Sullivan’s Island

Medical Weight Loss in Sullivan's Island, SC

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A New Solution to a Serious Problem

Obesity is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in the United States. Recent statistics show that more than 78 million people are affected by obesity, whether that's through diabetes, heart disease, cardiovascular issues, or even death. Millions try to lose weight every year to combat the negative effects that obesity brings about, but a large number of those people are unsuccessful. It can be easy for those without weight problems to say, "just lose the weight!" but unfortunately, weight loss isn't something that happens overnight. When done properly, it involves careful planning and professional help. When done incorrectly, it involves yo-yo dieting, fad diet solutions, and other unsafe methods.

Fad diets seen on TV can be encouraging, but the truth is most of these "programs" are less about healthy weight loss and more about losing weight fast. These unhealthy, unbalanced diets often foster weight gain, not weight loss over time.

Fortunately, more and more overweight adults and even children are turning to professionals for help, who not only help them achieve their weight loss goals but keep them on track and healthy for the long term. If you're looking for the highest quality medical weight loss in Sullivan's Island, SC, look no further than Back 2 Health Physical Medicine.

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Medical Weight Loss Sullivan's Island, SC
What Our Clients Say

What Our Clients Say

Losing Weight and Getting Back 2 Health the Right Way

If you were to ask one of our experienced clinicians their tips for a healthy life, maintaining a healthy weight would be at the very top of the list. This is especially true given the prevalence of certain viruses like COVID-19, which can wreak havoc on the body of an unhealthy, overweight individual. Unfortunately, given the sheer number of diet plans and "miracle" weight loss supplements, dieting can be a confusing, counterproductive journey. To make matters worse, many of these weight loss programs are not medically tested or supervised, which is dangerous.

At Back 2 Health, our team is committed to helping our clients lose weight and maintain that weight loss, so they can live a healthy, fulfilling life. Unlike some weight loss companies that tout "quick weight loss solutions," Back 2 Health Physical Medicine focuses on real results through time-tested techniques, strong support, and sustainable habits. There are no starvation diets or extreme exercise plans at our weight loss clinic in Sullivan's Island - only medically-backed programs customized to your lifestyle.

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Our medical weight loss programs include:

  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Medical Counseling
  • Health Metrics
  • Access to Our Knowledgeable Weight Loss Team
  • Medication Management
  • Customized Weight Loss Program
  • Blood Work
  • Available Health Supplements Such as B-12 Injections

Why Choose Back 2 Health for Medical Weight Loss in Sullivan's Island, SC?

If you have tried to lose weight in the past but have failed, don't sweat it - there are millions of other men and women in your shoes as well. Your weight loss challenges are less about you failing and more about the diets or regimens you used. When it comes to healthy weight loss, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. That's why, when you walk into our medical weight loss clinic, we will conduct a thorough assessment and develop a custom weight loss strategy that you feel good about.

Our clients choose Back 2 Health Physical Medicine because we truly care about our customers' health. Our goal is to be as flexible and open about your weight loss journey as possible. Our customized plans fit not only your health needs but also your fitness goals and budget requirements.

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Our comprehensive medical weight loss plans include:

  • Regular follow-ups to ensure that you are staying healthy as you slim down
  • Cutting-edge treatments that reduce food cravings and speed up your metabolism
  • Ongoing support from our highly trained weight loss team
  • Personalized diet and exercise plans created with your lifestyle and medical history in mind
  • Education about exercise and how you can start a regular exercise routine
  • Prescription medications when needed
  • Enthusiastic tips and recommendations if you hit a weight loss plateau or don't achieve your goals
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Choosing a medically supervised weight loss treatment plan from Back 2 Health Physical Medicine ensures that you lose weight safely and effectively, even after you achieve your weight loss goals. As you shed excess weight, we can also provide training and recommendations that keep the pounds off for good. If you're ready to give up on crash dieting and unsafe fads, it's time to call Back 2 Health in Sullivan's Island, SC. Your body, your friends, and your family will thank you!

A Safe Solution to Long-TermWeight Loss

If you were to ask someone on the street to name a popular fad diet, they probably wouldn't have much trouble. From Atkins to South Beach and Keto to Paleo, we've all heard of at least one popular weight-loss trend. The problem with these diets is that they only work for some people. Even then, the results are often short-lived.

If you're wondering whether you have been on or are currently using a fad diet, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there a "magic" food source that will melt the pounds off your body?
  • Is the speed of weight loss unnatural or unrealistic?
  • Can you achieve "weight loss" without proper diet and exercise?
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If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, chances are it's a fad diet, and it most likely won't be very effective over the long run. With fad diets, balanced nutrition often takes the back seat to sketchy weight loss pills or extreme life choices - all of which are counterproductive to a healthy life.

If you have struggled with your weight for any length of time, there's no doubt you're stressed out trying to find an effective solution. You probably have many stories about following fad diets, taking unhealthy diet pills, or even dropping big bucks on expensive exercise equipment. If you're like most of our clients, you're still struggling with your weight, despite your best efforts. The common theme here is that all of your self-made attempts happened without the medical guidance of a true medical weight loss clinic in Sullivan's Island, SC.

If this sounds like you, we've got great news. The safest, most effective solution to losing weight starts with the help of Back 2 Health's medical weight loss plans. Instead of choosing a fad diet, speak to one of our weight loss healthcare professionals. We can help you lose weight in a way that you find enjoyable, so you actually like

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Factors That Contribute to Obesity

Obesity is a nuanced disease that involves excessive amounts of body fat. It's not just a cosmetic concern. It's a medical issue that raises a person's chance of severe diseases and health problems. Often, obese people have problems losing weight because of physiological, genetic, and environmental factors. There are many other contributing factors to weight gain, including:

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Inactivity

People who live sedentary lifestyles will take in more calories than they burn off through exercise or day-to-day activities. Inactivity is a huge problem in today's society, especially with the constant presence of computers, smartphones, and tablets that encourage the user to stay glued to their screen.

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Unhealthy Diet

If your daily food intake consists of high-caloric fast-food meals full of oversized portions, expect to gain weight quickly.

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Liquid Calories

Alcoholic and other high-calorie drinks like sodas cause people to intake large amounts of calories without ever feeling full. When combined with a poor diet and lack of water intake, consuming liquid calories can be a significant contributor to weight gain.

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Pregnancy

Weight gain is very common during pregnancy, but some women find it hard to lose the added pounds once they have given birth. With time, this weight gain will contribute to obesity.

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Lack of Sleep

When you don't get enough sleep, your whole body suffers. If you're only getting a few hours of sleep a night, you may notice increased appetite and even hormone changes. Both factors can contribute to obesity.

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Smoking Cessation

Quitting smoking is one of the healthiest choices you can make as an adult. However, sometimes smoking cessation causes weight gain. For some, this weight gain gets out of control and leads to obesity. Often times this happens as former smokers use food to cope with their withdrawals.

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Stress

When you're stressed out, you may turn to a chocolate bar or cheeseburger as "comfort food" to deal with whatever problem you're facing. Turning to fast food and sweets is not a healthy way to deal with stress and can lead to obesity.

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Consequences of Obesity

Although being obese is considered a physical condition, obesity's effects stretch far beyond a person's body composition and weight. Being overweight is associated with several long-term health problems. Many of these problems rank among the nation's leading reasons for premature death. Generally, the more excess weight you carry around, the more likely you are to develop negative complications with your health.

Individuals who are clinically obese have a heightened risk of the following ailments:

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  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)
  • Cardiovascular Issues (stroke, heart attack, and more)
  • Acid Reflux and Heartburn
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Joint Pain, Back Pain, and Orthopedic Issues
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Blood Clots
  • Fatty Liver Disease
  • Skin Infections
  • Incontinence from Stress
  • Breathing Problems
  • Cancer (colon, uterus, esophagus, cervix, pancreas, prostate, and more)
  • Severe Symptoms Resulting from COVID-19

The good news? Substantial weight loss is possible with diet, physical activity, and the help of a medical weight loss team. You do not have to be destined to live with obesity and a shorter life expectancy. Back 2 Health Physical Medicine is here to steer you down the path to a positive, healthy life for years to come.

Benefits of Using a Medical Weight Loss Clinic in Sullivan's Island, SC

Controlling your weight is a healthy habit that allows you to maintain proper health. However, losing weight isn't just about looking better. It's about feeling better too and is a very important part of being healthy and well. Before you throw caution out the window and try a "miraculous" weight loss solution, contact Back 2 Health Physical Medicine. Our medical weight loss clinicians don't just focus on making you slimmer. Instead, we oversee improvements relating to hormonal imbalances, high blood pressure, cholesterol, digestive problems, and diet. We are devoted to changing the lives of our clients, one weight loss plan at a time.

Here are just a few benefits of using a medical weight loss clinic:

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Inactivity
Inactivity

People who live sedentary lifestyles will take in more calories than they burn off through exercise or day-to-day activities. Inactivity is a huge problem in today's society, especially with the constant presence of computers, smartphones, and tablets that encourage the user to stay glued to their screen.

Unhealthy Diet
Unhealthy Diet

If your daily food intake consists of high-caloric fast-food meals full of oversized portions, expect to gain weight quickly.

Liquid Calories
Liquid Calories

Alcoholic and other high-calorie drinks like sodas cause people to intake large amounts of calories without ever feeling full. When combined with a poor diet and lack of water intake, consuming liquid calories can be a significant contributor to weight gain.

It's Time to Make a Change

When you sign up with Back 2 Health, know that you are taking a hugely important step to living a healthier life. If you're ready to feel better, look better, and live longer, call our medical weight loss clinic in Sullivan's Island today. Before you know it, you will look and feel better than you ever have before.

FREE CONSULTATION

Latest News in Sullivan's Island, SC

Escaping the beach: Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island work to ease brutal summer traffic

The more popular Charleston’s beaches get, the worse traffic becomes. And there’s not a lot of room to grow.Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island, in particular, have little room for traffic control. They each have two ways to get off the island, and one of those ways is to go to the other island. The end of a day at the beach — or the second raindrops start to fall — turns the islands into traffic logjams where it can take ages to escape back to the mainland.While they know their critics want more a...

The more popular Charleston’s beaches get, the worse traffic becomes. And there’s not a lot of room to grow.

Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island, in particular, have little room for traffic control. They each have two ways to get off the island, and one of those ways is to go to the other island. The end of a day at the beach — or the second raindrops start to fall — turns the islands into traffic logjams where it can take ages to escape back to the mainland.

While they know their critics want more access to the beaches, the mayors of both towns say they are barely able to manage the current deluge of visitors.

Traffic is “the big nut that we’re all trying to crack, quite honestly,” Isle of Palms Mayor Phillip Pounds said.

To manage those visitors, Sullivan’s Island Mayor Pat O’Neil said he wants to see more support from Charleston County and the state with handling traffic congestion.

“We’re providing beach access in our own way to the greater population of South Carolina one way or another,” he said “We’ve been trying to stress that beach traffic, when you get it right down to it, is the same as after a USC football game or a Clemson football game or a big concert someplace.

“There are protocols for managing those kinds of events. We submit that a busy afternoon at the beach ... is an event. We should treat it as such, but we need help from the county and the state to treat it as such.”

For now, Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island and Mount Pleasant are working together to better manage traffic flow on and off the islands. The local municipalities have also partnered with local TV station WCIV ABC News 4 to get traffic information to people.

“We’re working with (WCIV) at their initiation on a communications plan to really try to get the word out so people can get in the habit of, ‘Let’s check the traffic cameras. Let’s check the traffic reports before we start a 40-minute drive to the beach to avoid getting caught in traffic,’” O’Neil said.

The islands are also investing money in:

“We’re trying to enhance people’s visit to our island, knowing it’s going to be crowded and knowing there’s a lot of people that want to come here,” Pounds said.

8 Charming Small Towns in South Carolina — From the Mountains to the Beach

From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, these are the best small towns in South Carolina.When you think of South Carolina, you likely picture pastel-colored homes in Charleston or the Grand Strand's ...

From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, these are the best small towns in South Carolina.

When you think of South Carolina, you likely picture pastel-colored homes in Charleston or the Grand Strand's golden sandy beaches. But what if we told you there's more to the state beyond its big cities?

I spent the first 22 years of my life in the Palmetto State, and while I love revisiting Charleston, Greenville, and Columbia, South Carolina's small towns and secluded islands are well worth a stop, whether on a day trip or as your main destination. And don't worry — you'll find sweet tea, Southern hospitality, and a wide range of stunning landscapes all over the state. After all, our old license tags used to read: "Smiling faces, beautiful places."

We rounded up small towns in South Carolina with around 15,000 residents or less, excluding some of the slightly larger favorites like Hilton Head Island and Bluffton (which worth visiting, too). So, whether you're looking for a mountain getaway or a beach vacation destination without the crowds, here are eight of the best small towns in South Carolina.

Sullivan's Island

Just a short drive from downtown Charleston, Sullivan's Island is one of the best beach towns in South Carolina. The 2.5-mile long island is known for historic Fort Moultrie (with ties to the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars), a charming main drag, and pristine beaches unsullied by high-rise hotels or tourist traps. Appropriately named Middle Street — located in the center of the small island — is home to favorite restaurants like Poe's Tavern (an Edgar Allen Poe-themed eatery with incredible burgers), Home Team BBQ, and The Obstinate Daughter.

Travelers Rest

The Upstate South Carolina region is dotted with lakes and rolling green hills in the shadow of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. Travelers Rest (or simply "TR") offers a dose of small-town living and outdoor adventure just a short distance from the charming city of Greenville. Before you go hiking, kayaking, or mountain biking, fuel up at Tandem Creperie and Coffeehouse, and end your day with a pint at Swamp Rabbit Brewery. Hotel Domestique, less than 20 minutes outside of town, offers a taste of the Tuscan countryside with beautiful grounds and accommodations overlooking the mountains.

Georgetown

South Carolina has plenty of lovely coastal small towns, including Georgetown, located between Charleston and Myrtle Beach. It's the third-oldest town in the state, so there's plenty of history to explore, plus local shops and restaurants on Front Street. Go for a stroll along the Harborwalk to admire views of the sparkling water.

Edisto Beach

The small town of Edisto Beach on Edisto Island is great for a laid-back beach vacation. The Sea Island is situated between Hilton Head and Charleston, and it's home to beautiful beaches, including picturesque Driftwood Beach. You won't find many large hotels in the area, so opt for a rental and enjoy the serene atmosphere.

Kiawah Island

Another barrier island on the South Carolina coast, Kiawah offers seafront serenity with an upscale twist. The primarily privately owned island is home to Kiawah Island Golf Resort, known for its championship golf courses and The Sanctuary, a beachfront luxury hotel. Nearby Freshfields Village offers shopping (with lots of resort wear to choose from) and a range of restaurants.

Newberry

Located in the state's Midlands region, between Greenville and South Carolina's capital city, Columbia, Newberry has a quintessential small-town feel. The well-preserved downtown area features an opera house, antique shops, locally owned restaurants, and more. Plus, the area hosts festivals throughout the year, including the yearly Oktoberfest, Christmas, and Pork in the Park events.

Beaufort

Down in the Lowcountry on Port Royal Island, Beaufort is another historic coastal town. It dates back hundreds of years, so you can experience South Carolina's history firsthand by learning about Gullah culture at historic sites or on a tour, visiting ruins and old homes, and more.

Daufuskie Island

Daufuskie Island, tucked between Savannah and Hilton Head on the coast, is the ultimate escape when you really want to get away from it all. The island has a small-town atmosphere — it's only accessible by boat, and there are a handful of cafes and restaurants, the Daufuskie Island Distillery (offering a range of tasty spirits such as a delightful Kona coffee rum), and shops for local artisans. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, including dolphins and turtles, on the sandy shoreline.

Message From The Sullivan’s Island Mayor: April 2022

Dear island neighbors,Just a few items this time, the first of which definitely affects all of us, every day. We are flushed with excitement to invite you to…NEWLY REBUILT SEWERThe ribbon-cutting for our newly rebuilt Wastewater Treatment Plant (sewage plant) and associated system improvements. On Friday, April 29 at 1 p.m., we will officially celebrate the completion of a $25 million-dollar, multi-year project to make necessary replacements and improvements, and vital resiliency enhancements, to what had been an ...

Dear island neighbors,

Just a few items this time, the first of which definitely affects all of us, every day. We are flushed with excitement to invite you to…

NEWLY REBUILT SEWER

The ribbon-cutting for our newly rebuilt Wastewater Treatment Plant (sewage plant) and associated system improvements. On Friday, April 29 at 1 p.m., we will officially celebrate the completion of a $25 million-dollar, multi-year project to make necessary replacements and improvements, and vital resiliency enhancements, to what had been an aging system. The event will be at the plant, at 2051 Gull Avenue (behind Town Hall and Fire Station). The ribbon-cutting and few short speeches will commence at 1 p.m., but you are invited to attend any time until 3 p.m.. With our Fire Station and Maintenance/Storage Building construction project, parking close to the plant will be limited, so if you can bike or walk, that is advisable. You might be surprised to learn that our original treatment plant was built back in 1968. Those early Island leaders were truly environmentally conscious and visionary in moving the island away from septic tanks. Bear in mind that the tax base of the Island then was tiny compared to the present or recent past. You might also be surprised to learn how many coastal locations continue to rely on septic tanks to this day, at least in part. The original treatment plant equipment had reached the end of its useful life. Further, our growing vulnerability to flooding and sea level rise, and increased awareness of the threat from seismic events (aka earthquakes), made it essential that we not only build back but build back higher and stronger. And the threat of electric outages from various causes necessitated more reliable backup generators at the treatment plant and sewer lift stations (pump stations). At the same time, the miles of sewer mains (pipes) that constitute our collection system were equally aged, in some cases even older (back to 1938). As with old collection systems in cities and towns across America, the system was vulnerable to what’s called “I and I” (Inflow and Infiltration), which means stormwater and groundwater entering the sewer system, greatly increasing the flow into the treatment plant and possibly taxing its capacity. Unlike water mains which are under pressure, sewer mains with leaks are not likely to discharge much of their contents into the surrounding earth. They are more vulnerable to intrusion from groundwater and stormwater. Sewage treatment plants are not built to treat rain or groundwater. So with this project, we have endeavored to produce a secure, resilient and functional wastewater system that will serve us for at least the next 50 years. Many people have worked long and hard to achieve this milestone, but I can only name a few here. Greg Gress is the leader of our great Water and Sewer Department, which includes all the folks who work so hard to ensure that we always have good water coming into our homes and “used” water flowing away from our homes to where it can be properly treated. Town Administrator Andy Benke has ably overseen this biggest-ever collection of Town capital projects.

The Councilmembers most involved in this project have been those who serve on the very hard-working Water and Sewer Committee. The current Chair is Bachman Smith, whose background in construction law and tireless dedication have been invaluable in this effort. His predecessor W&S Chairs, Susan Middaugh and Debra Hazen-Martin, also worked extremely hard in championing and shepherding the many years of earlier efforts to get these projects started.

Many other former Councilmembers have served on the W&S Committee; I apologize that I can’t list them all here, but the current members with Bachman are Gary Visser and Scott Millimet.

Please come out to the ribbon-cutting so you can see first-hand what has been accomplished.

BUDGET TIME

Council is deeply involved in the annual monthslong budgeting process. You can visit the Town website (Council Meetings) to see the draft budgets we have been reviewing thus far, and continue to watch or attend our workshop and regular meetings in May and June in which we finalize the budget. More importantly, you can attend regular meetings and the Public Hearing on the budget if you wish to provide input during public comments. Please visit the Town’s home page and click on “Upcoming Meetings and Agendas” for the dates and times.

BEACH TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT UPDATE

We continue to work with the leadership of the Isle of Palms, Mount Pleasant and Folly Beach, and media representatives, to develop a coordinated program of outreach to the greater Charleston area to apprise potential day visitors of real-time traffic conditions. Hopefully they will then factor that info into their travel decisions before heading to the beach. Stay tuned for more details soon.

See you around the island!

Pat O’Neil, Mayor

843-670-9266

Twitter: @oneilpm1

Dominion Energy lists Sullivan’s Island Sand Dunes Club for sale with $19M offer in hand

SULLIVAN’S ISLAND — Dominion Energy hopes to sell the Sand Dunes Club to a company owned by local billionaire Ben Navarro for $19 million, with plans in place to make it a club for island residents and property owners.The historic beachfront venue was created in the 1950s after South Carolina Electric & Gas bought the 3.5 acres from the federal government for $27,000 as properties associated with Fort Moultrie were being sold.With a large clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis courts and direct beach access, it was us...

SULLIVAN’S ISLAND — Dominion Energy hopes to sell the Sand Dunes Club to a company owned by local billionaire Ben Navarro for $19 million, with plans in place to make it a club for island residents and property owners.

The historic beachfront venue was created in the 1950s after South Carolina Electric & Gas bought the 3.5 acres from the federal government for $27,000 as properties associated with Fort Moultrie were being sold.

With a large clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis courts and direct beach access, it was used for decades as a corporate retreat, by island residents and rented out for events and meetings. Dominion Energy acquired the property when it bought SCE&G.

The energy company sought the state Public Service Commission’s permission to sell the property for $19 million to a subsidiary of Navarro’s Beemok Capital called SDCC Island Resident Club. In February the commission instead required Dominion list the property for sale and solicit bids.

“This simply means that Dominion Energy will need to determine whether other potential buyers exist,” said Rhonda Maree O’Banion, Dominion’s media relations manager.

“After the competitive bidding process is complete, Dominion Energy will report back to the commission and if necessary, update its request for approval to sell the Sand Dunes property,” she added.

The sale to Navarro’s company has been anticipated on Sullivan’s Island, a barrier island with fewer than 2,000 residents where the average home sale price in 2021 was nearly $3.2 million according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.

One year ago the town signed an agreement with Navarro’s company that laid out plans to potentially renovate the club and operate it for island residents.

Beemok, the February 2021 agreement says, “desires to purchase the property from its current owner, renovate the clubhouse and operate the club.”

The agreement also says “the town believes a club with membership limited to town residents and property owners” would be desirable if the club were sold.

“That’s what we were expecting was going to happen,” Sullivan’s Island Mayor Patrick O’Neil said. “Mr. Navarro and his group have worked closely with the town.”

The agreement is non-exclusive and the same conditions apply to the property regardless of who were to buy it, he said.

The agreement says the price of membership in the club would not exceed the cost of operating the club, and the town would get to review confidential financial statements to ensure that provision.

Residents and town property owners could become members, and nonmembers could still use the pool for a fee comparable to what municipal recreation departments charge in Mount Pleasant or on Isle of Palms, the agreement says.

The address is considered a large property that’s most valuable as a potential site for new homes according to an appraisal submitted by Dominion, but the clubhouse is protected as an historic structure and could not be demolished without the town’s permission.

The property would not be the first iconic Charleston-area locale purchased by Navarro’s companies if his bid is successful. His companies own the Charleston Place hotel, purchased last year for $350 million, and the Credit One Bank Stadium on Daniel Island.

Efforts to reach representatives of Beemok Capital and the company’s public relations firm by phone and email were unsuccessful Friday.

The sale of the property would not change Dominion Energy’s utility rates or pricing according to the company’s Public Service Commission filing.

In 2021 Dominion turned over more than 2,900 acres of property as part of a $165 million tax settlement with the S.C. Department of Revenue, resolving a three-year dispute over taxes owed on parts and materials purchased to build the V.C. Summer nuclear plant, which was not completed. The Sand Dunes Club was not a part of that deal, but other former clubs and retreats in Aiken, Lexington and Georgetown counties were, and some of those will be added to the state’s park system.

Brian Symmes, spokesman for Gov. Henry McMaster’s office, said the state had been interested in the Sand Dunes Club property, but the cost was too high.

“There was interest in it being part of the settlement agreement, but at the end of the day it was just much too expensive,” he said.

The more than 2,900 acres South Carolina acquired, which included the Pine Island Club on Lake Murray, cost the state about $50 million — the amount Dominion’s tax debt was reduced in exchange for those properties. The Sand Dunes Club property, less than 4 acres, would presumably have cost at least the $19 million Beemok Capital has offered, and make for an unusually expensive park purchase.

The tax settlement was a part of the relief provided to ratepayers, shareholders and governments who sued after Dominion’s predecessor SCE&G abruptly ended construction at the V.C. Summer site in 2017.

Review: ‘Into the Woods’ is the right show for right now (by the right company, too)

After the past two years of strange new terrain, we all know what it feels like to be thrust into the great unknown.And when it comes to musical theater, no one mined the complexities of modern life with equal parts emotional depth and abiding elan in quite the way that Stephen Sondheim did.The heralded composer and lyricist was such a touchstone that his death in November at age 91 inspired a groundswell of mourning that for one gulp-inducing, glistening moment transformed my Twitter feed into a stronghold of tenderness....

After the past two years of strange new terrain, we all know what it feels like to be thrust into the great unknown.

And when it comes to musical theater, no one mined the complexities of modern life with equal parts emotional depth and abiding elan in quite the way that Stephen Sondheim did.

The heralded composer and lyricist was such a touchstone that his death in November at age 91 inspired a groundswell of mourning that for one gulp-inducing, glistening moment transformed my Twitter feed into a stronghold of tenderness.

With all that in mind, the timing of a new production of Sondheim’s celebrated 1986 musical, “Into the Woods,” was, in a word, apt. Who else could gently, smilingly guide us from a world constructed of clear-cut, attainable goals to one with murky, messy outcomes?

That is, after all, the thrust of the musical. It takes some of our favorite Brothers Grimm fairy tales, then twists and intertwines them in ways that offer us all new inroads to the tricky task of being human. Red Riding Hood, for instance, has agency in some of Jack’s decisions regarding that bean stalk. Cinderella gets entangled with the baker and his wife, with her prince in hot pursuit.

And it all plays out in song after stirring song, weaving the characters together and setting them apart, wending from the affable and catchy then wading deeper in ways that feel so curiously, ingeniously good for the soul.

It could also be said that Holy City Arts & Lyric Opera, or HALO as it’s known, was just the musical company for the job. In the perilous thicket of the pandemic, they launched Social Distance-SING!, regularly loading a pickup truck with a Fox Music House piano to bring opera to neighborhoods, free of charge.

This fall, general director Leah Edwards and artistic director Dimitri Pittas (who are married) launched HALO’s first full season with a production of “La traviata” at the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park. Opera at The Joe, you ask? Yes, opera at The Joe. And, yes, it really worked.

So staging “Into the Woods” outside at Battery Gadsden Cultural Center on Sullivan’s Island represents the latest in HALO’s tradition of eschewing tradition.

For the production, they again tapped Ted Sperling as director. It should be noted that he comes to HALO with some serious Broadway bona fides, having served as music director for recent productions including “My Fair Lady” and “Fiddler on the Roof” (and starting with his first job as keyboard player for the original production of Sondheim’s and James Lapine’s “Sunday in the Park with George”).

It should also be noted that the effort necessary to mount this winning production was Herculean.

First off, it required building a theater on the site of historic fort and topping it off with a smart set that took full advantage of its surrounding forest. We were, literally, into the woods. Scenic designer Michael E. Downs did so to effective end, devising various platforms of rustic wood, on which all of the many places and plots could play out.

And then there’s that layered score, which entailed harnessing the talent to land one song after the next with equal parts vocal mastery and emotional resonance.

HALO did this by both bringing in some professional vocalists from afar, as well as grounding the show with local talent (among them Scott Pattison of PURE Theatre and Katie Small of Small Opera, as well as the local musicians who formed the live orchestra for the production, many of whom are bold-face names with Charleston Symphony). The result was a mix that was effective on stage and promising for Charleston’s artistic ecosystem.

About that talent: This is a production powered more by those phenomenal pipes than dramatic performances.

As Cinderella, Ashley Fabian transformed the crisp night air into a thing of stirring beauty. In the second act, when Brian Cali as Baker finally got his hard-earned big vocal moment after driving all that plot, he floored. As Rapunzel, Ashley Emerson also hit all the right notes, perfectly leveraging that stellar soprano voice to punctuate the action.

Some of the acting stood out. Audrey C. Black’s cheeky Red Riding Hood was just the ticket to portray the knife-wielding upstart, and was well-matched by Schyler Vargas’ lip-smacking Wolf. He was also comic catnip in his other role as Cinderella’s Prince, alongside Julian Black Gordon’s irresistibly grin-eliciting go at Rapunzel’s Prince. As Jack, Khamary Rose delivered true emotional resonance that served as the production’s moral core.

There were ample laughs, too, as evidenced by the convivial, all-in audience. I would contend there is even more humor to be coaxed from these Grimm characters rendered by Sondheim as all-too-humorously-human.

Props go to Carla Woods as Jack’s mother for such a coax, as well as her unflagging comic timing. And as Baker’s Wife, Molly Mustonen showed us her funny with her second-act (and vocal talents) in her stolen moments with Cinderella’s Prince.

Still, it is a delicate balance, this Sondheim business, as beneath all of the infectiously accessible spins on the Grimms, we eventually discover the lost little sheep that these Grimm figures are — well, that we all are. We are not, come to find out, out of the woods after all.

To wit: After suffering the bad behavior of The Witch for much of the show, I was utterly choked up by Marina Pires’ gutting rendition of “Stay with Me,” dreading as I already do the inevitable moment when my own daughter takes wing.

And, after all goes horribly awry and Fabian, Black, Cali Rose and Pires masterfully play the blame game in “Your Fault,” all excepting The Witch come together in “No One Is Alone,” a powerful message in these times when isolation was so unexpectedly thrust upon all of us.

All this, naturally, was buoyed by the exceptional musicianship of the 15-member live orchestra, which was situated nearby and which also offered many an uncannily-timed sound effect for the performers throughout.

With such riches on display, I’ll chalk up one or two flubbed lines and dead mics to opening-night vagaries, and I’m thinking you would too.

There is enough top talent and goodwill on offer to take a page from Sondheim’s book, and assure this inventive, ambitious, excellent Charleston company, who repeatedly go the distance to animate our spaces with song and heart, that they are not in it alone.

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© 2021 PM Health Alliance, LLC