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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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