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Amber Helsel

Stories by Amber

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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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EDITOR'S NOTE: Simple Ideas for Effecting Change

A study from the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association shows that 45 minutes of visual art-making can lower stress levels in adults, and other studies show that for kids, creating art is often helpful in their development.

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William Shakespeare

A couple of weeks before New Stage Theatre begins its latest production, "Shakespeare in Love," the rehearsal area is marked with tape, noting places on the stage such as the balcony, the tavern and The Rose Theatre.

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Eats on the Move

As we get closer and closer to summer, it's time to start going outside more often, and we're seeing more food trucks popping up around the capital city. Let's celebrate the season with these Best of Jackson winners and finalists.

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Eddie Hernandez and Susan Puckett

Eddie Hernandez co-owns Taqueria del Sol, a chain of Mexican restaurants in Georgia. He recently published "Turnip Greens & Tortillas," which features his southern food-meets-Mexican recipes, with writer Susan Puckett.

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Julie Seely

For Julie Seely, figure skating is a meeting point between athleticism and the arts.

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Crossroads Goes Back to Its Roots

Crossroads Film Festival is going back to its roots this year, Festival Coordinator Michele Baker says.

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Best of Jackson, Spring Edition

It's officially spring time, which means it's the season for things like sitting outside, enjoying cold beers and eating more seafood.

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Of Bunnies and Brunch

There's plenty going on in and around Jackson for Easter this year. Here's just a few of them.

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Business+Tech Events

For more business and technology-related events, check out jfpevents.com. For biz and tech news, visit jfp.ms/business.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: All Those Crazy Jackson Ideas

When Mississippi Arts Commission Executive Director Malcolm White first moved to Jackson in 1979, he said it was a fairly straight-laced city where people went to work, church, school and raised their kids, but they would go out of town to do anything fun. He didn't like that, so he set out to change it.

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Saint Patrick

People across the world celebrate St. Patrick's Day on March 17 with parades, festivals and a variety of revelry, but who exactly is Saint Patrick?

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St. Paddy’s Celebrates 35 Years

Hal's St. Paddy's Parade (formerly known as the Mal's St. Paddy's Parade) may be a cultural staple of Jackson now, but for residents on their way home from work in 1983, its first iteration was simply the cause of a traffic jam in downtown.

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Anime Fest Checklist

The Mississippi Anime Festival, which takes place March 10 at the Mississippi Trade Mart, brings together vendors, special guests, artists, cosplayers and more under one roof to celebrate Japanese animation and pop culture.

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Happiest Hours

Happy hours are always one of the best ways to wind down from a busy week, and luckily, Jackson has some great choices.

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Sergio Lugo II

Sergio Lugo II's day job is as a real-time operations supervisor for Comcast, but when he is not managing scheduling or performing other tasks for work, he hosts popular local podcast "Reality Breached."

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Elizabeth Fowler: An Artist's Journey

Elizabeth Fowler, a Noxubee County native, says she liked the idea of art when she was a kid, but wasn't good at 
representational drawing.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Creatives All In It Together

Artists need community. We need other people who will meet with us face to face, and give us helpful advice and tips, offer constructive criticism or answer our questions.

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Sampling Jackson

Kreskin Torres pulls up a photo of a dish at 1693 Red Zone Grill on his phone: grilled fish and shrimp in a crawfish sauce on a bed of Cajun rice. "You see what I had to deal with?" Torres jokes.

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