Biz News: Essentials drive helps homeless families

HomeAid Orange County, along with the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, delivered more than 1.2 million items Thursday to 17 facilities serving homeless families, according to a news release.

This year's Essentials for Young Lives donation drive brought in almost 200,000 more items than last year's. The majority of the donations were diapers.

In the release, HomeAid Executive Director Scott Larson thanked corporate sponsors, including the Vons Foundation, UPS and the Automobile Club of Southern California.

"The commission's 13-year partnership with HomeAid Orange County has successfully increased the capacity at shelters ensuring that children have a safe and secure place to live," said commission Chairwoman Sandra Barry in the release. "The Essentials campaign has alleviated the burden on homeless mothers to purchase diapers and allows them to focus on parenting."

The donation drive, which started in 2008, has collected more than 3.4 million baby items.

"I am humbled to see that our community, once again, showed enormous generosity to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our community," said Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, who is also honorary chairwoman for the donation drive, in the release. "It has truly been a privilege for the men and women of the Orange County Sheriff's Department to participate in the Essentials for Young Lives donation drive. We see every day how important transitional housing can be to so many Orange County families."

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Red Day brings in the blood

Keller Williams Realty Newport Estates partnered with the American Red Cross earlier this month on a blood drive.

On May 8, 45 participants donated enough blood to save the lives of almost 100 people, according to a news release. The drive was part of Red Day, which stands for Renew, Energize and Donate and is the company's annual day of service.

"RED Day is built on the belief that people can and should come together to achieve extraordinary things to help others," team leader Mayur Thakarar said in a news release. "Last year, we beautified a local church that provides community outreach. We can't tell you what an impact it made on each of us personally."

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New leader for Irvine construction company

Bill Wilhelm is the new president of Irvine-based R.D. Olson Construction, according to a news release.

He will oversee the company's growing hotel construction business and expansion in healthcare and multiunit projects.

"Bill's proven leadership contributions to the company over the past 20 years have helped solidify our firm's position in the building industry," founder and Chief Executive Bob Olson said in the release. "His knowledge in the technical details of building complicated projects and his managerial acumen make him the ideal person to lead this company as we embark on new growth opportunities."

Wilhelm has served as executive vice president and been a partner in the company for 10 years. He has 35 years of experience in construction and senior management.


Newport Beach Hotel purchased

An Orange County-based private investor purchased the Newport Beach Hotel, an adjacent apartment complex and an onsite restaurant for $7.14 million, professional services and investment management firm JLL announced Thursday.

The Resort Group, based in Honolulu, had owned the 15-room hotel for more than a decade, according to a news release.

"Hotel product along the California coast is very limited, expensive and rarely offered for sale," said JLL Hotel & Hospitality Group Senior Vice President Tony Muscio, who helped to oversee the sale, in the release. "This was a unique opportunity to acquire a property in a high barrier-to-entry market where very little new supply is projected."

The hotel is at 2306 W. Oceanfront on the Balboa Peninsula, near the Newport Pier.


Hoag gets advanced heart imaging system

Hoag Hospital has become one of 17 hospitals in the country — and just the second on the West Coast — to use a new 3D graphical display system to pinpoint the location of a patient's heart arrhythmia, the hospital has announced.

The Topera Rhythm View system, according to a news release, makes it more likely that certain types of treatment for heart disorders will be effective.

"Rhythm View is essentially a GPS of the heart's electrical activity, and its ability to target treatment for atrial fibrillation, the most common disorder of heart rhythm, has been phenomenal," Dr. Jay Lee, Hoag's electrophysiology program director, said in the release.

Success rates for a type of atrial fibrillation treatment called ablation typically range from 30% to 70%, and repeated treatments are often needed, in part because doctors may be unable to find the exact sources of problems within the heart. The Rhythm View system could help significantly boost success rates, the release said.

The equipment becomes part of Hoag's "leading edge" Allan and Sandy Fainbarg Electrophysiology Cath Lab Suite, the release said. Hoag cardiologist Michael Panutich called the technology a "game changer."

Newport Beach couple Pei-Yuan and Kitty Chia, supporters of the Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart and Vascular Institute at Hoag, donated $700,000 to buy the system.

The couple made the donation in gratitude for Dr. Neala Hunter's work helping to find and treat the source of Pei-Yuan's three heart attacks.

"Dr. Hunter is wonderful," Pei-Yuan said in a statement. "She is very precise and very cautious.... She's also very pleasant, very kind and very upbeat. And she speaks with authority. I couldn't be in better hands."

Added Kitty of Hoag's staff: "We love them all."

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