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News

Los Altos Police nab alleged burglar, identity thief

Los Altos Police nab alleged burglar, identity thief

The Los Altos Police Department received a call from a local resident reporting a suspicious vehicle in the area of Lockhaven and Stonehaven drives in Los Altos at 9 a.m. Monday. The resident, who reported that his mail was possibly stolen, provided ...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Chi Am Circle, Chef Chu's prove 'golden': Club sets fundraising goal of $200K for March fashion show

Chi Am Circle, Chef Chu's prove 'golden': Club sets fundraising goal of $200K for March fashion show


Courtesy of Bev Harada
Chi Am Circle members, from left, Gerrye Wong, Sylvia Eng, Pearl Lee and Muriel Kao flank Larry Chu Sr. at the Jan. 31 event honoring the club’s 50th and Chef Chu’s 45th anniversaries.

Chef Chu’s restaurant in Los Altos ho...

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Comment

Freedom's just another word: No Shoes, Please

It used to be that the word “freedom” held exclusively positive connotations for me, but now it’s really become a mixed bag. It all started in 2001 when President George W. Bush asked the question he felt was on the minds of most Americans regarding ...

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Special Sections

Filoli in bloom: Historic estate hosts  classes, events and tours

Filoli in bloom: Historic estate hosts classes, events and tours


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Scenes from Filoli: The historic estate in Woodside is a welcoming sanctuary for visitors. The grounds offer a rotating display of seasonal flowers, a tranquil reflecting pool and paths that wend through the 16-acre Engl...

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Business

Stock volatility still confusing

The market opened down more than 100 points Friday but by noon rose more than 130, the form of volatility that quickly draws investors’ attention. By week’s end, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial aver...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

CHRIS A. KENISON

CHRIS A. KENISON

Feb 13, 1945-Feb 6, 2015

Resident of Los Altos

Chris was born in Georgia and moved to Oklahoma as a young child. He grew up there and moved to California in 1965. He developed a strong work ethic from his grandparents and parents. He attended the...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

'Park' in the hills

'Park' in the hills


courtesy of Foothill Music Theatre
Dot (Katie Nix) imagines her dream job as a follies dancer in the Foothill Music Theatre production of “Sunday in the Park with George.” The play runs through March 8.

Foothill Music Theatre’s production of “Su...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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Safeway buys Los Altos Pharmacy: Mom-and-pop shop stays local for now, but adds corporate logo


Photo By: Town Crier File Photo
Photo Town Crier File Photo

Staff at Los Altos Pharmacy anticipate remaining on the job as Safeway takes over. The pharmacy has made a name for itself with compounding consultations and seminars.

A family business since 1934, Los Altos Pharmacy is changing with the times this fall. A “Safeway” sign should appear above its Second Street doors as of Dec. 13.

Owner Bart Nelson, son of the pharmacy’s founder, sold the 78-year-old business to Safeway earlier this month. He said he and many of the staff plan to stay on as the pharmacy changes name.

The pharmacy is expected to remain open at 255 Second St. until it moves a few blocks away to the renovated Safeway planned at 160 First St. As that project wends through the design and permitting phases, it could be years before the familiar pharmacy closes its doors for good. Safeway will maintain prescription files, telephone lines and computer information for pharmacy customers, according to Nelson.

Pharmacies have long existed in Safeway stores, according to Safeway representative Keith Turner, including more than 100 in Northern California. Nelson said Safeway was interested in expanding the scope of wellness care in new stores like the one planned for Los Altos.

He noted that as President Barack Obama’s health-care reforms take effect in 2014 and after, the pharmacy business may change and grow, with pharmacists increasingly offering consultations as well as filling prescriptions.

“What you’re seeing at some of the new Safeways is more consultation management offices,” Nelson said, noting that he anticipated the inclusion of this feature in the new Los Altos Safeway. “In addition, Los Altos will have a new compounding lab – they’re going all-out to make the Los Altos store one of the centers for compounding for Safeway.”

This isn’t the first time a gigantic retailer caused the family-owned business to adopt a radical makeover. When Walgreens opened in 2003 less than a block away, Nelson saw a 20 percent drop in profits – and accelerated his business’ focus on the niche world of compounding. Los Altos Pharmacy specializes in compounding custom-made medicines with specific doses, flavors or delivery methods for individual customers. Want a lollipop or popsicle version of a prescription for an ornery child? A chicken-flavored pill for a finicky pet? They can find a solution for you.

“The industry is going through another evolution. It seems that we go through these about every decade. Every time there’s an evolution, you either change on the front end of it or you get left behind,” Nelson said. “Sure I can work until I’m 80 or 85 or 90, however it takes a ton of energy and a ton of financial support to evolve every 10 years.”

Nelson said his business has developed seminars and private consultations in tandem with its compounding specialty, evolving a business model beyond filling mainstream prescriptions – and that this apparently fit with Safeway’s own long-range plans.

Turner noted that Los Altos already offers women’s health and other consultations and added that the chain’s commitment to wellness and preventive care means its philosophy aligns with that of Los Altos Pharmacy, driving the merger.

Safeway purchased the pharmacy business but not the physical building and land on Second Street, which remain in Nelson’s hands. He said he has no idea what might take the pharmacy’s place a few years down the road, once the envisioned Safeway renovation becomes a reality.

Turner said a projected opening date for the new store is still a “moving target.”

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