County Administrator Roman Gastesi, College of the Florida Keys VP of Advancement Stephanie Scuderi and Keys Weekly publisher Jason Koler catch up before the show.

Best of Upper Keys awards weren’t the only highlight to what was a memorable night inside Whale Harbor Events. In between the handing out of plaques, emcees Jason Koler and Britt Myers had the crowd laughing relentlessly by satirizing local topics and roasting elected officials who were in attendance. (See Top 10 Signs You Know You’re From the Upper Keys; page 17) and “Bringing leaders together?”

Henry Menendez and wife, Julie Johnson, crack up during the “Bringing Leaders Together” set.
Erin Muir doesn’t quite stifle a laugh.
It’s safe to say that Suzi Youngberg enjoyed the Best of Upper Keys skits
Renae Palmer, owner of Aqua Salon And Day Spa.
Tania Mattson, owner of Island Nails by Tania and finalist for Best Business, caught up with friends and helped support the Children’s Shelter.
County Commissioner Holly Raschein was a great sport in spite of the roasting.
Audra Wallace can’t help but laugh at the remarks by emcees Jason Koler and Britt Myers.
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.