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Amber Helsel

Stories by Amber

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Sal the Cat

The Eudora Welty House and Garden has a scavenger hunt for kids (and the young at heart) who visit the museum. While some of the items on the list are easy to find, one in particular may give visitors some trouble, depending on how this item is feeling: the resident cat, Sal.

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Donna Beard

"I was suffering in silence and then trying to find out who do I talk to, or who could I trust with what I've gone through. ... I was so broken, so hurt, so ashamed, and nobody was able to hear my cry. Nobody was able to be there."

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Abstract Art with CDs

Wall art can be a great way to make your house feel more at home, but it can get expensive. Luckily, it's really easy to make your own with a few household item—in this case, CDs.

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New Stage Season 54 Preview

For New Stage Theatre's 54th season, the company is putting a focus on plays with a literary bent. New Stage started off with "Into the Breeches," a production that follows a group of women in 1942 as they produce "Henry V" with an all-female cast.

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New Mural Honors Frances Fortner

Recently, A Plus Signs and Creative owner Scott Allen painted a mural on the side of Fondren Corner above Fondren Nails in Frances Fortner's honor. "I hope it brings the family some joy when they see it," Allen says. "It's a way for the community to be able to remember her also in a positive light."

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Jackson Lessons Learned As I Say Goodbye

"As of this 
publication, I must say my goodbye as I leave to start a new job at Teen Health 
Mississippi. Thank you, Jackson. And thanks to all of my co-workers and team members, too. My experience here wouldn't have been as great here at the JFP if it weren't for y'all."

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Daisy Carter

During college, Daisy Carter wanted to become an English teacher so she could teach the subject she loves and give back to Jackson Public Schools.

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Local Chicken Sandwiches Win

In the last few weeks, fried chicken sandwiches, and especially spicy ones, have gone viral on social media. We here at the Jackson Free Press like to spend and eat local, so here are some delicious, non-cookie-cutter fried chicken sandwiches you should sample.

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Emelie Hebert

Artist and massage therapist Emelie Hebert has a lot of land—almost 3 acres to be exact—where she creates her artwork, glass beads and ceramics, and also hosts workshops, demonstrations and other events.

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Chalking Downtown Up

While Eli Childers has been busy around Jackson painting murals for places like Coffee Prose, he has also been using another medium: chalk.

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Joanne Bell Wright

A few years ago, Joanne Bell Wright hit a rough spot in her life and was having issues with things like relationships and finances.

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A Fresh Look at Art Museum’s Permanent Collection

The Mississippi Museum of Art is reinstalling its permanent collection, but this time, the institution is telling the story a little differently.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Finding Belonging Amid ICE Raids and Hatefulness

"Amid the horrible news that kept breaking around the ICE raids, there was some hope, as always. Yes, there was a lot of deserved condemnation of what was 
happening, but people were also asking how they could help."

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Newcomers Need to Know ‘the Best’

At the Jackson Free Press we track the pulse on the community in a lot of ways. One is through the annual Best of Jackson contest. Here are some categories from the 2019 contest that we believe would be beneficial to newcomers.

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Need to Know Info

Important information on utilities and other services for people living in Jackson.

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Jon Corey Jackson

Mississippi State Hospital Service Chief for Female Receiving Jon Corey Jackson's hero when growing up was his family medicine doctor, Dr. Henry Lewis, who still practices in Jackson's hometown of McComb, Miss. The doctor's work inspired Jackson to pursue the field.

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Black Rose Performs 'The Music Man'

Black Rose is performing the musical "The Music Man" Aug. 2-4 and 8-11. The theater's performance will be more stripped down than some other versions, says director Joshua Harris.

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Stephanie Adlington & Aaron Lessard: A Tale of Two

In 2017, Stephanie Adlington needed a new guitar player, and a mutual friend connected her to Aaron Lessard, whose music fuses roots rock with genres such as rockabilly, jazz and blues. The two bonded over their shared love of vintage music.

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Dan Magee: ‘Keep on Ducking’ at Museum After Hours

The Mississippi Museum of Art will showcase Dan Magee’s collection of rubber ducks, along with Allen Cotton’s photos of the ducks.

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Celebrating Coffee Concentrate and Business Expansion

Mississippi Cold Drip Coffee & Tea Co. has been steadily expanding since Raymond Horn started the business in 2013. Now, the business has expanded its space and is working on adding more products to its offerings.

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Pamela Junior Named Director of Two Mississippi Museums

After merging staff at the Two Mississippi Museums, Pamela Junior became director over both the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on July 1.

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Patriotic Pastries and Other Treats

Celebrate local this Fourth of July.

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A Surge in New Businesses in Jackson

Over the last few weeks, Jackson has had a surge in new local businesses opening or changing—just in time for summer. Here are a few of our favorites.

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Independent Business Week: Taking a Slice of the Pie

The American Independent 
Business Alliance says on its website that shopping local helps build community, shapes a neighborhood's character, gives people access to expertise on a product; and creates a healthier environment 
.

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Make Dad a Happy Man

Need something to get your dad for Father’s Day? Why not try shopping local? Here are some ideas.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Onward and Upward in Downtown Jackson

To have a strong city, we have to have a strong downtown, and right now, we just don't. But that's not the end of the story.

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UPDATED: Folk Music and Folklore in 'Bright Star'

"Bright Star" by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, which takes place in the 1920s and 1940s, is loosely based on the legend of the "Iron Mountain Baby." New Stage is performing "Bright Star" from May 28-June 9.

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David Raines: Local Passion and Wagyu Barbecue

David Raines, owner of Dave's Triple B and The Flora Butcher, recently talked about his journey as a chef, supporting local, barbecue and more.

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LEGO Resin Necklace

Resin might be a tricky medium to master, but once you figure out how to do it, you can use it to make so many things. While I have created many shapes with resin, one of my personal favorites has been LEGO necklaces.

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Run and Give Back

One of the best ways to show progress in running is to do some kind of race, whether that's a 5K or a full marathon, and everything in between.

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Truckin’ Downtown

On the first and fourth Friday of each month, the area around Smith Park is abuzz with activity. Downtown workers gather from the different offices, and some people outside of the downtown area gather at the park for one thing: Downtown Foodie Friday Festival.

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UMMC Empowering Through Base Pair

The Base Pair initiative, which has been around for 27 years, started with a simple question: "How can the sole academic medical center for this state help advance science education in the public schools, specifically Jackson Public Schools?"

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Exploring Religion, Plurality, Coexistence at IMMC

It's quiet inside the International Museum of Muslim Cultures on a day in May, but a couple of blocks away, its noisier as IMMC renovates a space that will house a new exhibit.

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Best of Jackson: Burgers of Note

Earlier this year, you told us your choices for some of the best local burgers in the Jackson metro area. While the winner and finalists have many choices, we decided to highlight one from each.

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Jacksonians Contemplate Dreams and Aspirations With 'Before I Die' Wall

The Greater Jackson Arts Council and Visit Jackson unveiled Jackson's "Before I Die" wall, a project that artist and activist Candy Chang began in 2015.

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New Stage Explores a De-Industrializing World With 'Sweat'

New Stage Theatre will perform Lynn Nottage's play "Sweat," a production about a group of people in a factory town who are dealing with the repercussions of a de-industrializing world, April 23-May 5.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Set an Example for the Next Generation

As women, we need to band together to make sure we set good examples for the younger generation. We need to show them that it's OK to be whatever kind of woman they want to be, that they don't have to fit that mold.

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Amelia Key

Amelia Key calls her art-making a "process of discovery." She does not really know what the piece is going to look like at the beginning, she says.

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Of Pirates and Zombies and Sherlock Holmes

When the zombie apocalypse came to small Mississippi town Ovett, people acted immediately, killing zombies and eventually throwing one of them off a bridge. As all this happened, Curtis Everitt kept his camera rolling. Everitt is the director of photography for Blair Kelly's upcoming film, "Splat," for which the bridge is one of the settings.

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Fifty-Four Hours to Startup Launch

While some people got off work and headed into a typical Friday night on March 1, about 45 people gathered at Coalesce for an event that would give them an insight into entrepreneurship: Startup Weekend Jackson.

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Caring for Natural Hair with Fran Alexander

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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