Fireworks light the nighttime sky in Islamorada as spectators take their spots at the beach to watch the show. Photo by Doug Finger

People attending the Independence Day Celebration at Founders Park took their seats along the beach and the lawn as the sun began to set. A barrage of fireworks ensued, lighting the nighttime sky on July 4. “Wows” from the spectators culminated in an evening of food, face painting and other fun activities, including a patriotic puppy parade. The celebration was sponsored by Key West International Airport, Village of Islamorada and Upper Keys Rotary Club.

Jim McCarthy is one of the many Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 4-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, hockey, mixed martial arts and golf. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.