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Biz News: Newport Beach credit rating still 'AAA'

The city of Newport Beach received a triple-A implied credit rating Friday from global credit rating and research group Fitch Ratings, according to a city news release.

"Prudent financial management has resulted in a history of positive operations, augmenting the city's very high reserves," Fitch said, according to the release.

Fitch also cited "low debt and carrying costs" and a "diverse and affluent local economy" in its analysis, the release continued.

"Our reserve levels, as well as our prudent use of debt and thoughtful outsourcing all have contributed to our strong rating," Mayor Rush Hill added in a prepared statement.


Bluewater chooses executive chef

Jason Mazur has been named executive chef for Bluewater Grill. Mazur began as acting executive chef earlier this year after Brian Hirsty, executive chef of the Newport Beach-based restaurant chain, died in March of bone marrow disease.

"I do believe that Brian would wholeheartedly approve of Jason taking the helm in the Bluewater kitchen," Jimmy Ulcickas, Bluewater Grill co-founder, said in a news release.

A Costa Mesa resident, Mazur will be based at the Newport location in Cannery Village but will regularly visit the restaurant's other five locations. A seventh Blue Water Grill is set to open in the fall. The chef joined Blue Water in June 2013, spending the last year managing the kitchen in the Redondo Beach location.

Mazur has 15 years of culinary experience. He graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. He previously worked in the kitchen at Neiman-Marcus in Newport Beach, the Original Fish Co. in Los Alamitos, and McCormick & Schmidt's in Anaheim.


Baking Betty's opens storefront

Baking Betty's has opened a storefront — its first — at Atrium Court in Fashion Island.

Betty's is known for cookies in uncommon flavors, such as banana split, caramel apple and strawberry shortcake. S'more is the top-seller, according to a news release.

"We're excited to move Baking Betty's into its first permanent location within Atrium Court," Stacie Ellis, senior director of marketing for Irvine Co. Retail Properties, said in a news release. "It's been great to watch the business grow from its kiosk location to its first brick-and-mortar shop here at Fashion Island."

The store is owned and operated by Emily Osterberg. For more information, visit http://www.bakingbettys.com.


Chase opens 100th O.C. bank branch

Chase Bank has opened its flagship Orange County branch in Newport Beach, according to a news release.

O.C.'s 100th Chase branch, which spans about 11,600 square feet, is in the former Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce building at 1470 Jamboree Road.

Chase has opened about 1,000 branches statewide in the five years it has been doing retail banking in California, according the news release. There are about 913,000 consumer clients and 680,000 small business clients in Orange County.


Independence Bank called 'healthy'

Independence Bank, 4525 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach, recently made the 2014 list of the Top 200 Healthiest Banks in America published by DepositAccounts.

The bank, according to a news release, stood out for its deposit growth. The complete list, as well as ranking criteria, can be viewed at http://www.depositaccounts.com/banks/health.

Independence, according to the site, is the 99th largest bank in California.


Hoag to offer urgent care in H.B.

Hoag Health Center Huntington Beach on Tuesday announced that it will begin offering urgent care for non-life-threatening maladies, such as a sprains and fevers.

"It is important to recognize that not all medical situations require an emergency room visit, but some issues simply can't wait until your primary care doctor can see you," Robert Braithwaite, president and CEO of Newport Beach-based Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, said in a news release. "Should you get injured playing softball or have a cough that's keeping you up, you have a place to go in your own community to serve your needs."

Hoag also operates urgent care centers in Newport Beach, Anaheim Hills, Huntington Harbour, Orange and Tustin. Urgent care centers are planned for Irvine and Aliso Viejo as well.

The Huntington center is at 19582 Beach Blvd. Urgent care is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call (800) 400-4624.


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