VIOLEOTTA CRUZ I’m thankful for my mom because she helps me clean my room and she gives me lollipops.

Wielding crayons, Ocean Studies Charter School’s Sea Stars class were hard at work on some Thanksgiving crafts last week. Not only did they color in the turkey feathers, but they also penciled in some things they’re thankful for, which spanned from family to food. Upper Keys Weekly recently stopped by Jennifer Lavoie and Samantha Simpson’s classroom to see the crafts and hear what the kindergartners are thankful for this holiday season.

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.