Candidates: Sevastopol Town Supervisor

Four candidates for two positions

Robert Gamble

Gamble, 73, lives with his wife and has two adult children. He’s a U.S. Army veteran and attended Milwaukee Area Technical College. 

Relevant Experience/Civic Engagement

Gamble has served on boards for YMCA swimming and gymnastics teams, Jaycees, BSA, AMVETS and as one of Door County’s Veterans Advisory Committee members.

Derek Denil 

Denil, 30, is married and has a 16-month-old son. A 2008 Sturgeon Bay High School graduate, he also earned an associate degree in diesel-equipment technology and a technical diploma in emergency medical technician and firefighting from NWTC. 

Relevant Experience/Civic Engagement

I have been very engaged with the monthly town board meetings. This would include the 10-year Sevastopol Comprehensive Plan, which lays the blueprint for our town expansion. 

I listen to people and assess the situation to try to find a diagnosis to solve the problem at hand. This is one of the main reasons I became a first responder. I want to know how I can contribute and help the wonderful people of Sevastopol. 

As a county employee, I am also versed in the issues going around the whole county and how the decisions that are made at the town level affect the county as a whole. I am a hard worker and take pride in the projects that I am included in.

Jeanne Vogel

Vogel, 65, is married with two adult children. The Southern Door High School graduate attended NWTC and a school for real estate. 

Relevant Experience/Civic Engagement

Served on the board of directors for the Door County Board of Realtors. I am a real estate licensee in the state of Wisconsin who has served buyers and sellers for approximately 20 years. Co-owned an agricultural-based business in the Southern Door area for 10 years. I currently serve as president of the board for a nonprofit group of more than 100 volunteer members.

Darrick DeMeuse

DeMeuse, 41, is a Sevastopol High School graduate and studied at Northern Michigan University in communications, with television and radio production as a concentration. 

Relevant Experience/Civic Engagement

As a member of Sevastopol FFA Alumni, I have been assisting with the Dairy Breakfast every year when I could. As well as being a member of Open Door Pride, I have been helping with the pride event for the last two years. I have also been assisting the Sevastopol PEG Channel with filming various events when needed. 

What attributes and skills do you bring to the town board?

Robert Gamble (RG): Have lived in Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol for 49 years. With the experience mentioned above, I have a vast knowledge of subjects that affect the town board. I’m a strong believer in listening to others and making a decision that is good for the majority of residents.

Derek Denil (DD): I listen to people and assess the situation to try to find a diagnosis to solve the problem at hand. This is one of the main reasons I became a first responder. I want to know how I can contribute and help the wonderful people of Sevastopol. 

As a county employee, I am also versed in the issues going around the whole county and how the decisions that are made at the town level affect the county as a whole. I am a hard worker and take pride in the projects that I am included in.

Jeanne Vogel (JV): Serving as president of a board requires planning agendas and conducting meetings as well as dealing with day-to-day activities of the members. This also requires good communication skills. Practicing real estate and working with buyers and sellers requires knowledge of contracts as well as strong communication skills.

Darrick DeMeuse (DDM): Being on a management team for the last five years of my employment has exercised my skills in leadership and making tough decisions that are needed to benefit the organization and the people I represent. 

Rural broadband internet access has been cited as a problem by residents and businesses throughout Door County. What should the town do to increase broadband access?

RG: The town should support various companies pursuing rural broadband. There are several options currently available that range from poor to acceptable reception, depending on the location. It would be nice to have one or two good options for strong internet reception for everyone who desires the service.

DD: The Town of Sevastopol is currently working with Jacksonport on a rural broadband system. The project is still in the planning and zoning phase, but it’s a step forward nonetheless. I would be happy to follow this issue as a board member to help make sure this is a possibility for residents who are currently struggling with broadband access.

JV: The town board has a communications committee that addresses internet service and a cable channel, as well as other communications throughout the town. I believe this committee handles these all well.

DDM: I feel that question has many possibilities for solutions. First, making data towers more affordable for small-business service providers to expand their footprint is the most common solution that many local municipalities have been working on. 

Second, companies such as Spectrum and AT&T, which have the monopoly for phone and cable providers in our area. The need for them to step up and upgrade their current footprint should be mandated. If they want to continue to provide services, they need to start expanding to the areas they are neglecting. 

Do you believe the town is doing enough to ensure groundwater quality? If not, what more should the town be doing?

RG: There should already be rules and regulations in place at the township level. With regard to the larger dairy farms, fruit orchards, businesses and local residents, there should be monitoring done with various agencies at county and state levels to protect our water quality, with support from the township.

DD: Yes, Door County Soil and Water, along with the DNR, should strictly monitor farmland operations. I see this first hand with the small farm operation that my in-laws, Leist Century Farm, have to do to manage fields and how fertilizer will be placed according to soil and runoff issues that are directly related to their property. I believe that we do have to manage larger farming operations and mandate X number of acres per X number of cows to continue to have good groundwater quality throughout the Sevastopol area.

JV: The County of Door has very stringent nutrient-management practices and soil-depth restrictions. We also have an excellent sanitarian department in Door County.

DDM: First of all, the town responsibility should be minimal in that area. That is something that should be the responsibility of the county. However, I also feel that on the town level, we should not be too quick to blame farmers and others in the agricultural industry for responsible practices that have been established for hundreds of years. They have been used as scapegoats for ground pollution way too much in the area. 

I also feel we should make the well-drilling guidelines require a deeper depth because most wells in Door County with deeper wells tend to be the ones without issues. 

Affordable housing continues to be an issue in Door County. Should town government play a role in addressing the shortage of affordable rental units and homes for purchase, and if so, how?

RG: Government needs to review the applications of any building application for compliance to the township rules. It’s up to builders and realtors to assess the needs.

DD: Sevastopol needs to do more to expand the town core and provide parcels with access to the town septic system. It has become impossible for a young family to buy or build a house in the area due to the cost of land and septic systems. With a new school being built, the town needs to be proactive and bring families with children to the district.

JV: Affordable housing is certainly a concern for the entire county. Zoning and market conditions drive the price of real estate. The Door County Economic Development Corporation has studied this issue. I think this is a subject of ongoing discussions.

DDM: First of all, the main issue why there are now fewer rentals in the township than in previous years is because homeowners who used to have long-term rentals have switched to the Airbnbs and other types of rentals. I feel that it should not be allowed for many reasons – mainly, they are not under the same type of rules and standards as hotels, where I believe it can be a liability. 

What other issues do you hope to engage in as a member of the town board?

RG: Strive for better input into town issues from the majority of its residents instead of the minority. It appears that too many people are being complacent on some important issues that affect their township.

DD: I would like to address fire protection. More than five years ago, a study was done for Sevastopol providing its own fire service and what costs that would entail. There are many options to consider to keep costs down; for instance, buying used fire apparatus at a fraction of the cost. Also, with the assistance of Northern Door mutual-aid fire departments, I believe Sevastopol should reinvestigate this issue and keep our money here.

JV: The condition of our town roads can be an issue for many people. With 86 miles of town roads and a cost of $75,000 to $100,000 per mile, the cost of replacement of roadways is a challenge. I think the 2020 budget is $250,000. I believe the Sevastopol Town Board does a really great job of using our tax dollars responsibly.

DDM: I definitely want to make sure the community gets more involved with activities. I also want to help expand ways of keeping the community informed through the hopeful expansion of internet and more social networking and getting the meetings and events live-streamed.