+ Minder enters County Commission race
Another candidate has emerged in the race for the District 4 seat on the Sarasota County Commission.
Local engineer John Minder, who was a frequent critic of the county government before and during the procurement scandal, has filed to run without a party affiliation for the seat currently held by Commissioner Nora Patterson. Minder, who owns Minder & Associates Engineering Corp., has lived in the county for 33 years and never run for office before.
“Ninety percent of everything that comes before the (County Commission) is engineer-related, and Sarasota County needs a registered professional engineer on the (County Commission),” Minder said in an email.
Minder said the procurement issues and the fiscal neutrality provision in the Sarasota 2050 long-term planning document inspired him to run for the County Commission.
Joining the 2014 General Election race, Minder will face the winner of the primary between Republicans Al Maio and Lourdes Ramirez, and Democrat Ray Porter. The four candidates are vying to replace Patterson, who has represented Siesta Key and middle portions of the county since 1998.
+ City commissioner announces resignation
Sarasota City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo has announced his resignation effective Nov. 18, to seek a seat on the Sarasota County Commission.
“I truly appreciate the working relationship I have enjoyed with your office and look forward to continuing that relationship through the completion of my service,” said Caragiulo in a May 25 letter that City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini forwarded to Gov. Rick Scott and Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent.
Running against city resident Pete Theisen and former Sarasota County deputy and fellow Commissioner Shannon Snyder, Caragiulo recently picked up an endorsement from Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight. County Commissioner Joe Barbetta, a downtown resident, was the first to endorse Caragiulo as his replacement.
Caragiulo has raised nearly $25,000 for his campaign so far, less a $5,000 loan to himself, while Theisen has garnered just less than $1,000 in kind or monetary contributions from supporters.
Snyder and Caragiulo have been in the majority on the City Commission in support of progressing the construction of a come-as-you-are homeless shelter, for which the County Commission has generally supported unanimously.
“I am a city person,” said Caragiulo upon announcing his candidacy to the Sarasota Observer last year. “I am an absolute, committed, dyed-in-the-wool urbanist, and I think the county is much better at recognizing the importance of the city’s infrastructure and what the city provides.”
+ Selby Gardens CEO announces retirement
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens CEO and President Thomas Buchter announced that he will retire in October.
Buchter has served as the head of Selby Gardens since 2009. In a press release, the organization credits Buchter with overseeing a period of growth and stability at Selby Gardens.
“As a result of his leadership, Selby Gardens’ future is strong and financially secure,” said Cathy Layton, chairwoman of Selby’s board of trustees. “A renewed enthusiasm is felt garden- and community-wide.”
In 2013, Selby Gardens opened the Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden, with Buchter leading a $5 million fundraising campaign to construct the new facility.
As president and CEO, Buchter said he has focused on fostering relationships with Selby Gardens’ customers.
“My goal has always been to create enduring relationships with people who are associated with Selby or would like to associate with Selby,” Buchter said. “For me professionally, it’s very important for public gardens to be part of the fabric of community life.”
After leaving his position with Selby Gardens, Buchter will move to Ohio, where his wife is currently employed. Selby’s Board of Trustees is moving to hire a search firm to help fill the vacant CEO position.
+ Bayfront Children’s Fountain reopens after renovations
The Steigerwaldt-Jockey Children’s Fountain at Bayfront Park reopened Friday, after renovations due to a faulty mechanical part, according to a city of Sarasota news release.
“Things like this are the reason we come on vacation,” said Neill Collins, who brought his family to the park Tuesday.
The fountain, which costs the city roughly $66,000 to maintain annually, will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Labor Day, weather permitting. Winter hours are from 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Visit YourObserver.com to see a video of families returning to the fountain.
Meetings & agendas
Regular City Commission meeting — 2:30 and 6 p.m. Monday, June 2, Commission Chambers, City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota
Siesta Key Village Association meeting — 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar, 5250 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key