Henry Segerstrom, founder of South Coast Plaza and one of the fathers of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, saw a lifetime of giving to arts programs culminate with a high honor in 2009. Carnegie Hall awarded him with a Medal of Excellence for philanthropic contributions to arts and culture at a June event in New York City. And that was just part of the year that also included his highly praised work on the JapanOC series.

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No. 21

Donald Bren

America's 21st richest man, Donald Bren of Newport Beach, made the news quite a bit this year for personal and professional reasons. His Newport Beach-based Irvine Co. announced a late-year real estate acquisition spree in Orange County. Earlier in the year, someone stole — and cashed — his $1.4 million tax refund check. And he also found himself winning a legal suit filed by a former girlfriend and adult children who wanted back child support.

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No. 22

Bob and Jeff Teller

Bob and Jeff Teller are a father-and-son combo whose company, Tel Phil Enterprises Inc., has had a lock for years on running the OC Market Place, the weekly swap meet at the Orange County Fairgrounds. Bob founded the swap meet in '69. Jeff now runs the family business as president of Tel Phil. But their business future could very well depend on whether the fairgrounds is sold or remains in state hands.

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No. 23

Jay Johnson

When Jay Johnson was named police chief in Newport Beach this summer, he hit the ground running. In his second day, Johnson oversaw the department on the Fourth of July. Understanding the level of involvement residents expect, Johnson was in uniform, on the streets, shaking hands and explaining the rules. He has been praised for bringing stability to a department once rocked by discord.

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No. 24

Kimberly Hall Barlow

When spats between the Costa Mesa Police Assn. and then-City Council candidate Jim Righeimer spilled into the papers, City Atty. Kimberly Hall Barlow was asked to clean up the mess. In separate incidents involving a DUI checkpoint and electioneering before the November elections, city officials asked Barlow to investigate. If that wasn't enough, Barlow and other city leaders fought for the future of the Orange County Fairgrounds through 2010.

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No. 25

Gary Monahan