Thursday 30 April 2015

A Cleaning Firm That Springs To Mind & One That Will Eventually Fall

Ready to give the Burton Mail offices a brighter look are Sean Stronach, Matt Kyles, Ryan Slater and Carl Crockford.
The one cleaning firm that Springs to mind every time: Every business wants to stand out from the rest – and Burton-based Springs Commercial Cleaning Limited is no exception. This independent commercial window and solar panel cleaning company knows why it stands out in a competitive market. Company director Carl Crockford explains the big difference. "Professionalism," he says. "It's something that in our industry is all too rare."

A family business, Springs was established in 2007 with a very clear vision of how a commercial cleaning company could demonstrate professionalism across all aspects of the business. "It's not just about cleaning windows or solar panels properly," Carl said. "Promptness, reliability, courteous staff, timely and accurate administration, transparency when it comes to pricing… there are so many ways in which we strive to 'raise the bar' and excel."

Professionalism is an enduring business philosophy that has enabled Springs to build an enviable reputation and a growing client base across the Burton, Derby, Tamworth and Stoke areas. "We service all commercial sectors and have the skills, capabilities and commitment to offer genuine value," Carl says. "Springs takes pride in providing premium, yet affordable services with focus on customer care," said Carl. "Our team are all highly trained, we are fully insured to £10m and accountability is something we take very seriously."

All Springs staff are qualified, well-equipped and work in line with health and safety best practice, ensuring the wellbeing of all personnel and visitors on site. The company also provides detailed risk assessments and method statements for all clients. "I try to put myself in a client's shoes," said Carl. "If I were a facilities manager or the person within an organisation responsible for arranging commercial window, solar panel cleaning and the maintenance of guttering and fascias on site, I know what I'd expect from my supplier."

"Our standards may be high, but they're shared by those who appreciate a more professional approach and true value for money. "Choose Springs and you can look forward to tailored service contracts, quality monitoring, cleaning conducted out-of-hours to minimise disruption and a 100 per cent satisfaction guarantee on all work."

"The Pure Water system de-mineralises and de-ionises tap water to remove impurities and requires no chemicals or detergents," says Carl. "It's powerful, consistently removing stubborn residues and drying to leave a streak-free finish on glass and surfaces, whilst being gentle on the environment. The results are better and longer lasting."

While clean windows provide a positive first impression, keeping solar panels clean is important if optimal return on investment is to be realised. "Regular cleaning makes sound business sense because dirt can reduce photovoltaic efficiency," Carl said. "We've heard of reported energy yield increases of more than 30 per cent after cleaning, so an annual clean is a small price to pay in the long term." Springs has continued to invest in its staff and is the only local cleaning company competently trained in cleaning solar panels.

Seen & Heard: Window Washers Risking Death - April 30, 2015 • New York City  ••• This has to stop. (The reader who tweeted it said not to credit.)

Wednesday 29 April 2015

More Window Cleaning News

Window Cleaner, Mark and Tammy Vaz.
Heartache of six miscarriages spurs Mark on to 90 marathons in 90 days: Nobody can accuse Mark Vaz of being a man to shirk a challenge.  In July, a Penkridge window cleaner will begin the mammoth challenge of running 90 marathons in 90 consecutive days, a total of 2,340 miles. Or put it another way, more or less what the average motorist will drive in their car over that period. And that's not all. There will be no respite during the hours in between his marathon runs. The 31-year-old, will be carrying on with his window cleaning rounds throughout the gruelling three-month period. Although he will be allowing himself the luxury of travelling to jobs in his van.
Mark, who grew up on Shrewsbury's Telford Estate and attended the town's Belvedere School, has set himself a target of raising £90,000 for the Tommy's pregnancy charity and the Katharine House hospice in Stafford. And he is so committed that he will even carry on his challenge when he goes on holiday to Cornwall at the end of July.
And if that is not enough, he has thrown down the gauntlet to his sponsors, saying that he will also run from his home to London in three days at the end of his challenge in October if he manages to raise at least £30,000 for his chosen charities. The run will well and truly put Mark in the history books. At the moment, the world record for running the most marathons in consecutive days stands at 52, so if he is successfully at pulling off his feat he will annihilate it. But he is hardly lacking in confidence.

Click to enlarge. 90 marathons in 90 consecutive days, a total of 2,340 miles.
"I'm really looking forward to it," says Mark, who is a qualified fitness instructor. "The important thing is to have a good recovery rate. At the moment I have been out running every day. This week I will run 21 miles, 13 miles, eight miles and a 28-mile run, followed by a lot of core training after." As you might expect, there is a powerful driving force motivating Mark's efforts, and it is his wife Tammy who has endured six miscarriages and has found the support from the Tommy's charity a huge help.
She says: "I had my first miscarriage in January, 2007, at Walsall Manor Hospital, I lost a little boy called Harley, that was very traumatic, it was very emotional." Tammy's second miscarriage came in June 2011, just before the couple's wedding the following month. The couple suffered further heartache in 2012, when Tammy miscarried at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, and then again in 2013 and twice in 2014.
"Many of the hospital staff just didn't know what to say," says Tammy, who is an English teacher at South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy. Happily, Tammy is expecting once more, and is now receiving support from Tommy's which helps expectant mothers through the different stages of pregnancy. To support Mark see the website.

Made to measure! Weston Coyney window cleaner gunning for world record - while dressed as a tool.
Made to measure! Weston Coyney man gunning for world record - while dressed as a tool: A man will attempt to break a world record - while being dressed as a tool. Terry Bradbury, of Weston Coyney, who runs window cleaning firm Purecleanplus, will don a tape measure costume when he takes on the London Marathon on April 26. The father-of-one, aged 49, is looking to raise at least £500 for the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice at the world-renowned race. And Terry must complete the 26-mile run in under four hours to secure the unique Guinness world record.

Customers of mobile phone company Three say they are getting increasingly frustrated by having little or no signal in an area of Bury St Edmunds which has been plagued by ‘network problems’ since last year. Andy Conroy, one of a group of people affected on Bury’s Horringer Court estate, said he switched to Three last autumn because it claimed to have the ‘most reliable network’. As a self-employed window cleaner and charity administrator he relies on his mobile.
But he says he has been getting ‘almost no service’ at home unless he holds his phone close to his rear bedroom window, from which he can see the Three mobile phone mast on top of the water tower in West Road. “Currently, I am stuck at home with a broken leg in a plaster cast, so hopping up the stairs on crutches just to use the phone is a real nuisance and we seem to be getting nowhere,” he said.

3M Dealers Are Uneasy About the Manufacturer’s Latest Move: A deal to become an exclusive window film provider to a fast-growing, Franchise 500 company would normally be a good thing for a manufacturer. But the results of a recent move by 3M are yet to be seen.
3M and Window Genie, the Cincinnati-based professional window washing and tinting franchise, have signed a contract that will make 3M the exclusive window film provider for the franchise’s more than 200 locations. The move has some authorized 3M dealers nationwide worried about how it will affect their particular markets. “I’m really discouraged by what happened,” says Brent Williams, owner of Energy Control Consultants, a 3M-exclusive dealer. “In essence, 3M has set up another dealer. It’s a competing channel.”
Mark Keesling, 3M’s U.S. business manager for window films, denies such a claim. “We’re not setting them up as 3M authorized dealers,” he says. “This is not about adding more dealers and we will not include Window Genies on our dealer locator. They’re just simply able to offer their customers a specific line of film supplied by 3M.”
Keesling explains the move was made so that 3M could better penetrate the residential market, which Window Genie often services. “They have a well-established customer base … The vast majority of their business, from what Window Genie tells us, is residential,” he says, adding on that the market is so untapped, there’s room for both 3M dealers and Window Genie.
As for commercial jobs, Window Genie franchisees will be limited in their tinting capacities. “They get into lighter commercial installations [but] they’re limited to doing only small jobs. They can’t do anything above 500 square feet,” says Keesling, citing the contract between the organizations.
Window Genie has previously offered Eastman brands of window film, including Huper Optik, Suntek and Llumar. In an effort to streamline its product offerings, the franchisor worked with 3M to offer one of its product lines, says Ken Fisk, vice president of franchise development and support at Window Genie.
“We wanted to be able to have one film company to get our film from. We chose 3M because of the brand—they’re a national brand and so are we,” he says, making it clear they are targeting “mostly” the residential market. “We’re not interested in going to war with window film dealers [but instead] hope to work with 3M dealers on large commercial jobs.”
Fisk says he doesn’t see it getting controversial. “We talked to our franchise partners and told them this isn’t a bidding war. Are we ever going to compete with 3M dealers? I’m sure we will, but if it becomes a bad-mouthed trashing session, it’s not going to work well for [our franchisees].”
3M dealer voiced concerns—particularly with how the company made them aware of this initiative.
“The really infuriating thing about this was the whole deal was put together, executed and then the dealers were told, ‘This is going to happen.’ The management simply pulled the trigger,” one major 3M dealer, who asked to remain anonymous, told Window Film magazine. “What I see happening with 3M is they’re trying to disconnect themselves from the end-user.”
The film Window Genie will offer will be part of 3M’s Envision line and will be available in mid- to late-March. Though Window Genie won’t have “exclusive” access to this film line, Keesling says, “We currently have no plans to offer this residential product line to other groups like Window Genie.”

Men In Kilts, a Window Cleaning franchise, just opened on Boston’s North Shore marking the fifth franchise on the East Coast of the US and the eleventh franchise overall. That’s a lot of kilts! Men In Kilts, a franchised window and exterior cleaning company, stormed the North Shore of Boston on April 1, 2015. The franchises young and enthusiastic owner Krystina Creel is excited to begin her adventure as Men In Kilts newest franchisee and is out hitting the streets in her tartan trucks alongside her kilted crew!
Prior to Men In Kilts, Creel was a paralegal for ten years as well as a full-time student pursuing her master’s degree. So how did she end up owning a Men In Kilts franchise? When Creel attended a local event hosted by Boston’s Entrepreneur Organization (EO) she suddenly had a change of heart. Creel said, “I was so motivated and inspired after attending this event that I started looking into different franchises and ended up meeting Judy Briggs, the local president of EO and a Franchise Owner for Men In Kilts. Judy’s business experience and the positive things she had to say about Men In Kilts caught my attention. The thing that struck me the most was the company’s strong core values and memorable brand. I began looking into it and I spoke with several of their existing franchise owners. I instantly fell in love with the culture and the brand and I decided that I absolutely had to be a part of this!”

Our company, Condé Nast, bet crazy-big on this place, renting out twenty-three stories and moving sixteen magazines and a bunch of digital publications to this still-being-built 104-floor skyscraper. GQ's on the twenty-eighth floor, but even at that height, standing before these sweeping views of downtown, the Statue of Liberty, and the Hudson River (wait! There's a river in New York!?!), I feel like a mad industrialist in an Ayn Rand novel. Or like I'm finally on the cusp of living the Mad Men dream (which I'm pretty sure, technically, only lasted two episodes). So I say hell yeah to this building. One hundred and four floors of glass and steel and luxury fashion closets!
Now, it's not finished yet, and sure, there are some...issues. Did you know it holds the record for being the tallest building in the country that has never had its windows cleaned? See, back in November, two window washers had to be rescued when their rig slipped and swayed precariously right outside the sixty-eighth floor, and after that, no window washer would go near the damn place. By the time we moved in, it was kind of like living in my mom's car, the one that never, ever has windshield-wiper fluid in it. It's gotten to the point where we've started longing for the days of New York's squeegee men.
I'm sure they'll figure it out—maybe someone will invent a Windex drone or something. Meantime, it doesn't seem to matter. The building is suffused with light, almost blindingly so. When the winter sun hangs low toward dusk, the light pierces with a surprising violence, and all the editors here shamble over to pull the shades down, like stricken vampires. Fifteen minutes later, it passes, and we rush to get the shades back up, because the sunsets—well, I feel like I never saw a sunset here in New York City until now.

Willis Tower Up For Sale (CHICAGO) — The Willis Tower is perhaps the most recognized Chicago landmark and now the most expensive property ever up for sale here. While there is no “For Sale” sign in the window, management sources have confirmed the Willis Tower is on the market. Eastdil Secured is handling any potential deal. The reported asking price is $1.5 billion. 42 years old and still it is still a Chicago trophy tower, but the Willis, formerly Sears, Tower may change ownership once again.
“Given what’s happened with office building values over the last year or two…it’s a great time to be a seller,” said Crain’s Chicago Business senior reporter Alby Gallun. If it sells for that, it would be almost double the $840 million the current owners paid in 2004. Gallun said it would be by far the most expensive building sale in Chicago. “The record right now is $850 million for a building at 350 North LaSalle that sold about a year, year and a half ago,” Gallun said.
So what would that cool $1.5 get you? Well, the Willis Tower features four and a half million square feet. That’s more than a hundred football fields. There are 145,000 light fixtures. But don’t worry about washing the 16,000 windows, six robotic machines make those sparkle. There are 104 fast moving elevators and 25 miles of piping. Experts say the name of the tower could be renegotiated after a sale.

Mistakes That Could Tarnish Your Store Brand: Your front windows become so dirty no one can see inside the store. Glass facades are an effective way to draw shoppers into a store, but only if the windows are clean. If you operate a jewelry store or similar business that displays merchandise in the front window or relies on foot traffic, dirty windows may actually prevent shoppers from entering your store. Windows require a cleaning schedule similar to hard surfaces inside your building, so have a program and provider in place that can regularly clean and deep clean windows. If windows become dirty between cleanings either from a storm or another issue, the provider should be available to clean windows at a moment's notice so they always look their best.

Pictured from left to right: Window Genie Field Technician Adrian DeRosa, Webster Comfort Care Home Primary Nurse Mary Barnhart, and Window Genie Field Technician Chase Osborn.
Window Genie gives back, performs free window cleaning at Webster Comfort Care Home: Dale Campbell and his team at Window Genie of Rochester opened for business on March 31 and celebrated their grand opening with a free window cleaning The Webster Comfort Care Home, 700 Hold Road in Webster, NY. Window Genie is a national home cleaning service specializing in residential and light commercial window cleaning, window tinting, pressure washing, gutter cleaning and more.
Campbell met the Webster Comfort Care Home’s Executive Director, Janet Jones-Brower, at a Webster Chamber of Commerce Meeting. Campbell expressed an interest in community service as a way to meet fellow business owners and connect his team to members of the community. “Joining the Webster Chamber of Commerce has already provided me with invaluable connections. We’re so thankful to have met Janet and other business owners and community leaders who are responsible for making the greater Rochester communities great,” said Campbell. “The Webster Home depends on volunteers from the community who work hard to conduct the day-to-day operations, so being able to use my business to give back and help spruce up the facilities felt great.”
Window Genie plans to continue using their business for good. Campbell says, “I’d like to establish a routine of giving back at least once a month; we can’t think of a better way to showcase our services and put our training to good use.”

Shropshire pensioner ‘on the mend’ after ladder fall died in hospital: A Shropshire pensioner who fell from his ladder while cleaning windows died in hospital more than a month later – despite appearing to have been making a recovery. William John Hesbrook, known as John, died at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on December 20 last year from severe heart problems, with multiple injuries sustained in the November 3 fall ruled to be a contributory factor. An inquest at Wellington yesterday heard the 72-year-old father-of-two, from Newport, had seemed to be on the mend. It is believed Mr Hesbrook, who lived alone in Meadow View Road, had been cleaning the outside of his upstairs bedroom window and had fallen from the ladder. But the inquest heard that no one witnessed the accident, so the reason for the fall was not known.

A disabled man today told how he has been left virtually housebound after council staff took away his “damaged” wheelchair. David Garbett had visited Sunderland City Council’s headquarters to discuss an unrelated financial issue with adult services. However, the 47-year-old said that when he arrived for his appointment he was told that he would not be allowed to leave with his electric wheelchair, provided by the local authority, because it had been “damaged” in a bump with a shop door.
Now, the ex-Nissan worker faces a long wait for a replacement model after an apparent supply problem. “I didn’t even go there to discuss the wheelchair,” said David. “It was working fine. I was more than happy with it.” David said he has been left largely confined to his Carley Hill home after struggling to get around in his non-electric wheelchair and crutches.David said he has been left largely confined to his Carley Hill home after struggling to get around in his non-electric wheelchair and crutches.
Left disabled in a 26ft fall while working as a window cleaner eight years ago, he faces regular bouts of pain in his feet, which were crushed in the accident.

Detroit homeless: How many tear-jerker homeless signs have you seen? Some are earnest, “Will work for food.” “Mom willing to work for diapers.” Some are light-hearted. You might remember hearing about a man outside Red Wings and Tigers games with a sign that read, “No lie here. I need a beer.”
Then there’s the sign Abe Hagenston has set up on the north side of the Woodward overpass on the southeast corner of 8 Mile, touting a web site,Hagenston says he’s been homeless on and off for seven years. Some of that time he spent building web sites for other people to make money. The idea occurred to him to make a website to collect donations, and ask people for odd jobs along the lines of yard work, painting, window washing, etc… that he and other homeless can do. “I’ve got about 20 or 30 friends around here all homeless all various skills that would love to get some work … ”
He says spanging is a verb he picked up in another part of the country derived from the act of collecting spare change. Most days is doing that on the north side of the Woodward overpass, southeast corner of 8 Mile, but he hopes the website will help him gain employment and help others.
He encourages people to go to the website and request homeless for odd jobs as well as donate a penny. Hagenston wants to be able to make one homeless person per day, a millionaire.

Top 5 ways children die, get injured at home: Every day six children die from a cause at home and 10,000 go to the emergency room for an injury they got at home. Here are the leading dangers for children at home: Suffocation, Bathtub drowning, Fires/burns, Poisoning & Window and staircase falls. Every year 3,300 children are injured falling out of windows; 70 percent of parents say they don’t use window guards or stops.

Most Canadians toiling in the workforce now expect to work beyond age 65, according to a recent survey by a Canadian financial services firm. The survey, conducted by Sun Life Financial, polled 3,000 employed Canadians aged between 30 and 65. Three out of five respondents said they plan to work beyond Canada's standard age of retirement at 65.
Jerry Song, a financial adviser at Sun Life in Vancouver, told Xinhua on Wednesday the age at which Canadians expect to retire has been climbing because they are living longer, and many in the survey didn't expect their government or personal pensions and savings to cover their living costs in old age.
"The retirement age has increased every year. The youngest age at which Canadians expect to retire is 64. That happened in 2009. In 2014, the Canadians expected their retirement age to be 66," Song said.
Bob Beazer, a window washer, said he hoped his employers' savings plan would be enough to get him through his retired years, which are coming quickly. Canadians typically earn their highest income between 45 and 55 years old - important years for saving - but also a period that includes heavy expenses from mortgages, university-aged children and care for elderly parents.

Jeff Astle: facts about the West Bromwich Albion legend - When he retired he set up a window cleaning business. His slogan was 'Jeff never misses corners!'
He was the first British professional footballer confirmed to have died from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive, degenerative brain disease found in individuals (usually athletes) with a history of head injury, often as a result of multiple concussions.

From sunny Hawick, Ian McLean writes of a local window cleaner who's in the habit of referring to himself as 'A man of the cloth'.

A pair of bills that would mandate how businesses statewide provide sick leave to their workers are being considered in their respective House and Senate committees. But both bills are facing serious opposition from local business owners, who say they'd like the freedom to set their own sick leave policies. Dozens of people spent nearly three hours testifying before a joint committee during a public hearing Monday night.
Both SB-454 and HB-2005 would require employers to implement a sick time policy that would allow part-time and full-time employees to accrue at least 56 hours of paid sick leave each year.
Paid sick time would accrue at the rate of one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked for both part-time and full-time workers. The legislation follows President Obama's State of the Union speech in January, in which he called on Congress to "send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave."

Police Reports: A resident on Bald Eagle Drive called police when he spotted a figure shining a flashlight around a neighbor’s home after dark. Police contacted the headlamp-wearing man as he loaded equipment into a vehicle, and learned he was a professional window washer completing his detailed contract work at the house. The officers checked the residence and confirmed that its occupants would have a crystal clear view of the fairway in the morning.

All Neat in Black Stockings (Warner Archive Collection) - "Ginger" (Victor Henry), a horny as hell 20 year old London window cleaner, is on a mission to nail ever bird he sees...and then pass her off to his mate, Dwyer (Jack Shepherd), who occupies the equally filthy bed-sit next door.
Running along outside window ledges at a local hospital, before pouncing inside to ask a pretty Italian nurse, Babette (Jasmina Hamzavi), for a date, Ginger sees his old pal, "Old Gunge" (Terence de Marney), who may be in the hospital for some time, owing to a liver ailment. Pressing his house key on Ginger, Old Gunge asks Ginger to stop by his house and feed his animals. On his date with Babette, Ginger can't stop looking at all the girls, until he spots Jill (Susan George) and Carol (Vanessa Forsyth). Young, innocent-looking but sexy beyond belief in her black fishnet stockings, Jill immediately initiates an obsession with Ginger. Read more.

Tim Greschke of Rope Access Engineering in a Spiderman costume at Canberra Hospital.
Hospital heroes put a smile on children's faces: Children at the Canberra Hospital's women and children's ward were surprised to see a number of superheroes with sponges hanging outside their windows on Wednesday morning. Abseilers from a local window cleaning business shed their overalls for Spiderman, Batman, Buzz Lightyear and Ninja Turtle costumes to bring laughter and smiles to those fighting illness and injury.
James Howe, general manager of Canberra based Rope Access Engineering, said this was the first time his staff had dressed in costume while cleaning the windows of some of the city's tallest buildings. "We just wanted to cheer the kids up as many of them are having a tough time in hospital," he said. "The idea was just to put a smile on their faces, even if it was just for a day or a short moment."
Mr Howe said he became emotional when receiving feedback from some of the families of children being treated at the hospital. "A few parents came up afterwards and thanked us for deciding to do this. They said it put an unexpected smile on their kid's faces," he said. "It was pretty touching and really nice feeling for all involved."
Mr Howe said abseiling companies across the world had been working in costumes outside hospitals for years and there was no reason it could not happen regularly in Canberra. "We'll be here cleaning the hospital windows until early next week although we'll only be in costumes until tomorrow morning while we're outside the kid's windows," he said. Mr Howe said abseiling from the roof of the hospital was safer than many would think – even while in costume – and the superheroes had extensive training.

Window washers dressed as superheroes visit Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital: Louie Garces has been dangling from the city's tallest buildings for 25 years, but was getting everyone's attention on Monday. "I feel happy you know, I do it for the kids," he said. Garces and his crew put on capes, masks, and dressed up as super heroes as they scaled down the 8 stories of Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital.
It's a spring cleaning job they do every year, but saw their window of opportunity to do something good. Kids in the game room like Joey Acosta were in awe of their new friends on the other side of the glass.  "Hanging off outside, yea that is pretty inspiring," he said. Garces and his crew will wash the windows in costume for the next three days.

Cleaning franchises made a healthy showing among the annual ranking of 100 Top Global Franchises by Franchise Direct. Accounting for 10 percent of the top 100 franchises, cleaning franchises are the second-largest industry represented on the list. Cleaning based franchises are particularly attractive to entrepreneurs, as this industry has, historically, presented a lower barrier of entry. In most cases, franchisees and their employees only need cleaning supplies and transportation. In addition to traditional commercial clients, cleaning franchises are seeing an increase in residential customers. Homeowners are busier than ever and as the economy continues to improve, they are looking for ways to outsource chores to save precious free time.

When I come back home I am already planning for the next year and how we are going to get the funding for it," 41-year-old window cleaner Ian Bright tells me. While many will head for a relaxing beach holiday Ian takes his wife Karen and their two sons Jacob, nine, and Ethan, five, to the town of Korce in South Eastern Albania. There he will spend his time helping coach football to local children while Karen visits street kids, a special needs orphanage and a women's shelter. "I can't speak Albanian but football is universal," Ian, who lives in Yate and is a member of Christ the Rock Church, said. "It's a case of showing them what you want them to do and they pick it up very quickly."
He adds: "Karen finds what she does there very moving and rewarding. I have to admit I went one time and by the time I came back I was crying." The church's work is in support of Ian Loring and his wife Caralee who went there from Bristol in 1991 as part of a mission team working with Open Air Campaigners bringing supplies to impoverished and suffering people.

Flintshire County Council will invest £20m in council houses this year and will build new homes for the first time in decades: Council leader Aaron Shotton said: “We have been on a journey with our tenants. Not only do we have a much improved service but, for the first time in many years, we will again be building new council houses as part of our funding agreement with Welsh Government. “Despite all the doom and gloom of austerity in the public sector this is a welcome good news story for the people of Flintshire.”
Council rents will rise in line with Welsh Government policy in order to bring council and housing associations in line with each other across Wales. The plans also include introducing service charges to new council tenancies for services such as window cleaning, however the council say these will be “fair and affordable”. Cllr Alex Aldridge said that Flintshire’s achievements and commitment to improving housing stock should act as an “examplar for Wales”.

Terry Vassar, owner of Windows R Us in Brownsville, said it’s important for homeowners to check windows for broken seals, that could cause the insulation inside them to escape. Vassar said homeowners can tell if a window has good insulation by simply placing their hand on the inside pane, which should feel room temperature. Windows should also be checked for ice or condensation. “Sixty percent of heat loss is due to windows and doors,” explained Vassar. If a window needs replaced, Vassar said it’s important to look at the quality, manufcturer’s warranty and if it is energy star rated to help cut down on heating costs. While it may be too soon to plant flowers and water the lawn, Design and Architecture Magazine reported it’s not too early to get garden hoses, walkways, and adjacent landscaping areas ready.

Animal rights groups accuse government of betrayal after minister announces ban on animal testing of cleaning products but not on all ingredients: Michelle Thew, chief executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), said the government “promised a ban but today failed to deliver on that promise”.
Thew said: “This ‘ban’ will not include animal testing for [all] ingredients. After many years of campaigning on this issue securing strong public and political backing, we ask the government: what will now change? There are major loopholes in this announcement which will allow industry to continue the cruel use of animals in tests to produce a new brand of washing-up liquid or window cleaner. It is a wasted opportunity to make a real and effective difference for animals.”
The BUAV says the effects of animal testing on household products can be appalling, including vomiting, seizures, internal bleeding and organ damage, meaning that even when the test is not fatal, animals are routinely killed afterwards. Mimi Bekhechi, director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), said: “The government’s intention to ban the use of animals for testing finished household products is a baby step in the right direction, but far more needs to be done.

The Beast of Sheppey: The last 15 years have seen a number of reported sightings of big cats on the Isle of Sheppey. It has been said that this could be because a resident of the island one owned a big cat – it was a puma. On December 6 2011 a window cleaner in Leysdown spotted a five foot long black cat from a distance of just 15 feet away. The witness said that he could be certain of the lunchtime sighting as during the previous summer, he had seen a similar, but smaller, cat in Ashford. When enquiries were made at local properties in the area, the witness was shocked to find that a number of people had previous seen the large cat.

Wages rise for local helpers amid shortage: One helper, surnamed Hau, said she is now seeking HK$120 an hour ahead of the holiday. She said she has recently been paid HK$95 to HK$105 an hour, compared with HK$85 on ordinary days. Most of her work involves cleaning kitchens and windows. She expects to make HK$12,000 for the month before the Lunar New Year, compared to her usual take of HK$5,000 to HK$6,000 in an ordinary month. "The demand this month is big," the spokeswoman said. "But if employers pay such a high price, then the requirements will be very high too. It's definitely hard-earned money for helpers."
She said helpers have limited physical strength and may not be able to cope with eight to nine hours of continuous housework, so employing two helpers would be more efficient. A spokeswoman for the Hong Kong Domestic Workers General Union reminded employers and workers to be aware of safety procedures during cleaning and for bosses to purchase insurance for helpers. One-time insurance only costs HK$20.
"Do not stand on chairs to clean windows. If the windows are too high, people can use telescopic window cleaners," she said. There have been cases of people falling to their deaths while cleaning windows, including that of a 50-year-old male resident at Grand View Garden in Wong Tai Sin who died on December 20 last year.

Andy’s broken leg inspires quirky dance video in aid of charity: When a Bury St Edmunds window cleaner broke his leg it inspired him to make a quirky dance video in aid of a children’s home in the Philippines. Andy Conroy, 58, broke his leg after falling off a ladder in January and his predicament - ‘hopping around like a flamingo’ while in hospital - reminded him of Manfred Mann song Pretty Flamingo. He decided to create an innovative dance video to the tune in aid of the House of Joshua Children’s Home in Cagayan De Oro City which is run by his daughter Mary Conroy-Rendon.
In the video, Mr Conroy dons pink, sports a flamingo on his head and performs fun dance moves on one leg while on crutches. He is supported by the Horringer Court Community Church Youth Group as they dance in Horringer Court Middle School. Children from the home can also be seen in the video as well as Jasmine Wood, of Bury, who is volunteering there. Mr Conroy, a trustee of The Conroy Rendon Charitable Trust which supports the home, said: “We premiered it (on Sunday morning) at the church and it went down a storm. There’s quite a lot of people who watched it online and it seems to have been well received.”

Tributes to former window cleaner killed in Wigan Road accident: A pensioner was run over and killed as he crossed a busy road. Tributes have been paid to former window cleaner Joseph Alan Hurst, who was hit in Wigan Road on Wednesday evening. The 78-year-old — known to his friends as Alan — was also a regular at Farnworth and Kearsley Labour Club and had been a member there for the last 30 years.
In his 20s, Mr Hurst was also a keen amateur footballer, playing right back for Fowlers and Salts in Bolton Combination from 1957. PC Peter Cunningham, from GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This is a truly devastating time for Joseph’s family and we are supporting them as best we can with the help of specialist officers. “We are carrying out an investigation to establish the full facts and circumstances surrounding this collision last night and are keen to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident."
Mr Hurst was hit by a Skoda Fabia at about 7pm. The driver stopped at the scene. The pensioner was not married and had no children. A spokesman for the Farnworth and Kearsley Labour Club said: “Alan has been a long time member and came to the club twice a day, every day, catching two buses to the club and the same going home. He will be sadly missed.”

Northumberland Tourette's sufferer talks about life with the condition: March 2009 was a life changing month in many ways for former nightclub doorman Paul Stevenson. His best friend who had worked on the doors with him in Lancashire had taken his own life after struggling to cope with Parkinson’s. And it was at the funeral that Paul, 51, now living at Berwick, in Northumberland, began to suffer the symptoms of another disease - Tourette’s syndrome. He began making “little noises” and making involuntary shoulder movements. Before long, Paul had progressed to “full blown” shouting and swearing. Paul went for tests but with Tourette’s normally diagnosed at a young age and him being in his 40s, doctors initially suspected a brain tumour. It was not until he was watching a show on TV about the condition that he finally accepted he had Tourette’s.
Paul recalls his life being turned “upside down” and how he did not want to leave the house for fear of being ridiculed. Paul suffers from motor tics - involuntary movements, and vocal tics - involuntary sounds, as well as the swearing tic. The former has resulted in him dislocating his shoulder, having to get a brace on his leg to stop him ‘kicking out’ and regularly cutting his head. Paul, who has had several operations, needs a knee replacement but has been told this it not possible because of the motor tics. Yet the tics, he says, are the “tip of the iceberg.”
He suffers a number of comorbidities - additional disorders which co-occur with the Tourette’s - ADHD, OCD, oppositional defiant disorder, sensory processing disorder - the latter putting him on the autistic spectrum. Only 10 per cent of the UK’s 300,000 Tourette’s sufferers have the condition - which is genetic - to the extent Paul has. Yet there is no known cure. And no specific medication for Tourette’s, with Paul usually prescribed antipsychotics. He told how he has been assaulted because of his condition and how people have tried to film him and laughed at him. Paul also feels unable to work. He said: “There is not one bit of life that Tourette’s does not effect.”
Looking back, Paul believes his Tourette’s was present from a young age growing up in Lancashire.
What he now knows to be his ADHD resulted in him being deemed “lazy” at school - in the 1960s when such conditions had yet to be identified. Paul subsequently left without qualifications. He was employed as a gardener before working on the doors. Paul married Carol and they moved to Berwick 12 years ago to be near his parents, upon which he took up window cleaning.
After being diagnosed with Tourette’s, Carol, 44 who works in special educational needs at a local school, suggested her husband take up photography as a way of getting him out of the house and building his confidence. “I get a lot of pleasure from taking photographs. I can walk outside with a camera, it cuts the anxiety down.” Paul has hosted several exhibitions of his work in Berwick.

Softwash hard hit by 'lunatic' window shooters (New Zealand): A Hamilton business has been shot at in broad daylight, twice, leaving glass all over the floor and anger in the hearts of the employees. Softwash, an exterior cleaning business on Kahikatea Drive, has had what they believe to be pellets shot at their front windows on two separate occasions in the last three weeks. Softwash spokesperson Mike Marama said, the first time in the early afternoon on March 3, a female member of staff was in the office by herself when she heard a loud bang. "It came in just above my seat where I should have been sitting," he said. "There was glass all over my desk and on the floor."
The projectiles didn't shatter the two windows completely but still made a hole, one Marama describes as the size of a pellet. "I decided to call police, but then we found more bullet holes, just like the first [on Friday]." Marama said he had checked the building after the first incident so the newer holes are recent and the glass had been caught on the business' suspended ceiling. "I'd had a good look around and I believe it happened [on Thursday]. We would have noticed it before."
The incidences have just made Marama angry and concerned for the staff in the building. "We don't know who would want to do it, or why someone would want to do it. The fact that someone would do this with complete disregard for other's safety, I just don't understand. They could potentially cause serious harm." He called the offenders lunatics and said the business was considering installing CCTV cameras to prevent or catch the shooters. "I'm just angry this sort of behaviour actually happened in broad daylight. We'd rather not have that expense [of CCTV cameras] but we can't afford to have lunatics taking shots."
The police couldn't verify the weapon used as no pellets or projectiles had been found but said they were continuing their inquiries into the incidents. Marama would like people to speak up if they have experienced something similar and police said to ring 111 immediately if you are on site at the time of an incident.

Letchworth man threatens neighbour after music argument: A window cleaner from Letchworth has admitted threatening his neighbour after she called the police about his loud music. Kevin Warwick told neighbour Janine O’Brien she would need to ‘get out of Letchworth’ two weeks after she complained he played music so loudly the walls were shaking next door to her Ordelmere home. Ms O’Brien had complained about the noise in December but the 44-year-old made the threat two weeks later when the pair bumped into one another outside a chicken shop. At Stevenage Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, Warwick changed his plea to guilty and admitted saying: “You better get out of Letchworth – you know what happens to grasses.”
Prosecutor Victoria Forbes told the court that Ms O’Brien had heard Warwick threaten to burn her house down, a claim supported by her father and friend who were present. Defending, James Hennessey read out a statement made by Warwick which said he would not have threatened to burn his neighbour’s house down as he lives next door. He said: “I would not threaten to burn my own house down, but I do accept I said you better get out of Letchworth.” Warwick also said they were speaking across the road from each other during the argument, which was going backwards and forwards between the two of them. Magistrate Brian Deal sentenced Warwick to an 18-month community order, up to 30 sessions on a general offender behaviour programme, and 60 hours unpaid work, as well as a fine of £145. He was also handed an 18–month restraining order against Ms O’Brien, with the condition that he does not contact her or her father, and is not allowed to walk past her front door.

A woman has disturbed a burglar in her home: The 40-year-old challenged the stranger after he sneaked into her home in Felling, Gateshead, through an unlocked back door. But after he left she realised her mobile phone was missing. Police are now appealing for help to trace the man, who officers say may have been working as a window cleaner in the area a few years ago. He is described as a white man, around 40 years old, 5ft 2ins tall and of medium build, with a bald head. At the time of a burglary he was wearing silver rimmed glasses, and a green waxed jacket.
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “It is believed the man may have been working in the Felling area a couple of years ago as a window cleaner. Police are appealing for anyone who recognises this man by the description to contact officers. Officers are also reminding residents to make sure they keep their windows and doors locked to prevent sneak-in thefts.”

‘Vehicle of Interest’ Sought in Rocklin Burglary: Rocklin Police are looking for a truck believed to be involved in a late January home burglary. A home at Brookfield Circle near Sierra College Boulevard was broken into on Jan. 28. The blue, older-model truck had a roof rack with several ladders. Two men, described only as Hispanic, were inside. The burglary victim told police she had a very similar vehicle in the neighborhood before and believed it to be suspicious. Police are now circulating an image of the truck online, hoping witnesses can come forward. A man in the neighborhood says the man in the truck advertised himself as a window washer, according to investigators.

Karate Kid should be made to 'clean windows' after shop window rampage: A vandal who smashed three shop windows must pay for the damage but one of his victims who has yet to receive an apology said he should be made to clean windows instead. Kyle Thornelow, aged 20, of Shap Drive, Warndon, Worcester handed himself in after he recognised a photograph of himself pictured in the act on the Worcester News Facebook page. The still from the CCTV shows him kicking in one of the windows. Thornelow, who is unemployed, admitted three counts of criminal damage when he appeared before district judge Nigel Cadbury at Worcester Magistrates Court. He smashed three windows in Lowesmoor, Worcester, but said he could not remember breaking them.

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Window Cleaning News

Progress Cleaning Services won Company of the Year at the annual Cleaning Show in London: Hampshire window cleaners were gleaming with pride after scooping a top award. Progress Cleaning Services went up against more than 30 other window cleaning firms to be named Company of the Year 2015 at the annual Cleaning Show in London. The Hedge End company was set up in 1966 by George Robson and is now run by his sons Kevin and Ian. Kevin said: “We are absolutely delighted. I think our on-going commitment to health and safety contributed to our success in winning this title. “We are fortunate to have a great team supporting us, all of whom thoroughly deserve the recognition that this accolade brings.”

More maids, fewer falls: Three years ago, there was a spate of reports about maids falling to their deaths while cleaning windows in high-rise flats. Since then, the number of such incidents has fallen significantly. The improvement has come even as more maids are working here. A new law implemented by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in 2012 ensures that employers and maid agencies do their part in keeping maids safe when cleaning windows. That year, 10 maids fell to their deaths while cleaning windows.
The stricter rules imposed by MOM prevent employers from allowing their maids to clean windows unless two conditions are met. First, the employer or an adult representative of the employer must be present to supervise the maid. And window grilles have to be installed and locked while the windows are being cleaned. These rules apply to all homes, except for windows on the ground floor or along common corridors. Failure to comply constitutes a breach of the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations.
Employers who fail to comply may be prosecuted and permanently barred from hiring a maid. Statistics provided by MOM indicate that these measures have worked. In each of the next two years, one maid fell to her death while cleaning windows. Mr John Gee, 61, chair of the research sub-committee of Transient Workers Count Too, was glad fewer maids suffered fatal falls. "A reduction in deaths from falls of this order is very welcome. It shows what can be achieved by sound, well-publicised measures," he said."The rules were seen as fully justified by most Singaporeans, which aided their implementation."
Ms Anik Binti Sukigo Parto, 27, a maid from Indonesia, welcomed the additional safety enforcements. She said: "I feel safer because cleaning windows can be quite dangerous, especially if it's quite high." Ms Parto, who had worked as a maid in Saudi Arabia for four years before coming to Singapore about a year ago, was waiting to start a new employment contract. Some employers, however, prefer not to let their maids clean their windows.
Ms Nant Aye Aye Myint, 31, a maid from Myanmmar, said: "I used to work in a ninth-storey flat in Ang Mo Kio. But I didn't clean the windows because my employers were afraid I (might) fall."
First-time maids in Singapore have to go through a mandatory one-day Settling-In Programme before they begin work.

Christine Mendoza Inspires the Widder Curry to Ask “Need your Windows Washed?” or “Been to the Circus Lately?”
Window-Washer at OB Pier Cafe Loves Her New Job: Christine Mendoza Inspires the Widder Curry to Ask “Need your Windows Washed?” or “Been to the Circus Lately?” Hanging over the window sill washing the windows of the “Ocean Beach Pier Café” without a safety net, a harness, or a rope, but wearing the biggest smile you can imagine. Meet Christine Mendoza, otherwise known as “Piper”.  A resident of the Ocean Beach area for many years, but only 5 days on the job at the Café.
When I asked her what she did before accepting this job, she said that she had worked in a beauty supply shop but it just wasn’t something she liked.  She loves her new job; loves the view; loves the idea of looking out over her perch and seeing whales, dolphins, birds, etc. She said working where she is now is interacting with nature – a new adventure.
A native of Chula Vista, she was moved to Escondido for six years until she went to live in a variety of foster care group homes.  She said that she likes people; enjoys being with them, and has many, many “families.” She went to work at the Café because she had heard that the owner is a “spiritual” man and she is on a “quest to find her own spiritualism.”  She thought that maybe he could help her find her own niche in her personal life.

Transflex staff's gift to boss to celebrate company's birthday - a squeegee, ladders and bucket! House husband Peter grew bored of housework - including washing windows - so he started a £10m turnover business that now employs 27 people. A window cleaner’s bucket, step ladders and squeegee were the anniversary gifts for van hire boss Peter Abdale. Three years after he established Transflex Vehicle Rental, his staff presented him with the off-beat presents - as a thank you for their jobs.
Peter, 66, retired as the managing director of Transmore Van Hire in 2010 and became a house-husband. But two years of daily routine – including cleaning windows – drove him mad. He put a business team and investors together and formed Transflex in Stockton. Three years later, he employs 27 people including two apprentices in liaison with the North East Chamber of Commerce and has a turnover of £10m. Today Peter took delivery of the company’s 2,000th vehicle. He started with one Ford Transit Van. He said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the gifts, if I’d actually enjoyed housework we wouldn’t be in business today.”

Vermont innovator designs his 'ultimate one ski' - At 24 years old, Cyrus Schenck is a college dropout and the founder of a ski company — Renoun — that won a coveted gold prize at an international trade show in Munich, Germany, and may be on the cusp of taking the ski industry by storm. Or not. It took two years of handwork at Clarkson to finally make it happen, Schenck said, financed by a window-washing business he had started in Burlington that still exists, and has about 200 clients around the state.
Tall and lanky, with a quick smile and rapid fire speech that sometimes buries words in an avalanche of unintelligible syllables, Schenck followed an obsession at Clarkson University that took him out of the classroom and into a workshop to build a ski using so-called non-Newtonian material. Schenck was first exposed to non-Newtonian material in a classroom at Clarkson, where he was majoring in aeronautical engineering. He found himself captivated by the properties being described on the screen in class. Non-Newtonian material just didn't act like anything else.
Renoun skis, which incorporate a non-Newtonian material into its design. It means the skis instantly change their characteristics to suit conditions, whatever they might be, according to Schenck, whose imagination was fired by that classroom presentation at Clarkson. "I saw a ski that would be the first in the world to change its performance characteristics based on what you're skiing and how you're skiing it, not based on how you turn the screw on something or what kind of ski you bought," he said. "The closest anyone has ever come to the ultimate one ski." "The faster and harder you ski, it gets more solid, more rigid, and so as it gets more rigid and solid, that in a ski exudes dampening characteristics, as if the ski is stiffer," he said. "The ski dampens as if somebody put a sheet of metal on top of it."

Mike Akers' pastime sounds like a punch line: The South Salem resident is an under-water window washer. No joke. About every three weeks, he leads a crew of other volunteer divers at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. And if you think cleaning out the 5-gallon tank is a chore, consider this:
One of the regular tasks is to use specially designed pads to clean algae from the 200 feet of clear, about 3-inch-thick acrylic tunnels through which visitors walk as they watch fish and other critters swim by. "Probably one of my favorite things is the interaction with the animals because it dispels a lot of myths," the 62-year-old retiree said about volunteering.
"People say, 'You get in the shark tank?' We go 'Yes.' "They say, 'Where do they put the sharks when you're in there?' Well, they're still in there," Akers said with a chuckle. "Everybody gravitates toward the big animals," he added. "The broad-nosed seven-gill sharks are the large ones in there, and the biggest one, she's over 8 feet now. She's a big girl. "We do a lot of what's called targeted feeding to some of the more timid animals," Akers said. "When they do the normal feeding, they broadcast it, and obviously, the more aggressive fish get the most food.

Window cleaners Michael France and Lee Abbott, who helped arrest an offender.
Police officers and members of the public have been honoured for their bravery. On December 12 last year Lee Abbott and Michael France were working in Ramsey as window cleaners when they noticed a man acting in a strange manner and suspected – correctly – that he was entering unoccupied properties and stealing parcels.
They confronted the man, who became aggressive, so much so that they wrestled him to the ground and held him there until the police arrived. It was subsequently discovered that the man, a prolific offender, had been stealing Christmas parcels that had been left in the communal areas of flats by delivery agents. For their quick thinking and for helping in the arrest of the man both Mr Abbott and Mr France were formally commended by the Chief Constable.

Corrupt ex-cop Mark Turner jailed over plan to flood Birmingham with cocaine: Former constable Mark Turner (pictured), 31, was jailed for eight years after he was caught with a kilogram of high-purity cocaine in his car. The shamed ex-officer was previously jailed in 2009 for misconduct in a public office after he passed sensitive information onto criminal associates. Following his arrest on July 18 last year, cops found four slabs of the Class A drug in the Audi he was driving – worth an estimated £178,000. He had collected the drug on the carpark of a Homebase store in Minworth from window cleaner Dale Catley, 35. When Catley was pulled over he was found to be in possession of over two kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of £412,000. Bags containing £81,000 were also found.

Thomas Sanderson is promoting its conservatory valet service with a light-hearted TV campaign from The Market Creative. The 30-second spot launches today and runs for four weeks on home interest satellite channels. The “Difference is Clear” concept has been applied across all channels including direct marketing mailers, press and radio ads with a month-long campaign on Classic FM.
Sue Benson, MD at the Manchester-based agency, said: “We tell the Thomas Sanderson story from specialist expertise to amazing ongoing results with a warm-hearted hint of humour to dramatise the difference between the professionals doing the job, and the non-professional – be that the customer, window cleaner, or anyone with a brush and hosepipe. “It’s intended to appeal to house proud, discerning conservatory owners and was inspired by the huge effort involved in cleaning every inaccessible inch of their conservatory that the valeting team undertakes.”
Natalie Thomas, marketing director at Thomas Sanderson, added: “The Difference is Clear helps us to communicate the meticulous effort our technicians employ to valet a conservatory, from their expert knowledge to specialist materials and equipment such as self-cleaning, eco-friendly products. It’s a new approach for the sector and we love the light-heartedness that helps bring the message home to people who perhaps wouldn’t see the difference that professionals can make.”
The TV campaign was written by Matt Baker and art directed by Matt Haigh, both at The Market Creative. It was directed by Ben Tonge through Chief Productions. The Market Creative, who won the work in a two-way pitch at the start of the year, first worked with Thomas Sanderson three years ago, producing idents for the company’s first TV sponsorship deal.

Dementia support centre opens in Lerwick: MSP Tavish Scott said the opening of the centre was a “fantastic occasion”, and he expressed his gratitude to the “big commitment” made both nationally and locally to making sure Shetland had the resources and support needed.
He said: “Dementia affects many people and families across Shetland. It is a great challenge to both those people affected and loved ones. The new resource centre is a welcome and necessary service and I thank all those who have made this possible. I am sure that many islanders will use the advice and help they can now access in Burgh Road.”
Ms Williamson illustrated this support by saying the window cleaner had pledged to work free of charge at the new centre, which has many dementia-friendly features and is designed to offer practical examples of ideas to maintain independent living.

Is this Jack Russell the fittest dog in the UK? A Jack Russell from Burnley is through to the national final of a competition to find the fittest dog in the UK. Michael will compete in the national final of the competition, run by Butcher’s Pet Care, after being crowned the winner in the small dog category for the North West.  He will now go nose-to-nose with 10 other finalists and needs Lancashire Telegraph readers to vote for him to be named the national category winner. Michael’s owner, Dave O’Donnell, said: “I’m really excited we have made it through to the finals of this competition. “I think Michael deserves to win as he can run forever.
“I work as a window cleaner and he comes with me on the job daily, even though he just wants to play with my customers. “He’s also a right little poser in front of the ladies. “We would like people from the region to show their support and vote for Michael now.” The Fittest Dog in the UK competition is a nationwide search to find and recognise the nation’s happy and healthy hounds which are full of life and have bags of personality.

Bid to help Jens Wair after head injury sustained in Colchester:  Friends of an attack victim who has woken from a coma and is breathing on his own have launched an appeal to get him back on his feet financially. Jens Wair, of Colchester, suffered a bleed on the brain after he was knocked unconscious during an incident in St John’s Street, Colchester.
Medics initially feared the self-employed window cleaner could have longterm brain damage, but he was brought out of the induced coma last week and spoke to friends and family. The full extent of his injuries are not known. A group has been set up on website GoFundMe called Get Jens Back on His Feet.
A spokesman said: “He is a self-employed window cleaner, so obviously won’t be able to work for some time and won’t be able to earn money. “So we want to do as much as we can to help him on his road to recovery. “He is our friend and we miss him dearly.” The group has initially set a £1,000 target. The friend added: “He’s started to wake from his coma now, and the prognosis looks better than expected, but there’s a long road ahead. “Here’s our chance to make that journey a little less arduous for Jens. “If you know Jens, you know he’d do it for you, and if you don’t, trust me, there’s no nicer guy on Earth and, of all the people, he deserves our help the most.”
Jens, who played cricket for Eight Ash Green and football for New Field FC, was celebrating his 30th birthday when he was knocked unconscious outside the Dirty Penguin bar, on April 11 at 2.40am.

Chris Evans and Chris Pratt become real-life superheroes during surprise visit to children's hospital.
Kids at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh received a sweet superhero surprise on Friday. Rappelling down their windows were Spider-Man, Batman, Captain America and Superman. Or rather, window washers dressed as the Marvel and D.C. comics superheroes. "Saying hello to Spider-Man! #childrenspgh," read a tweet posted on the medical center's Twitter page, alongside a photo of his window washer doppelganger hanging from a harness outside and looking in at a little boy peering right back at him, hands against the glass. Other window-washers have dressed up like superheroes at the same medical center as well as at other children's hospitals over the past few years.

For several hospital patients at Seattle Children's Hospital, Saturday wasn't just any other day. Instead, it was a star-studded affair as two Hollywood A-listers entered the premises to bring some much deserved joy to patients in need. Almost one month after Chris Pratt made good on his Super Bowl bet against Chris Evans to dress up as Star-Lord, it was now Captain America's job to fulfill his end of the bargain.
"It makes me feel great," window washer Edward Hetrick, who dressed up as Superman and had also taken part in a Superhero Day at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in 2014, 2013 and 2012, told WPXI-TV on Friday. "There's a lot of kids in here that are going through problems or just some that are coming to get checkups," he added. "So it's making their day, so maybe when they go back into the room, they're not thinking about getting checked out by the doctor, they're still thinikng about us outside and having a great day. I am happy to do that. That makes me feel good too, as a person."

Patient Adam Frenchman Englander with a window washer dressed as a Ninja Turtle.
Window Washers Dress as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Surprise Patients at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: Cowabunga! Patients at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia had some surprise visitors climbing down the windows of the building on Thursday morning. Window washers dressed up as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to surprise about 60 of the hospital's patients, and also performed a short skit outside the window. The event is part of the hospital's effort to make the patients' stay more exciting and engaging, rather than frightening, says Caitlin Novelli, a child life specialist at the hospital.
"We want to let them feel special within the hospital walls, so this is one of the ways in which we've really been able to bring a sense of normalcy and excitement into the hospital," she says. "They had just sheer joy and big smiles on their faces." The washers, from Jenkintown Building Services, have been dressing up and surprising the children for about four years, says Marty Tuzman, owner and CEO of the company.
In the past, members of the crew have dressed up as Spiderman and Sesame Street characters.  "The guys just get totally into it," he says. "It's such an amazing space to be in. There's so much indulgence with the kids." Tuzman says it takes the right kind of guy to perform and dress up outside the windows. "You need a little bit of a ham," he jokes. "Coming down every floor, they just get more and more animated and excited and more engaged with the kids and with each other."
Adam Frenchman Englander, 6, of Villanova, Pennsylvania, who has been in the hospital for three weeks with pancreatitis, was one patient who got to witness the excitement in between procedures. His mother, Jill, says it was a really special moment for her son after a rough time in the hospital. "The days in the hospital are really long, so it was really fantastic to have something to take your mind off it," she says. "To see excitement of a six year old and watch him light up was priceless."
Jill says the event was no more than a half hour, but the excitement of it will get him through the next couple days. "We took a million pictures and he looks back at the pictures and for him it's really exciting because not only did he have this experience, he can go back to school and show his friends what he did and who he met," she says. "He doesn't have to feel like he sat in bed for three weeks while the kids at school did a bunch of fun things."

UCSF Children’s Hospital Patients Witness Superheroes Scaling Hospital Walls.
SAN FRANCISCO – Some children fighting the good fight at the University of California San Francisco’s Benioff Children’s Hospital got some backup Wednesday morning. A group of caped crusaders appeared outside hospital rooms in hot pursuit of grime. The team of window washers dressed as Superman, Iron Man and Robin. “Too bad my 3 week old was finally released yesterday and not today! This is fantastic though. Honestly the best hospital hands down,” CBS SF reader Kelsey Rodriguez posted to Facebook. “Made my day,” said Victor Guerra. The event was part of a national trend designed to brighten the treatment experience for young patients.

Superhero Day at children’s hospital: Patient’s at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center will be getting a super surprise today.  In an effort to recognize National Superhero Day which is April 28th and how super the patients are, some superheros will be visiting the hospital today.
Patients, families and staff will get to see and meet Spiderman, Batman and Superman. They will be dropping in as right outside patients windows. From 1pm to 3pm costumed window washers will scale the outside of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  At the same time other caped crusaders will be visiting patients rooms.
The day will be filled with activities including life-sized LEGO superhero models and mini LEGO activities.  There will be a superhero obstacle course and even a making of a superhero themed music video. Batman will even bring his Batmobile. The hospital says they want to make sure that patients know at the end of the day, they are the ones that are superheros.

Makers of fake Spider-Man Avengers: Age of Ultron end-credit scene reveal how it was done - Remember that fake Spider-Man end credit-scene that showed Spider-Man interrupting a window washer to tell him that he had missed a spot with the Avengers tower in the background? Remember how we said it was fake straight away and how Joss Whedon confirmed it was a fake? Well apparently some people still weren’t convinced that this wasn’t the real deal. So take a look at the video which shows how the makers of this Spidey end-credit scene and also a teaser shot of Batman reportedly from Dawn of Justice were made!

Local Army veteran opens window-cleaning business in Redmond: Local Army veteran Ben Bare is the owner of Window Genie's newest location in Redmond. Window Genie is a national home services franchise that specializes in window cleaning, window tinting, pressure washing, gutter cleaning and more. Before joining the Window Genie team, Bare spent eight years as an Army ranger, earning the rank of staff sergeant during his service that included nine combat tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan. During his transition out of the Army, Bare explored his options in franchising. “I knew I wanted to be my own boss; business ownership always interested me,” Bare said. “My fiancé and I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest while I was stationed here, so we knew greater Seattle was the community we’d want to settle in and build the business and our future.”
Working with Jim Frank, franchise coach with The Entrepreneur’s Source, Bare was able to narrow his search down based on his goals, interests, strengths and weaknesses. “What drew me to Window Genie was the lifestyle aspect,” said Bare. “A mobile service business means I can operate without the burden of a storefront and my schedule is flexible; I’ll never have to send my crew out for emergency window cleanings in the middle of the night or a gutter cleaning on Christmas.” Bare said what excites him most about his new venture is the opportunity to provide jobs and create a team.
He said, “As staff sergeant, I had 10 people working under me and it became a family. That’s the kind of environment I’d like to build again, a team my community can depend on. Our business will grow and thrive through the relationships we build with the customer base.”

Read About the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower - Twice!  Title: Tricky Vic. Author: Greg Pizzoli. What this book is about: This book is about Tricky Vic (not his given name), a real life con man, who makes those guys in Oceans Eleven look like amateurs. Turns out he was an international thief who tricked people in buying money making machines, counterfeit bills and even sold the eiffel tower - more than once! Of course he made brilliant get aways, shimming down a bedsheet to break out of prison while pretending to be a window washer.
Why I love this book:  Who wouldn’t love a book where the deception is on, and it isn’t fiction but a true account of an artist - con artist that is. Even the artwork is deceptively entertaining. Using mixed media, Pizzoli has created a story that flows effortlessly. The simplicity of the illustrations are striking and the flow of the story keeps the reader entertained. While we see the faces of all the people he encounters, Tricky Vic’s face remains simply a thumbprint. Clever stuff. Creating it as a picture book means the story is full of facts, but never bogged down as we are charmed along with the marks in the story.

New report shares details about the Global janitorial services market - size, share, segments analysis and outlook to 2020: Janitorial services include both indoor and outdoor cleaning services, which include cleaning, trash pickup, floor polishing, and window washing. The global janitorial services market is primarily segmented into two categories: residential and commercial. The residential market consists of maid services, window, carpet, window and other services.
The commercial cleaning segment primarily focuses on window cleaning, vacuuming, floor care, and related services. Among the two segments, the commercial segment accounts for a relatively larger share of the janitorial services market. Janitorial service is a highly labor intensive market and growth of the market largely depends on growth of the real estate market. Due to its dependence on the real estate market, the janitorial services market suffered a downturn during the economic recession post-2008. The market also suffered a decline due to collapse of various mortgage obligations.

A rescue deal has saved 117 jobs at a Darlington-headquartered commercial cleaning company, which has previously secured a £250,000 investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund, after it entered administration. Ashleigh William Fletcher and John Russell from The P&A Partnership were appointed joint administrators of MJF Cleaning Services Ltd on 2 April 2015.
A sale of the company's business and assets by way of a going concern was completed on the same day. All 117 of the MJF's employees were TUPE transferred across to the unnamed purchaser. A statement from P&A said: "We are extremely pleased that we managed to save the business along with the jobs of all 117 employees."
MJF was originally set up in 2006 as a domestic window cleaning business by managing director Martin Ferguson, but widened its service offering as new opportunities arose. The company, which also has an office in Leeds, secured the £250,000 cash injection in April 2013 which was set to be used for development plans including adding £1m to its turnover "every year for the next five years".
The following month, the company outlined plans to create about 80 new positions following a range of contract wins including with Shepherd Construction at the New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaRec) in Blyth. The company has also provided an industrial high-level clean at St George's Park in Burton-upon-Trent, the home of the National Football Centre with more than 330 acres of training facilities, football pitches and five-star hotel accommodation. Other companies with which it secured contracts include BAE Systems, Rockliffe Hall, the Esh Group, JD Wetherspoon, Cleveland Cable and Tolent Construction.

A former mayor of Bourne will fight three elections on May 7. Lincolnshire Independents candidate Helen Powell is contesting the parliamentary seat in Lincoln, the Bourne West ward on South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) and a seat on Bourne Town Council. Helen, who has two daughters and a grandson, has already attended her first hustings in Lincoln organised by the Federation of Small Businesses. She said: “I really enjoyed it – I was able to answer all of the questions.” Helen, who is also a serving county councillor, says the Lincolnshire Independents have all of the strength of a group but they are truly independent. On election night, she intends to go first to the count in Lincoln and then head to South Kesteven. Helen has had a busy and varied working life. She’s a trained dress designer, has worked in retail and merchandising, ran a soft toy business, a dress designing business, and a Post Office – and still has a window cleaning business.

Gardaí appeal for information on cyclist who shot dead window cleaner on his way to work: John O’regan was shot dead while cycling to work one April morning last year. The 48-year-old window cleaner was shot up to six times after he was approached by an unknown man who was cycling a push bike and wearing a high-vis jacket. It happened at Gateway Avenue, Ballymun at around 8:30am on April 15.
Crimestoppers has today launched an appeal for information in relation to the murder. The offender fled the scene on his bike and travelled across Ballymun Road in the direction of Collins Avenue. There was very heavy traffic during this period and a number of witnesses saw the offender as he was making his escape from the crime scene. Detective Inspector Gus Keane said: “We are anxious to speak to anyone who has information in relation to the murder of John O’Regan.

The Assembly yesterday called on Justice Minister David Ford to compensate a former UDR man who says his reputation was destroyed by police accusations that he was a loyalist killer. Colin Worton was held on remand for 30 months for the murder of Adrian Carroll in Armagh in 1983 – part of the so-called UDR Four case.
He was acquitted when it came to trial. However, the self-employed window cleaner lost his job with the Army afterwards and says the damage to his reputation has left him unemployable ever since. Yesterday the Assembly backed a motion 54 to 27 calling on Mr Ford to compensate him. Mr Worton failed to win compensation through the courts in 2010. Yesterday Mr Ford said that the justice system worked entirely properly for Mr Worton and that he was acquitted.
“He is innocent in the eyes of the law, but being innocent in the eyes of the law is not the test that applies for compensation in this jurisdiction or elsewhere in the UK,” he said. Mr Worton said that the DUP, UUP and SDLP all backed the motion but that Sinn Fein opposed it and Alliance MLAs abstained. DUP MLA Arlene Foster, who moved the motion with colleague William Irwin, said someone should have been present with Mr Worton when he was being interviewed by police. This led to a serious default or exceptional circumstance which warrants compensation, she said.

Colourful character is 'gnome' - but not forgotten: Tributes have been paid to Ron The Gnome – a well-loved gnome collector in Lincolnshire. Ron Broomfield sadly died at the age of 80 at the weekend. The eccentric character gained national media attention for his love of gnomes and had a collection of more than 1,800 which he kept at his home. And the collector will be cremated in his popular gnome outfit, which he was often seen wearing out and about in his home town of Alford, near Louth. Ron's family have decided to auction off some of the gnomes in aid of his favourite causes.
The retired window cleaner raised thousands of pounds for charities, including the NSPCC, during his life. Ron's death and his decision to be cremated in his gnome outfit has sparked much interest from national media. Ron's niece Patricia Hammond told the BBC how he had started collecting gnomes after a divorce. She said: "He was very sad, obviously. "He saw a gnome in a shop and thought, 'Oh, he looks happy' so he bought one. "Then he bought two, then three, and now he's got a lot – 1,800."
Ron's love of gnomes became the feature of a Channel 5 programme, Excessive & Compulsive Collectors, which aired two years ago. Ron also starred on ITV's May The Best House Win. Ron converted his home in Alford, which he renamed Gnome Cottage, into a shrine that members of the public were able to visit.

A thief with a bird tattoo snatched a handbag from a woman as she sat in her car parked in a Grimsby street. The 49-year-old woman from Cleethorpes had earlier challenged the man when he claimed to be a window cleaner and demanded payment at an address in Hainton Avenue. Humberside Police have appealed for information from eyewitnesses who saw the man run off after he wrenched the handbag from the woman. She suffered a shoulder injury in the struggle to keep hold of the bag. The woman, who has not been named, was sitting in her parked car in Hainton Avenue in Grimsby at 1.10pm on Friday. The victim had earlier challenged the suspect after seeing him in the garden of an address she was visiting and asked what he wanted. The man said he was cleaning windows and asked for payment. He then leaned into her open car window, grabbed the black leather and lace bag and ran off. 

'Likeable' burglar who pretended to be window cleaner before stealing cash jailed: A “likeable” burglar who charmed his victims into believing he was a window cleaner before stealing money from them has been jailed. Levi Bradbury, of Chilton Grove, Southwark, was found guilty of a string of burglaries, frauds and thefts which took place between May 2013 and September 2014. The 31-year-old would visit blocks of flats in Lewisham, Southwark, Hackney and Tower Hamlets posing as a window cleaner.
After convincing residents he was a window cleaner he would stroll into each property and check the windows were closed, claiming it was necessary before cleaning could commence. The fraudster would tell victims he needed the cash up front, usually £15 to £25 a time, and would walk off telling them he was going to get their change. But Bradbury would not return and the windows were never cleaned.
He stole cash and a mobile phone from one of the victims, which was located under a tree a short distance from the flat using the Find My Phone app. Sometimes he would pretend he was part of a larger group of window cleaners working on behalf of their block’s management team – despite having no cleaning materials with him.
He would occasionally walk with residents to a cash point so they could withdraw money to pay him, but did not return home with them. During three incidents he tricked victims out of hundreds of pounds after persuading vulnerable people to hand over their bank cards. The victims gave Bradbury their PIN numbers and trusted him to return with the cash, but instead he withdrew large sums of cash of up to £300. He returned the card to only one of the victims.
Bradbury was found guilty of six counts of burglary, three counts of fraud and four counts of theft during a heading at Snarebrook Crown Court. He was jailed for two years by a sentencing judge at the same court on March 31. Detective Sergeant Kelly George said: "Bradbury is a likeable, chatty, charming man who used his friendly personality to gain the trust of his victims. "I would like to remind the public that they should not invite anyone into their home unless they have the correct identification on them and do not hand over your bank cards or PIN numbers to anyone."

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