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Albertsons closing 7 northwestern grocery stores

BOISE — The grocery chain Albertsons plans to close several stores in the Northwest, but not in the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area.

The Albany Democrat-Herald in Oregon reports that seven of 111 shops will be shuttered, including stores in Oregon, Washington, and western Idaho.

Albertsons spokesman Dennis McCoy said none of the store closures are in the Spokane or Coeur d’Alene area. “In fact, we invested money in the Spokane area through two store remodels in 2013,” he said.

The Washington stores to be closed, he said, are two in Vancouver, two in Tacoma and one in Bothell.

McCoy said the Boise-based company is continuously evaluating its stores and occasionally will close the less-profitable locations. He said some of the employees who worked at the affected stores may be able to transfer to a different location.

Where do you buy your groceries?

One view of new Jefferson Elementary

I walked my bike into the Albertson's at 37th and Grand a few minutes ago.

I reported to the clerk selling me a newspaper that auto traffic right around the store at this time of day is calmer since Jefferson Elementary School moved.

"Yeah," she said. "They built their own parking lot this time. What a concept."

To be fair, the old school was in place long before the grocery store. It was not built at a time when a high percentage of kids got dropped off and picked up.

If anything, the store was the interloper.

Still, the store parking lot serving as a corral for circling parents never seemed altogether ideal.

Albertson’s Recalls Ground Beef

Alberstons said Monday that it is voluntarily recalling a number of ground beef products sold at its stores in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, due to risk of E. coli contamination. No illnesses have been reported. The grocery chain, which is owned by Supervalu Inc., said the move follows an expanded recall by XL Foods Inc. for ground beef products imported to the U.S. from Canada. Albertsons is recalling multiple ground beef items sold in all of its stores in Washington and Oregon, as well as three stores in Northern Idaho: Coeur d’Alene, Hayden and Lewiston. No other Albertsons stores are affected by the recall. The raw ground beef products were sold at its full service counters at the customer’s request or sold in packaged form with an Albertsons store label between Sept. 3 and Sept. 21. The products are no longer for sale at any stores/AP. More here. (AP photo)

Question: Where do you buy your ground beef?

Shop at the Al’s at 37th and Grand?

If so, you might want to know that the 4th of July is Darlene the checker's last day.

She will be missed.

Woman arrested on 109 felonies released

A Spokane County health care employee accused of stealing money from a 79-year-old woman was released from jail today after appearing in court on 109 felony charges.

Deanna M. Purser, 50, was arrested Wednesday after a sheriff's investigation alleged she'd been making unauthorized purchases and taking unauthorized cash back while grocery shopping for the woman.

Detectives believe Purser, employed by ResCare, also used the woman's money to purchase personal groceries, cigarettes, Christmas presents for her children and a subscription to Sports Illustrated for her husband. She'd been caring for the woman part time after the woman suffered a stroke.

Spokane County sheriff's Detective Tamie Spitzer determined Purser took $31,762 in cash back at Albertsons from 2009 to 2011. She also determined $33,141 in groceries had been purchased, but the victim's average grocery bill should have been just $300 per month.

Prosecutors have not yet formally charged Purser.

She does not appear to have a criminal record, so even if she's convicted of 109 felonies, she'll face only about 22 to 29 months in prison. One or two theft convictions carries only a couple months in jail.

Health care worker arrested for theft

A Spokane County home health care employee is accused of stealing money from a 79-year-old woman she'd cared for since 2003.

Deanna M. Purser, 50, was arrested today after a lengthy investigation by Spokane County sheriff's Detective Tamie Spitzer alleged she'd been making unauthorized purchases and taking unauthorized cash back while grocery shopping for the woman.

The victim's daughter contacted the sheriff's office after she noticed an abnormally large amount of money spent at the Albertsons grocery store in Liberty Lake. She'd become suspicious when she noticed her mother's bank statements were lower than usual while preparing her taxes, according to the sheriff's office.

Spitzer determined Purser took $31,762 in cash back from 2009 to 2011. She also determined $33,141 in groceries had been purchased, but the victim's average grocery bill should have been just $300 per month.

Purser was booked into the Spokane County Jail today on seven counts of first-degree theft, 51 counts of unlawful possession of a payment instrument and 51 counts of second-degree theft.

GoFroyo will move into the new retail strip taking the spot of China South

The first tenant in the new retail strip that will replace the China South restaurant has been announced: GoFroyo, a Spokane-based frozen yogurt seller, will take one of the end-cap locations. (End-cap means at the far left or far right bay of the strip, which could number up to six spots.)

Nancy Chen, GoFroyo's managing member, said GoFroyo is eager to move into the Lincoln Heights Shopping Center. She said a goal is to get inside the new building by the end of the year to finish store counters and install a floor. They hope to open in January or February at the latest.

While there is a Baskin-Robbins on one end and a Coldstone Creamery on the other end of Lincoln Heights, self-serve froyo stores that let consumers mix and match their own flavors are distinct enough to compete, Chen said. "Frozen yogurt is a healthier choice, in general, for many people," she said.

GoFroyo will open its first store at Spokane Valley Plaza, in front of the Wal-Mart store. The second GoFroyo location, due to open in November, will be at the Nevada Towers Retail Center, near the Albertsons store at 6704 N. Nevada.

Store Dumps Self-Checkout Lanes

One of the nation's major grocery store chains is eliminating self-checkout lanes in an effort to encourage more human contact with its customers. Albertsons LLC, which operates 217 stores in seven Western and Southern states, will eliminate all self-checkout lanes in the 100 stores that have them and will replace them with standard or express lanes, a spokeswoman said. But this doesn't affect Washington or Idaho Albertsons stores/Tom Sowa, Office Hours. More here.

Question: Do you regularly use self-checkout lanes?

Albertsons to close down Northwest Blvd. supermarket on Aug. 11


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Boise-based Albertsons has decided to close its Northwest Blvd. supermarket in north Spokane on Aug. 11.

The decision is based on business factors, Albertsons said in a release. Translated: it's not that profitable.

Albertsons opened the store when it was built, at 1617 Northwest Blvd., in 1980.

No plans for the site have been announced.

Albertsons still has two other north Spokane markets at 6520 N. Nevada and 9001 N. Indian Trail Rd.

Albertson’s Grants $21M For Schools

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation announced today it is donating $21 million to the State Department of Education to help create the 21st century classroom in every Idaho school. With its grant funding, the Foundation will help equip classroom teachers across the state with state-of-the-art tools to raise student achievement through data-driven decision making. “This is an exciting day for Idaho students, teachers and school leaders. This generous grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation builds upon the bold and innovative reforms we have made through the Students Come First laws,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said/Idaho Department of Education news release. More here.

Reaction?

Hunger has been dumped

The final numbers are in from the five week Dump Hunger campaign to collect donations for local food banks. The goal was to fill a dump truck with 225,000 pounds of food. Western States Equipment branches in five western states teamed up with regional Albertson's locations to collect food. The drive collected 348,607 pounds of food, plus $25,952. Each dollar is considered to be equal to five pounds of food, making the grand total 528,319 pounds of food for local food banks.

Local beneficiaries include Community Action Partnership in Hayden (5,378 pounds) and Second Harvest (76,264 pounds). In all, donations were given to 13 agencies in Idaho, Washington, Montana, Oregon and Wyoming. This is the third year for the Dump Hunger campaign, which has brought in 1,233,017 pounds of food since its inception.  

Dump hunger update

A group of local businesses have a really big goal - fill a dump truck with 225,000 pounds of food and donate it to Second Harvest. Their food drive ends Feb. 7 and they have managed to collect enough food and money to total 218,314 pounds (every dollar is considered the equivalent of five pounds of food). So there's still time if you would like to help fill the truck. Donations can be dropped off at all local Albertsons, Les Schwab and Western States Equipment locations.

Dump hunger this weekend

Most of us probably have a few stray items in our cupboards that we can part with. Maybe you bought something to use in a particular recipie that you never made. Or maybe you hit a really good sale and have more of something than you really need.

Several local business are teaming up with Second Harvest to attempt to fill a dump truck with donated food in a "Dump Hunger" campaign. A dump truck will be in place this weekend at the Albertsons at Trent and Argonne accepting donations. The truck will be there from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The truck holds 225,000 pounds of food, so fill those bags and bring them over.

If you can't make it over there this weekend, there will be food collection bins at all local Albertsons, Les Schwab and Western States Equipment locations through Feb. 7.

Purse-snatching suspect turns self in

A man who robbed a 71-year-old woman of her purse in a South Hill grocery store parking lot last week turned himself into police today, according to Crime Stoppers.

 Justin R. Meyer, 21, (right, allegedly) was booked into jail on one count of second-degree robbery after surrendering at the Spokane police front desk at the Public Safety Building Monday morning.

Surveillance cameras captured the robber’s face, and the picture was widely disseminated as Crime Stoppers offered a reward for tips on his identity. More than 30 have come in since Wednesday.

“It’s unknown if the intense public scrutiny led Meyer to surrender,” sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release.

Police say Meyer stole a 71-year-old woman’s purse Sunday about 1:15 p.m. in the west parking lot at Albertsons, 3010 E. 57th Ave.

The woman was not injured but lost cash, credit cards and keys to her car, home and business.

Past coverage:

Sept. 22: Purse-snatching robber caught on tape

Purse-snatching robber caught on tape

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help identify a man who robbed a 71-year-old woman of her purse as his shocked companion looked on. 

The woman and her 45-year-old daughter were walking Sunday about 1:15 p.m. in the west parking lot at Albertsons grocery store, 3010 E. 57th Ave., when two teenage men walked out of the store toward them.

The teen in a dark hooded sweatshirt (pictured at right) grabbed the woman’s purse as she screamed, then ran westbound across Regal with the purse before jumping a fence in the Cedar Hollow Estates apartment complex, Crime Stoppers announced today.

The woman was not injured but lost cash, credit cards and keys to her car, home and business.

“The suspect’s companion stayed with the victim for a minute and appeared shocked at the robbery,” according to a news release. “He eventually walked into the apartment complex through the regular entrance.”

Surveillance photos show the robber and his friend leaving the store.

Anyone with information on either man is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to give their name to collect the reward.

San Diego Albertsons store to generate clean power through fuel cells

A while back Bert Caldwell discussed in a column the concerns among regional power producers if California adopts or doesn’t adopt significant energy-generation measures.

We think this item, about a San Diego Albertson’s, is interesting and worth  reading, for a few reasons. One, we do have Albertsons in this area. We don’t see this happening soon in Eastern Washington, but since ReliON, based in Spokane, produces fuel cells, perhaps it’s not that far a reach.

 

Boise, Idaho-based grocery chain Albertsons is slated to open a new store in San Diego’s Clairemont community that will be one of the first in California to generate nearly 90 percent of its electricity from fuel cell technology. Using a 400-kilowatt fuel cell from UTC Power, a United Technologies Corp., the 55,000-sq.-ft. green Albertsons store will officially open on Sept. 1.

 

“When it comes to minimizing our environmental footprint, the Clairemont store is a tremendous achievement for us,” noted Rick Crandall, Albertsons’ director of environmental stewardship.

“With the assistance of UTC Power’s fuel cell, it’s our first store that significantly reduces its burden on the power grid.”

Police: Oxy robber dead after shooting self

A suspected serial OxyContin robber who shot himself after a police chase Tuesday died at a Spokane hospital the next day.  

Nicholas T. “Niko” Burden, 31, worked as a car salesman and lived with his girlfriend and baby daughter before detectives say he began feeding an apparent OxyContin addiction by robbing pharmacies.

He was hospitalized Tuesday after police say he shot himself in a stolen Jeep he used to flee an armed robbery at the Rite Aid at 2929 E. 29th Ave.

He was on life support Wednesday, and later died, according to a nursing supervisor at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Read the rest of my story here.

1 man sought in 2 OxyContin robberies

,One “very dangerous” man is responsible for two gunpoint OxyContin robberies at different Albertsons pharmacies in Spokane County this month, police announced today.  

Detectives released photos of the robber pulling a gun near a young girl July 23 at the store at 57th and Regal and pointing the firearm at a store employee as he ran out the westside front doors.

He ran to the west and then south before hew as picked up by someone in a white SUV “virtually identical to a 2007 or older Toyota Sequoia” according to a Crime Stoppers news release. (That model is pictured.)

Photos showing a hooded Hurley sweatshirt and makeshift mask worn in a July 9 armed robbery at the Albertsons at Trent and Argonne in Millwood, then discarded in a dumpster behind a nearby school district building, already are available. The outfit is similar to that worn during last week’s robbery.

  Purdue Pharma, the company that makes the powerful prescription drug, is offering a $1,000 reward through Crime Stoppers for tips that lead to an arrest.

The robber is described as a white man in his 20s, 6-feet to 6-foot-4 and thin.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters don’t have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

$1,000 reward for tips on OxyContin robbery

The company that makes OxyContin is offering a  $1,000 reward for tips that solve a robbery at an Albertsons pharmacy in Millwood July 9.

Detectives last week released photos of the jacket and a knit hat used as a mask, which were in a dumpster behind a school district building.

The robber ran north to the building after leaving the Albertsons at Trent and Argonne with stolen OxyContin at 9:17 a.m. on July 9, Crime Stoppers said today.

The robber tried to flee out a back door, but ran out the front door after an alarm sounded. The man had a black semi-automatic handgun he kept pointed at an employee. He’d entered the store wearing a dark hooded Hurley jacket with the hood up, along with gray or faded denim jeans.

“He was hunched over with his arms crossed as if he was sick or injured,” according to a police news release. The man is described as white, about 6-foot-4 with a thin to medium build.

Along with the jacket and knit mask with makeshift holes for his eyes and mouth, the robber wore black running shoes and faded grey jeans.

OxyContin giant Purdue Pharma is offering the $1,000 reward through Crime Stoppers.The robbery is the second in the Sopakne area this month - the Albertsons at 57th and Regal was robbed of OxyContin Friday morning.

Anyone with information on the July 9 robbery is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Tipsters don’t have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Pictures show armed OxyContin robber

A gunman robbed a South Hill pharmacy of OxyContin Friday morning.

The robber pointed a semi-automatic pistol at employees at the Albertsons  at 57th and Regal just after 9 a.m.

The man pulled the gun from his waistband as he approached the pharmacy from the dairy section and fled westbound from the store with the powerful prescription pain killer.

The robber ran south along the west side of Regal before a small white car picked him.

The gunman was described as white, in his late 20s or early 30s, 6-feet tall or slighter taller. He had  “bright blue eyes” and wore a gray hooded sweatshirt with the hood up and a piece of dark fabric across his face, along with blue, baggy jeans.

The store is the second Albertsons robbed of OxyContin this month. Crime Stoppers still is offering a reward for tips that help solve the July 9 robbery at the Trent and Argonne store.

Detectives don’t know if the robberies are related.

Walgreens, a once-prime target for OxyContin robbers has only been hit once since installing time-release safes to store the drug last fall. The company expanded the time-release safes to Idaho and Oregon this week.

Anyone with information on today’s robbery is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Photos show robber’s clothes; tips sought

Crime Stoppers if offering a reward for tips that help identify the masked gunman who robbed a pharmacy of OxyContin last week. 

Detectives released photos of the jacket and a knit hat used as a mask today in hopes someone will recognize them and call for the reward.

Police found the items in a dumpster behind a school district building. The robber ran north to the building after leaving the Albertsons at Trent and Argonne with stolen OxyContin about 9:10 a.m. on July 9.

The man had a black semi-automatic handgun he kept pointed at an employee. He’d entered the store wearing a dark hooded Hurley jacket with the hood up, along with gray or faded denim jeans.

“He was hunched over with his arms crossed as if he was sick or injured,” according to a news release. 

The man was described as in his early to mid-20s, 6-feet tall to 6-foot-5.

Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Tipsters don’t have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.