Buying a home is one of the most significant investments that you will ever make. Like most good things, finding the perfect home comes with a lot of work. From your initial search online to your home tour and finally closing, there are many difficult decisions to make along the way. The bottom line is that the entire home buying process can be very stressful, especially when it comes to finding the right mortgage broker and loan for your new home. Since market conditions and mortgage programs change frequently, you have a lot riding on your broker's ability to provide quick and accurate financial advice. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or own several residential properties, you need a mortgage broker in Johns Island, SC, who can educate you on mortgage rates and provide trustworthy guidance to help you make an informed decision.
My name is Dan Crance - Johns Island's most trusted mortgage loan officer with more than 30 years in the mortgage industry. I bring unparalleled insight and decades of experience into your home loan process. If you're looking for a new home loan, are interested in refinancing your current mortgage, or need information regarding FHA, VA, or other types of loans, Dan Crance is Your Mortgage Man.
Unlike some mortgage loan officers in Johns Island, my primary goal is to help you make the right mortgage choice for you and your family. Mortgage lenders have a horrible reputation for turning over clients quickly to expedite cash flow and make the most money possible. While some mortgage brokers come off as pushy and impatient, I encourage my clients to take as much time as they need to ask questions and review their mortgage agreements. I'm here to help answer those questions and provide you with easy-to-understand advice so that you can rest easy knowing you made the right choice. I could say that I strive to provide service that exceeds your expectations, but I'd rather show you. In the end, I want you to leave feeling confident in the loan you've selected, as well as in your choice of broker.
Clients choose my mortgage company because I truly care about helping them navigate the often-confusing landscape of the mortgage process. I am fiercely dedicated to my clients and make every effort to provide them with trustworthy advice and an open line of communication.
In my business, I work for two different customers. On one hand, I have the buyer: the person entrusting me with the responsibility of guiding them through one of the most important decisions ever. Serving homebuyers is not a task that I take lightly. I work with them daily to help them through the process and provide timely updates and news on their mortgage status. On the other hand, I have the realtor: the person who works with my client to find their dream home. Since their commission is in my hands, working with realtors is also a very important task. I update these agents on the status of their customers weekly. Only when I take care of both parties can I say my job as a mortgage loan officer is complete.
As a mortgage broker with more than 30 years of experience, I pledge to give you the highest level of customer service while providing you with the most competitive loan products available. That way, you can buy the home of your dreams without second-guessing your decision.
At Classic Home Mortgage, our team works diligently to close on time without stress or hassle. Whether you're a seasoned homeowner or are buying your new home in Johns Island, we understand how much stress is involved. Our goal is to help take that stress off of your plate by walking you through every step of the home loan process. Because every one of our clients is different, we examine each loan with fresh eyes and a personalized approach, to find you the options and programs you need.
With over 30 years as a mortgage professional in Johns Island, Dan Crance will help you choose the home loan, interest rate, term options, and payment plans that fit your unique situation.
30-Year Loan - This loan is often considered the most secure option to choose. With a 30-year loan, you can lock in a low payment amount and rest easy knowing your rate won't change.
FHA Loan - If you're not able to make a large down payment, an FHA loan could be the right choice for you. With an FHA loan, many of our clients have successfully purchased a home with less than 4% down.
VA Loan - This loan is reserved for military veterans and active-duty men and women. Those who qualify may be able to purchase a home with no down payment and no Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).
Because home mortgage rates in the U.S. have been so low over the last year, many current homeowners are opting to refinance their home loans. Simply put, refinancing is replacing your existing mortgage with a different mortgage under new terms. Homeowners who refinance their homes enjoy lower interest rates, lower monthly payments, and even turn their home's equity into cash. If you're interested in refinancing your home, it all begins with a call to your mortgage broker in Johns Island, SC - Dan Crance.
Refinancing from a 30-year to a 15-year mortgage might seem counterproductive on the surface because your monthly payment usually goes up. However, interest rates on 15-year mortgages are lower. And when you shave off years of your previous mortgage, you will pay less interest over time. These savings can be very beneficial if you are not taking the mortgage interest deduction on your tax returns.
FHA loans are notorious for paying premiums for the life of the loan. Mortgage insurance premiums for FHA loans can cost borrowers as much as $1,050 a year for every $100k borrowed. The only way to get rid of mortgage insurance premiums is to refinance to a new loan that the Federal Housing Authority does not back.
Sometimes, borrowers with adjustable-rate mortgages refinance so they can switch to a fixed rate, which lets them lock in an interest rate. Doing so is beneficial for some homeowners who like to know exactly how much their monthly payment is each month. Conversely, some homeowners with fixed rates prefer to refinance to an adjustable-rate mortgage. Homeowners often go this route if they plan on selling in a few years and don't mind risking a higher rate if their plans fall through.
Finding the right loan can be a difficult proposition, even if you have been through the process before. This is especially true since mortgage rates and market conditions change frequently. If you're like most of my clients, you probably have questions about interest rates, refinancing options, and a litany of other topics. To help alleviate some of your stress, here are just a few common questions with answers so that you can better educate yourself as we work our way to securing your loan.
Nearly 200 historic trees on Johns Island were on the chopping block at a Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Dec. 7, and the debate surrounding their removal is stirring up questions about preserving the island’s natural habitat while planning for booming population growth at the city’s outer edges.Developers requested permission to cut down 193 “grand” trees across two developments in cases heard before the board, which reviews projects that need special exceptions to city ordinances.The grand c...
Nearly 200 historic trees on Johns Island were on the chopping block at a Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Dec. 7, and the debate surrounding their removal is stirring up questions about preserving the island’s natural habitat while planning for booming population growth at the city’s outer edges.
Developers requested permission to cut down 193 “grand” trees across two developments in cases heard before the board, which reviews projects that need special exceptions to city ordinances.
The grand classification means the trees are more than 24 inches in diameter, likely indicating that they are well over 100 years old. As a result, they are protected by city ordinance. Not only are the trees considered an aesthetic trademark of the once entirely rural island but they are also a key component of the area’s ecosystem and a natural flood prevention tool.
“The trees help us for resilience, absorbing water, supplying shade and wildlife habitat,” John Zlogar, chair of the community group Johns Island Task Force, told The Post and Courier. He is one of nearly 30 residents who submitted comments to the zoning board in favor of saving as many trees as possible amid development.
The board ultimately approved both tree removal plans with some caveats.
Developers of the first project, a 71-home planned community near Fenwick Hall Plantation, requested permission to cut down 21 trees. The zoning appeals board reduced that to 15. They also stipulated that the developers of the property must hire an arborist to create a protection plan for the remaining trees and plant 151 new native trees with at least a 2½-inch diameter.
The developers argued that after having an arborist evaluate the trees on the property, the ones slated for removal were already in poor health.
“We designed the proposed concept plan which ultimately preserves 36 grand trees and impacts grand trees only with a health grade ‘D’ or lower,” wrote Jenna Nelson in a letter to the zoning board. Nelson leads the development’s engineering team, Bowman Consulting Group.
If those trees fell naturally, however, they would have returned organic matter to the ecosystem, promoting other forms of plant life that provide food for animals and insects, said Philip Dustan, an ecology professor at the College of Charleston.
“When (the tree) falls down. it slowly rots and releases its nutrients,” he said.
Tree removals at the second project on Johns Island, called Wooddale, were also approved by the board. Instead of removing 172 trees as originally requested, the developers revised the plan to remove 124. They must also develop a protection plan for the remaining trees and plant about 500 native 2½-inch or wider trees. They also have plans to establish a conservation easement along the southern portion of the property, meaning it will be protected from development moving forward.
“Multiple layout alternatives have been explored by following the natural contours of the site by placing most of the density in the highest area to minimize the cut and fill needed as well as minimize the tree and environmental impacts,” wrote Jason Hutchinson, an engineer for the development with firm Thomas & Hutton.
The Wooddale project has been in the works since 2013 because of a lawsuit that hinged on disagreements between the city and the developer about how to zone the development. As proposed, it includes single-family homes, offices, an assisted-living facility and other amenities, according to site plans. Because it is south of the island’s urban growth boundary, it is subject to stricter limitations than the northern tip of the island. The boundary was established decades ago as a way to preserve the island’s rural origins.
The Woodale tract sits not too far away from Charleston Executive Airport where conservationists secured a win earlier this year. The Charleston County Aviation Authority signed off on a deal to place just under 100 acres in a legally binding conservation easement. An agreement with Lowcountry Land Trust will keep 94 acres from ever being developed there.
As growth continues within the boundary’s limits, some residents are trying to advocate for developments with as little ecological impact as possible on the southern side of the boundary line.
Dustan, who lives near Wooddale, is not pleased with the upcoming development. The most ecologically sensitive solution, he said, would be to build elevated homes on pilings and keep all the existing trees intact.
By removing the native trees, the surrounding area is robbed of parts of a centuries-old root network, which can affect the health of surrounding trees.
“A lot of the trees that you see are actually related to each other,” he said.
Although the development follows the city’s storm water standards, Dustan is concerned that runoff created by the new development will overflow nearby Burden Creek during major ran events.
After hurricane Ian came through in September, water was about a foot below breaching the banks of the creek, he said.
“The curious thing is ... if we keep building like this, we might start flooding the new communities, too,” he said.
Johns Island is seeing a massive influx of growth in ways that is not possible in more developed areas of the city. As a result, the island is seeing a patchwork of new developments separated by stretches of farmland and forests. Longtime residents want to see the city use modern planning tools to lessen the impact of new development on the environment and flooding.
“The area inside the urban growth boundary is only 20 percent of the island, let’s contain the growth in that 20 percent to make sure it’s smart,” Zlogar said.
A citywide water plan, which is currently in the works, will look at the city as a whole to see what types of flood mitigation are needed most and where they would have the most impact. Instead of tackling flood concerns on a project-by-project basis, the city is looking at ways to stop development that increases flooding and identify which flood projects need to be prioritized first.
Instead of trying to drain water as quickly as possible, the city’s main strategy is shifting toward effectively storing floodwater, such as in detention basins, and letting it slowly disperse. One advantage of this approach is that it helps prevent a sinking effect called subsidence. Shifting ground levels due to the movement of groundwater threaten buildings’ foundations and worsen flood risk. Forrest are a natural asset in this type of flood prevention, Dustan said.
“The best way to solve a problem is preventing it from happening in the first place,” he said.
The water plan will be worked into a new citywide zoning ordinance that Charleston officials are also currently drafting.
In the new version, officials want the zoning maps — the guide for what can get built where — to be based on elevation. High ground near major roadways will be fair game for high-density development, in most cases. Low-lying areas and wetlands will be restricted to little or no use at all. The ground rules for development will vary in each area of town. It’s an opportunity to set the framework for how Johns Island can grow in a sustainable way.
As these changes come down the pipeline, Johns Island residents will also have a new advocate in City Hall.
From 2010 to 2020, census data shows the island’s population within Charleston city limits doubled from nearly 5,300 residents to almost 12,000. As a result, in recently approved City Council redistricting maps, Johns Island will get its own council member for the first time in 2024.
How the city approaches tree preservation will need to be tailored to Johns Island, too, Zlogar said. The existing tree ordinance was designed with more developed areas of the city, such as the peninsula, in mind. There, developers are typically requesting to remove one or two trees in an already built-out neighborhood. But on Johns Island, developers are purchasing lots with upwards of 100 acres of land.
“We have a tree ordinance but to my knowledge there is no forest ordinance and that is the problem,” Zlogar said.
Every tree removed affects the overall ecosystem of a forest. And replanting smaller trees, even of the same variety, doesn’t have the same ecological benefit.
“It’s the equivalent of tearing down an apartment building and putting up a woodshed,” he said.
The other concern from Dustan and other community members is that the tree ordinance does not take a holistic view of the island. Saving contiguous swaths of forest is more effective strategy than saving groups of trees on a lot-by-lot basis. Having interrupted clusters of forest reduces storm water absorption and splits up wildlife habitats as well.
“We’re not seeing the forest for the trees,” Dustan said.
Reach Emma Whalen at 843-708-5837. Follow her on Twitter @_emma_whalen.
Charleston County has received a reduced cost estimate for the long-planned and controversial Mark Clark Extension project, but it’s a price tag that would still leave the county responsible for paying $1.78 billion.That’s about five times the county’s yearly general fund budget.Several council members who support finishing the Interstate 526 loop said the most likely path toward paying for it would be another half-percent sale tax increase that would require local voter approval.“We just have to ...
Charleston County has received a reduced cost estimate for the long-planned and controversial Mark Clark Extension project, but it’s a price tag that would still leave the county responsible for paying $1.78 billion.
That’s about five times the county’s yearly general fund budget.
Several council members who support finishing the Interstate 526 loop said the most likely path toward paying for it would be another half-percent sale tax increase that would require local voter approval.
“We just have to be willing to move forward and do it,” Councilwoman Jenny Honeycutt said. “Every day I get more and more calls.”
The project would create a 9½-mile, four-lane road from the current end of I-526 in West Ashley, to Johns Island and then onto James Island with a connection to the end of the James Island connector at Folly Road.
Most of the road would be elevated, with a proposed speed limit between 35 and 45 mph.
The marginally better cost estimate was delivered by S.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall in a letter to the county. The previous price tag was estimated at $2.35 billion, while the new estimate that followed a consultant’s study came in at $2.2 billion.
“I think initially there was some thought that maybe we have overinflated the numbers,” Hall said.
When the higher cost estimate came out in May, Bradly Taggart, co-founder of Charlestonians for I-526, told County Council members that a temporary spike in commodity prices was likely to blame. He predicted that “we could be looking at a project that costs half as much in six months’ time as the market rebalances.”
Instead, the estimate dropped by less than 7 percent.
Hall said the estimated $150 million reduction came mainly from reducing the cost of potential “risk elements” — surprises during construction, such as unplanned conflicts with utilities or unexpected poor soil conditions — and partly from reducing expected cost inflation.
“This estimate has built into it every possible contingency for things that could go wrong,” said Honeycutt, who said she thinks the actual cost will be lower.
Hall asked the county to develop “a financial plan that is rational and realistic” for the entire road project, which would be required in order to get final approval for an environmental review from the federal government. She also asked the county to approve $150 million in preliminary work, with the county paying half that cost, to keep the plan moving forward.
Honeycutt and Council Chairman Teddie Pryor both said they favor a new half-percent sales tax referendum as the best way to pay the cost. County voters previously approved two such sales tax increases, mostly to fund road projects.
Pryor said if there were another referendum, it could be entirely dedicated to funding the Mark Clark Extension. The most recent sales tax increase, following a 2016 referendum, was expected to raise $1.89 billion for specified road projects in the county, over 25 years.
The county received the new cost estimate for the Mark Clark Extension on Dec. 2, a spokesperson said, and has not had time to discuss it. The earlier higher estimate was delivered to the county in May.
“I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry,” Councilman Henry Darby said at the time. “I would never, ever go with this.”
The Mark Clark Extension has lots of support, including the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, the city of Charleston and the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, but also lots of opposition. The Coastal Conservation League said in May that the multibillion-dollar price tag “is a perfect opportunity for Charleston County Council to walk away from this project.”
A community organization called Nix 526 has also been fighting the extension, and Charleston Waterkeeper and the S.C. Wildlife Federation have raised objections.
Supporters say it’s necessary for traffic relief and possible hurricane evacuations, while opponents say it will increase development on Johns Island and harm the environment while providing little traffic relief at great cost.
New roads tend to provide traffic relief for a time but also spur development. The existing portion of I-526 from North Charleston to Mount Pleasant initially provided traffic relief and a new hurricane evacuation option, but it also accelerated development in northern Mount Pleasant and on Daniel Island. The state is currently planning to spend about $4 billion to widen that part of the interstate.
Here are some numbers to put $1.78 billion in context:
The S.C. Department of Transportation assumes that if the Mark Clark Extension project goes forward, litigation could delay it by two or three years.
Pryor blamed opponents for the rising costs of the project, and said it could have been built for far less years or decades ago. In 2015, the cost estimate was $725 million.
Unlike the even-more-expensive plans to widen and improve the existing sections of I-526 — for about $7 billion — the state in 2019 limited its contribution to the Mark Clark Extension project to $420 million and the county agreed to finance the rest.
“Our interstate program is focused on upgrading our existing interstates,” said Hall, and those plans are focused on moving freight and aiding commerce. The state is pursuing plans to widen all or portions of interstates 526, 26 and 95, and to redesign multiple interchanges.
County Council is expected to discuss options for the Mark Clark Extension at a future meeting. Hall did not put a deadline on her request for action.
After a decade of booming population growth, Johns Island may get its own representative on Charleston City Council.But making that change could cost a sitting council member their seat.The island is now in District 5, which also spans much of outer West Ashley. It is represented by Councilman Karl Brady, who lives in West Ashley.Two newly proposed City Council district maps...
After a decade of booming population growth, Johns Island may get its own representative on Charleston City Council.
But making that change could cost a sitting council member their seat.
The island is now in District 5, which also spans much of outer West Ashley. It is represented by Councilman Karl Brady, who lives in West Ashley.
Two newly proposed City Council district maps make Johns Island its own district without any extension into West Ashley. That means the City Council member to represent it would have to live on Johns Island.
“There is no one on council right now that drives our roads every day, sends their kids to school here, works here or lives here,” said John Zlogar, chairman of the Johns Island Task Force.
The group was established in 2013 to bring together residents and local officials to address Johns Island-specific issues.
While Zlogar said he has no issue with Brady, he said he would like to have a council member who can put their sole focus on the island.
“We will feel like we have someone that has our voice,” he said.
The island, which is partially within the city of Charleston and partially within unincorporated Charleston County, has deep roots in agriculture and the city’s Black history. Several Black family farms have run their businesses on the island since Reconstruction, when formerly enslaved laborers took over former plantations.
An “urban growth boundary,” established across the island limits where agricultural land must be protected and where development is allowed. Most of the city’s side of the island is located within the urban growth boundary and as a result has seen a massive influx of residents looking for a lower cost of living than the city’s core. Between 2010 and 2020, District 5, the district with Johns Island and West Ashley, grew a staggering 154 percent.
Charleston Chief Innovation Officer Tracy McKee has led the city through the redistricting process three times in her career. Factoring in population growth between 2010 and 2020, McKee and city staff have been in the process of redrawing the council district boundaries for months.
“Four council members live on the peninsula, but we’ve had more growth in Berkeley County on Daniel Island and on Johns Island,” McKee said.
Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau releases new population and demographic data that governments use to redraw voting districts. In 2020, it was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
City Council voted last summer to delay redistricting until after the fall 2021 election.
Officials try to balance the population size of each district as well as their geographic spread. In Charleston, for example, it would be impractical to include Daniel Island and outer West Ashley in the same district.
Initially, city staff put out one proposal in July. That plan kept all sitting council members within their current districts. None of them were at risk of losing their seat or having to run against each other to keep their seat. But the proposal split Johns island into three districts that included other areas of the city as well.
The map was met with some criticism for the wide span of geography each district covered. Districts were stretched from the peninsula far into West Ashley and District 11, covered parts of West Ashley, James Island and Johns Island.
The League of Women Voters published a commentary in The Post and Courier calling for more compact districts.
“Drawing districts to protect incumbents means the maps defy logic in many places. James Island remains divided into three different districts, one with very dubious contiguity as it crosses briefly over West Ashley and onto the peninsula. Johns Island, now all in District 5, will be divided into three different districts, diluting the voices of those residents,” the league wrote.
The league now supports the new proposals, mainly because the districts don’t stretch as far across the city.
“They keep communities together. These really prioritize citizen interests,” said Leslie Skardon, the director of advocacy for the League of Women Voters.
On Aug. 28, city staff unveiled two alternative maps that took some of that feedback into consideration. The two new maps, referred to as 1A and 1B, are almost identical except for their effects on two current peninsula districts.
Both maps make Johns Island its own district.
To create the Johns Island district, city staff proposed two options. They can move District 3 or District 6 off of the West Side of the peninsula to only cover West Ashley. If District 3 moves off, District 6 will absorb the portion of the West Side that is currently in District 3.
Because District 3 Councilman Jason Sakran lives on the peninsula, he would be drawn out of his district. He would have to run for District 6 against fellow Councilman William Dudley Gregorie. But that seat is not up for election until 2025. In the meantime, depending on when council decides to make the maps effective, a special election would determine who represents the new West Ashley-only version of District 3.
The other scenario would be that District 6 would move off of its portion of the West Side of the peninsula. In that case, Gregorie, who lives also in the West Side, would be drawn into Councilman Sakran’s District 3. Because District 3 is up for election in 2023, the two would face off sooner.
Sakran said he would be OK with running against Gregorie in 2023, but he is most favorable of the original map that keeps all council members in their respective districts.
“You are overhauling peoples’ elected representatives to the tune of 40 percent of the city’s population,” Sakran said of the new proposals.
According to the city, if the original proposal is accepted, about 30 percent of the city’s population will end up in new council districts. If either of the alternatives are chosen, that number will move up to 39 percent.
Another factor in the process is the establishment of minority-majority districts. Districts 4 and 7 on the all three map proposals are majority-minority districts. They cover the upper peninsula and part of West Ashley, respectively. When the maps were last redrawn in 2010, the city went from having five majority-minority districts to three. Now the city is guaranteed to have two. As demographics shift, it’s difficult to group minority voters together and ensure their voice is in the majority in any part of the city, McKee said.
City Council will review the map proposals at its Sept. 13 meeting. No action will be taken. A public hearing will be held in the fall. Residents can view the maps and leave comments online the city’s redistricting “Open Town Hall” webpage at www.charleston-sc.gov/Redistricting2020. Email comments are accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Emma Whalen at 843-708-5837. Follow her on Twitter @_emma_whalen.
NORTH CHARLESTON — A man provided Charleston County deputies with a different name before he took off running across several lanes of a major road and jumping from an overpass.Kelvin Cole, 56, died Oct. 28 after being struck by multiple cars on Interstate 26. Investigators later determined he had active arrest warrants from Charleston County’s Family Court and the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services.Cole, who lived and worked as a welder in Johns Island, was riding in the passenger seat of a car...
NORTH CHARLESTON — A man provided Charleston County deputies with a different name before he took off running across several lanes of a major road and jumping from an overpass.
Kelvin Cole, 56, died Oct. 28 after being struck by multiple cars on Interstate 26. Investigators later determined he had active arrest warrants from Charleston County’s Family Court and the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services.
Cole, who lived and worked as a welder in Johns Island, was riding in the passenger seat of a car when a deputy stopped it for alleged traffic violations. The car’s 31-year-old driver was ultimately given a warning.
Attempts to reach Cole’s family Nov. 2 were unsuccessful.
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office released an incident report Nov. 2, several days after Cole’s death. It provides new details on what preceded the moment he ran from the deputy.
Deputy Tanner Buller was patrolling around 10:30 p.m. near Stall and Mazyck roads in North Charleston when he noticed a white SUV swerve several times from its lane, the report states. The driver also failed to use a turn signal when changing lanes.
Buller, who has worked in law enforcement for five years, had a deputy-in-training with him during the stop. He flipped on his blue lights and the SUV pulled over onto the Ashley Phosphate Road overpass, which sits atop I-26.
Buller spoke with the car’s driver through the passenger-side window. The driver denied he had been drinking, but Buller wrote he could smell marijuana and alcohol coming from the vehicle’s passenger side. The car’s passenger, later identified as Cole, told the deputy his name was Raymond Brown.
Buller had both men get out of their car so he could search them. The driver admitted he’d smoked marijuana earlier in the day, the report states.
When Cole exited the car, Buller saw a beer can near the passenger seat. Buller found Cole’s driver’s license and noticed it did not match the name he’d provided the deputy.
Buller tried to detain Cole “but he pulled away and fled on foot” across Ashley Phosphate Road, the report states. The deputy chased Cole while trying to avoid traffic.
He repeatedly asked Cole to stop but the man “eventually jumped over the guardrail,” the report states. Buller saw Cole’s hands “grabbing the rail for a brief period” before he appeared to let go and fall onto I-26, the report states.
Buller never drew his weapon, said Andrew Knapp, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman. The deputy remains on duty. In addition to conducting its own internal review, the Sheriff’s Office also requested State Law Enforcement Division investigate the incident, Knapp said.
Investigators searched Cole’s name in a federal database and found he had an active warrant with the probation department, as well as three bench warrants with Charleston County’s Family Court.
Cole was the defendant in an ongoing child support case filed in 2016, court records show.
He was placed on a year of probation in February 2020 after pleading guilty in Charleston County to a forgery charge. Cole’s probation sentence would not be terminated until he paid all associated fees, said Anita Dantzler, a department spokeswoman.
Cole owed nearly $2,500 to the department, records show.
Providing benefits like time off and health insurance for hourly workers is a relatively new concept at Charleston restaurants and hotels. Many still do not offer these services for non-salaried employees.Through its Hospitality Inclusion Project Initiative, the Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic on Johns Island is helping fill a statewide coverage gap by providing free health care, referrals, emergency care and some prescription services to qualifying uninsured hospi...
Providing benefits like time off and health insurance for hourly workers is a relatively new concept at Charleston restaurants and hotels. Many still do not offer these services for non-salaried employees.
Through its Hospitality Inclusion Project Initiative, the Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic on Johns Island is helping fill a statewide coverage gap by providing free health care, referrals, emergency care and some prescription services to qualifying uninsured hospitality workers in downtown Charleston, though you don’t have to be a hospitality worker to be eligible to receive regular clinic care.
Those who live or work on Johns Island, James Island, Wadmalaw Island, Folly Beach, Meggett, Ravenel, Hollywood and Walterboro can also receive care at the clinic.
“We want to make a medical home for them,” said BIFMC Medical Director Dr. David Peterseim.
What exactly does that mean? According to Peterseim, clinic nurses and doctors want to establish care with their patients and see them regularly. In addition to primary care, patients have access to doctors in 19 subspecialties, such as cardiology and gynecology. The clinic’s strategic partnership with Roper St. Francis Healthcare means patients can get free lab tests, cancer screenings and X-rays, along with emergency care at Roper, as long as they are enrolled before the emergency.
“You’ve got a quarterback and a quarterback with all kinds of support from pharmacy to radiology to invasive procedures that are all waiting to see what you need next,” Peterseim said. “You don’t have to chase the emergency room bill that’s going to come if you weren’t enrolled.”
A certified nonprofit, BIFMC’s workforce includes nine paid employees and 130 volunteers, including nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors.
“‘What’s the catch?’ is what some people think,” Peterseim said. “There is no bill generated from any care that’s delivered from the 37 doctors that work here every month.”
The center was opened in 2008 by two retired doctors, Arthur Booth and Charlie Davis, who wanted to establish a clinic that could treat working adults. Initially serving the Johns Island community and surrounding islands, BIFMC in 2018 opened a new clinic across the parking lot from the old one. With this state-of-the-art facility that has the look and feel of a normal outpatient doctor’s office, BIFMC has since expanded its areas of coverage, leading about 1,000 patients to its doors each year.
A member of the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, BIFMC follows the 299 percent poverty guidelines when deciding who qualifies for care. Uninsured individuals aged 18 to 65 in BIFMC’s service area must earn less than $40,634 annually to qualify, while couples who make $54,746 can visit the clinic. (Each additional person in a household adds $14,112 to the upward limit.) Patients must qualify every year.
BIFMC’s patient population was at an all-time high prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Clinic Director Brenda Falls, who said they’re biggest obstacle is raising awareness that they are there. With seven exam rooms, BIFMC has room to nearly double its capacity.
“We were just making a lot of traction, seeing some of our highest numbers that we’d ever seen, and then COVID hit,” Falls said. “If you’re not constantly creating awareness then people really don’t know that we’re here.”
“One of the biggest obstacles to getting patients is adults not realizing they’re eligible,” said Carrie Moores, BIFMC director of Development and Communications. “In my mind, those who work in the hospitality industry are kind of the perfect example of a person who would qualify in a clinic like ours.”
BIFMC can be a resource for the more than 100,000 South Carolinians who fall in the insurance coverage gap.
A decade has passed since the U.S. Supreme Court first upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, but the court did so with a caveat. One of ACA’s central tenets — an expansion of the low-income Medicaid program to cover all adults who fall below the federal poverty line — became optional, with the court deciding states could not be compelled to participate in Medicaid expansion. Many states immediately decided the deal was too good to turn down, while several others, including South Carolina, opted out. The Palmetto State remains one of 11 states that have yet to expand the Medicaid program.
“Typically these lower income adults who rely on our services do not receive healthcare benefits via their place of employment, or they work multiple part time jobs without the benefits of any one full time employment. This is particularly true among those in hospitality,” Moores said. “I would say around 75 percent of our patients currently work at least one job, with many working as many as two to three jobs and still cannot afford to access health care.”
Many of the clinic’s volunteers are retired doctors who still have the urge to help those in need. Peterseim, who previously worked as a heart and lung surgeon at Roper for 15 years, was inspired to do more volunteer work after temporarily living with his family in Costa Rica, where he was performing surgeries at a free clinic.
“There are a lot of people that need care, so I got more involved in this project,” Peterseim said.
Some volunteers are active providers, including a dermatologist who closes their private practice every other week to work at BIFMC, while others are using their clinic work as a technical training ground as they pursue careers in medicine.
Diana Osorio has spent 165 hours caring for patients at BIFMC, work that will soon help her become a full-time nurse practitioner.
“You see everything from just regular visits to, ‘You need to go to the emergency room today,’” Osorio said. “What we do here is so meaningful to the patients that we see.”
Prospective patients can learn more about the clinic and fill out an application at bifmc.org.