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Amber Helsel

Stories by Amber

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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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Tara Blumenthal: All About Yoga

Tara Blumenthal, who owns Tara Yoga, has been a yoga teacher for 15 years, so she has seen how it has grown and changed.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Move ... Because Your Life Depends On It

Running is an intense exercise, so while it may be amazing for some people, it may be tough for others. But find a thing you can do, and do it.

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Ice Cream Magic at 30 Below

Ryan Parmentier says he grew up loving to cook and always wanted to own a food truck. His initial idea was to open a barbecue truck, but after trying rolled ice cream in St. Louis, Mo., he decided the Jackson metro area needed the frozen treat.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Midterm Madness Comes to Mississippi

Editor-in-Chief Donna Ladd and Publisher Todd Stauffer started Best of Jackson almost 16 years ago to uplift the city because back then it was in a bad place, much worse than it is now.

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Marcus A. Williams

After Marcus A. Williams witnessed injustices in his community, such as friends and people he grew up with getting arrested and not having good, fair and adequate representation, he decided to go into law.

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Adrianna Latrice

When Adrianna Latrice was 15, God spoke to her, she says, and told her that one day she would write a book that would include some of her personal experiences. But she rejected the idea.

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Fun With Best of Jackson

Summer is a time to hang out with friends under the sun. Recent Best of Jackson winners can help you celebrate the summer season (and beyond). Try these.

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How to Survive a Music Festival

It is officially music festival season. If you find yourself going to one this year, you'll want to be prepared. Here are some tips to survive the event and have fun.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Jackson, Get Your Community Together

Sure, if you come from a bigger city, there may be less to do here in Jackson, but you have many options, even if it's just going to the Mississippi Farmers Market on a Saturday morning.

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Rachel Phuong Le: Food’s Biggest Fan

Rachel Phuong Le is preparing to launch her own restaurant, Poké Stop, in Jackson as part of the incoming Cultivation Food Hall, set to open in the District at Eastover this summer.

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Cultivating New Food

This summer, Jackson will have another addition to its food scene: the Cultivation Food Hall at The District at Eastover.

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A Cheesy Good Time

The Belhaven Grilled Cheese Fest is on Sunday, April 29, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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Brunch Bunch, 2018

Weekend brunch has really come into its own in recent years in the capital city. Now that spring has sprung, it's the perfect time to enjoy a leisurely late weekend break.

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Kennedy Owens

When St. Andrew's Episcopal School senior Kennedy Owens saw that many of Jackson Public School's third-graders did not pass the Third Grade Reading Gate Reading test in 2015, he knew he had to do something.

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