Lice Knowing You. No, that’s not a typo. It’s Nancy Gordon’s new lice-removal salon on Mercer Island.
After running a mobile business for three years, “I decided to go to the salon model for a variety of reasons,” she says.
Customers asked for it, she can work on more than one client at a time, and she has a place where people can buy products.
Personally, my children escaped the plague of those blood-sucking human parasites (a growing problem worldwide, by the way), but I learned a lot talking to Nancy, who uses only natural products. In fact, the search for pesticide-free treatments led her into this business. Many years ago, when her daughter Emily, now 11, caught lice at school, she was reluctant to use pesticide treatments that might harm her son Josh, 9, who is autistic. She also learned that lice have become resistant to most pesticide products and that some of these treatments contain more pesticide than “a can of Raid,” she says.
More problems occur when directions aren’t followed or treatments aren’t used for long enough. Nancy and her staff provide the most important part of lice removal, also the one most parents fall down on: Combing. She and her staff, all certified through the Shepherd Institute in Florida, use a strand-by-strand removal method, making them “the only trained and certified head lice removal experts in the state of Washington.”
This isn’t the first business Nancy and her husband Matt have started. Also propelled by Josh’s needs they founded the Academy for Precision Learning, a 19-student school that occupies two classrooms in the University Heights building in Seattle’s University District where typically and atypically developing kids (as they say in the education world) learn side by side.
The school is expanding, adding middle school grades one at a time, and a new principal, Jennifer Annable, coming over from the University of Washington’s EEU program in July.
Originally from Denver and trained as an attorney, Nancy moved here in 1999 from San Francisco where she had worked for the Anti-Defamation League. The family belongs to Temple De Hirsch Sinai.
In addition to the Mercer Island salon, a new one opens May 1 in Federal Way. For appointments call 206-910-3615 and there’s more information (including the “facts of lice”) at www.liceknowingyou.com.
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“I actually came out here to do a 6-week consulting job and never left,” says Josh Friedes of his arrival in Seattle in 2005. The newly appointed director of Equal Rights Washington is a long-time LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) rights activist who managed last year’s Approve 71 campaign to keep our state’s domestic partnership law (www.equalrightswashington.org).
As a volunteer, Josh spent the “better part of [a] decade fighting for marriage equality in Massachusetts.” Eventually he left a job with AARP to become a senior staff member of the Freedom to Marry Coalition in that state.
The Jewish community “has always been [one of] our strongest supporters,” Josh observes, adding that polls show that Jews are very supportive of marriage equality.
“The Jewish community is…wonderful in respect to LGBT issues,” he adds. “The [Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle] has been wonderful in lobbying, Jewish Family Service is phenomenal, the clergy are great.”
Raised in East Brunswick, N.J., in a “fairly strict kosher home,” Josh was always active in Jewish life. At the University of Rochester (18 percent Jewish) he served as Hillel president, worked on the Jewish paper and studied abroad at the University of Tel Aviv.
“I really grappled as I came out…with my religious identity,” he explains, during a time when the Conservative movement was also struggling with attitudes toward homosexuality. “I realized I could not feel comfortable in an institution that wouldn’t feel comfortable with me.”
He started attending Reform services and is now an active member of Kol HaNeshemah in West Seattle. But he notes that the Conservative movement “has evolved… I thought they did a wonderful job when they decided to ordain gay and lesbian rabbis” and host events like Pride Shabbat.
His grandmother was a big influence on him and remains an influence in his work. A survivor of pogroms and blood libels, she taught him that anti-Semitism was based in fear. Anti-homosexual sentiment is also “based on fear,” says Josh.
“She lived her life so openly and so deliberately to make sure her non-Jewish neighbors in Davenport, Iowa, understood her and were welcome in her home,” he says. She understood that “if people knew you, if you were transparent, then they would support you.
“That has been my attitude toward my work,” Josh says. “Have people see the differences that should be celebrated.”
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Correction: In the March 12 issue, a digit was accidentally dropped from the phone number of Green Elms Press, publisher of Exoneration: The Rosenberg-Sobell Case in the 21st Century. The correct number is 206-367-7130.