• October 22, 2019

Myers, Johnston seek Ward 1 seat in Somers Point - Ocean City Sentinel: News

Myers, Johnston seek Ward 1 seat in Somers Point

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Posted: Wednesday, October 9, 2019 10:29 am

Editor’s note: The Sentinel sent questionnaires to the candidates seeking input for this article. Both were given the same opportunity to share what they thought were the most important things voters should know.

SOMERS POINT — A political newcomer will take on a recent appointee Nov. 5 in the Somers Point City Council election.

Dan Myers will face off against Janice Johnston, who was appointed to one of two Ward 1 seats after former councilman Ron Meischker resigned from the position in July, saying he was moving out of the city.

Myers, 70, and his wife of 27 years, Alice Myers, have three grown children and seven grandchildren.

He moved to New Jersey from Pennsylvania in 1972 to take a position as a manager at Fischer Greenhouses in Linwood. While at Fischer’s, the company won awards at flower shows and he gave gardening talks. 

In 1982, he attended Atlantic Cape Community College for respiratory therapy and earned an AAS degree with honors. For three years, while attending ACCC, he ran his own landscaping business.

He was employed for 33 years as a registered respiratory therapist and registered pulmonary function technologist in southern New Jersey, mostly at Shore Medical Center. He was a clinical instructor for respiratory therapy students and conducted lectures to nurses and allied health care professionals. He served three years as a manager of cardiopulmonary services, where he developed many state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic protocols to benefit patients. He has since retired from that career. 

Myers started a successful wedding photography business in 1984. He currently does family portraits and events but concentrates on landscape photography and fine art printing with a retail gallery at Stainton’s in Ocean City. 

He has lived since 1974 in Somers Point, where he purchased a home in 1992. Myers raised all his children in the city, with all three graduating from Mainland Regional High School. 

Myers said he is an active member of the Somers Point Arts Commission, the Somers Point Democrats and Somers Point Fitness, through which he made “numerous important local connections, friends and acquaintances photographing family and city events and working at Shore Medical Center.”

“I want to serve to offer my unique perspective for the future of Somers Point. My education and experience as a horticulturist, homeowner, health care professional, manager and photographer has given me a wide background in appreciating and understanding the area and its people,” Myers said. “I feel Somers Point would benefit by my care and concern for the people, environment and natural beauty. Keeping the people of the area employed needs to be balanced with care for open spaces, quality of life and sustainability.”

He believes his work experience lends itself to serving on City Council.

“I am a proven leader as a business owner and manager who has shown strong collaboration and teamwork skills. I have mentored both new students and seasoned professionals in health care science. I have negotiated and resolved conflicts with fellow employees concerning employment and union issues. I have overseen projects both large and small while managing complex departments. I have conducted numerous productive meetings with clear agendas and goals,” he said. “I am deeply committed to serving all the people and seek a true balance in a strong economy and quality of life.”

Myers thinks the major issues the city faces include assuring future generations continue to enjoy a high quality of life. He thinks it’s important to create and present a strong image that Somers Point is a great place to live and to keep and improve the natural beauty of the city.

He would promote sustainability by enforcing existing laws, improving recycling, making informed choices, encouraging gardening and minimizing waste.

Myers said branding the city would be accomplished by organizing residents and leaders to participate in a concentrated rebranding effort to keep the city growing and thriving.

He also would like to start a green initiative with tree planting, subsidized painting and fix-up, repairing street lights, encouraging renovation in blighted areas and inspiring new ideas.

Johnston, 63, has two grown step-children and 13 nieces and nephews with her husband, Charles Falkenstein. 

She graduated from Upper Darby (Pa.) High School, Delaware County Community College, Vineland Beauty Academy and South Jersey Real Estate School. She currently works as a commercial and residential real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway in Northfield, but has extensive business experience. She and her husband are the owners of the Philly Pretzel Factory in Egg Harbor Township and she previously owned Classic Image Hair Salon in Linwood and the Boardwalk Peanut Store in Ocean City. She also was a part-time dispatcher for the State Police.

Her political experience includes serving on City Council since Aug. 21, 2019, serving on the Somers Point Zoning Board, the Somers Point Economic Development Advisory Commission and the Mainland Regional High School Board of Education. She also is president of Lawson’s Pride of Somers Point, a U.S. Coast Guard support group, and is an executive board member of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce.

Johnston said she would like to help keep Somers Point a “great place to live.”

“Somers Point has so much to offer. I would like to play a part in keeping it a great city and promoting its growth for future generations,” she said. 

She said her work and civil service experience make her a great candidate.

“I believe that my experience as a successful business owner, my time on the boards and organizations, and my passion for the city of Somers Point will give me the wisdom to make positive change according to the collective vision of our citizens. I will be a good steward for the city and the taxpayers, as I have shown this through the many hours volunteering and participating with our local clubs and organizations over the years,” she said. “With the countless hours of involvement in the city already, I am aware of the issues and the players as well as the road map to accomplish what needs to get done to represent the citizens of our town.”

Johnston believes in a collective form of governing.

“There are many moving parts in the city and I have my own opinions in the city. When I am elected I would like to set up a strategic planning session with the City Council, the Planning Board, the Zoning Board and the EDAC in a public meeting to discuss the direction and plans for the town’s future in an effort to get consensus, and then make a plan to accomplish those goals. It’s not about what one person thinks as much as it’s about what the majority believes,” she said. “I am currently a member of the EDAC in town and we have many ideas and plans to do just that, while keeping the charm of the city intact. I will continue to be an adviser of council on the EDAC and I am excited for what the future holds.”

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