates it will take him seven years or more to replace the lead in all of them. The Basilica Preservation Fund is a nonprofit independent of the church. It was created with the intention of obtaining grants and contributions from the greater community, outside of the parish. Preservation Trades Co., now doing business as Waters Craftsmen, Inc., estimated the cost to complete the construction part of the restoration would be about $3 million.

Police say a man miraculously survived a six-storey fall, landing on top of a parkade, while attempting to evade arrest. The incident happened about 9:50 p.m. Sunday, when police — including members of the tactical support team — descended on an apartment suite inside a tower on the 300-block of Cumberland Avenue. Const. Jason Michalyshen said four men were taken into custody, but the fifth attempted to evade arrest by escaping through a window on the ninth floor. He fell six storeys as a result, landing on top of the third-floor parkade. “Based on our investigation, it appears he was attempting to evade officers — being aware that officers were present, in the process of executing a warrant — and he was trying to flee,” he said. “As a result of this attempt, he fell and he fell from a significant height and unfortunately sustained some pretty serious injuries.” The suspect is now in stable condition at hospital.
A suspect fleeing from the police is something cops deal with regularly, but usually not to this extreme, Michalyshen said. “The uniqueness to this is the length that the individual went and the risk that he put himself in by trying to evade officers,” he said. As miraculous as it seemingly is to survive such a fall, it’s not the first time a Winnipeg man has lived through such a crash. In June 2012, window washer Chris Piper fell eight storeys while working at a 10-storey complex at 850 Cambridge Ave. Piper, who was said to be in his late 20’s at the time, suffered lower-body injuries in the fall but surprisingly no broken bones.
Have you had your dose of the Mole & Jersey show lately? Subscribe on Youtube to receive the latest & greatest window cleaning & pressure washing awesomeness! Window cleaning videos abound at the WCR window cleaning video channel.

Handybook hopes to provide users with a way to hire cleaners or a handyman with the push of a button on their mobile phones. The company today is announcing it has raised a $30 million round of funding from Revolution Growth to support its expansion in new markets. One of a growing number of startups offering the ability to book services online or through mobile apps, Handybook connects its users with professionals who can perform a variety of duties around the home. That starts with cleaning, but also extends to light plumbing and electrical work.
Over the past few months, Handybook has been adding services in a number of new cities. In April, the company expanded to a dozen new markets and now operates in 28 markets across the U.S. Business has grown by 10 percent week over week, Hanrahan said, and the company’s transaction value is 6.5-7x what it was at the beginning of the year. At the same time it’s expanded across the country, the company has also been increasing its headcount to support its growth. Handybook has grown from about 40 people at the beginning of the year to 120 today, Hanrahan told me.
For Handybook, winning local means getting the most supply of service pros in a given area. The company wants to get to a place where it has 100 percent availability within a three-hour window of someone opening the app, Hanrahan told me. Of course, Handybook isn’t alone in the home services market. Last December, Homejoy raised $38 million and has also grown rapidly since then. And there are rumors that Amazon is looking to go after the local services market.
In many ways, those companies aren’t just vying for consumer adoption — they’re also competing to become the go-to platforms for home services professionals. While many pros may start out trying multiple platforms, they usually end up just using one, Hanrahan said. “Whenever these services appear, people will try multiple services to determine which delivers the most value for them,” he said. But he added that managing multiple calendars could be difficult, and that he believes pros “get the most value” if all of their work is on Handybook.

Program piloted by Vacaville prison to be implemented across the state - Program to provide training, create 1,000 inmate jobs: Artis Fitzpatrick didn't always like to clean. In fact, he used to think of cleaning as a task better left for his sister to do. On Thursday, however, as the hum of floor buffers echoed off the walls inside Vacaville's California Medical Facility, Fitzpatrick was hard at work cleaning — and enjoying it. "I'm pretty sure I could show her something new, now," the 53-year-old joked. Fitzpatrick has spent the past two and a half years as one of the 30 inmates who make up the prison's CALPIA Healthcare Facilities Maintenance Program. "For me, it's like a wakeup call. I'm learning all that I can and as much as I can," said Fitzpatrick, who said he highly recommends the program to others. After spending the last 32 years behind bars after being convicted of murder, the Los Angeles native said he hopes to employ the skills he has learned in the program and turn them into a job once he is released.

Meet mini-muscle man Tommy Campion – the world’s lightest bodybuilder. The 55-year-old from Pennywell has just lifted a trophy after beating his own record at the British Natural Bodybuilding Federation (BNBF) competition. Tommy weighs in at 55.5kg – 8st 5lbs – but packs a powerful figure thanks to his hard work and dedication. Tommy, who won in the over-50s category, said: “I’ve been competing for 30 years, this is my first, first place win. “I feel good about everything I’ve done and I feel really passionate about being able to compete in natural, healthy bodybuilding.” Tommy puts his success down to “a clean healthy diet, no processed food, only food from the ground and food from an animal”.
Tommy Campion, from Sunderland, retained his title of lightest competing bodybuilder. The window cleaner turned muscleman entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2009 after weighing in at 55.5 kilos (eight and a half stone). The 55-year-old, who is also a keen runner, is just 5ft 2in. He said before: “I’m looking to beat my own record of weighing 55.5 kilos in the competition in Natural Bodybuilding. “It’s the first time the competition has come to the North East so we’re excited about that.” Tommy, who lives in Presthope Road, Pennywell, has been competing with the British Natural Bodybuilding Federation (BNBF) for eight years. He added: “I’ll be polygraphed after being drug tested to make sure I’ve obeyed the guidelines of natural bodybuilding. It means no drugs and a lot of hard work.” The BNBF was set up in 2000 with the intention of promoting bodybuilding without the use of drugs.

For decades women’s football has been considered by some as the poor relation to its male counterpart. In fact, for 50 years, The Football Association banned women from playing on league grounds on the basis that “the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged”. But women’s football – which boasts a history of more than 115 years – is now becoming more popular, with increasing numbers of people watching it. In 1993 there were 10,400 women players but today there are about 150,000, while players including Kelly Smith and Faye White are how household names. Fifty-year-old Amanda Bevan-Talbot (pictured left) was spurred on to take up a new sport by the idea of getting fitter and meeting new friends.
The window cleaner from Witney started playing in goal eight years ago and has been hooked on the game ever since. She now plays football for Witney’s Tower Hill Ladies club with her partner Samantha. She said: “I started playing eight years ago because a group of friends decided to start up a team to keep fit. “At the time, I was 42. We did it for fitness and then it developed into a team. “It has changed my life. I have gone from doing nothing, and doing the same old mundane things, to going into a sport that has opened up a social life that I never had before. “It has opened up a friend base and I do see the majority of them as friends for life.” There are 20 women’s teams registered in the county and clubs hope that more women will join the sport.
Downtown workers’ licensing concerns causing some anger: Tempers Flaring Downtown: Increased competition from out-of-city window cleaners, snow shovelers and other manual tasks have some local workers screaming mad after having spent years combing the downtown streets for myriad cleaning jobs. Some of the locals are concerned that the new competitors may not be properly licensed by the city and therefore causing unfair competition. The issue first came to the fore last winter when there were verbal altercations between the newcomers and the regular downtown workers.

Freedom Window Cleaning Launches in North County - Freedom Window Cleaning, which provides professional interior and exterior cleaning services to businesses and homes throughout San Diego and North County, has recently debuted a new website. After nearly a decade of owning a successful franchise of Fish Window Cleaning, owners Kolan and Lupe Hairston are beginning a new independent venture with the launch of Freedom Window Cleaning. Freedom Window Cleaning offers professional window washing services to commercial and residential customers throughout San Diego and North County, including Encinitas, Escondido, San Marcos, Vista, and Poway. "One of the drawbacks of being a franchise is the limitations and restrictions that are placed on innovation and creativity, which of course is a big part of what the entrepreneurial spirit is all about," explains Kolan Hairston. "We decided after nine years to strike out on our own in homage to that true American spirit. Though we have a new name, we maintain our company culture and values, and we will offer our clients the same great crews and dependable service."

Praise Windows, Inc. a local window cleaning business is celebrating a landmark anniversary. Praise Windows, Inc. of Scottsbluff will celebrate 20 years in business with a public event on Saturday, June 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Frank Park in Scottsbluff. Spokesperson Theresa Deines said the family owned company would like to thank the community for its support by offering a Dutch oven meal, raffles, 20 $50 gift certificates and a music performance by the local band Acacia. All are welcome to join in on the festivities, she added.
Leroy Deines started Praise Windows, Inc. in Longmont, Colorado, but the Deines family moved to the Panhandle about a year after the company was founded, taking what Theresa Deines called a big leap of faith. “All of our business was in Colorado,” she said. “We came out here with no customers and had to build from the ground up.” As the company gathered a customer base over the next several years, the Deines’ children — Isaiah, Reniah, Jesse, Josiah, Moriah and now Tobiah — regularly clocked in to help their parents and the job soon became a family tradition. The business grew enough to allow Josiah and Flo to earn a living cleaning windows in eastern Wyoming and the northern and southern reaches of the Panhandle.
Their son, Isaiah, also heads his own window cleaning operation in Fort Collins, Colorado, Deines said. “All of our children worked for us and now their children are cleaning windows,” she said. Praise Windows, Inc. has extended its reach in the last few years and now covers Torrington, Wyoming, Alliance, Sidney, Kimball, Chadron, Bridgeport, Valentine, North Platte and McCook. To this day, the Deines family cleans the windows of their first local client, Man’s Image Barber Shop in Gering, as well as area homes and larger facilities such as Regional West Medical Center. “There’s nowhere we don’t go now,” Theresa Deines said. “God has been faithful to us. It’s been humbling, and it’s been an honor to do it.”
Good Works: Window Genie cleans up, paints the town - Window Genie of Boise provided free cleaning services on May 19 at the Northwest Children’s Home in Nampa. Justin Beller, owner of Window Genie Boise,  and his technician, Nic Hopkins, spent more than two hours cleaning about 60 windows and a rooftop skylight at the facility. The home provides rehabilitative, therapeutic and educational services for children from the ages of five to 17 and their families.
In June, Window Genie will participate in Neighborhood Housing Services’ Paint the Town event, this year focused on the Central Bench neighborhoods in Boise. Beller and his staff pressure washed and prepped three homes in the weeks before the event and the team will paint a home during Paint the Town.
Penzance man uses 25ft banner for grand St Ives proposal - St Ives was the setting for a grand and very public proposal earlier this month. Josh Strick from Penzance created a 25ft banner, emblazoned with the words ‘Lois Marry Me’ and laid it on the Island. The 21-year-old window cleaner surprised his girlfriend of one year, Lois Hayden, 19, by pointing out the sign from Porthmeor Beach before getting down on one knee. Josh, who regularly surfs at the beach, picked the location for his Bristol partner because she holidays there every year. The couple were engaged on May 16 and plan to tie the knot in November.
MASON CITY | The City Council on Tuesday voted down a proposal to hire an outside firm to provide janitorial services at City Hall. The proposal to hire Midwest North Iowa Janitorial Services for one year received a 3-2 favorable vote — but it takes four votes to pass a resolution so the measure failed. Councilmen Alex Kuhn and John Lee voted against it with Scott Tornquist, Janet Solberg and Jean Marinos voting in favor. Councilman Travis Hickey was absent. Longtime City Hall custodian Larry Buckman retired this year. City Administrator Brent Trout said Buckman's retirement gave the city the opportunity to look at various options to replace him, including hiring from the outside. A committee was formed to look at the possibilities. It determined Midwest North Iowa Janitorial could provide the service at a savings of $2,493 from what Buckman was paid. In addition, the janitorial service would do window cleaning which was not part of Buckman's job and had to be hired out.

Fedde, a physicist in the Aerospace Testing Alliance Integrated Test and Evaluation Department, swims with the sandbar sharks and sand tiger sharks as a volunteer diver at the Tennessee Aquarium’s Ocean Journey Secret Reef tank in Chattanooga: To become a volunteer diver at the aquarium, the vol unteer must be a certified diver complete a written exam and pass a water skills test. Fedde’s advice to anyone thinking about volunteering as a diver at the aquarium is simple. “If you’re a certified diver and you meet the minimum requirements, then go online and sign up,” she said. “They have a lot of programs for kids like the Keeper Kids programs that they run during the summer and over school breaks where children can learn about the animals and what is necessary to responsibly care for them,” Fedde said. The Keeper Kids programs offer children in kindergarten to 12th grade activities such as learning about sharks, going behind the scenes with scuba divers, or recording penguin observations.
Fedde became a Tennessee Aquarium volunteer diver in 2007. Her diving duties range from cleaning and feeding to conducting a show. Cleaning and feeding dives last 45 minutes to one hour, while a show may only take 15-20 minutes. “Each dive team has six members and each team is on a 28-day rotation,” she said. “We do two to three dives before lunch then one or two more after lunch. “About an hour before the aquarium opens for the day, five divers enter the Ocean Journey Secret Reef tank to scrub about a quarter of the tank and to wipe down the windows. Three divers will do the scrubbing and window cleaning while the other two in the water will be the shark guards. The sixth team member remains topside as our safety surface support.”
Superheroes used their powers for good at Mission Hospital Monday. Window washers gave patients a fun surprise by dressing up like comic characters. Spider-Man, Batman, Iron Man, Green Lantern, and Catwoman (below) were on the other side of the glass. "Oh it probably makes their heart over-boil with joy just to see a super hero up there," says Spider-Man. "One of them drew a picture of me, he was so excited. It was fantastic."Chuck Watson's son Caleb was among those taking in the spectacle."And also it means there are some window washers with a big heart who really care," Watson says. Spider-Man seemed just as in awe of the children."These little kids man, they're awesome," he said clinging to the window."I'm just trying to find something to hold onto," says Spider-Man. "It's great to do this for the children. With great power comes great responsibility." window kills middle-aged woman at Rivers state secretariat: A glass window fell off at the Rivers State secretariat on Monday killing a middle aged woman. The victim, Theresa Nkechi Amadi, who hails from Etche Local Government Area of the state worked as a cleaner at the state Ministry of Environment.
Eye witness told DailyPost that she was hit by a glass window that fell from one of the uppermost floors of the building. The source said she died instantly, with her brains scattered on the ground. Doctors were immediately drafted to the scene where she was confirmed dead. Efforts to speak with top officers in the Ministry of Environment proved abortive as the Commissioner and the Permanent Secretary were not available.

Council's windows mysteriously shattering (NZ): Experts are being brought in to try and determine why large panes of plate glass on the facade of the Christchurch City Council building are mysteriously shattering. Four plates of glass have broken in the past few weeks for no apparent reason. The most recent breakage occurred this morning. A Christchurch City Council spokeswoman said no-one had been injured as a result of the breakages and there was no obvious reason why the glass was failing. The glass was installed by national company Metro Performance Glass. 
Contracts manager Jeff Schmelz said the company was called last week after the first two windows broke to investigate the incident. Workers would look at the pieces of broken glass and window framing to determine what happened. The breakages could be related to "building settlement", but it was too early to speculate on the possible cause, Schmelz said. "We're working on it now. We're just keeping the city council and [building owner] Ngai Tahu informed."

Importance of window safety: In line with Singapore's annual Window Safety Campaign, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan shared in his latest blog on Thursday the importance of window safety. He suggested three simple steps - check, clean and change. June 6 is one of two dates for Singapore's annual Window Safety Campaign. The other is December 12. In line with this, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan shared in his latest blog on Thursday the importance of window safety, and the vital role played by homeowners to check, clean and maintain their windows.
Mr Khaw said in the first five months of this year, the Building and Construction Authority's (BCA's) records showed there were 27 cases of fallen windows. While there were no injuries, he said Singapore is simply lucky. Mr Khaw said windows fall because of wear and tear, and lack of proper maintenance. That is why homeowners must check their windows, at least twice every year. He said checking and cleaning the windows are fast and easy. Mr Khaw suggested three simple steps - check, clean and change. He said checking the windows will take less than five minutes and may just save a life. To learn more about window safety and window maintenance tips, visit the BCA website or
the HDB website.  The full text of the Mr Khaw's blog, titled "Please check your windows and save lives", can be found on the "Housing Matters" site.

A road safety community campaigner died after making an 'error of judgement' when he stepped into the road while trying to stop traffic, an inquest heard. Roger Davis, 73, was killed on December 19 after he was struck outside his house by a Vauxhall Astra van on Milnrow Road, Hollingworth Lake. An inquest heard Mr Davis had been trying to help a friend of his wife Cynthia to ease her car out into the traffic. He was struck by the vehicle at around 4.45pm while he was standing in the road holding up a white pillow – with which, it is believed, he had been attempting to signal oncoming traffic.
The inquest heard from window cleaners Robert Tonks and Jason Parsons – the driver and front-seat passenger of the Astra, respectively. In a statement read by Assistant Coroner for Greater Manchester, Lisa Hashmi, Mr Tonks said he had been driving along when he saw a white ‘thing’ in front of him. He had tried to do an emergency stop – but had not managed to avoid hitting Mr Davis. Mr Parsons added: “I saw something out the corner of my eye and we realised someone had stepped out but we did not know at the time he was trying to stop traffic although I could see the back of his head.” Mrs Hashmi asked: “Would you say that he (Mr Tonks) is a careful driver?” Mr Parsons replied: “Yes – I’m always joking with him about how slowly he drives.”
Mr Tonks and Mr Parsons went to help Mr Davis and to check if he was still breathing. He died shortly after as paramedics were unable to revive him. The inquest also heard that Mr Davis had been looking in the opposite direction at a vehicle which had just gone past him, rather than in the direction of the oncoming Astra. A police investigation found Mr Tonks had no alcohol in his system, was driving within the 30mph speed limit and that his vehicle had no defects.
Couple lose court action against lender: A couple who borrowed €1.4m to refinance property investments have lost their High Court action alleging their lender had not validly appointed a receiver over their assets when they went into arrears. Anthony Freeman, who owned a window cleaning business, and his wife, Miriam, Willow Wood Lawn, Blanchardstown, Dublin, borrowed €1.4m in 2006 from Bank of Scotland Ireland (BoSI) to fund re-financing and refurbishment of six Dublin houses. Of that sum, €800,000 was used to re-finance existing loans on the properties held with First Active with the remainder released to the Freemans. Following the financial crisis in 2008, they went into arrears in 2009 and a receiver was appointed over the properties in 2011. They claimed the receiver was invalidly appointed because BoSI had been dissolved.
They argued, its successor, Bank of Scotland plc (BoS), was not legally entitled to appoint a receiver because it had transferred the mortgages on some properties to a third party as a means of raising capital, a process known as securitisation. In proceedings against BoS and the receiver, they also claimed BoS breached a voluntary Central Bank code in relation to the securitisation. They further claimed it was not entitled to appoint a receiver because, under the Registration of Title Act 1964, registration of title from BoSI to BoS was never completed. They also alleged the admitted overcharging of €20,700 in interest by BoS contributed to them defaulting on their loans. The claims were denied.

The art of being flat and mad - Let there be light - Ottó Gecser, president of Personal Branding Institute, former CEO of Brokernet and AXA, advises all companies, not only to startups, to “be hungry, be mad.” One of the anecdotes Gecser shared was about Fotexnet, which bought the former Hungarian household shop chain (the only one in the socialist era), selling a wide range of household commodities, from paintbrush to detergents. After renaming it Azur, they made two major innovations, both involving the CEO’s personal intervention: the first was washing the shop windows every morning, instead of every month, the second was changing the light bulbs inside the display windows. “The boss checked every shop window every night, and if he saw even a single bulb was not working, he would instruct the managers personally.” The point is you need to be there personally, you need to be ‘flat’, or you’ll become the sort of corporation of your nightmares.

Some customers get money back from window washer while others continue to wait - Overland Park, Kan. - Angela Hernandez is glad she spoke out. "I was happy that it finally got to the point where he felt the he actually did need to do the apology,” she said.  So is Donna Weninger. "I'm glad I got my refund,” Weninger said. The two homeowners of the Mills Farm subdivision in Overland Park contacted Call for Action after a salesman knocked on their doors. Dave Lowry peddles a cleaning product called Tuf Job. At $90 a gallon, it’s a tough sell.
So Lowry promised to return with a crew to wash their windows. That was six months ago. He never returned. Call for Action caught up with Lowry recently. He promised to refund his customers. “If they want their money back they get their money back," Lowry said recently. Other customers like Vanessa Perry continue to wait for their money. Others are glad to be done with the window washer. "I didn't want anybody else to go through the misrepresentation of his sales tactics," Hernandez added.

WYCHERLEY TRIAL - Relatives speak of shock at deaths: Relatives of reclusive Mansfield couple William and Patricia Wycherley have described their shock at hearing that two bodies had been discovered in their Forest Town garden. Giving evidence at Nottingham Crown Court today (Friday 6th June) on the third day of the trial, nieces of Mr Wycherley described how Christmas cards and other letters had regularly been sent to family members after the couple were killed in May 1998. Their daughter, Susan Edwards (56) has admitted the manslaughter of Patricia Wycherley, who she claims murdered her father following a row.
In a statement read out by prosecutors, niece Christine Harford stated that initially family suspected that the Wycherleys may have been involved in a suicide pact, but ruled out the idea when they realised they had still been receiving Christmas cards from the couple more than a decade after they were killed. Meanwhile, niece Hilary Rose described William Wycherley as a “bit of a black sheep” and that the family felt he “could not stick at anything.” The court heard how Mr Wycherley had emigrated to Canada in 1930 but had returned to the UK the same year and set up a window cleaning business in London.
“The prosecution case is that Susan Edwards’ parents were shot and killed by them over that bank holiday weekend,” Mr Joyce told the court. “They were shot using a .38 revolver and over that bank holiday weekend they were not just shot but they were also buried in their own back garden. “Over the next 15 years and in order to continue stealing money and to keep up the pretence that the couple were still alive, they lied to family members, they lied to neighbours, and they lied to financial institutions - they lied to everybody. They deceived everybody into thinking William and Patricia Wycherley were still alive.” The case continues.
A burglary suspect nabbed inside an Anoka business by employees: Shortly before 6 a.m. April 13, 2013, Anoka Police responded to call from City Heights Window Cleaners on Fifth Avenue where the field manager reported that when he arrived for work and entered the business, he found a two-wheel dolly stacked with three computer towers, two computer monitors, two keyboards, computer cables and mouse devices, plus a large screwdriver nearby, which did not belong to City Heights Window Cleaners. Checking the building, the field manager told police there were fresh footprints in snow outside the rear overhead door, which had been jimmied.
Then when he and other employees went through the building, they discovered a man, later identified as Grbich, hiding inside a vehicle and detained him, according to the complaint. The employees found pocket stamps, computer cords and other property belonging to the business on Grbich. And when police searched Grbich prior to placing him in a squad car, they retrieved two folding knives and a flashlight from his pockets. In a statement to police, Grbich admitted that he forced open the overhead door and crawled under it into the business with the intent of stealing property and selling it to pay his rent.
A Dunstable man who beat up a young man outside the Nags Head in the town has been given a suspended sentence. Luton Crown Court heard 25-year-old Darren Campbell was attacked in an alleyway at the side of the pub by a number of men. Officers who were already in High Street North dealing with another incident came across Mr Campbell down on his knees on the pavement and bleeding from his face.
It was the early hours of February 22 this year and officers spoke to Mr Campbell, who then pointed to two males and said: "They are the ones who gave me a kicking." Judge Stuart Bridge was told one of the men was Glen Tompkins, 34, of West Street in Dunstable. He was arrested and charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Mr Campbell. The court was told Mr Campbell suffered a swollen eye and chipped tooth. He had been punched and kicked in the attack.
Judge Stuart Bridge hearing the case was told that Tompkins, who works as a window cleaner, had downed around 7 to 8 pints of cider that night. He was given a six month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work. He was told he must pay his victim £300 in compensation as well as £150 towards the cost of the prosecution.
Suspicious window cleaner warning for Amersham residents: Police have warned Amersham homeowners to be on their guard after a couple were targeted by bogus window cleaners at the weekend. The men arrived unannounced at the couple's home before contesting the amount of money they were due to be paid - having failed to complete the job properly. They left after the couple threatened to call the police - and officers investigating the incident have told their victims to call them immediately if they spot them in the area again. The incident happened in Station Road on Saturday at the home of a couple in their 50s.
The couple's daughter, who did not wish to be named, said: "They initially said they would charge £70 for cleaning the windows, gutters and window ledges. This then dropped to £30 for just the windows, then £20. "This price was agreed, then in just under an hour they announced they were finished and my father placed £25 in their hand so they could get themselves a drink on him for doing what looked like a decent job. "They then questioned the amount stating they said £70, not £20, and that they had done the guttering. "After the men had become very rude and aggressive the police were called, oddly by both the window cleaners and my parents. On hearing that the police were to arrive they disappeared with £40, which my dad had negotiated to.
"We then assessed their work, the windows in sight were clean, anything else was smeared, the gutters undone and the ledges dirty." The woman added: "I worry for any vulnerable older people who are not able to do their windows themselves as this was clearly a scam. "The area I live in is full of elderly people and I think they mistakenly knocked on the door expecting someone older. I do worry that it will happen to someone who is more vulnerable."
Bogus council worker stole from OAP whose windows he used to clean - A con man was convicted of burglary after his 85-year-old victim gave evidence against him – from the comfort of her home. Former window cleaner Wayne Johnson, 32, claimed he was a council worker when he turned up at the pensioner’s home and stole £50 after being allowed inside. The victim told jurors, via videolink set up at her Hebburn home and linked to Newcastle Crown Court, how the raid left her frightened and in tears. Jurors could watch the woman giving evidence from her armchair. The court heard Johnson had turned up at the woman’s door, claiming he was there to inspect damp on December 3 last year. She said: “He went upstairs and had a look and said there was dampness on the wall, which there wasn’t.
The pensioner said the conman told her workers would be back that afternoon, but nobody showed up. It was after he had left her home she realised £50 she had kept in her cabinet to pay a bill was gone. Johnson admitted to police he was at the house, where he used to clean windows, but said he had only gone to ask the pensioner if she wanted guttering work done. He denied taking any money. Jurors found Johnson, of Australia Grove, South Shields, guilty of burglary. He will be sentenced at a later date and was given bail in the meantime.

Dartmoor drug dealer jailed after pub staff alert police: A drug dealer has been jailed after being spotted acting suspiciously by sharp-eyed pub staff in a town centre pub. Charles Baker was caught red handed with £500 in £10 and £20 notes and police found £1,500 worth of four different sorts of drugs at his home. He claimed he had bought the lot with the intention of spending a lost weekend at a festival on Dartmoor but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court last month.
The unemployed window cleaner was dealing to pay off his own drug debts and had messages on his phone from buyers asking for deliveries of cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis. Baker, of Fore Street, Kingsteignton, denied possession of cocaine, amphetamines, cannabis and NRG2 with intent to supply but was found guilty and jailed for three years and six months by Judge Phillip Wassall. The Judge told him:”You were plainly in debt and became involved in supplying drugs, which police found when they searched your home, along with paraphernalia and text messages. cleaner avoids jail after cannabis find: A Burton window cleaner caught supplying cannabis to pals has escaped with a suspended jail sentence. Police found more than six ounces of the drug and associated paraphernalia, plus £760 in cash, during a raid on the home of Adrian King on November 26 last year. Most of the cannabis was in a plastic tub containing two bags and there was a further small amount in the house, said Mr Kevin Jones, prosecuting. King, 41, of Richmond Street, Burton, who admitted possessing drugs with intent to supply, was given a six-month sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid community work. “He is committed to a change in his lifestyle,” said Mr Hennessy, handing three character references on behalf of King to the court, including one from East Staffordshire borough councillor Bill Ganley.
Two burglars stole a TV from a house run by a mental health charity. Kevin Brownfield and Craig Layland forced their way into the home in Joseph Street in Burslem while the occupier of the property was asleep. But the pair was later caught by police after a witness gave officers their car’s registration number. Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard the pair told officers they were picking up a TV that had been sold to one of them. Brownfield, aged 25, of Ubberley Road, Bentilee and Layland, aged 29, of Cemlyn Avenue , Blurton, both pleaded guilty to the burglary on December 21, 2013. “Despite offending in his childhood years, for the last 10 years his commitment has been to provide for his family.
He set up his own window cleaning business in 2013 and he has about 50 customers. “He’s asked me to ask you for a chance.” Brownfield has had 25 convictions since he was 15 years old although none were for burglary. Nicola Bell, mitigating, said: “Brownfield is 25-years-old and seems to have been drifting for some time and it seems that this young man has concentrated rightly or wrongly on family issues as an excuse not to find work. “He had a supportive wife and a young child. His wife said he has tried to make changes. “There was thankfully limited damage for the charity who runs the house and thankfully, the occupier wasn't disturbed.” Judge Paul Glenn handed both defendants 21-month suspended sentences and ordered them to do 225 hours of unpaid work. They will also be subject to a curfew for three months between 10pm and 6am in the morning.

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