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Amber Helsel

Stories by Amber

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Caring for Natural Hair

Though Signature Hair Lounge specializes in weaves, Fran Alexander is knowledgeable about all types of hair. The Jackson Free Press recently talked to her over the phone about caring for natural hair.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Women, Don’t Apologize

As women, we need less criticism and more support. We need people who will step up and remind us of all that we've accomplished.

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John Spann

When Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Curator of Education John Spann was in high school, history came easy to him. "It wasn't like geometry or anything, and I got it," he says.

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The Sweet Potato Queens Come Home

Earlier this year, parade cofounder Malcolm White asked her if she could give he and the other organizers a date for when the Sweet Potato Queens would be part of the parade. She said this year. Then, as soon as the play was ready to be licensed, she immediately called New Stage Theatre Creative Director Francine Thomas Reynolds and asked if the company would consider the production for this season.

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Cultivating Growth in Women Business Owners

Something sets Cultivation Food Hall apart: women-owned businesses. Of the nine businesses there, women have full ownership of four—Ariella's, Poke Stop, Fauna and Whisk—and co-own il Lupo and Bocca Pizzeria.

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Richard Sun, Mississippi Coding Academies

While Richard Sun spent most of his working life maximizing shareholder value, he says Mississippi Coding Academies, of which he is a co-founder, is about maximizing human capital.

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King (Cakes) for a Day

If you live anywhere in or near the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama, chances are king cakes are pretty prevalent. Here is where you can 
enjoy some of the local versions.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Moving Forward in #TheNext200

Previous iterations of TEDxJackson commemorated areas such as Mississippi's space program and the state's bicentennial, but instead of looking at the last 200 years, this year's TEDx focused on the next 200.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Doing Good Things in JXN

In a 2008 study, researchers at Harvard University found that doing good deeds raises a person's level of happiness. Other studies have shown that happiness can create a positive feedback loop in your brain.

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Metaphor in the Mississippi River

The Great Flood of 1927 affected many cities in Mississippi, including Greenville, the setting of New Stage Theatre's production of Marcus Gardley's "Hell in High Water."

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EDITOR'S NOTE: One Person, One City in Jackson

Community is one of my favorite topics to discuss, and it's something we should all put more emphasis on. After all, if you look at it from the universe's perspective, all humans are one giant community.

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Ring in the Jackson New Year

2018 has flown by fast, and 2019 is fast approaching. Celebrate the new year with these events from local businesses, restaurants and people.

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New York-Style Deli to Open in Jackson

In crafting the menu for Ariella's NY Delicatessen, Alivia Ashburn-Townsend developed deli staples such as the frankfurter with sauerkraut, along with Italian items she thought would complement the restaurant's theme.

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Lisa Potts

While working with Teach for America from 2011 to 2013, current Woodward Hines Education Foundation Communications and Impact Coordinator Lisa Potts says she saw a lot of needs among the students and also noticed the need for more resources.

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Season’s Eatings

The Jackson metro area has plenty of food options for the holidays, with many restaurants serving specialty items and offering take-home meals.

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Gifting Local Joy

Christmas is coming up soon! Do you have all your shopping done? Here are some handmade and local ideas.

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Cultivating the Technology Sprout

If you have ever used the camera search tool on the Amazon app, you can, in part, thank the team behind Partpic, including Jackson native Nashlie Sephus, the owner of The Bean Path, a technology and entrepreneurial nonprofit.

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Sweets & Succulents

The first thing people might see when they walk into The Prickly Hippie is not the titular "prickly" cacti, but instead a bevy of soft sweets in the dessert case.

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Celebrating with Local Cheer

This holiday season, make local events a part of your celebration.

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Mississippi-Made Holiday

Need ideas for gifts for loved ones this season? Check out our gift guide full of Mississippi-made items.

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Resin for the Holidays

If you've been on Instagram lately, chances are you've probably seen artists who create ornaments, key chains, and more using resin and alcohol ink. It sounds like intimidating crafting, but it's not as hard as you may think.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: 'Tis the Season for Kindness

I will be the first to admit that "make America kind again" is a super hokey phrase, but it's a good reminder, and also so necessary right now when we're in the midst of a Senate race that's brought out the worst in some of our politicians.

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Daisy Carter

Daisy Carter, executive director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of the Central Mississippi Area, says that when her family was dealing with an addiction when she was young, she wishes they knew there was an agency to call on to help with treatment.

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DeVonn Armstrong

For his Inktober challenge, graphic designer DeVonn Armstrong took a specific approach to his sketches: He decided he would tell a story.

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Governor Calls Abortion ‘Black Genocide,’ Defends Hyde-Smith on ‘Hanging’ Tape

As state and national controversy swirls around U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s comment about a public hanging” in her race against an African American opponent, Gov. Phil Bryant opened a press conference this morning implying that black women are participating in “the genocide of 20 million African American children” through legal abortions

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Carmen Hendrix

Members of the community such as Jackson State University English instructor C. Liegh McInnis, The Nest at Highlites co-owner Mac Epps and others will host an event tonight, Nov. 1, to honor the life and legacy of Carmen Hendrix, a Jackson native poet, writer and activist who died on Sept. 10 as a result of domestic violence.

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Jackson Organizations Respond to Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

"At this time, it’s necessary for us to come together, for our institution leaders to come together, to support each other in light of what has happened

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Anne Frank: A Legacy of Hope

"The Diary of Anne Frank" is at New Stage Theatre from Oct. 23 to Nov. 4. Showtimes are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

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Spooky Sweets

Businesses such as Nandy’s Candy will have treats for Halloween.

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Monique Davis

For most of her career, local artist Monique Davis has been centered at the intersection of art and social justice.

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Andrew Head

Mississippi Opera Chorusmaster Andrew Head likes that opera involves so many elements: singing technique, learning new languages, staging and an orchestra, among other elements.

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Holmes TYCAM Leadership Positions and National Science Foundation Grant

English professors from Holmes Community College recently accepted leadership positions in the Two-Year College English Association of Mississippi organization, and four Mississippi universities received a $20-million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to start a new research center.

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Get Creative in Jackson

Lately, many arts events have popped up in the Jackson metro area.

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Gumbo Greatness

In one year during the International Gumbo Festival's first iteration in the '90s, Hal White sought to make one of the world's largest pots of gumbo.

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A Space for Small Business

David Robertson opened Triad Business Centers in 2010 and made it an LLC in 2012. At the time of its opening, it was one of the only locally owned business incubator spaces of its kind.

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Joshua Quinn

Joshua Quinn originally wanted to be a traveling psychologist, but overseas excursions changed his mind.

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The People's Bakery

Kimberly Ruffin owns and operates local bakery Kimmiesweett, which she started as a home business around 2008 and expanded with a Northpark Mall storefront in 2017.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Making the Most of Jackson

If you look at a photo of downtown Jackson from 50 years ago, the neighborhood today is very different. Many of the businesses that used to be there are now gone, and a lot of the spaces are run down and falling apart.

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Coffee and Prose

A building at the corner of West Street and Millsaps Avenue sits seemingly undisturbed, appearing like just another vacant one in midtown Jackson. However, there's more than immediately meets the eye at the building, now dubbed The Monastery.

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A Galaxy in a Jar

I love to browse through images from the Hubble telescope. It gives such a cool view of space and all that happens in it. Those photos often inspire my work in more ways than one. Last night, they inspired me to bring a little bit of space into my own home in the form of nebula jars.

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Tropical Vibes

Though Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint was closed to the public on Monday, Aug. 6, it was filled with people and food all the same for the Chandeleur Island Brewing Company beer dinner.

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Newcomers: Need to Know

If you are a newcomer to Jackson, you may not know things like how to get your water turned on or where the DMV locations are. Luckily, we're here to help. Here are some need-to-know things when moving to the capital city.

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Inking Along

Art supplies do not always have to be pricey. Did you know you can make alcohol ink with just a few household supplies and things you probably have on hand? Here's how.

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Tekeydra Lee

Tekeydra Lee was in California, "living her best life," she says, when she got a phone call from her father, Tim C. Lee, who is an alumnus of Jackson State University.

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Foodie Facts

Food can be a great equalizer, but it can also be a great divider. Recently, porch.com surveyed 1,000 people on their food preferences. Here are some of the findings.

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Of History and Craftsmanship

Over the 40 years since its founding, the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi has grown from just a few craftspeople to 359 members, 80 percent of which reside in Mississippi, and the members specialize in everything from wood turning to clay pottery to iron works.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Pride, from Detroit to Jackson

Jackson needs people who are willing to do the hard work—to attend city council meetings to see what's happening, to push back when the city's government isn't sticking to their word, to get to know the people in the city, to make Jackson that much more beautiful.

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Marble Masterpieces

Whether you like coffee, painting or just need something to put stuff in, mugs can come in pretty handy. Sadly, sometimes they can look a little boring. Why not make them prettier using just a few things you may have lying around the house? Here's an easy DIY if you're feeling a little creative.

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Father’s Day: Things to Do

You'll have no shortage of great things to do in the Jackson metro for Father's Day this year. Here's just a few that the JFP has picked out.

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Blake Feldman

When Blake Feldman was in college, he planned on going to medical school. The Newton, Miss., native received a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2011. However, after graduation he decided against the medical field and ended up going to University of Georgia School of Law instead.

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