The birds and the biz in Federal Way

Spokane is well known for its competitive nature. For years, the lilac city has jousted with Tacoma over claim to the title of Washington’s second-largest city. For a while, Tacoma had the lead and proudly proclaimed it, only to be surpassed again by Spokane — which somehow found a few more bodies. While no funny business has been proved, some suspected Spokaners of Chicago-style census tactics.

Spokane is well known for its competitive nature.

For years, the lilac city has jousted with Tacoma over claim to the title of Washington’s second-largest city. For a while, Tacoma had the lead and proudly proclaimed it, only to be surpassed again by Spokane — which somehow found a few more bodies. While no funny business has been proved, some suspected Spokaners of Chicago-style census tactics.

I used to dismiss this as the juvenile posturing of two cities that were, for goodness sakes, competing for the right to be second to Seattle. But then, I got Spokaned myself.

A few columns back I wrote about Federal Way Mayor Jack Dovey and his efforts to return a lost macaw to a neighbor. I thought it was a neat anecdote and nothing more.

Not on the other side of the state. Apparently, the story got our friends in the Inland Empire feeling a little inadequate about their politicians’ lack of kindness toward our feathered friends. Shortly after the column ran, an Associated Press story appeared touting Spokane Mayor Mary Verner for herding a Canada goose away from a busy street and to safety near the Spokane River.

Coincidence? I think not.

This is an obvious attempt to beat us at our bird-friendly game. But, it’s a weak play, at best.

First, the choice of birds is poor. Macaws are beautiful, intelligent birds. Canada geese are nothing but loud, flying poop machines. Doesn’t Spokane have any robins or woodpeckers?

Then, there’s technique. Mayor Verner used a towel and a cardboard box to shepherd the bird. No such crude tools for our mayor. He used his persuasive skills to talk the bird out of a tree and calm him down while the owner was found.

Advantage: Federal Way.

Of course, there are other ways to measure a city. One useful gauge of the evolution of a city is the type of businesses it supports. Two businesses recently on my radar screen are Gents and Rejuvenation Acupuncture.

Gents at the Dash Point Village used to be The Barber Shop, a much more traditional, well, barber shop. (In fact, I used to get my crewcuts there when I was a kindergartner). But David St. Johns, who bought the shop several years ago, has always had his sights set on providing something more to his clients. Earlier this summer, he took a big step in that direction with a remodel, the new name, and an expanded menu of services, including haircuts, old-fashioned shaves and shoeshines.

St. John’s business model is to offer Federal Way men Downtown Seattle hair and grooming care for Federal Way prices.

Are Federal Way’s men ready to be suave and debonair? Time will tell. But even I, a self-confessed fashion disaster, will continue to have David cut my hair.

The other business that garnered my attention is an acupuncture clinic run by Federal Way High School grad Jeffery Medina that was recently featured in a Mirror story about the Chinese medical art. After reading the story, I scheduled an appointment with Jeffrey to see what he could do for lingering back pain.

The first thing you will notice about Jeffrey is that he’s young — mid-20s with a boyish face. But he shows the skill and knowledge of a master of his discipline. I’ve been to a couple of acupuncturists over the decades, and Jeffrey’s as skilled as any I’ve seen. Just as important, the treatments have been effective at reducing my back pain. And yes, believe it or not, the needles themselves are painless. It may sound counterintuitive, but an acupuncture session is really quite relaxing.

Medina says acupuncture is still inching toward mainstream acceptance in Federal Way. However, with growing numbers of insurance plans covering acupuncture treatment, that is likely to increase. If I can do it, you can, too. Whether it’s saving birds or businesses pushing the envelope, Federal Way is a town with a little something for everyone.

Chris Carrel is a lifelong Federal Way resident and executive director of the Friends of the Hylebos, a nonprofit conservation organization working to preserve and restore Hylebos Creek and the West Hylebos Wetlands. Contact: chinook@hylebos.org or (253) 874-2005.

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