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Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022
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OCBJ INSIDER

Microsemi’s “Jimmy P” Peterson and his wife, Sheila, are heading the just-unveiled $2B fundraising efforts of UCI (see front-page story), one of many higher education stories from our Jessie Yount featured in this week’s edition.

Our Rick Reiff recently caught up with another notable area couple aiming to do big things on the local philanthropic front. His report:

OC’s Jim and Julie Ann Ulcickas have a lot going on at Catalina Island. Their Newport Beach-based Bluewater Grill group operates three restaurants there—Bluewater Avalon, the new Toyon by Bluewater, and the landmark El Galleon; the latter was recently acquired and is slated for renovation.

Now, the philanthropic couple are getting involved in an even more ambitious undertaking: a proposed new, expanded medical center for Catalina. The Catalina Island Medical Center Foundation said its existing facility can’t keep up with the demands of 1M annual visitors and 4,500 permanent residents, nor does it meet earthquake-safety standards.

Efforts are underway for the project, although it’s several years and an estimated $65M away from reality. The Wrigley family’s Catalina Island Co., which operates many of the island’s major attractions, has donated a site valued at $5M.

The Ulcickases are helping to raise private donations. This summer, Julie Ann organized a “Catalinaville” party that netted $200,000. More events are in the works, some aimed at OC boating enthusiasts and others who frequent Catalina.

Julie Ann said not only will a new medical center better handle visitor emergencies, it will be able to provide more care to residents, most of them service workers. That will reduce the need for patients to either spend hours traveling to and from the mainland or forego treatment.

“With a new hospital, we can continue our commitment to island residents and visitors, and improve the overall health of the island,” she said.

Yes, people are always stumbling over the Ulcickases’ Lithuanian name. The correct pronunciation is Yule-Chess-kuss.

Or, says Jim, “Just call me Jimmy U.”

Editor at Large Reiff claims to be retired, but you wouldn’t note it this week.

Some political news from the Original Insider:

It turned blue in the 2018 election, but last Wednesday Orange County was again the red center of GOP politics as several Republican senators came calling for cash and collectively left with nearly $1 million. The Lincoln Club held a fundraising luncheon at the Pacific Club for Susan Collins of Maine while in an adjacent room the New Majority hosted Florida’s Rick Scott.

That evening, Collins and Scott joined Senate colleagues Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), and Todd Young (Ind.) for a National Republican Senate Committee fundraiser at David and Michelle Horowitz’s Shady Canyon home.

All but Scott and Young are up for reelection next year, with Collins and Gardner top targets of the Democratic bid to regain the Senate. David Horowitz said the event raised about $800,000, an amount he downplayed: “It’s an off year.”

It was the fourth such NRSC gathering that Horowitz has put together.

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Mark Mueller
Mark Mueller
Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of the Orange County Business Journal, one of the premier regional business newspapers in the country. He’s the fifth person to hold the editor’s position in the paper’s long history. He oversees a staff of about 15 people. The OCBJ is considered a must-read for area business executives. The print edition of the paper is the primary source of local news for most of the Business Journal’s subscribers, which includes most of OC’s major corporate and community players. Mark’s been with the paper since 2005, and long served as the real estate reporter for the paper, breaking hundreds of commercial and residential real estate stories. He took on the editor’s position in 2018.
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