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Not Fear, But Love: Nixing Holiday Gatherings Judin, pp 9-10

Best of Jackson: Business Services pp 22-23

Winter Arts Preview pp 28-33

Chicks WE


edition â„¢

2 0 2 1

Nomination Ballot Opens Nov. 25 See pp 25-26, or bestofjackson.com/ballot/

Love 2020 Hathorn, pp 20-21

Boom Fuse Jan 2021.pdf








November 25 - December 8, 2020 • jfp.ms





1:54 PM

Our customers come first. Now, more than ever. New payment options for COVID-19 relief. At Entergy Mississippi, we understand the immense impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our customers and communities. And we know that now, electricity is more important than ever. So for those struggling to make ends meet, we’ve developed new payment options to provide some relief during these uncertain times. Our Enhanced Customer Assistance Plan provides flexible options to extend time to pay with payment arrangements. Any customer experiencing financial hardship is eligible to take up to 12 months to pay their current bill and/or unpaid balances. For added convenience, new self-service options are available to select the extended payment arrangement that works for you. Visit entergymississippi.com/mypaymentoptions, or select Deferred Payment on the Entergy Mobile App, or call 1-800-ENTERGY and follow our automated response system billing and payment menu.

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • boomjackson.com


A message from Entergy Mississippi, LLC ©2020 Entergy Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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8/5/20 2:03 PM


November 25 - December 8, 2020 • jfp.ms



See what Steelcase is working on for home offices and bringing people back to the office safely.




November 25 December 8, 2020 Vol. 19 No. 7

ON THE COVER Chrissy Cheshire Photo by Chris Grillis Photography

6 Publisher’s Note 9 Talks

11 Evolving Infrastructure City of Jackson Public Works Director Charles Williams assesses problems the city’s infrastructure faces and shares his ideas on solutions.


hen Gwen Wilks saw an advertisement for a position at the Mississippi Museum of Art that suggested she would “learn about herbs and fresh vegetables,” she assumed the position would include working in the community garden. “I get to the interview, and that interview had nothing to do with the community garden. It had everything to do with working as a server at the cafe. So that’s where I began, in the cafe,” she says with a launch. The Palette Cafe closed in 2017, leading Wilks to move among departments, helping where she could and gaining experience all the while. “With my wheel and desire to learn more … I didn’t mind— that’s just my personality,” she says. Less than a year later, Wilks began working as events facilitator with a dual role in visitor services. As of this month, she now holds the position of events coordinator. In the communications-heavy role, Wilks greets guests, meets with clients, and organizes both public and private events held at the museum. “In life, it’s about the relationships you form,” the Jackson native advises. “What I love most is getting an opportunity to meet people and engage with them.” Wilks grew up in Jackson until her family relocated to

Mississippi Public Broadcasting debuts a new educational podcast, answering questions shared by teachers, students and parents.

Gwen Wilks

14 JXN Wellness 15 Progress 17 Biz Roundup

Pelahatchie during her high school years. After graduating from Pelahatchie High School, Wilks had her eyes set back on returning to her hometown. “Jackson State was calling me, and I was ready to go. When I left Pelahatchie, I had skates on. I loved Hinds County,” she says. Wilks earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from JSU in 2005. Outside of the museum, Wilks enjoys engaging with and giving back to her community. She presently serves as president of the PTA for her daughter’s school and on JPS School Reopening Advisory Committee, and she has also served on the Hinds Headstart Policy Council. “I’m a volunteer at heart. I’m always happy to lend a hand,” Wilks says. “Anytime there are community events, I’m probably there to lend a hand. I don’t have any reservations about my volunteerism.” Wilks has been married to her husband, Michael, for nine years, and they have a daughter, Micaela. In her spare time, Wilks likes when she and Micaela explore Foot Print Farms with Dr. Cindy Ayers Elliot, citing that they have learned much about plants and produce and that Micaela likes to eat mint straight from the garden as a result of their adventures. —Nate Schumann

19 Blood Shortage Mississippi Blood Services is experiencing a dip in blood donations. Read Kent Mummert’s thoughts on why we should help.

20 Chicks We Love 23 BOJ Biz Services 25 best of jackson Ballot 28 Events Preview 28 Bites & drink 30 Melodies 32 Arts 34 Puzzle 34 Sorensen 35 astro 35 Classifieds

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • boomjackson.com

courtesy Gwen Wilks

14 ‘Chalkboard Ch@t’


publisher’s note Editor-in-Chief and CEO Donna Ladd Publisher & President Todd Stauffer Associate Publisher Kimberly Griffin Creative Director Kristin Brenemen REPORTERS AND WRITERS City Reporter Kayode Crown State Reporter Nick Judin State Intern Julian Mills Contributing Writers Dustin Cardon, Bryan Flynn, Alex Forbes, Jenna Gibson, Tunga Otis Torsheta Jackson, Mike McDonald, Anne B. Mckee, EDITORS AND OPERATIONS Deputy Editor Nate Schumann JFPDaily.com Editor Dustin Cardon Executive Assistant Azia Wiggins Editorial Assistant Shaye Smith Consulting Editor JoAnne Prichard Morris

ONLINE & DIGITAL SERVICES Digital Web Developer Ryan Jones Web Editor Dustin Cardon Social Media Assistant Robin Johnson Web Designer Montroe Headd Let’s Talk Jackson Editor Kourtney Moncure SALES AND MARKETING (601-362-6121 x11) Marketing Writer Andrea Dilworth Marketing Consultant Chris Rudd Advertising Designer Zilpha Young Events Assistant Leslyn Smith DISTRIBUTION Distribution Coordinator Ken Steere Distribution Team Yvonne Champion, Ruby Parks, Eddie Williams TALK TO US: Letters letters@jacksonfreepress.com Editorial editor@jacksonfreepress.com Queries submissions@jacksonfreepress.com Listings events@jacksonfreepress.com Advertising ads@jacksonfreepress.com Publisher todd@jacksonfreepress.com News tips news@jacksonfreepress.com

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • jfp.ms

Jackson Free Press 125 South Congress Street, Suite 1324 Jackson, Mississippi 39201 Editorial and Sales (601) 362-6121 Fax (601) 510-9019 Daily updates at jacksonfreepress.com


The Jackson Free Press is the city’s award-winning, locally owned news magazine, reaching more than 35,000 readers per issue via more than 600 distribution locations in the Jackson metro area—and an average of over 35,000 visitors per week at www. jacksonfreepress.com. The Jackson Free Press is free for pick-up by readers; one copy per person, please. First-class subscriptions are available to “gold level” and higher members of the JFP VIP Club (jfp.ms/ vip). The views expressed in this magazine and at jacksonfreepress.com are not necessarily those of the publisher or management of Jackson Free Press Inc. © Copyright 2020 Jackson Free Press Inc.

Email letters and opinion to letters@jacksonfreepress.com, fax to 601-510-9019 or mail to 125 South Congress St., Suite 1324, Jackson, Mississippi 39201. Include daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, as well as factchecked.


f there’s one lesson this wretched year has taught us, it’s that denial isn’t an effective governing strategy. For instance, denying that you lost an election— by tens of thousands of votes in swing states and 6 million votes nationally and then crafting bald lies about voter-fraud claims—hasn’t worked. Deniers have flung denial far and wide this election, and the most likely outcome is a further weakening of democracy in America with thanks, as always, to Donald Trump. Denial is also ineffective against COVID-19. Gov. Tate Reeves has done precisely the wrong things to quell this virus. He could have led his party and supporters in Mississippi instead of sheepishly kowtowing to the extremists. He could have listened to science. He could have told people in no uncertain terms to make some sacrifices, stay out of big groups, and wear a damn mask. But Reeves didn’t do any of those things because he refuses to lead. We’re now at nearly record numbers of COVID19 cases here, with hospitals at capacity. Flu season and the holidays are underway. A lack of discipline, courage and leadership squandered any “virus dividend” we may have had after our summer virus peak. This week, Dr. LouAnn Woodward of UMMC called for Reeves to reinstate the mask mandate to combat the crisis our health-care workers are once again facing in the state. I hope to hear he has done it before Thanksgiving. Lead, Tate. And stop licking Trump’s boots. In his executive budget recommendation for this year, according to Nancy Loome of the Parents’ Campaign, Gov. Reeves hasn’t proposed a single cent in pay raises for teachers, despite promising raises in his 2019 campaign. He did propose moving $3 million from public-education funding to create a “Patriotic Education Fund,” which gets a paragraph in his 102page document. He explains that: “Capitalism, democracy, and other uniquely American values have been the victims of a targeted campaign from foreign and domestic influence—aiming to destroy the pillars of our society.” Whether the 3 million bucks will go to programs that talk about sitting presidents offering up wholesale lies to try and overturn a legitimate election—you know, trying to destroy the pillars of American society—isn’t clear. TheHill.com seems to suggest this

// by Todd Stauffer is just another instance of Reeves doing what Trump wants, given that the outgoing president established an “Advisory 1776 Commission” by executive order this year that looks to be a typically Orwellian reaction to the racial reckoning and protests against police brutality this summer. Trump’s order reads that “... many students are now taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but rather villains.” Reeves takes a less circuitous route, calling his proposal the “Patriotic EducacourTeSy Todd STauffer

ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY Senior Designer Zilpha Young Contributing Photographers Seyma Bayram, Acacia Clark, Nick Judin, Imani Khayyam, Ashton Pittman, Brandon Smith

Gov. Reeves, Denial Ain’t a River in Mississippi

Todd Stauffer

tion Fund,” making it clear that the point is to toss $3 million at rank propaganda in the public schools. His budget also proposes to force school districts to return to the classroom to maintain their state funding. Virus be damned, what’s important to Reeves is to make sure he keeps beating the Trumpian drumbeat of returning kids to school no matter who pays the price—teachers,

Lead, Tate. And stop licking Trump’s boots. grandparents or the students themselves. In his budget proposal, Tate Reeves makes clear, once again, that he’s against expanding Medicaid, which according to his own numbers would give an additional 300,000 people in Mississippi basic medical coverage. In March 2020, the Kaiser Family Foundation, or KFF, published a literature review of Medicaid expansion studies in

the 10 years since the ACA passed. They found that “[m]ost research demonstrates that Medicaid expansion has improved access to care, utilization of services, the affordability of care, and financial security among the low-income population.” KFF also found that Medicaid expansion reduces the burden on hospitals and clinics that care for the uninsured. Since the ACA Passed, Medicaid expansion improved needs like access to medications for behavioral health, health-care providers’ financial stability and employment. “Looking back on 10 years since the ACA has been enacted shows that the Medicaid expansion has expanded coverage and led to increases in access and utilization to health care services, improvements in financial security and positive net effects for state budgets and revenues,” the report says. Reeves’ approach? Denial. “I remain adamantly opposed to Medicaid expansion in Mississippi. I firmly believe that it is not good public policy to place 300,000 additional Mississippians on governmentfunded health care,” he stated in his budget. The governor then disingenuously writes that Medicaid expansion could cost Mississippi $220 million per year, which could be used to give “every teacher in the state” an annual $4,330 raise. Note that he didn’t propose raising teacher pay. After all, if he got teacher pay raises passed, he wouldn’t be able to promise—or threaten—teacher pay raises anymore. What Reeves does propose is eliminating Mississippi’s income tax, representing about 34% of our revenues. (I guess that’s where the teacher raises go.) Presumably, Gov. Reeves’ team wrote most of this budget before it was clear Trump had lost the election. Here’s hoping Reeves gets off the Trump denial train, and instead focuses on governing the state as his own man. Mandate masks, work to support workers and small businesses through this next wave of the pandemic, fully fund public schools, and let’s finally fix health care in Mississippi. Take on those very real challenges for Mississippians, Gov. Reeves, and you’ll have a good start on a post-Trump legacy based on decisive action and leadership, not denial. Todd Stauffer is the president and publisher of the Jackson Free Press.


$780 back every year. Now, that’s getting more out of your Medicare.

Richard Coupe

State reporter Nick Judin grew up in Jackson and graduated from the University of Mississippi. He is covering this year’s legislative session. Try not to run him over when you see him crossing State Street. He wrote about Thanksgiving and COVID-19 for the issue.

Richard Coupe is a scientist, occasional writer, soccer referee, and once more, against all odds, the owner of a house needing much work. He wrote the melodies story on Garner Music Academy.

Taylor McKay Hathorn

Torsheta Jackson

Taylor McKay Hathorn is an alumna of Mississippi College’s English program and a student at Asbury Theological Seminary. She enjoys watching the sun set over the Mississippi River and tweeting @_youaremore_. She wrote the Chicks We Love features.

Freelance writer Torsheta Jackson is originally from Shuqualak, Miss. A wife and mother of four, she freelances and is a certified lactation counselor. She wrote the bites, wellness and do-gooder stories for the issue.

Kayode Crown

Kyle Hamrick

City Reporter Kayode Crown came to Mississippi from Nigeria where he earned a post-graduate diploma in Journalism and was a journalist for 10 years. He likes rock music and has fallen in love with the beautiful landscapes in Jackson. He interviewed the public-works director for the issue.

Kyle Hamrick is a senior at Mississippi College pursuing a degree in history and minoring in journalism. He enjoys good conversations over good cups of coffee, and he will never turn down a new seersucker suit. He wrote three of the Best of Jackson Business Services blurbs.

Get $780 back in your Social Security when you choose a WellCare Medicare Advantage plan. Just one of the many ways WellCare supports your health and your well-being.

CALL 1-844-986-0097 (TTY 711) 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., 7 days a week, or visit WellCareforMS.com.

Benefits may vary by region. WellCare Health Plans, Inc., is an HMO, PPO, PFFS plan with a Medicare contract. Our DSNP Plans have a contract with the State Medicaid program. Enrollment in our plans depends on contract renewal. Please contact your plan for details. WellCare Health Plans, Inc., complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. ATTENTION: If you speak a language other than English, language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-877-374-4056 (TTY: 711). ATENCIÓN: Si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-877-374-4056 (TTY: 711). ٍ 仑íϩ‫ش‬લՠΈ⾸ᝃˁ̂çલృ̤㗒඘ঁધდԶᴈѫ⑂ ੁéቂࠔྑ 1-877-374-4056 (TTY: 711) é Y0070_WCM_39155E_FINAL26_M CMS Accepted 08102019 NA0WCMADV42763E_WCNE ©WellCare 2019

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For All Your Catering and Holiday Needs


storytelling & re, ir tu

cu l


“Education is key. Many people don’t know what constitutes domestic violence or that it affects both women and men.” — Eva Jones, read more p21




ce eren rev

Not Fear, But Love: Cancelling Holidays in the Year of COVID-19 by Nick Judin

courtesy Angela Reddix


Angela Reddix first had to argue with her father, George Long, to get him to take COVID-19 seriously. It was love for his wife and grandchildren that convinced him to cancel Thanksgiving. From left: Selina Long, George Long, Angela Reddix and Yu-Sun Long.

to be near family, opening an automotive business. In the ’90s, George became the first Black alderman of the mostly white town, an undertaking Reddix remembers as tinged with danger. “We weren’t allowed to answer the phone while he was running,” his daughter said, in case they received threats. Living out in the country, they had always had rifles in the house. But during his campaign, Reddix said, “there was always a shotgun next to the door.” With the arrival of COVID-19, the qualities Reddix cherishes most about her parents intersected in a way she could never have expected. “When it came around, he was so laissez-faire,” Reddix said of her father. “He’s older, in (his early 60s) but he’s still very sprightly. He used to run marathons, compete in arm-wrestling competitions.

He’s strong. Looks younger than his age.” He does. It took no small amount of bickering for Reddix to communicate the danger of the virus to her father. To George, it was like the flu. He’d lived through bad flu seasons. “But it’s not the flu, it’s worse than the flu,” Reddix explained. “It affects the cardiovascular system.” Still, he was willing to take the risk. George Long was not a man who made it through life cringing at the prospect of putting himself in danger. “He’s very social,” Reddix said. “He loves going to the auctions, loves going to church,” where he is a deacon. Finally, Reddix put it in terms he simply could not ignore. “It’s not about you,” she said. “It’s about mom. You could give it to her. It could be you! Mom can’t die alone in a hospital. How are you gonna tell the grandkids?”

Reddix could see the moment of realization dawning. “How are you going to tell the grandkids?” This was the question that convinced George Long to cancel his Thanksgiving plans. This was the question that convinced him to wear a mask, to minimize his social life for the duration of the pandemic. George loves his grandchildren. He loves his wife, Yu-Sun. And perhaps more than anything he loves the budding relationship between the children and their halmoni: the way she sneaks them food between mealtimes, the way they sprint to see her when they come to visit. This is what motivates him to pay the heavy price that is a year without tangible family togetherness. Not fear, but love. more NOT FEAR, BUT LOVE, p 10

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • boomjackson.com

hen coronavirus came to Mississippi, Angela Reddix had a plan. An educator for over a decade, she became a homemaker after a series of medical operations took a toll on her health. She had already learned to cope with home isolation—now her family had to master the same skills. “When all this came around, I said ‘here’s the game plan,’” Reddix told the Jackson Free Press in a Nov. 17 interview. Reddix and her mother have Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that often damages the heart. For the fall semester, Reddix’s stepchildren have remained in virtual classes, a transition they’ve struggled with at times. Even more difficult is the looming question of holidays. The kids, 6 and 8 years old, have grown accustomed to their holiday visits to see Reddix’s parents: George and Yu-Sun Long, often at their aunt’s home in South Mississippi. Yu-Sun, whom the children call halmoni, is the heart and soul of the family. “Watching my children and their grandparents bond has been magical,” Reddix said. She laughs, remembering the first visit after her Yu-Sun learned her step-granddaughter loved tomatoes. She had eight pounds straight from a Mississippi hothouse waiting on the kitchen counter when they arrived. “Mom,” Reddix said, “she’s only 38 pounds herself.” Yu-Sun was unmoved. “I didn’t want her to be hungry,” she reasoned. When Reddix speaks about her father, George, there is an unmistakable pride in her voice. Born in Iuka, and experiencing school integration as a student himself, he looked to the U.S. Army for an opportunity to expand his horizons. There, in a posting in South Korea in the late 1970s, he met Yu-Sun. They returned to America together, married in a court ceremony in Texas, and not long afterward, Angela and her sister Selina arrived. In their childhood they lived the lives of Army brats, across America, to Germany, to Korea and back again. Years later, the Longs returned to Iuka,



NOT FEAR, BUT LOVE, from page 9

‘We Need The World To See’ It would be comforting to think that the Long family is a microcosm of Mississippi, a family unit willing to make the hard decisions necessary to protect each other—planning ahead with the needs of the vulnerable in mind. But this has simply not been the case.

A nationwide hospital shortage would represent a catastrophe beyond imagining. Regional crises can be handled by moving patients away from the epicenter, allowing the nearest hospitals to make room for the nearest patients. A decentralized pandemic surging in every state in the U.S. renders that backup plan void. courtesy MSDH


Mississippi, alongside the rest of America, now hurtles toward a peak of viral spread beyond anything seen in the long months of 2020 so far. Over the last week, numbers of upward of 1,300 cases per day became commonplace. On Nov. 21, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 1,972 new cases of the virus, the all-time peak. That data point lifted the seven-day average of new cases to 1,294, comparable only to the highest three days in the entire pandemic. A tidal wave of COVID-19 patients continues to surge into hospitals around the state, from 680 on Nov. 14 to 910 on Nov. 22. And accompanying them are the critically ill ICU patients that so overburdened the state’s hospital system in the summer. Lee Bond, chief executive officer at Singing River Health System, which includes multiple Gulf Coast hospitals, released a public statement warning of a sudden, sharp spike in hospitalizations on the coast. “We hit a new high of 52 COVID inpatients one day earlier this week,” Bond explained. “Twice in the last week hospitals across the coast from New Orleans to Mobile were largely on ‘diversion,’ implying that they were saturated to the point that they could not take more patients.”

“We need the world to see that most hospitals are on diversion. If the trend does not change, soon there may be nowhere to divert people to,” Bond said. That message echoed loudly at a University of Mississippi Medical Center press conference on Nov. 23. There, Dr. Alan Jones, assistant vice chancellor, warned that the unprecedented spike in hospitalizations was being replicated across the nation. “Regionally and even beyond, hospitals are struggling,” Jones said. “ER at baseline is a pretty chaotic, unpredictable place ... when you layer something

If You Love ‘Em In an interview with the Jackson Free Press, George Long was plain-spoken about his commitment to protecting his family. “People ask me, ‘why you got this mask on?’ I say, because this COVID is real. It

just doesn’t make sense for me to put my wife in a position where she could be in danger,” he said, adding a simple message for those on the fence: “Live today so you can enjoy tomorrow.” Reddix, like the rest of us, watches the growing number of COVID-19 cases with an anxious unease. When she speaks about her parents’ love, her voice is tender with emotion, never far from tears. But when she considers the state of the virus, and the often callous response to the susceptibility many like her have, it sounds more like resignation. “You love someone who is in an at risk group,” Reddix warned. And, even if you don’t—“you love someone who loves someone who’s vulnerable.” That is the heart of the matter—the cruel hyperconnectivity that makes collective action the only defense against coronavirus. The disease, virulent, stealthy, and deadly as it is, does not just threaten us as individuals. It does not just endanger those around us, the ones we attempt to protect every day. Coronavirus is equally deadly to friends and family as it is to orbiting acquaintances we’ve never really met. It imperils relationships we may never have considered the significance of. In parting, Bond told the Jackson Free Press that Singing River has a motto for the approaching holidays. “If you love ‘em, don’t hug ‘em,” he warns. It is a good rule of thumb. But one part can be omitted. Coronavirus spreads too fast and too far to demand a specific object in need of protection. You do not need to love someone in particular to make the hard decision to avoid holiday gatherings this year. You simply need to love. Contributing reporter Julian Mills assisted in this report. Email state reporter Nick Judin at nick@jacksonfreepress.com.

Staying at Home, Staying in Shape by Shaye Smith


ince the start of this pandemic, many of us have found ourselves confined to our homes. Whether it be out of caution or a lack of time, not everyone who likes to stay in shape makes it to the gym. Not to worry, as a number of common exercises can be performed at home. Review the graph using data obtained from sparkpeople.com to see how many calories per minute the following activities burn. Note: Data reflect effects for a person weighing 120 pounds. A calculator is available to show statistics for other weights.


November 25 - December 8, 2020 • jfp.ms

In Mississippi, as in the rest of the nation, COVID-19 is radically spiralling out of control. Dr. Alan Jones, assistant vice chancellor at UMMC, warns that the surge capacity available out of state during the summer surge is now truly gone.

highly infective like COVID on top of it, it becomes exhausting.” During the summer spike, Mississippians were transferred out of state for critical care, to Louisiana, to Missouri. Now those same states are transferring patients into Mississippi for lack of available beds and staff. Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, ended the press event with a plea for stronger measures. “The county-by-county approach is not working,” she acknowledged. “We need a statewide mask mandate.” Even more, the state needs a population that avoids large holiday gatherings. At a Public Health and Welfare Committee meeting in the Mississippi State Senate, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs appeared despondent at times, even before being peppered with bizarre, false conspiracy theories—about fantastically inflated death tolls and nefarious nanotechnology hidden in the coming vaccines—legislators said their constituents had inundated them with. His testimony hinted at the true impact of the pandemic on the state, beyond the presently confirmed totals. “Thus far we’ve had 5,000 more deaths than we’ve expected. 5,000 people have died who would not have died without COVID-19.” The cyclical failure to improve wearied him. “I’m exhausted trying to convince folks,” Dobbs admitted. “It’s just going nowhere.”



Public Works Director Williams: City’s Infrastructure Problems Won’t End Soon

If you can put a number on it, how much in dollars do you need to solve the problems? I’m a little hesitant to do that because all of our infrastructure systems are very different. We’re very diverse, and you would have to perform a very detailed assessment of all our infrastructure systems in order to come up with a particular dollar amount. I know in the past, people have come up with actually a billion dollars, $2 billion in order for the infrastructure to … be efficient and operable, where it needs to be. And I think sometimes those numbers are just based on very limited conditional assessments of the infrastructure. I think what we’ll have to look at is

to identify monies in order to address that while you have other infrastructure systems that are competing for funding in order for us to address those issues as well. courtesy Charles Williams

What is the state of infrastructure in Jackson? Jackson has very old infrastructure that needs quite a bit of attention. We are trying to balance capital (projects) and maintenance repairs to the infrastructure due to the age of the infrastructure. Some parts of the city have older infrastructure than other parts, and they have just met their life expectancy. We have to consistently or constantly make repairs, which is very burdensome on our very limited staff. And we don’t have the number of capital projects that can balance it out, make those critical improvements in infrastructure that will decrease the maintenance calls (for) service.

each infrastructure system independently and determine the age of that infrastructure, what it would take to get it up to current standards. And then, the usage of that

City of Jackson Public Works Director Charles Williams shares his ideas on improving its infrastructure profile. He urges patience from Jacksonians.

infrastructure, and what it would take as far as money in order to get it addressed. So that will have to be a combination of money from the city bond, federal funds and any other funds that may be available in order to pool together in order to address our aging infrastructure systems. What about flooding? Flooding is an issue in some parts of the city. I think that goes back to the drainage infrastructure system. We have not really addressed, (or) really put funding in place for some of those drainage systems. And there’s also another difficult task of trying

Is there any role for the state government when it comes to the infrastructure because Jackson is the capital city, or is it all on the City to deal with it? The state funds the capitol complex (district), and so they are funding projects within that capitol complex. And then the City has its own … sale-tax funds that are allocated toward areas throughout the entire city. And then, you always are looking for federal funds, which have not been available due to there not being a large transportation bill that has been sent out from

Congress. So, we’re hoping that in the near future that a new transportation bill will be implemented, (and) from there dispersed to a number of states and hopefully Jackson. (We hope) the capital city would be able to receive some of those funds to dedicate for our infrastructure systems. What are the plans you’re working on now? We’re doing a self-assessment with public works, and we’re trying to look at how we can be more responsive to the public. We acknowledge that we have limited personnel in order to address the multitude of infrastructure issues that we have. And it also affects our response time. So we’re looking at what can our work force, what are they capable of doing. Do we need outside assistance from contracting? And then we’re always looking for funding in order to address both maintenance and capital projects within the city. What about your staff strength? We have some employees who have been here for a while, and so they’re very seasoned. We also have some young employees, and so we have some deficiencies that need to be addressed. We know that we need to improve all pay. We know that we need to do a better job of having equipment available. There are all of those particular items we were looking at trying to address. We’re looking at recruitment and retention of employees. We’re trying to determine what are those measures that we need to put in place to retain the employees that we have, but also recruit the employees that we need in order to build the department of public works that can meet the daily tasks of dealing with our aging infrastructure. How will you describe success for you in this office? We are going to have to be honest with ourselves, in that we know that we’re not where we need to be right now. Then we have to look at what it’s going to take to get to where this department is responsive to our citizens, where we are being accountable for improving our infrastructure and making sure that we are being good stewards of (the) money that more PUBLIC WORKS, p 12

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • boomjackson.com


harles Williams became City of Jackson’s public works director last month after three years as the city engineer and 19 years working in the department. He inherited a huge infrastructure deficit, low staff numbers with non-competitive remuneration, an equipment deficit and high response times to the citizens’ numerous demands for attention. The failing infrastructure manifests in the intractable flooding issues in some parts of the city, sewer leakages and swaths of dilapidated roads. This reality, coupled with revenue loss from the City’s enterprise fund because of a faulty billing system, created a perfect-storm situation he has to deal with. In a recent interview with the Jackson Free Press, Williams explained the department’s problems and his plans to move the needle on Jackson’s infrastructural challenges.

by Kayode Crown




November 25 - December 8, 2020 • jfp.ms

What would you describe as the most challenging part of your work? We have limited resources and trying to allocate those resources to all the priorities that we have. So that’s a challenge, and we know that we have limited personnel. So how do we increase our personnel, our staffing, knowing that we have all of these challenges as far as financial resources? So we’re trying to do our best to balance that. … We are asking for a lot of (residents) to be patient while we work through this. We know that it’s going to be challenging over the next few months and next year. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get out from under COVID and not be limited by the pandemic, and also we are hoping that increased revenue will come, and we will get additional funding sources even from outside of the City’s coffers that will help us pull all of these funding opportunities into one pot and then start strategically putting those funds into those areas that are needed in order to address our aging infrastructure.


Can you mention a few of the sources you’re hoping to tap into? I think primarily, hopefully, our revenues will improve on our water-sewer billing collections. We’re also anticipating at some point a federal transportation bill will be passed. We hope that we’ll be able to receive some funds from federal resources, and then we’ll continue to utilize the 1% sales tax and maximize that in order to address infrastructure needs. When you talk about using contractors, what are the advantages or disadvantages? We acknowledge that that’s not a longterm perspective, that is not going to solve our problem. But for immediate mitiga-

tion, they will be able to come in and assist us with some of the workloads that we have until we can build up our staff. The problem is that they can come in and help us short-term, but long term financially, that would not be the most advantageous way for the City to move forCITY OF JACKSON

the department receives in order to address our aging infrastructure on both the proper maintenance and on capital projects. So if we’re able to build a foundation over the next couple of years, to get those processes in place here, we can be at an attractive workplace where people would come to work and take care of their families, as well as be servants, as far as public service to the citizens, making sure that their needs are addressed when they call the services. I think that if we’re able to achieve those objectives and get the department efficiently run, then I think that will be a measure of success that whenever my time is up, I can leave to my successor (and) say, hey, we laid the foundation for this, and then they’ll have something to build upon.


Public Works Director Charles Williams reflected on the enormous challenge of the work ahead as he takes over the position.

ward in order to build the department of public works back to where it needs to be. How has the City used the Siemens’ settlement? We utilize $3.5 million out of the settlement for sewer repairs, and so we utilized some of that money for that. The rest of it had to be addressed in order to help assist with some of our debt servicing and help with our bond rating. Are there some decisions made in the past that you wished were different? I’m a realist, but I’m also optimistic. I think that Jackson is going to improve; I think infrastructure is going to improve; it’s not going to happen overnight. I can’t control things that happened in the past. Those were decisions that were made without my input. But I don’t look toward the past. I look toward the future, and I think that there are opportunities for us and opportunities for the city and also for the Department of Public Works to improve. I think that it’s just going to take strategies that need to be put in place in order for us to be efficient and also to be responsive. As long as we’re able to keep that vision of where we want to go … knowing that the overall goals and objectives will be achieved at some point, we’ll continue to strive. And like I’ve always

said, we’re going to continue to grind, we’re going to continue to hustle, and we are going to continue to persevere during those rough times. And so we’re going to keep that attitude moving forward. That’s going to be really the attitude in this department, that we are going to always persevere. What can people expect one year from now? I think what they’re seeing right now, as we have quite a few road projects that are going on, (and) we’re looking at some additional road projects. We’re also looking at some additional projects that deal with water efficiency and also to the sewer, so I think that within a year, there’s going to be other projects that are going to come out in order for us to address our infrastructure. Just be on the lookout; we’re doing our best to put as much information out. A lot of that is being put in our water bills. So just continue to look for projects that will be coming out over the next several months that will be dedicated strictly for infrastructure upgrades within the city. What is the amount for public works in the budget the City just passed? I don’t have that figure right here in front of me. But, that budget that was adopted primarily was a flat budget from the previous year. And it allowed us to stay operable, but we’re looking for improved revenues on water-sewer business administration, our billings, and collections. We should get some additional improvements from property values that will go into our general fund. What is your message for the public? We understand the frustration that some of our residents have. We understand what our problems are. We know that the majority of them cannot be solved overnight. And we know that it’s tough for people to be patient because it seems like that we’re not addressing issues within the city, but we are. It’s just that there’s so many issues that we have because Jackson is old; it’s not a new city. So it’s going to take some time. It’s going to take some planning. It’s going to take funding in order to get them addressed, but there are projects that are going on with utilizing the funds that we have to the maximum. Over time, I believe people will start to see that improvement. It’s just going to take some time for us to get to where we need to be. This process will go beyond my days sitting in this chair. We want to do our best. While we’re here, we’re going to

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maximize every amount of funding that we get; we’re going to put it into our infrastructure to improve it. Is there any plan to light up the dark places in the city? There has been some discussion about lighting. Some of that has gone through our planning department. I can’t adequately answer that, but I can say that that has been a discussion that has been talked about in some meetings that I had, and our Planning Director Jordan Hillman elaborated a little bit more about plans for lighting in Jackson. How did you feel when you were appointed as public works director? I mean, we understand the gravity of the job that is in front of us. We’re excited about the opportunities that are coming before us. And we are excited to be a part of this revitalization for Jackson as far as our infrastructure. So my attitude is that we know the challenges that are in front of us, and we’re going to take them on the best that we can. We understand that sometimes there’s going to be some difficult days. And we also know there’s going to be some good days, but our attitude is going to remain the same in that we want to do the best that we can. And so we are always going to try to do our best, to be the best servants we can to our citizens, and that starts with me. So my attitude towards this job is going to be reflected through the people that I oversee. We are always going to be excited. We’re always going to be working as hard as we can and try to do our best to make Jackson the best capital city within the nation. And that starts with improving our infrastructure. Email story tips to city/county reporter Kayode Crown at kayode@jacksonfreepress. com. You can follow him on Twitter at @kayodecrown.

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JXN // education

Building an Educational Bridge through ‘Chalkboard Ch@t’ // by Michele D. Baker


Antonio MAck

ifelong learners recognized Friday, Nov. 13, as a lucky departments such as radio and television and will feature mation on education and learning as a whole and not just day after all. On this day Mississippi Public Broad- both single-issue episodes and themed series to allow for in the classroom. The world is our teacher and learning casting’s education department launched its new pod- deep dives into topics with lots of thorough discussion outside of the classroom is as equally important as education that takes place inside of the classroom.” cast, “Chalkboard Ch@t,” to bring relevant In addition to reminding listeners about information and resources to parents, guardians, some of the educational programs and services educators, students, education entities and other already in place—like MPB Classroom TV, “Ed community stakeholders. Said,” MBP Kids Club, Parents Are Teachers Too, “With COVID changing the way we get inTeacher Features and more—the dynamic pair formation, we wanted to follow the upward trend will bring in experts like Toni Lewis, a licensed toward themed podcasts,” co-host and MPB educlinical social worker, to speak on the educational cation director Tara Y. Wren says. “We’re merging challenges faced by children during a pandemic. the nostalgia of a chalkboard with the current-day Future experts include teacher Sharetia Jones idea of a podcast to build a bridge for education. of Irving, Texas, in a “slate session,” a special seg“The main goal of ‘Chalkboard Ch@t’ is to ment where educators from across the U.S. offer have meaningful conversations that direct Missistools, tips, and beneficial practices. sippians to ‘right-now’ resources, tools, tips and MPB invites listeners to submit suggesstrategies that will propel them to navigate through tions, speak out and “join the ch@t” by posting on the evolving education ecosystem,” she adds. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or by sendWren and co-host Germaine Flood plan to Co-hosts Germaine Flood (left) and Tara Wren (right) lead ing an email to education@mpbonline.org. discuss a variety of topics associated with educating Mississippi Public Broadcast’s latest podcast, “Chalkboard Ch@t.” New episodes release each Friday. Mississippi’s children and adults alike, including Listen to “Chalkboard Ch@t” at shows.acast.com/ digital learning, health, politics, the digital divide, work- and practical details. force and career-readiness issues, and other subjects. The “Our primary goals are to help guide our conversa- chalkboardchat. Michele D. Baker is a freelance travel podcast will also cover educational concerns of Mississippi tions by connecting the dots across all of our departments writer and blues music fan in Jackson. She has three cats, students, teachers and parents. here at MPB to emerging trends in education,” Flood says. too many books, and listens to public radio. Visit MicheleD“Chalkboard Ch@t” offers crossover to other MPB “We want to take a holistic approach in providing infor- Baker.com to learn more.

JXN // wellness

Perrls of Wellness, Empowering Women through Health // by torsheta Jackson

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • jfp.ms


empower women to take back their lives, by first taking back their health. “We all know what to eat or how to eat because there is tons of informacourtesy MAry L. WiLLiAMs


hen Mary L. Williams was in her early 20s, her mother had a mild heart attack. After she recovered, doctors sent her home with pages of written instructions given to her at discharge. For a while, Williams witnessed her mother follow the recommendations and maintain her health. But as time passed, she slipped back into her old, comfortable, more unhealthy habits. Williams believes things could have gone differently. “I believe if she had had one-on-one help and encouragement that she would have really stuck with the recommended lifestyle changes,” she says. Williams’ mother and aunts developed chronic health conditions and eventually succumbed to them. The Flora native saw their deaths as reflective of the plight of many women in Mississippi, specifically African American women. Thus, she created Perrls of Wellness, LLC, in 2013 to

Mary L. Williams started Perrls of Wellness after her mother’s illness.

tion on the internet, but sometimes we need somebody to walk us through and to walk with us during this journey,” she

says. “That’s what I offer as a coach, to walk with you through this journey.” In her role as a health and wellness coach, the Army veteran offers a holistic approach to health management. She provides eating strategies and counsels women on how to be more active and to manage stress. In addition, she regularly updates Perrls of Wellness’ Facebook page with evidence-based, relevant and accurate information that her followers can use to make informed health choices. She also hosts a self-titled podcast on the second Wednesday of every month to ensure that women stay informed on the latest health and wellness issues. Williams, a registered nurse, works at the VA Hospital as an RN case manager with the homeless program. She has had extensive training in health coaching through the University of Wisconsin’s Integrated Health program and the National Society of Health Coaching.

Williams says that too often people place their health outcomes in the hands of doctors and specialists, and she hopes that Perrls of Wellness encourages them to retake responsibility for their own wellness as well by adopting lifestyle practices that serve as preventative care. “I feel like we believe that ‘My mom had this, or my grandmother had this, so I’m just destined to have this.’ I want the women that I come in contact with to know that that’s not (necessarily) true,” Williams says. “You don’t have to have diabetes because your mother had it and your mother’s mother had it. “You don’t have to have high blood pressure because they said that it runs in your family. You can change your own destiny. You can change your own life by taking control of your health.” To learn more about Perrls of Wellness, find the nonprofit on Facebook, or listen to its podcast on iTunes and other platforms.

JXN // progress

Renovations and Other Efforts to Build a Better Jackson // by Dustin Cardon

Hilton Garden Inn Completes Renovations In October, the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Jackson finished extensive renovations to its meeting and event space, guest rooms, lobby, restaurant and bar, and fitness center. Formerly known as the King Edward Hotel, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Reopening as the Hilton Garden Inn in July 2020, the hotel contains meeting rooms capable of hosting groups of up to 300, which received new carpeting, lighting and window treatments as part of the renovations. The hotel’s venue space also expanded to include a multifunction room on the ground floor. The hotel’s lobby now contains The


Crowdfunding Effort for Russell C. Davis Planetarium Jackson’s Russell C. Davis Planetarium, which is currently undergoing restoration due to a roof leak and resulting interior damage that forced it to close in April 2018, opened a crowdfunding page in October to support the renovation effort. The renovation is the first overhaul the City of Jackson has undertaken on the building in 40 years. The City plans to reopen the planetarium by April 2022. Planned updates to the planetarium include a new reception area and common space, augmented-reality exhibits and virtual-reality spacewalks, a large video wall, an expanded gift shop, a lunar landing-site exhibit and new programs and events such as a Virtual Summer Camp that teaches STEAM—science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics—subjects. The planetarium’s crowdfunding campaign allows for contributions of $10, $35, $60, $75, $125 and $350, each of which comes with successive tiered rewards and merchandise from the planetarium. Each higher-tier reward includes all items from the lower tiers as well. For more information on renovation of the planetarium or to donate to the crowdfunding effort, visit yourplanetarium.com.

When the Russell C. Davis Planetarium reopens (projected date: April 2022), visitors will be able to use their phones and tablets to see enhanced versions of static exhibits, as well as display elements only visible via mobile platforms.

Shop, a newly opened all-hours market with snacks, sandwiches, cold beverages and more. The renovated guest rooms have new carpeting, wall coverings, window treatments, seating upholsteries, light fixtures and televisions. King Edward Bar and Grille, the hotel’s bar and restaurant, upgraded its buffet area and added large-screen televisions in the bar. The restaurant serves made-toorder breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a selection of craft cocktails, wine and beer. The hotel also offers complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the property, 24-hour fitness and business centers, valet parking service, and an indoor pool and whirlpool. For information, call 601-353-5464. Visit Jackson Supports Jackson Restaurant Delivery In light of decreased revenues due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Visit Jackson and Downtown Jackson Partners partnered this October with Mississippi Delivery, a local company established in 2020 that supports other local businesses. The strategy is to negotiate a lower commission rate for Jackson restaurants to provide a low-cost restaurant delivery option on top of existing takeout and curbside options. The program is available to restaurants in zip codes 39201, 39202, 39204, 39206, 39211, 39213 and 39216.

City of Jackson Launches Connect JXN The City of Jackson and partner organizations launched a series of virtual townhall events in September called Connect JXN. The town halls are part of a year-long effort to hear directly from residents about their vision for the city in the next two decades, a release from Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba’s office says. During a virtual town hall, community members receive an overview of a project and learn more about the public engagement process. They can also give input via a project survey with the goal of receiving responses from a minimum of 5% of the population from each municipal ward. Survey responses and focus group feedback will serve as the city’s 20-25 year guiding framework for future growth and development, the release says. Key objectives of the plan include land use, zoning decisions, transportation plans, maps and policy recommendations. The Central Mississippi Planning and Development District is leading the Connect JXN project. One Voice is leading the public engagement process in partnership with Jackson State University Mississippi Urban Research Center and the City of Jackson Planning Commission. For more information, visit connectjxn. com.

All State Libraries to Receive Fiber Internet The Mississippi Library Commission launched a project in October to make fiber internet available to every library in the state by 2021 through a contract between CSpire and the Department of Information Technology Services. The arrangement will allow public libraries in the state to have higher internet speeds at lower prices. In preparation for the switch, MLC staff and other state agency representatives are meeting each week to prepare libraries’ systems for migration. When the project is complete, public libraries should see an increase in bandwidth speeds to a minimum of 100 MBps, a release from MLC says. For more information, call 601-4324111 or visit https://mlc.lib.ms.us/. Mississippi Public Broadcasting Launches MPB Classroom TV Mississippi Public Broadcasting partnered with the Mississippi Department of Education in October to create a new television channel called MPB Classroom TV, which airs on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. MPB Classroom TV provides instructional content to pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students. The channel includes pre-recorded 25-minute lessons from certified teachers aligned to the Mississippi College and Career Readiness Standards. Viewers do not need internet at home to watch MPB Classroom TV, but the channel is not available on cable and satellite services. To receive and watch the channel, viewers must use an antenna on their televisions. Cable and satellite subscribers will need to purchase a low-cost antenna and change the television’s input setting. Those who only use antennas will need to rescan their televisions to pick up the new channel. Content is available for on-demand viewing on the MPB Classroom TV web page as well as MPB’s YouTube channel under the MPB Classroom TV playlist. For more information, visit education. mpbonline.org. Innovate Mississippi’s Emerging Solutions Project Innovate Mississippi and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in September launched the “Emerging Solutions” project, which more PROGRESS, p 16

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • boomjackson.com


espite the setbacks that this year’s pandemic has wrought, the Jackson metro continues to persevere and move forward, making progress all the while. Check out these updates on some of what has been going on in these last few months.


JXN // progress, from page 15 Mississippi state Medical association

A number of local medical institutions have formed Flu Fighters, a coalition that seeks to encourage all Mississippians to get their flu shots this year.

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • jfp.ms

aims to hear ideas from Mississippians about how technology or other new products or services could help Mississippi better respond to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The nonprofit plans to use the ideas to help develop new products to deploy within the state and to help create new Mississippibased businesses and jobs to aid people after the pandemic. Anyone with an idea they wish to discuss with the Innovate Mississippi team can visit innovate.ms/solutions and fill out a contact form with their information and basic idea. Innovate will contact idea creators for


more in-depth discussions on their ideas. For more information, you can call 601-960-3611 or visit innovate.ms. Medical Institutions Launch Flu Fighters Coalition The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, the Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians, the Mississippi Chapter-American Academy of Pediatrics, the Mississippi Hospital Association, the Mississippi Nurses Association, the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Mississippi State Medical Association in September partnered to form a coalition called

Flu Fighters, which seeks to encourage all Mississippians to get their flu shot in 2020. Even though the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, it can help keep Mississippians healthier and mitigate hospitalizations during the pandemic, a release from the coalition says. The most recent flu season saw more than half a million hospitalizations, and hospitals, especially in Mississippi, have been severely overburdened during the pandemic. Getting a flu shot reduces the risk of being admitted to the ICU with the flu by 82%, the CDC says. Flu shots are available at hospitals, health-care providers’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, schools, college health centers and from many employers. To find a flu-shot provider in your area, visit vaccinefinder.org. Follow the Flu Fighters coalition on social media with the #FightFluMS hashtag. Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area Home Build Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area celebrated the construction of its 650th house on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The build was the 13th home that NissanCanton helped fund construction for. Located at 4644 Meadow Ridge

Drive, the home features an open plan with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, a release from HFHMCA says. The homeowners are Twanza Payne and JaMichael Sanders and their four children, who were previously living with relatives before the build, the release says. The build is part of the Broadmoor neighborhood revitalization initiative that HFHMCA launched in 2019. The Broadmoor revitalization will impact 100 houses in the neighborhood over five years, whether the organization rebuilds or demolishes them. Habitat is selling all of the revitalized homes in the Broadmoor neighborhood based on a 30-year, zerointerest mortgage for each owner. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Nissan-Canton was unable to put employees on-site to volunteer as it has with previous builds. However, Nissan-Canton donated funding for the construction of the home and donated four Nissan vehicles to HFHMCA to support its efforts. For more information on HFHMCA, call 601-353-6060 or visit http://www.habitatmca.org/. Send news regarding new developments and business announcements in the metro to dustin@jacksonfreepress.com.

BIZ // innovation

When One Business Door Closes, Another One Opens // by Dustin cardon

Inaka Tea Company Belhaven resident Chat Phillips launched his own bottled beverage business, Inaka Tea Company, in Jackson in October. Phillips sells homemade barley tea, which is a variety popular in Japan and Korea in which tea leaves are prepared in a roaster in a manner similar to coffee beans. Phillips learned to make barley tea while living in Japan and working as a

courtesy thailicious restaurant

Black Axes Throwing Club at The Outlets Black Axes Throwing Club, a family-owned axe throwing club for which customers compete in throwing an axe at a target, opened at The Outlets of Mississippi in October. In addition to indoor axe-throwing equipment, Black Axes offers pool tables, dart boards, food, flat screen televisions and a bar. Black Axes also operates a mobile axe-throwing trailer for events. Black Axes is a member of the

International Axe Throwing Federation, which establishes competitive rules and safety standards for the sport. Black Axes is open on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., on Fridays from 6 p.m. to midnight, and on Saturdays from 3 p.m. to midnight. For more information or to book in advance, visit blackaxesms.com. Walk-ins are welcome on Thursdays and Sundays. For more information, call 769-9723000 or visit outletsofms.com.

A Thailicious Restaurant favorite is Thai-fried rice.

Thailicious is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from

The Mississippi Health Access Exchange program allows physicians and other clinicians to securely share important patient information.

4 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 601- 398-1456 or find the restaurant on Facebook. Mississippi Health Access Exchange In November, the Mississippi State Medical Association partnered with patient data and technology organization KONZA to establish a physician-led statewide electronic health information exchange called the Mississippi Health Access Exchange. The program allows physicians and other clinicians to securely share important patient information at the point of care, a release from MSMA says. Patients can view their medical information from participating providers through a single patient portal, while physicians and other clinicians can meet quality reporting obligations under federal and commercial health plan payment systems. For more information about the Mississippi Health Access Exchange and participant benefits, visit mhax.org. Stuffed Asian Street Food at Cultivation Food Hall California native Rachel Phuong Le, owner of the Poké Stop sushi restaurant at Cultivation Food Hall at the District at Eastover, launched a new restaurant in September inside the food hall called Stuffed Asian Street Food. Stuffed serves a variety of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese street food, all with a stuffed theme. The menu includes items such as Chinese egg rolls, Japanese dumplings, Chinese steamed bao buns and more. The main attraction of the restaurant is Vietnamese banh mi, a type of

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • boomjackson.com


ne of the sadder hardships to witness over the course of this pandemic has been the indefinite closings of many locally owned businesses. Nevertheless, Jackson has a way of encouraging entrepreneurs to open new businesses and programs to bolster our local economy. Read on to learn of the several additions the metro area has welcomed over the last quarter.

Thailicious Restaurant Opens in Jackson A new destination for Thai food in Jackson, Thailicious Restaurant, opened for business in October. The menu at Thailicious includes appetizers such as crab rangoon, edamame, egg rolls, fried calamari, gyoza and more. The restaurant also offers noodle dishes such as pad thai, lo mein and pad woon sen, as well as red, green, yellow and pineapple curry. Chef specials include crunchy chicken, sweet and sour chicken, orange chicken, grilled chicken teriyaki and more. The restaurant also serves Thaifried rice, pineapple fried rice and stirfried dishes such as broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, ginger, spicy basil and more.

courtesy mhaX

Kristib b renemen

Inaka Tea sells homemade barley tea by the bottle both online and through local retailers like the Farmer’s Market on High Street.

consultant for international companies in 2010. He roasted his own barley at home to serve to friends and, after returning to the United States, decided to start selling the tea in Jackson due to its scarcity in the U.S. Inaka Tea is available in original, mint and ginger flavors. The tea comes in 16-ounce glass bottles, which are roughly $2.49 apiece, though the price may vary by retailer. Phillips sells his tea through local retailers and is also opening an online store at inakatea.com. For more information, follow Inaka Tea Company on Instagram @inaka_tea or on Facebook @drinkinaka.


BIZ // innovation

La Brioche Pop-up Shop at Highland Village La Brioche Patisserie in Jackson partnered with Highland Village Shopping Center in September to open a temporary pop-up shop in its courtyard. La Brioche’s pop-up stand sells a rotating assortment of eight gelato flavors, including flavors such as strawberry, mango, chocolate, coffee, sorbet and more. The shop also sells 12 flavors of macarons as well as seasonal flavors for fall and winter. The Highland Village La Brioche stand will remain open through February 2021. The shop is open Monday through Thursday from 10 am. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For information, visit highlandvillagejxn.com or labriochems.com.

courtesy La Brioche

sandwich similar to a po-boy. Stuffed’s bahn mi are all Le’s own recipes and feature meats cooked and marinated inhouse, including pork belly, lemongrass beef, Asian fried shrimp and more. Stuffed is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, find the restaurant on Facebook @stuffedjxn.

Expanded Health Insurance Market for Mississippi Molina Healthcare of Mississippi expanded its health insurance marketplace this November from 19 counties to all 82 counties in the state. In addition to its healthcare exchange, Molina offers services for Medicaid members through MississippiCAN and the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program. Members of Molina’s marketplace can receive free preventive care services including screenings, family planning and preventive drugs, a release from Molina says. Molina marketplace plans also include telemedicine services for the same copay as a primary care visit. Open enrollment for Molina’s marketplace in Mississippi runs through Dec. 15 for a membership effective date of Jan. 1, 2021. For more information on enrollment, visit choosemolina.com. For more information on Molina Healthcare, visit molinahealthcare.com.

La Brioche’s temporary pop-up shop in the Highland Village courtyard offers a rotating assortment of eight gelato flavors, and will through February 2021.

Send business-related news tips to dustin@ jacksonfreepress.com.

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DO-GOODERS // giving what you can

Help Your Neighbor: Donate Blood, Save Lives // by Torsheta Jackson

Fewer people tend to donate blood during holiday seasons each year and even fewer during a pandemic. Thus, MBS welcomes all donors.

surgeries, traumas, and other catastrophic and long-term illnesses, such as sickle-cell disease and cancer according to the organization’s website. MBS services hospitals across Mississippi as well as Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee. It depends on continuous donations as blood is perishable and cannot be stockpiled. Presently, MBS is experiencing a severe shortage of

several blood types and platelets. Mummert says donations usually decline during the holiday season; however, the organization has seen a significant decline throughout 2020 amid COVID-19 concerns. “Many people are afraid of going out and giving blood because of COVID,� Mummert says. “It is not common that they are at the (low) level that they are at now, but they service hospitals all over the state and other states. People need them, and they are sending it out. Just because COVID is around doesn’t mean people stop having cancer situations or accidents.� Mummert believes that blood donation is an easy, yet important way of helping our community. He encourages others to join him in making a difference, particularly during this time when a below-average number of donors have entered MBS’ doors. “If we all help each other along, then we’d all be better off. I’d encourage others to try donating blood to help their neighbor, but if that doesn’t fit then find what does fit and do it well,� Mummert says. Those interested in blood or platelet donation can call Mississippi Blood Services at 601-368-2673, or visit msblood. com to find a local collection site, as well as to schedule an appointment.

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hen Kent Mummert enters Mississippi Blood Services, he smiles and exchanges greetings with the staff. After checking in and completing the required paperwork and mini-physical, he heads over to a bed and takes a seat. He chats with a familiar phlebotomist who calls him by name as she begins collecting his donation. Mummert has been a regular donor for years. The Clinton resident donates about every other week. His donation of platelets allows him to donate more regularly than most, and he has recorded more than 700 donations. Mummert, however, shies away from discussing the volume of his contributions. “I don’t dwell on that,� he says. “Everyone should find a way they can help their neighbor and do it to the best of their ability. Donating platelets is the way I’ve found that I can best help my neighbor. So I do it as often as I can, but I desire no accolades for doing my part.� Mummert, a freelance graphic designer and adjunct professor at Mississippi College and Belhaven University, began donating blood in 1976 and has been faithfully doing so ever since. He and other regular donors are the life-blood of Mississippi Blood Services. Hundreds of pints of blood are sent out every day for


C h i c k s WE L o v e T Felicia Durham

land, but I’m going for the kitchen first. That definitely has to be the ‘wow factor’ for me.” As much as she’d like some room to spread out, Durham jokes that she doesn’t want too much space. “Dust builds up, and I’m so busy!” she laughs. To make realty-related inquiries, find Durham’s business page on Facebook. —Taylor McKay Hathorn

Jo Beth Murphree When Jo Beth Murphree’s parents gave her a name, they nearly predicted her life’s trajectory, naming her after a family friend, the wife of the man who would go on to become her high school softball coach and present-day colleague in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “When I was in high school,” Murphree recalled, “I went to FCA to get a free donut. I really

didn’t understand what it was supposed to be about, but my high school coach taught me what it was all about.” The mission of FCA is to “reach coaches for Christ,” as the organization believes that coaches have the ability to have an impact on their players’ spiritual development, just as Murphree saw in her own life. “A lot of kids spend more

Letitia Johnson

When Letitia Johnson ran for a seat on the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees in 2017, she wanted to instigate positive change in the school district that serves nearly 24,000 students. Five of those students were Johnson’s own children, making the mission to improve the local public-school system personal to the now-president of the district’s governing body. Johnson’s biggest victory as a board member to date, she says, is seeing JPS initiate a 1:1 program that will provide technological learning tools for its students. “The last supply of electronic devices (that were ordered) is going to be enough for each student to have their own device,” Johnson boasts. This program has been particularly needed in the current school year, as Jackson Public Schools students have been learning entirely remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the successes that Johnson has seen in her three-year tenure, she believes that her work isn’t yet finished, however. “I continue to serve because there’s still a lot of work left to do,” she says. “We’ve made a lot of progress, but there are still a lot of things I’d like to see done.” In Johnson’s view, the biggest determining factor in the district’s continued success lies in its teachers and students. “I wish everyone knew that we have a body of committed teachers and a large spectrum of students who are eager to learn. I think a lot of people don’t think we have great things, but those are our two greatest resources,” Johnson concludes. —Taylor McKay Hathorn

time with their coach than they do with their parents,” Murphree says. “We feel like the lasting impact that coaches will have on their athletes and ultimately on their families and communities will make a huge difference.” Murphree’s journey to becoming an area director for FCA was a long one, as she supervised campus ministries at Belhaven University for 15 years prior to accepting her current position. Presently, the FCA boasts chapters in middle schools, high schools and colleges across the

courtesy Letitia Johnson

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • jfp.ms

“I encourage patience with my clients,” Durham says. “I tell them there’s a house for everyone, but you must show patience.” Although Durham spends her days helping clients find their “perfect home,” she has some definite ideas about what her own dream house would look like. “My husband was born in the city, but he has a country spirit. So (my ideal house) would be on some

courtesy Jo Beth Murphree


he Jackson metro area has a nifty habit of raising and attracting a number of is full of driven, innovative and community-focused residents. This year’s Chicks We Love package showcases a number of influential women who do their part to bolster the city that we call home.

courtesy Felicia Durham

The current pandemic has created an environment of low-interest rates in the world of real estate, which has resulted in striking changes to the field, but Felicia Durham of EXP Realty helps her clients roll with the punches. “We have more demand than we have supply,” Durham says. “People who were previously content in their (living) situations are reaching out, so it’s amazing because the market has opened up tremendously.” In the present climate, houses are going on the market and being put under contract 24 to 48 hours later. Because clients have so little time before making their decisions, they can often find themselves overwhelmed, which is why Durham aims to provide support and put them at ease during the process. “I have to make sure that both the buyer and the seller understand the process,” Durham says of her role. “Setting the expectation is the number-one key for both parties.” The expectations can be high in the present market, as Durham notes that many clients who previously had time to look for a new home while selling their own often find themselves with a pressing offer—and thus a pressing need to vacate their own home.


country. Murphree describes the work of “leading coaches and athletes into a lasting relationship

with Jesus and the church” as evergrowing. “I oversee eight counties in central Mississippi, and we don’t have a staff in each of those areas yet,” Murphree says of her present work. “The main focus right now are Hinds, Rankin and Madison counties. We have some coaches who are leading things, so I’m travelling to minister to coaches until we have staff in place there.” To learn more about the Mississippi FCA, you can visit mississippifca.org. —Taylor McKay Hathorn

kinson’s mantra for her art, as she draws inspiration from nostalgic scenes from her childhood. “I still have my ‘Madeline’ books, and I have a copy of ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’ Old cartoons inspire my work, too, and I still keep stuffed animals. It’s a safe space to me, where I can dive into a different world,” she says. Holding on to these nostalgic memories has helped Hankinson navigate the gloom of the pandemic, and she hopes that her customers will feel the same way. “There are still joyful things going on, so I hope other people get to see things through a child’s perspective through my work,” she says. To view Jordan Hankinson’s art or to commission an order, find the artist on Instagram or Etsy, or you can visit her website at jordanhankinson.com. —Taylor McKay Hathorn

Chrissy Cheshire

their security, value and hope.” Jones’ and her organization’s role, then, is to grant victims a full restoration of their self-worth, she says. “We have to create a network of people—such as churches, schools, workplaces and agencies—to provide advocacy and safe and effective services to eliminate domestic violence.” Advocates, however, cannot walk in the shoes of a survivor. “Survivors have been let down by so many people who are meant to love them,” Jones laments. “So when we tell them that we’re going to award them on a night when they put on their best—even if their best is just a smile—you give them so much hope.” Learn more at bbgdf.org. —Taylor McKay Hathorn Chris Grillis photography

Jordan Hankinson, a visual artist, once spent much of her time peddling her wares at pop-up art festivals around the Jackson metro area. While COVID19 has cancelled many such events, Hankinson is looking forward to getting back to her booth at the upcoming Women’s Art Pop-Up at Fondren Public, slated for Dec. 12. In the interim, Hankinson has adapted to online sales. “I’ve started an art Instagram, and I’ve opened an Etsy shop. I think everybody is collectively trying to get their stuff online, and people have definitely been shopping online more lately,” Hankinson says. These online shoppers have plied the artist with commissions, her favorite thus far being a Halloween-themed project she did for a friend to display at her salon opening in Memphis. “It was nice to draw something personal for my friends—something that was happy and fun.” “Happy and fun” also serves as Han-

courtesy Jordan Hankinson

Jordan Hankinson

Each year, Butterflies by Grace Defined by Faith gives a “Shero” award to a survivor of domestic violence, celebrating the recipient’s ability to overcome. “There’s a photo of (a past winner) in tears as she accepted her award, and that’s worth a million dollars,” Eva Jones, founder of the program, says. Butterflies by Grace Defined by Faith isn’t about raising funds; it’s about raising awareness of domestic violence, which Jones believes is still enshrouded by a pervasive culture of silence. “There’s a silence because of fear,” Jones states. “When it comes to wanting to share or to speak out about their experiences, they’re fearful because there’s so much victim-blaming. People ask, ‘Why does she stay? Why can’t he can’t just get out of it?’” Jones asserts that the catalyst to enlightenment for these outsiders-lookingin stems from public education on the topic. “Education is key,” Jones says. “Many people don’t know what constitutes domestic violence or that it affects both women and men.” Regardless of the form the violence takes, Jones believes that it “robs people of

Over a decade ago, Chrissy Cheshire helped with a fundraiser at an animal shelter. Before she left, the organizers asked her if she wanted to see what she had been raising money for, and Cheshire said yes. The experience was shocking: There were more than 300 dogs at the shelter that day. After her self-proclaimed “life-changing moment,” Cheshire founded Cheshire Abbey, a rescue organization for abused or homeless dogs. “Once we rescue them, we immediately take them to the vet to see what’s going on with them,” Cheshire says of her nonprofit’s work. “We get them spayed or neutered, and since we’re foster-based, we then start trying to match people with dog personalities and situations. In essence, we rehabilitate them and find great homes for them.” Not all of Cheshire’s rescues find homes in the South, however, given that many southern rescues and shelters are completely overwhelmed, as most southern states do not have the spay and neuter laws common in the northern parts of the country. “There are vans that go north weekly, since (their shelters) don’t have the overpopulation problems that we have,” she says. Regardless of where the dogs find their eventual homes, Cheshire’s goal for each rescue is the same: for the dog to know the love of a human being. “A lot of our rescues or abused, neglected or otherwise injured,” she says. “A lot of them don’t know what it’s like to just be a dog and be able to be a companion, and we want to get them into a wonderful home that will give them that.” Presently, Cheshire Abbey is requesting for fellow animal lovers to donate to their cause so that the nonprofit can better pay for the dogs’ medical and other bills. Donors can give via PayPal at cheshireabbey@gmail.com and through Venmo at cheshire abbey. —Taylor McKay Hathorn

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • boomjackson.com

Monica Daniels began working at the Magnolia Speech School after her daughter, Callie DanielsBryant, was born profoundly deaf. “(For me), it was about teaching children to listen and to talk, to listen and to be understood and to self-advocate,” Daniels says of her work with the school. These lessons of self-advocacy were deeply ingrained in her daughter, as Callie went on to study journalism at the University of Mississippi, interning at the Jackson Free Press during her time there. Tragically, Callie died in a car accident earlier this year, but for Daniels, the work continues. Now the president and CEO of Special Olympics Mississippi, Daniels says that the motto of the organization is “the inclusion revolution,” which the Fondren resident finds fitting. “When I was offered the position,” she recalls, “I thought to myself, ‘That’s what I’ve been doing for 27 years—bringing everyone to the table.” One way that Special Olympics Mississippi does just that is through its partnership with the Boys and Girls Club in the Mississippi Delta. A Delta native herself, Daniels reached out to the organization and helped the Special Olympics become part of a national project to form unified teams, matching athletes with intellectual disabilities to peers within the Boys and Girls Club. “The bar is set high for physical fitness, health awareness and social engagement,” Daniels says of the teams. “We took a flag football team to Seattle, Wash., and we won bronze. Our quarterback is a girl, so we’re pretty proud of that.” The Special Olympics in Mississippi offers more than victories on the field, however. “It’s a vehicle to promote inclusion,” Daniels says. “We bring a movement; we are in the constant motion of educating people.” Visit specialolympicsms.org for more information. —Taylor McKay Hathorn

Eva Jones

courtesy Eva Jones

courtesy Monica Daniels

Monica Daniels


BEST OF JACKSON // Biz Services

Best of Jackson: Business Services


elcome to the debut of a new pop-up Best of Jackson winners’ list: Business Services. This inaugural spread spotlights a number of local businesses in the area that specialize in helping other businesses run more smoothly, as well as assisting individuals with similar needs. We applaud these very necessary community leaders in a tough time for businesses.

Best Accountant/CPA; Best CPA or Accounting Firm; Best Payroll Service: Natasha McLaurin; Midstate Financial Group

Best Recruiter/Employment Agency: TempStaff

(962 North St., 601-353-4200; 164 Watford Parkway Drive, Canton; 601-859-8860; 608 Delaware Avenue, McComb; 601-250-080; tempstaff.net)

(400 Highway 51 N., Suite F, Ridgeland; 601-552-8800; midstatefinancials.com)

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • jfp.ms

Best CPA or Accounting Firm Finalists: Lightheart Sanders (116 One Madison Plaza, Suite 1200, Madison; 601-898-2727; lsacpafirm.com) / Parker & Associates (355 Edgewood Terrace Drive, 601-982-5341, parkcpa.com) / TEC Partners (217 Draperton Drive, Ridgeland, 601-605-4842) / Windham & Lacey (2708 Old Brandon Road, Pearl; 601-939-8676; 219 N. Jackson St.; 601-892-4001; windhamandlacey.com) Best Payroll Service Finalists: Pay Pros of Mississippi (210 Industrial Drive, Suite 2, Ridgeland, 601-607-7801, payprosms.com) / People Lease (Account Services Group) (689 Towne Center Blvd., Suite B, Ridgeland; 800-723-3025; peoplelease.com) / Personnel Plus (404 Legacy Park, Ridgeland, 601-206-1620, personnelplusms.com) / Watkins & Company (436 Katherine Drive, Suite 100, Flowood; 601-935-9288; watkinsandco.com)

courtesy Tempstaff


Best Accountant/CPA Finalists: Carolyn Wakefield (6045 Ridgewood Road, Suite F, 601-957-0073) / Conrad Ebner (TEC Partners LLP, 217 Draperton Drive, Ridgeland, 601-605-4842) / Kevin Lightheart (Lightheart, Sanders and Associates; 116 One Madison Plaza, Suite 1200, Madison; 601-898-2727; lsacpafirm.com) / Phillip Parker (Parker & Associates CPAs PLLC, 355 Edgewood Terrace Drive, 601-982-5341, parkcpa.com)

courtesy Natalie McLaurin

Founded in 2014, the Midstate Financial Group in Ridgeland handles everything from back-office functions like payroll management and bookkeeping to full-service business accounting, all while aiming to help clients solve their problems through personalized service. Natasha McLaurin, the company’s current president, has been with the company since it was founded, having also served as an insurance broker and a licensed tax professional in her six-year tenure. McLaurin graduated with a degree in business administration from Jackson State University in 2005 and combines that education with almost nine years’ experience in health-compliNatasha McLaurin ance and insurance-claims roles. “I love learning and growing my business,” McLaurin says of her position. “I take time and work with my clients, I don’t just do their taxes I try to explain every step I take and work with them so that they’re on the same page as me. I think they really appreciate that effort, and it’s something I love to do.” As explained on the business’ website, Midstate strives to help solve financial problems both today and down the road, handling the issue at hand and implementing measures to keep those problems in check. For instance, tax specialists not only prepare business tax returns; they also provide long-term plans that manage tax burdens. Midstate not only diagnoses and remedies payroll issues, but also represents clients and helps them restructure systems to better suit them and their employees in the future. McLaurin asserts that her favorite aspects of her job include “getting to meet new people, learning new things about the tax profession and learning how to apply them to everyday situations,” she says. A self-described “people person,” she also attributes a portion of her appreciation for her work to Midstate operating in the Jackson metro. “I love the location and community we have here,” McLaurin says. “Word-of-mouth is great, and of course, I love the people.” —Sarah Kate Pollard, Kyle Hamrick

Since 1981, TempStaff has placed approximately 4,000 people per year in jobs across central Mississippi, relying on a reputation of diligence and excellence honed by decades working in the Jackson metro area. Carolyn Boteler, CSP, who has served as president and CEO since 1991, says her staff’s longevity and focus on relationships gives TempStaff its edge. “Our staff really get to know our customers,” she said, adding that company’s goal is to create partnerships. Those partnerships are maintained by recruiters with more than five years’ experience at the company, which, Boteler says, “makes a big difference for our customers because they aren’t having to adjust to a new person.” Motivated by a belief that every person is made to fill a particular job, Boteler and her staff work with employers and job-seekers to fill vacancies in administrative, professional and industrial positions with the candidates they find that best match the jobs’ qualifications. She says she is proud of her team’s work and hopes to expand TempStaff’s reputation as central Mississippi’s premier staffing agency as the company enters its 40th year. The business’ philosophy, “A Personal Touch to Employment Staffing,” resonates with the customer service it aims to uphold day after day, with both employers and those seeking jobs alike. A member of the American Staffing Association and a regular winner of ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing Client Satisfaction Diamond Award, TempStaff has offices in Jackson, Canton and McComb. Since 2014, TempStaff has donated more $20,000 to area organizations, and staff members hold leadership roles in several local civic and business organizations. —Kyle Hamrick Finalists: Capitol Staffing (661 Sunnybrook Road, Suite 110, Ridgeland; 601-957-1755; capitolstaffing.com) / Express Employment Professionals (4220 Lakeland Drive, Suite D, Flowood; 601-355-7000; expresspros.com) / Kinetic Staffing (4266 Interstate 55 N. Frontage Road, Suite 102, 601-3624545, kineticstaffing.com) / Professional Staffing Group (2475 Lakeland Drive, Suite C, Flowood; 601-981-1658; prostaffgroup.com)

Best HR/Benefits Provider: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi

Best Business Insurance Firm: Porter’s Insurance Agency (1020 University Blvd., 601-355-8471, portersinsurance.com)

(3545 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-664-4590, bcbsms.com)

Finalists: EBS (PO Box 13749, 601-353-0002, ebsincms.com) / Midstate Financial (400 Highway 51 N., Suite F, Ridgeland; 601-552-8800; midstatefinancials.com) / People Lease (Account Services Group) (689 Towne Center Blvd., Suite B, Ridgeland; 800-723-3025; peoplelease.com) / Ross & Yerger (100 Vision Drive, Suite 100, 601-948-2900, rossandyerger.com)

In 1983, Richard J. Porter founded Porter’s Insurance Agency, and throughout the 37 years since then the company has continually served the insurance-related needs of numerous individuals, families and businesses within Hinds County and neighboring areas. Expressing gratitude toward her late father for starting the business, Lotoya Porter credits the Jackson metro for cultivating the passion she holds for the work she does as the company’s vice president, a position she has held since 2006. “Jackson is my hometown, so it’s always great to give to the community that raised me,” she says. Latoya Porter “I love to help my community and always find new things they need help with and help. Just the solidarity of Jackson means a lot to me. It’s a great place to live and raise a family.” Insurance services offered include personal and business coverage, as well as financial planning. Something that sets Porter’s Insurance Agency apart, Porter explains, is that it is a small, minority- and women-owned and operated business. “We’re able to have a closeness with our clients that bigger firms can’t and don’t offer,” she claims. “Most of our clients are like our family.” —Sarah Kate Pollard

Courtesy latoya Porter

Blue Cross Blue shield

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, in addition to providing health insurance to individuals, partners with businesses to provide comprehensive health-care plans to employees and their families. When it comes to health care, Blue Cross & Blue Shield adopts a holistic approach, encouraging individuals and employers to personal wellness and healthy living, the business’ website explains. This philosophy of prevention aims to inspire employees and employers to lead lives that are more active and to better manage any preexisting health conditions. The Flowood-based location offers coverage plans for individuals and businesses alike. The Blue Care plan covers individuals between the ages of 21 and 65, whereas the Blue Care for Kids plan covers individuals under the 21 years of age. Employers can choose plans for either small groups (between two and 50 employees) or large groups (more than 50 employees). Through the Blue Primary Care Home network, employees experience medical care that supports them in managing conditions and preventing disease. Benefits designed to maintain health, like wellness coaches, are available at no extra cost to plan members. The Utilization Review Accreditation Commission, a nonprofit body focused on quality health-care management, accredits the benefits programs offered by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, ensuring coverage meets members’ needs. —Kyle Hamrick

Finalists: Account Services Group (689 Towne Center Drive, Suite A, Ridgeland; 601-981-3663; accountservicesgroup.com) / Midstate Financial Group (400 Highway 51 N., Suite F, Ridgeland; 601-552-8800; midstatefinancials.com) / Profound Agency (407 Briarwood Drive, Suite 220B, 601-566-1572, profoundagencyllc.com) / Ross & Yerger (100 Vision Drive, Suite 100, 601-9482900, rossandyerger.com) / SouthGroup (795 Woodlands Parkway, Suite 101, Ridgeland; 601914-3220; southgroup.net)

Best IT/Tech Services: Fuse Cloud (175 E. Capitol St., Suite 500, 601-926-6000, fuse.cloud)

hosting, data backup and network monitoring under one umbrella; and more. —Nate Schumann Finalists: BeCloud LLC (653 N. State St., 769218-8318, becloudit.com) / Extraordinary Business Solutions (501 W. County Line Road, Tougaloo; 601-543-9600, extraordinarysolutions.biz) / Home Theatre Solutions, LLC (125 Fairmont Plaza, Pearl, 601-6229208, hts601.com) / InCare 360 (193 Business Park Drive, Suite C, Ridgeland; 601-956-8909, incaretechnologies.com) / US Next (6360 Interstate 55 N. Frontage Road, Suite 210, 601-9564770, usnx.com)

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November 25 - December 8, 2020 • boomjackson.com

commodate a high number of devices, among other perks. Because Fuse Cloud maintains relationships with over a dozen leading fiber carriers, the company asserts that it can find a connection that best fits each client’s location and needs, the provider’s website says. What’s more, if any of your company devices act awry, Fuse Cloud’s IT specialists are on standby to help. In addition, the provider’s Managed IT department can also inventory a business’ PCs and network devices; install new software for remote management and cybersecurity; gather email

Courtesy Fuse Cloud

Whatever your nonprofit’s or company’s field of business, Fuse Cloud—a local technology provider based in downtown Jackson that Gary Watts opened in 2006—aspires to resolve a number of common tech-related concerns. Through voiceover IP technology, Fuse Cloud’s phone services allow businesses to answer work calls on a cell phone or laptop, connect multiple campuses or a distributed workforce, or set up an auto attendant with a variety of smart features. Fuse Cloud tackles bandwidth challenges with fiber internet, which can ac-


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Thanks To These Annual Supporters


As a result of their generosity, we’ve been able to keep operations going while also successfully applying for the Payroll Protection Program and grants from Facebook and Google to help our team continue critical reporting on COVID-19 and other community challenges. We were one of three publications in Mississippi to receive the Facebook grant. We still need your help—the “new normal” of local journalism means we’re going to rely on reader support more than ever through the Summer of 2020 -- and beyond.

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SEXIEST BARTENDER Ashley Pullin Charlie Keister Colton Woodward Kree’ Blackwell Kristi Leigh Odom Kurt Monaghan Lisa Palmer

LIVE THEATER/THEATRICAL GROUP Black Rose Theatre Company MADDRAMA Enchanting Memories Entertainment Magically Perfect Mississippi Children’s Music Theater New Stage Theatre

TEACHER Alex Gibert (Ridgeland High School) Blakeney McGraw (Olde Towne Middle School) Chinelo Bosah Evans (Early College High School @ Tougaloo College) Jamie Moore (Olde Towne Middle School) Noel Didla (Jackson State University) Shelby Fant (Florence Middle School) Veronica Dykes (Lanier High School) URBAN WARRIOR Clay Edwards Jeff Good Judge Carlyn Hicks Kaye Donald Maggie Wade Rukia Lumumba VISUAL ARTIST (LIVING) Azha Sanders Brian Ballou Cody Cox Ginger Williams Haley Toups Sabrina Howard Wyatt Waters

C O M M U N I T Y & C U L T U R E

ANNUAL EVENT Bright Lights Belhaven Nights Cathead Jam Hal’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade & Festival Jackson Indie Music Week Mississippi Comic Con Mistletoe Marketplace ART GALLERY AND Gallery Brown’s Fine Art and Framing Fischer Galleries Fondren Art Gallery

OffBeat View Gallery

ARTS ORGANIZATION Mississippi Arts Commission Mississippi Museum of Art HeARTworks Mississippi Symphony Orchestra New Stage Theatre BEST SOCIALLY DISTANCING ACTIVITY IN JACKSON Capital City Kayak Adventures (kayaking) McClain Safari Tours Chalk Walk (Northpark) Dinner at/Staying Home Museum-to-Market Trail Reservoir Overlook CATEGORY WE LEFT OFF Best Children’s Entertainment Best Couple Best Home-Based Business Best Place for a First Date Best Tattoo Artist Best Virtual Church Service COMMUNITY GARDEN/NATURE ATTRACTION Eudora Welty House & Garden Green Grass Acres LeFleur’s Bluff State Park Mynelle Gardens Natchez Trace Parkway The Art Garden (Mississippi Museum of Art)

LOCAL PODCAST EmpowHER Podcast with Krississippi From The Heart of A Key to the City Othor Cain Media Reality Breached Save Jxn Token Talk

You can also go to vote.jacksonfreepress. com to vote online.

Free Press Inc. are qualified to win Best of Jackson categories, and must not campaign on anyone’s behalf. 9. Violation of any of these rules causes immediate disqualification from being nominated for or winning Best of Jackson awards. 10. “New” indicates opened since Dec. 1, 2019. VOTE ONLINE and see more rule explanations at www.bestofjackson.com.

Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

Mississippi Comic Con Two Mississippi Museums

VIRTUAL FUNDRAISER/CHARITY 12Ks for the Holidays (The Good Samaritan Center) Best Dressed Jackson (The American Cancer Society) Discovery Night: Remix! (Mississippi Children’s Museum) Mistletoe Marketplace Both in person and virtual. Pink Fridays (The Steven James Foundation) Real Men Wear Pink Refill Jackson Initiative

M U S I C & N I G H T L I F E

LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESS 4th Avenue Lounge Enchanting Memories Entertainment Josephine’s Kitchen Lakeland Glass and Tint Magically Perfect OffBeat The Prickly Hippie

BAR 4th Avenue Lounge BB’S LIVE - Bonny Blair’s Fenian’s Pub M-Bar Sports Grill Names and Faces Lounge Pop’s Saloon Shucker’s Oyster Bar

MUSEUM Agriculture and Forestry Museum Mississippi Children’s Museum Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Mississippi Museum of Art Mississippi Museum of Natural Science Smith Robertson Museum

BEST LOCAL BAND (ORIGINAL MUSIC) 601 LIVE Burnham Road Chad Wesley Band Hairicane Southern Komfort Brass Band Steele Heart The Ballard Journeay Show

NEW ADDITION TO JACKSON Coffee Prose - Highland Village Dumbo’s on Duling Elvie’s Enchanting Memories Entertainment Green Bean Kickin’ Crab Mural On Old Capitol Inn NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION CARA - Community Animal Rescue & Adoption Mississippi Children’s Museum My Brother’s Keeper Ronald McDonald House (UMMC) The Good Samaritan Center The Mustard Seed WFBC Inc. PUBLIC FORUM/SPEAKER SERIES Empowering Progressive Speakers Toastmasters Club Millsaps Arts & Lecture Series Mississippi Black Leadership Summit Operation Shoestring Refill Cafe Friday Forum Save Jxn RADIO PERSONALITY/TEAM Christiana Williams DJ Scrap Dirty Mista Maine Nate and Traci Percy Davis Tambra Cherie RADIO STATION WJMI WMPN WMSI



REASON TO LIVE IN JACKSON Affordable housing Community Culture Food It’s home People


DANCE GROUP Ballet Magnificat! Dance Works Studio Dancing Dolls Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet Montage Theatre of Dance Prancing J-Settes Xpress Dance Company

STAGE PLAY “Mamma Mia” (Jackson Academy Theater) “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical” (New Stage Theatre) “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Fondren Theatre Workshop) “The Rocky Horror Burlesque Show” (Black Hat Shows) “Why I Live at the P.O.” (New Stage Theatre) Thursday Night Virtual Plays, Conversations and Cocktails (New Stage Theatre)

FESTIVAL Bright Lights Belhaven Nights Cathead Jam

TOURIST ATTRACTION Brandon Amphitheater Fondren McClain Resort

Paper Ballot Due Dec. 11. Voting ends online Dec. 13!

BARISTA Cameron Phillips Cody Cox Jessica Glenn Joey Tannehill Jordan White Kree’ Blackwell Victoria Fortenberry


est of Jackson voting is divided into two stages—a Nominations ballot and a Final ballot. We must receive your mailed nominations ballot by Dec. 11, 2020, or you may submit it online by midnight on Dec. 13, 2020. If you opt for the paper ballot, you must tear it from your copy of the Jackson Free Press (no ™ photocopies allowed). We will announce winners on Jan. 20, 202.

COLLEGE STUDENT HANGOUT BAR 3911 Coffee Prose F. Jones Corner Fenian’s Pub Fondren Public M-Bar Sports Grill Shucker’s Oyster Bar HAPPY HOUR 4th Avenue Lounge BB’S LIVE - Bonny Blair’s Last Call Sports Grill Names and Faces Lounge Saltine Restaurant Shucker’s Oyster Bar The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen LIVE MUSIC VENUE OR PLACE FOR LIVE MUSIC BB’S LIVE - Bonny Blair’s Johnny T’s Bistro & Blues Duling Hall Martin’s Downtown Pop’s Saloon Shucker’s Oyster Bar The Iron Horse Grill LOCAL COVER BAND 601 LIVE Accoustic Crossroads Hairicane Mississippi Moonlight Spunk Monkees Steele Heart Travelin’ Jane LOCAL MUSICIAN Coke Bumaye Dear Silas Gena Steele Jason Turner Ron Etheridge Russell McGuffee TJ Burnham LOCAL SINGER Amanda Chappell Dylan Lovett Eddie Cotton Jr Gena Steele Jason Turner Laura Leigh Burnham PLACE FOR COCKTAILS 4th Avenue Lounge BB’S LIVE - Bonny Blair’s Library Lounge at Fairview Inn Names and Faces Lounge Shucker’s Oyster Bar Table 100 The Briar Patch PLACE TO DANCE BAR 3911 F. Jones Corner Johnny T’s Bistro & Blues Ole Tavern on George Street Pop’s Saloon Shucker’s Oyster Bar VIBE Jxn PLACE TO DRINK CHEAP Capitol Grill Fenian’s Pub Last Call Sports Grill Pelican Cove Martin’s Downtown Sam’s Lounge Shucker’s Oyster Bar

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • boomjackson.com

1 9


Place to play pool Dockery Grill Last Call Sports Grill Pop’s Saloon Sam’s Lounge Shucker’s Oyster Bar The “Little” Pub in Ridgeland The Green Room

Fried chicken Dumbo’s on Duling Georgia Blue Primos Cafe Mama Hamil’s Southern Cookin’ & BBQ Rooster’s The Gathering at Livingston

Place to watch the game 4th and Goal Sports Cafe BB’S LIVE - Bonny Blair’s Capitol Grill Fondren Public Last Call Sports Grill Names and Faces Lounge The Bulldog

Greek or Mediterranean Restaurant Aladdin Mediterranean Grill Aplos Simple Mediterranean Keifer’s Kismet’s Restaurant Krilakis Yiayia’s Greek Kitchen

Pub quiz/trivia night Fenian’s Pub Fondren Public Library Lounge at Fairview Inn Lost Pizza Co. Pig & Pint Urban Foxes Service industry hangout BAR 3911 BB’S LIVE - Bonny Blair’s Capitol Grill F. Jones Corner Fenian’s Pub Sam’s Lounge Urban Foxes Virtual music performance Dylan Lovett Hunter Gibson Jason Turner Rita Brent Lovin’ Ledbetter Stephanie Luckett Travelin’ Jane




Paper Ballot Due Dec. 11. Voting ends online Dec. 13!

Bakery Broad Street Baking Company Campbell’s Bakery La Brioche Patisserie & Bistro Primos Cafe Sugar Magnolia Takery The Prickly Hippie Barbecue E & L Barbeque Hickory Pit Little Willie’s BBQ Jefferson’s Grill Restaurant & Catering Sylvester’s Mississippi Style BBQ The Pig & Pint

Beer selection (restaurant) Fondren Public Hops and Habanas Martin’s Downtown Saltine Restaurant The Bulldog The Pig & Pint Beer selection (store) Barley’s Beer Barn Craft Beer Cellar Hops and Habanas LD’s BeerRun Breakfast Brent’s Drugs Elvie’s Jo’s Diner Primos Cafe Sugar’s Place The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen Brunch Elvie’s Primos Cafe Saltine Restaurant The Iron Horse Grill The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen Burger Burgers & Blues Cool Al’s Lou’s Full-Serv Rooster’s Stamps Super Burgers Chicken Sandwich Barrelhouse Burgers & Blues Dumbo’s on Duling Fine & Dandy Josephine’s Kitchen Lou’s Full-Serv Rooster’s Chinese food China Cafe Gourmet Chinese Restaurant Hunan Wok Ichiban Chinese Buffet Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese Cooking Wok To Go

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • jfp.ms

Crawfish Crawdad Hole Mudbugs T’Beaux’s Crawfish and Catering Sal & Phil’s Seafood Restaurant & Lounge The Crawfish Hut


Curbside delivery Amerigo Italian Restaurant Aplos Simple Mediterranean Babalu Tapas & Tacos Martin’s at Midtown Sal & Mookies The Pig & Pint Trace Grill Doughnuts Campbell’s Craft Donuts Donut Palace Monroe’s Donuts and Bakery Pillow Donuts The Dapper Doughnut The Prickly Hippie Ethnic market Aladdin Medditerannean Grocery Asian Market (Flowood) Carniceria Valdez Mr. Chen’s Patel Brothers Fine dining Amerigo Italian Restaurant Char Restaurant Koestler Prime Shapley’s Restaurant Table 100 The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen Walker’s Dine In French fries Aplos Simple Mediterranean Elvie’s Fine & Dandy Georgia Blue Rooster’s Saltine Restaurant The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen

Gumbo Char Restaurant Gumbo Girl Gumbo Pot Hal & Mal’s Saltine Restaurant The Lost Cajun Hangover food Brent’s Drugs Da Shak Grill Fenian’s Pub Keifer’s Rooster’s Santa Fe Grill & Bar Italian food Amerigo Italian Restaurant BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar Cerami’s Italian Restaurant Fratesi’s Sal & Mookie’s Liquor/wine store Briarwood Wine & Spirits Colony WIne Market Corkscrew Fine Wine and Spirits Fondren Cellars Kats Wine & Spirits Wine & Spirits in the Quarter Lunch counter/lunch buffet Brent’s Drugs Grant’s Kitchen & Grill Ichiban Chinese Buffet Mama Hamil’s Southern Cookin’ & BBQ Mama’s Eats-N-Sweets McClain Resort Margarita Babalu Tapas & Tacos Cinco De Mayo El Ranchito La Cazuela Green Ghost Tacos Margaritas Sombra Mexican Kitchen Mexican/Latin food Cazadores El Cabrito Mexican Restaurant El Ranchito Green Ghost Tacos Papito’s Salsa’s Santa Fe Grill & Bar New restaurant Colony Bistro Da Shak Grill Dumbo’s on Duling Elvie’s Native Coffee Sante Fe Grill & Bar Outdoor dining Elvie’s Library Lounge at Fairview Inn Sophomore Spanish Club The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen The Pig & Pint The Rooftop Bar at Old Capitol Inn Oysters CAET Seafood and Oysterette Drago’s Seafood Restaurant Elvie’s Saltine Restaurant Shucker’s Oyster Bar Pizza Capitol Grill Lost Pizza Co. Sal and Mookie’s Soulshine Pizza Factory The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen The Pizza Shack Place for coffee Coffee Prose Cups Espresso Cafe Fusion Coffeehouse Mocha Mugs The Bean The Prickly Hippie Urban Foxes Place for dessert Lou’s Full-Serv Ridgeland Coffee Co. The Beagle Bagel Cafe The Prickly Hippie Urban Foxes Walker’s Dine In Place for healthy food Aladdin Mediterranean Grill Aplos Simple Medierranean Kale Me Crazy Mama Nature’s Juice Bar Plate lunch George’s Museum Cafe (Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum) Georgia Blue Primos Cafe Saltine Restaurant Taste of the Island Trace Grill Restaurant Elvie’s Ely’s Restaurant & Bar Godfrey’s Local 463 The Iron Horse Grill Walker’s Drive In Sandwich place Basil’s Martin’s Downtown Room Service The Beagle Bagel Cafe Seafood CAET Seafood and Oysterette Crabs Seafood Shack Da Shak Grill Saltine Restaurant Steamer’s Shrimp and Crab Market The Seafood Shack Soul food Bully’s Restaurant Godfrey’s Josephine’s Kitchen Sugar’s Place Mama Hamil’s Southern Cookin’ & BBQ Sweetie Pies

Steak Char Restaurant Ely’s Restaurant & Bar Koestler Prime Shapley’s Restaurant Tico’s Steakhouse Walker’s Drive In Sushi/Japanese food Edo Japanese Restaurant Fusion Japanese & Thai Cuisine Ichiban Hibachi & Sushi Nagoya Japanese Restaurant Sushi Village Wasabi Sushi & Grill Thai food Fusion Japanese & Thai Cuisine Jutamas Thai Restaurant Surin of Thailand-closed Thai Tasty Thailicious Restaurant Thai Time Thai and Sushi Restaurant Vegetarian options Aladdin Mediterranean Grill BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar Cool Al’s Kale Me Crazy Mind Body and Soul Foodz Veggie burger Babalu Tapas & Tacos Brent’s Drugs Cool Al’s Local 463 The Village Kitchen Wine list/selection (restaurant) CAET Seafood and Oysterette Char Restaurant Elvie’s Library Lounge at Fairview Inn Table 100 The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen Walker’s Dine In



Animal shelter Animal Rescue Fund of Mississippi Cheshire Abbey CARA—Community Animal Rescue & Adoption Mississippi Animal Rescue League Webster Animal Shelter Barbershop Custom Cuts & Styles Fondren Barber Shop The Men’s Room Noble Barber The Barbershop at Great Scott The Chop Shop Barber and Salon Uptown Hair Studio Beauty shop/salon Barnette’s Salon Molly Gee & Company Smoak Salon The Glossary Salon Uptown Hair Studio Watercolor Salon Wave Lengths Salon Car dealer (new or used) Acura of Jackson Bob Boyte Honda CIA Autoplex Mazda of Jackson Motorcars of Jackson Patty Peck Honda Paul Moak Automotive Caterer 4Top Catering Fresh Cut Catering & Floral Georgia Blue Mangia Bene Catering The Iron Horse Grill Dance studio Central Mississippi Dance Judah School of Performing Arts Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet Rhonda Whitehead’s Studio Salsa Mississippi Club & Studio Studio K XPress Dance Company Day spa AQUA the Day Spa Body Anew Soul Synergy Center Drench Day Spa and Lash Lounge Nomispa at Fairview Inn Fitness center/gym Baptist Healthplex Crossfit 601 Fondren Fitness The Club a The Gym at Byram Xplicit J3 Fitness

Local jeweler Albriton’s Jewelry Beckham Custom Jewelry Co. Carter Jewelers Crossgates Jewelers Jackson Jewelers Juniker Jewelry Co. Kris Jewelers Nail salon AQUA the Day Spa Bellagio Nails & Salon Fondren Nails Organic Nail & Lash Bar The Nail Lounge Rouge Nails Lash Wax ZaZa Nails and Spa Place for unique gifts Beacon Bellaches Herbal Blessings Mockingbird Marketplace OffBeat Soul Synergy Center The Prickly Hippie Place to book a party/shower 4th Avenue Lounge Banner Hall Fairview Inn Old Capital Inn The Briar Patch The Cedars The Strawberry Cafe Place to buy antiques Antique Aly Antique Mall of the South Beacon Flowood Antique Flea Market N.U.T.S. Old House Depot Repeat Street Place to buy kids’ clothes/toys Leap Frog Play Pen Rhea Lana’s Children’s Consignment Row 10 Southern Raised WEE the People Willow & Grace Place to get married Bridlewood of Madison Fairview Inn First Baptist Church Jackson Ice House McClain Lodge Mississippi Museum of Art The Cedars Place to get your car fixed Acey’s Barnett’s Body Shop Capitol Body Shop Freeman Auto Repair Greene’s Tire Auto Service Tony’s Tire & Automotive Place to work Baptist Medical Center Barnette’s Salon Bob Boyte Honda Jackson Academy Lakeland Glass & Tint Merit Health Central Tougaloo College Tattoo/piercing parlor Electric Dagger Tattoo Ink Addicts Studio Inkk Culture Tattoo Inkk Junkies Tattoo Squench’s Tattoos Thrift/consignment shop Leap Frog Children’s Consignment & More N.U.T.S. Orange Peel Palladian Consign & Design Repeat Street Rhea Lana’s Children’s Consignment The Real McCoy Thrift Store and Boutique Veterinarian/vet clinic Animal Hospital of Clinton Animal Medical Center Hometown Veterinary Hospital Luckney Animal Hospital Mannsdale Animal Clinic North State Animal & Bird Hospital URGIVET Emergency Vets of Madison Yoga studio Jenifer Simcox (Namaste at the Bar) M Theory Yoga Soul Synergy Center Tara Yoga Yoga by Jean

Flower shop A Daisy A Day Chapman’s Florist Fresh Cut Catering & Floral Green Oak Florist & Garden Center Greenbrook Flowers Mostly Martha’s Floral Designs The Prickly Hippie Geek hangout Cups Espresso Cafe Herbal Blessings OffBeat The Warp Zone Arcade Urban Foxes Van’s Comics, Cards & Games Local bank BancorpSouth BankPlus Community Bank First Commercial Bank Regions Renasant Trustmark Local clothing store Altar’d State Kinkade’s Fine Clothing Libby Story Material Girls N.U.T.S. Swell-O-Phonic Local credit union Hope Credit Union Jackson Area Federal Credit Union Keesler Federal Credit Union Mississippi Federal Credit Union Mississippi National Guard Federal Credit Union

Name Phone Email You must include your name, email address and a valid phone number with area code for your ballot to count. Caution: We call many voters to check ballot authenticity. No fake phone numbers!

Mail ballot to the address below by Dec. 11, 2020: Jackson Free Press 125 South Congress Street Suite 1324 Jackson, MS 39201 “Best of Jackson” is a registered service mark in the state of Mississippi.




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4-23, 5-9 p.m., at Canton Square (147 N. Union St., Canton). The city of Canton holds its annual holiday celebration featuring Christmas lights, horse and buggy rides, photos with Santa, story time with Mrs. Claus and more. Free admission, vendor prices vary; call 601-8591307; email jana@cantontourism.com; cantontourism.com. PHOTO BY EUGENIVY NOW ON UNSPLASH

Journey to the North Pole Nov. 24-24, Nov. 27-28, Dec. 5, Dec. 12, Dec. 19, Dec. 21-23, Dec. 26, Dec. 28-31, Jan. 2, Jan. 4, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Nov. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 13, Dec. 27, Jan. 3, 1-6 p.m., at Mississippi Children’s Museum (2145 Museum Blvd.). The children’s museum presents the holiday exhibit that transforms the Gertrude C. Ford Exhibition Hall into a winter village with train cars, a post office for writing letters to Santa, a sock skating rink, a clock tower with a new 45-foot slide and more. $10 general admission, free for members; call 601-981-5469; email marketing@mcm.ms; mschildrensmuseum.org.

// Looking for something great to do in Jackson? Visit JFPEVENTS.COM for more.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Nov. 25-Dec. 20, 2-6 p.m., at The Resting Place Retreat (269 Waldrop Road, Flora). The farm and retreat center offers the opportunity for guests to choose and cut their own Christmas tree, visit farm animals, snack on hot chocolate and cookies and take photos. Free admission, product prices vary; call 601-879-0026; email admin@therestingplaceretreat.com; find it on Facebook. Christmas Open House 2020 Nov. 27-28, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., at Rivers Market (20 Willow Creek Lane, Byram). The local plant and produce company hosts a Christmas open house featuring live Christmas trees, homegrown poinsettias, fresh produce, food products and more. Free admission, product prices vary; call 601-373-4545; email riversmarket.byram@gmail.com; find it on Facebook. Canton Christmas Festival Nov. 27-29, Dec.

KIDS Watercolors for Kids Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-noon, at Flowood Nature Park (4077 Flowood Drive, Flowood). Local artist/maker Kiri O’Gwynn leads the introductory class in watercolors. Class takes place outside, in small groups. Appropriate for all ages, but young children may require an adult’s help. $10 fee; email info@kiriogwynn.com; find it on Facebook. Learning Tree Book Club Dec. 5, Jan. 2, Feb. 6, 2-3:30 p.m., at Virtual (Zoom). The children’s book club gets together via Zoom to read and talk about books on the first Saturday of each month. Books provided. Free admission; call 601-372-0229; email communitylibrary.ms@gmail.com; find it on Facebook. Art in Nature Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-noon, at Flowood Nature Park (4077 Flowood Drive, Flowood). Local artist/maker Kiri O’Gwynn leads the art class for kids. The class takes place outside, in small groups and uses Natural Earth Paints. Children should wear clothes that can get dirty. Social distancing guidelines will be observed. No refunds. $10 fee; email info@kiriogwynn.com; kiriogwynn.com.

Christmas at Reunion Farms Nov. 27-28, Dec. 4-5, Dec. 11-12, Dec. 18-19, 6-10 p.m., at Reunion Farms Equestrian Center (515 Gluckstadt Road, Madison). The Madison County equestrian facility hosts the holiday-themed festi-

Born to Be Wild Dec. 13, Jan. 10, Feb. 21, 1:30-4 p.m., at Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Drive). The museum dedicated to Mississippi’s natural environment joins with the Coalition for

Citizens with Disabilities to offer the series of outdoor skills classes for ages 8-18. All classes are at MMNS unless otherwise indicated. All classes outdoors, weather permitting. Schedule subject to change based on weather conditions. The program is free to members of CCD. Non-members may join CCD at tinyurl.com/joinccd. Free to members of CCD, registration required; call 601-5766000; email andrea.falcetto@mmns.ms.gov; mdwfp.com. Hoot & Holler Family Creation Lab Dec. 13, 2-3:30 p.m., at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). A museum educator leads families with children ages 6-10 in an art project taking inspiration from a different artist each month. This event takes place on the second Sunday of each month. $10 per child; call 601-960-1515; email mdrake@ msmuseumart.org; msmuseumart.org. Look & Learn with Hoot Dec. 18, 10:3011:30 a.m., at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.) The educational event for children up to 5 years of age and their parents features creative play, a hands-on art activity and story time with Hoot, the museum’s education mascot. Please dress for mess. Free event; call 601-960-1515; email mdrake@ msmuseumart.org; msmuseumart.org.


Fighting Hunger One Meal at a Time, From a Distance // by Torsheta Jackson

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • jfp.ms




t’s Friday evening and a crowd of people begins to gather at Smith Park. A car pulls slowly up the drive and parks. The sedan’s trunk opens as several men move toward the vehicle to begin unloading the small brown boxes and cases of water. The crowd forms a line as two of the men distribute the 400 boxes unloaded from the vehicle’s trunk one-by-one. Another person hands each recipient a bottle of water. Once the trunk is empty, one man closes it and taps the car twice. With a smile and a wave, the driver pulls off while the crowd settles in to enjoy the meal they’ve just been given. The scene is the same each Friday night when Bilal Qizibash delivers the weekly sandwich boxes to the homeless. The program “R U Hungry?” recently celebrated its sevenyear anniversary. However, COVID has caused some changes. Safety concerns have eliminated the use of volunteers, leaving Qizibash as the sole deliverer. The boxes now contain individually wrapped and sealed hot sandwiches. However, Qizibash’s dedication to continuing the work caused those he serves to step up for his safety. “The very first time I was out there during the pandemic, I was handing out the sandwiches, and they told me to stop (and) move away,” Qizibash says. “They said, ‘We will do it,’ and they told me to go back to my car. So I went back to my car (and) they formed their own line. They distributed the food and even cleaned up.” With the pandemic creating new food needs, Qizibash has also been helping guide other programs in the metro. From March to October, his “Draw a Smile Foundation” partnered with the City of Jackson to provide emergency meals to residents through a program from the USDA. When a glitch caused those deliveries to stop, Qizibash said local grocery stores banded together to help fill the need. The group is also working in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club and Dole to

R U Hungry delivers food to the homeless every week.

provide meals. The hot meals, which are professionally prepared by chefs Nick and Regina Wallace, are distributed at the West Capitol Boys and Girls Club where families can drive through to pick up the individually packaged and sealed containers each Saturday. The partnership is now also providing food boxes of produce and meat. Qizibash notes his organization is not a charity, but a movement toward systemic change. “‘R U Hungry’ is essentially a band-aid,” said Qizibash. “It is essential. It is critical. We do have to feed people that are hungry, but we do need to put in more sustainable solutions. We are in the business of putting ourselves out of business.” Find more information on R U Hungry at facebook.com/hungryur. Bilal Qizibash is the co-founder and CEO of EasyKale, which manufactures shaker bottles of the dehydrated and powdered namesake vegetable. Visit easykale.com to learn more.


Crafty Christmas Pajama Party Nov. 28, 10 a.m.-noon, at Bill Waller Craft Center (950 Rice Road, Ridgeland). Kids make holiday-themed crafts to take home and have their picture taken with Santa. Discounts are offered for multiple children in the same family. $40 fee; call 601856-7546; email director@mscrafts.org; find it on Facebook. Deck the District Holiday Festival Dec. 4-5, 5-8 p.m., at The District at Eastover (1250 Eastover Drive). The Jackson shopping and dining destination hosts a holiday festival featuring live music, visits with Santa, ballet performances, holiday lights, shopping discounts and more. Free admission, vendors’ prices vary; call 601914-0800; find it on Facebook.

Decorate Cookies with Santa Dec. 5, 10:30 a.m.-noon, at Downtown Giftery (151 Government St., Brandon). The Brandon gift shop hosts the event where local children decorate Christmas cookies with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Each child gets five cookies to decorate and take home. Call to reserve a seat. $30 for first child, $25 for each additional child; call 601-7241347; email downtown_giftery@yahoo.com; find it on Facebook. Christmas on the Square 2020 Dec. 5, 4-8 p.m., at Raymond Square (Raymond Square, Raymond). The city of Raymond holds a holiday market on the square, featuring local vendors selling their wares. Free event, vendors’ prices vary; email raymondchamberofcommerce@gmail.com; find it on Facebook. Florence Christmas Parade Dec. 5, 6-7 p.m., at Florence Middle School (123 Beverly Drive, Florence). The Rankin County city holds its annual Christmas parade. Free event; call 601845-7508; email dpclerk1@gmail.com; find it on Facebook. The Totally Locally Christmas Market Dec. 12, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at Richland Community Center (410 E. Harper St., Richland). The city of Richland offers a Christmas shopping market featuring local vendors selling handmade items. Free admission, vendors’ prices vary; call 601420-3400; find it on Facebook.

Mimosa New Year’s Party Dec. 31, 9 p.m., at MikeTown Comedy Club (4107 Northview Drive). The local comedy club hosts the New Year’s Eve Party featuring a formal “Harlem Night Masquerade” theme and an extensive menu of specialty mimosas. Three ticket levels offered: $25 general admission, $40 admission includes finger foods and one mimosa, $100 VIP admission includes finger foods, unlimited mimosas and VIP seating. $25 general admission, $40 snacks & 1 drink, $100 VIP; email abovedalimit91@gmail.com; eventbrite.com.

COMMUNITY Women for Progress Lunch & Learn 2020 Dec. 1, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Virtual (Facebook Live). The women’s group hosts a talk every month on various topics with different speakers. Ticket includes meal, beverage, dessert, tax and gratuity. Tickets may be purchased online, via Cash App or at door. $20 ticket; call 601-259-6770; email mail@womenforprogress. net; find it on Facebook.

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Madison 2020 Reverse Christmas Parade Dec. 5, 9-10 a.m., at Liberty Park (810 Madison Ave., Madison). The Christmas parade features floats, bands, dance groups and more, all remaining in place in the lineup as parade-viewers drive past to enjoy the event. All cars enter the park from Grandview Boulevard, drive past the parade and exit back to Grandview Blvd. No parking allowed along the parade route. No pedestrians allowed. Free event; call 601-853-7116; email bmayfield@ madisonthecity.com; madisonthecity.com.

focused on offering coping skills and advice for getting through the holiday blues. Featuring food, door prizes, guest speakers, holiday vendors and more. Free event, vendors’ prices vary; call 601-321-2400; email outreach@hbhs9.com; hbhs9.com.

MHA Virtual Happy Hour Dec. 5, 7-9 p.m., Virtual (Zoom). The monthly virtual event provides a COVID-safe opportunity for socializing with like-minded Mississippians. Email for Zoom link and password. Free admission; call 833-674-8626; email mha@mshumanists.org; find it on Facebook. Shop to Table Dec. 12, noon-4 p.m., at Highland Village (4500 Interstate 55 N. Frontage Road, Suite 281). On the second Saturday of each month, the local shopping destination holds an outdoor shopping event that includes live music, food tastings, giveaways and more. Free admission, vendor prices vary; call 601-9825861; email highlandvillage@wsdevelopment. com; find it on Facebook.

City of Richland Christmas Parade Dec. 12, 5:30-6:30 p.m., at Richland Community Center (160 Brandon Ave., Richland). The metro area city holds its annual Christmas parade with the theme “Peace on Earth.” No entry fee, but application required. Free event; call 601-420-3400; find it on Facebook.

Free Community Meditation Dec. 17, 10-11:30 a.m., at Flowood Nature Park (4077 Flowood Drive, Flowood). The local business hosts a meditation circle introducing personal meditation practice. The event takes place near the pavilion and includes breathing techniques, exploring chakras and more. Participants bring a yoga mat, towel or small blanket. Children of all ages are welcome. Free event; email lauradearman333@gmail.com; find it on Facebook.

Holiday Sit and Sip Dec. 18, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., at Hinds Behavioral Health Services (3450 Highway 80 W.). The community mentalhealth organization offers the holiday event

The Village Social: Trivia Night Dec. 18, 7-9 p.m., at Highland Village (4500 Interstate 55 N. Frontage Road, Suite 281). The local shopping destination hosts the trivia night competition.

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November 25 - December 8, 2020 • boomjackson.com

val for families on weekends leading up to Christmas. Features pony rides, hayrides, bounce house, mechanical bull, Christmas village and Santa’s workshop. Food trucks on-site. $15 admission, free for ages 2 and under, vendors’ prices vary; call 601-853-0409; find it on Facebook.

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MELODIES // music education

Garner Music Academy: ‘Make the Music Happen’ // by Richard Coupe


wanted (to learn) music were distracted by students who would rather be somewhere else. (I learned) to be more creative to reach a classroom of 25 students.” GARNER MUSIC ACADEMY


n her hometown of Pocahontas, Miss., Latongya Garner developed her affinity for music at Baker’s Grove Missionary Baptist Church, where she currently serves as music minister. “That’s my stomping ground and where I learned to express myself musically,” she says. Today, Garner encourages others to polish their musical gifts—as owner and director of Garner Music Academy, a Jackson-based music education and performance business that she opened in December 2019. While her students recognize her “Make the music happen” mantra, the Clinton resident did not originally pursue a career in music education upon graduating from Lanier High School in 1993. Enrolling in Jackson State University, Garner earned a bachelor’s degree in social work in 1998 and entered the mental-health field. Outside of work, she continued to perform with bands in and around the Jackson area. Eventually, the siren’s call of music beckoned, and she returned to JSU, receiving a bachelor’s degree in music and vocal performance in 2008. As she promoted her jazz shows, she also taught voice and began teaching music at Oak Forest Elementary School in South Jackson. “It was an eye-opening experience,” she says. “I got to learn classroom management, which helps me today. The classes were large, and sometimes the students who really

Latongya Garner opened Garner Music Academy in December 2019, where she hones others’ crafts.

Touched by the kids who really wanted to learn music, Garner’s frustration with her inability to give them the extra attention they wanted in that setting inspired her to open her company. Before taking that next step, though, she decided to attend JSU for a third time and earn a master’s degree in music education. Garner Music Academy teaches children from pre-K

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Prizes for first and second place, best team name, best dressed and most spirited. The first craft beer is free for participants. Apples JXN offers a cash bar. Ages 21 and up. See Highland Village’s Facebook page for each week’s theme. Free admission, food and drink prices vary; call 601-982-5861; email highlandvillage@wsdevelopment.com.


MLK Convocation Jan. 15, 8 a.m.-noon, at Rose Embly McCoy Auditorium (1400 John R. Lynch St.). The Jackson State University archive and museum hosts the annual convocation honoring the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Free event; call 601-979-0592; email mwa@jsums.edu.

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • jfp.ms



Creative Healing Studio Nov. 25, Dec. 2, Dec. 9, Dec. 16, Dec. 23, Dec. 30, 12:30-2 p.m., at Virtual (Zoom). Licensed art therapist Susan Anand leads a weekly art therapy gathering via Zoom for adults being treated for cancer or those who have had a cancer diagnosis in their past. Please register by noon on the Tuesday before the event. Free online; call 601-960-1515; email smainlay@aol.com; find it on Facebook. Black Friday Par 3 Four Ball Tournament Nov. 27, 10 a.m., at Castlewoods Golf & Country Club (403 Bradford Drive, Brandon). The Rankin County golf and country club hosts a par 3 golf tournament for members and guests. Two-player teams play 18 par 3 holes, recording the best score of each team. Prizes are based on gross scores. Golf cart not included in fee, except for members on the

to 12th grade and adults of all ages who are interested in artistic development in their musical crafts. The business’ oldest client is nearly 70 years old. “(Many adults) just want something to do, and one (of her clients) describes it as self-care, or it is something they can scratch off their bucket list—if they always wanted to learn how to play an instrument—or they may just want to keep their voices intact,” she says. Garner Music Academy currently employs two other instructors: Nellie Mack, who teaches bass guitar, and Will Brown, who teaches intermediate and advanced piano. Garner herself hopes to add instructors for strings, percussion, horns and electric guitar in the future. The academy is open for other musicians who want to share their crafts with the community, as well, she says. While many students enroll at Garner’s Music Academy to learn or polish a musical craft, Garner hopes to help prepare young students for the world. “I seek to equip students of diverse career paths with the tools to be more professional, and I believe that the experiences should lead students to be confident, to discover their creative self, to establish accountability, to earn a sense of achievement, and to build character to become a productive citizen,” Garner says. To learn more about Garner Music Academy, visit garnermusicacademy.com or find it on Facebook.

Virtual Holiday Book Festival Nov. 28, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at Online (Zoom, Facebook Live). Community Library Mississippi presents the book festival via Zoom and Facebook live. Features include a book & vendor marketplace, a spelling bee for grades 1 thru 6 (begins at 4:15 p.m.), and poetry contests with categories for elementary, middle school, and high school/adult (begins at 5 p.m.). Free event, vendors’ prices vary; call 601-3720229; email communitylibrary.ms@gmail.com; eventbrite.com. Virtual Holiday Book Festival Poetry Contest Nov. 28, 4:10-5:30 p.m., at online (1052 Maria Court). Community Library Mississippi presents the poetry contest and spelling bee in conjunction with their book festival on Zoom. Free event; call 601-372-0229; email communitylibrary.ms@gmail.com; eventbrite.com. Welty at Home | A Virtual Book Club Nov. 30, Dec. 7, noon-1 p.m., at Virtual (Zoom). The Eudora Welty Home and Gardens, along with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, hosts a virtual book club, via zoom. The current book choice is “The Golden Apples” a short story collection by Eudora Welty. Dr. Suzanne Marrs leads discussions on each story in the collection. See website for reading schedule. Books may be purchased from the Eudora Welty House & Garden Gift Shop. Shipping is available. Free online event, book price varies; call 601-353-7762; email info@eudoraweltyhouse.com; welty.mdah.ms.gov. Black Poets Then and Now Dec. 1, 12:30-1:30 p.m., at Virtual (Zoom). Dr. Janice K. Neal-Vincent presents “Black Poets Then and Now,” part of the Virtual Book Toasters Speaking Series by the organization supporting library and literacy services in Jackson. The program looks at Black poets and their impact on social justice and society. Free event; call 601-372-0229; email communitylibrary.ms@gmail.com; find it on Facebook.

Castlewoods Cart Plan. $30 per player for members, $50 per player for non-members; call 601-882-9030; email toni@castlewoodscountryclub.com; find it on Facebook. Drive-thru Flu Shot Clinic Dec. 1, Dec. 3, Dec. 8, Dec. 10, Dec. 15, Dec. 17, 12:304:30 p.m., at G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA

Medical Center (1500 E. Woodrow Wilson Ave.). The clinic offers the convenience of drive-through flu vaccinations for veterans who are registered for healthcare at the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center. Employees of the medical center are also eligible. The clinic is located at the west entrance

of the medical center. No appointment necessary. Masks required. Free to registered veterans and VA employees; call 601-362-4471; find it on Facebook. Kukuwa African Dance Fitness Dec. 5, 10-10:30 a.m., at Old Trace Park (118 Madison Landing Circle, Ridgeland). Niketa

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Pechan, of Golden Aura Wellness Company, leads the dance fitness class that incorporates African rhythms and dance. All dance and fitness levels welcome. The class is also streamed via Zoom. Link is available at registration. $8 fee; call 786-603-1748; email goldenauracounseling@gmail.com; find it on Facebook.

horse show features a full day of trail. The day begins with paid trail practice from 7-9 a.m. Course designed and managed by Tim Kimura. Admission TBA; email dixienationalqhshow@gmail.com; find it on Facebook.

Overcoming ED Dec. 10, 6:30-7:30 p.m., at Sexual Wellness Therapy (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland). Licensed marriage, family and sex therapist Rose Kasrai leads an open discussion on the causes and treatments of erectile disfunction, or ED. Limited space. Reservations required. Payment made through either PayPal or Venmo. $15 admission; call 601-345-1627; email rosesquaw2003@yahoo.com; swtherapyms.com.

Whitey Morgan Dec. 2, 6:30 p.m., at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). Musician Whitey Morgan and special guest Ben Jarrell perform at Duling Hall. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7. Guests have the option of purchasing a two- or four-top table, for the use of their party only, for the entirety of the show. Face coverings are required anytime guests are not seated at their own table. Guests are required to pass a temperature check before entry into venue. Duling Hall reserves the right to ask any guest not observing the stated COVID-19 guidelines to leave



MAQHA Holiday Classic Dec. 12, 8 a.m., at Kirk Fordice Equine Center (1022 Mississippi St.). The organization for amateur quarter horse exhibitors hosts its holiday show, featuring a full lineup of all-around classes. Admission price TBA; call 228-223-5990; find it on Facebook.

Fondren Fitness Fun Run Dec. 17, Jan. 21, Feb. 18, 6-8 p.m., at Fondren Fitness (2807 Old Canton Road). Runners meet up every third Thursday outside of Fondren Fitness to run three miles around the neighborhood. The run ends at a different local business each month. Free admission; call 601-540-0338; find it on Facebook. Dixie National Mary Hopkins Memorial EWD Show Feb. 9-10, 9 a.m., at Kirk Fordice Equine Center (1198 Mississippi St.). The annual quarter horse show holds the event featuring competitions and classes for equestrians with disabilities. Ticket pricing TBA; email dixienationalqhshow@gmail.com; find it on Facebook. Dixie National Quarter Horse Show Feb. 16-21, 7 a.m., at Kirk Fordice Equine Center (1198 Mississippi St.). The annual quarter horse show and competition event returns with competitions in roping, barrel racing, showmanship and other outdoor events. Ticket prices TBA; email dixienationalqhshow@ gmail.com; dnqhs.org. Dixie National QHS Day of Trail Feb. 19, 7 a.m., at Kirk Fordice Equine Center (1022 Mississippi St.). The annual quarter

Tab Benoit at Martin’s Downtown Dec. 4, 8 p.m., at Martin’s Restaurant & Bar (214 S. State St.). Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and guitarist Tab Benoit performs at the local bar and music venue. $25 general

STAGE & SCREEN “Held Over: Why I Live at the P.O.” Nov. 17-25, 7 p.m., Virtual (Streaming). The virtual performance of the one-woman play starring Jo Ann Robinson continues due to popular demand. Tickets may be purchased by phone or online. Ticket buyers receive a link to the event two hours prior to start time giving 48-hour access. $25 ticket; call 601-948-3533; email mail@newstagetheatre. com; newstagetheatre.com. Nutcracker Sweets Dec. 5-6, 2 p.m., at Thalia Mara Hall (255 E. Pascagoula St.). The ballet school presents its annual holiday performance. This year’s program features The Nutcracker, Act II. Tickets go on sale Nov. 9. Prices TBA; call 601-960-1560; email evandeburgh@balletms.com; balletms.com. “The Nutcracker” Dec. 5, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Dec. 6, 2 p.m., Dec. 7, 7 p.m., at Jackson Academy Theatre (4098 Ridgewood Road). The local ballet company presents the holiday classic. Nutcracker gift shop in the lobby offers nutcrackers, dolls, ornaments and other collectibles during production hours. Face masks required; seating socially distanced. No concessions. $30, $35 ticket price based on seat selection; call 601-853-4508; email mmbtickets@gmail.com; find it on Facebook. A Christmas Movie Marathon Dec. 12, 2-4 p.m., at Brandon Middle School (408 S. College St., Brandon). The performing arts school presents the Christmas-themed production parodying Hallmark Christmas movies. Price TBA; email rankinperformingarts@gmail.com; find it on Facebook. Lady Sings the Blues Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m., at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). The opera company presents Jackson jazz singer Rhonda Richmond in the tribute concert honoring the music of Billie Holiday. $30 general admission in advance, $35 at the door; call 601-960-2300; email info@operams.org; operams.org.


Art in Mind Dec. 16, 10:30 a.m., at Virtual (Zoom). Licensed art therapist Susan Anand leads the program for individuals experiencing memory loss or mild cognitive impairment. In response to COVID-19, the group meets via Zoom, and participants can stimulate observation, recall and recognition at home with basic supplies. Free online event; call 601-4962; email mindclinic@umc.edu; msmuseumart.org.

Charlie Mars performs two socially distanced, fully seated shows at the Fondren venue. Doors open at 7:30 for the 8 p.m. show and 9:30 for the 10 p.m. show. Guests have the option of purchasing a two- or four-top table, for the use of their party only, for the entirety of the show. Face coverings are required anytime guests are not seated at their table. Guests are required to pass a temperature check before entering the venue. Duling Hall reserves the right to ask any patron not observing the venue’s COVID19 guidelines to leave without refund. Limited ticket availability. $25 general admission; call 601-292-7121; email arden@ardenland.net; find it on Facebook.

“Letters From Puccini” Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m., at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). The opera company presents the program featuring the music and letters of Puccini. Tenor Nicholas Perna, starring as Puccini, is joined by pianist Tyler Kemp. $30 general admission advance tickets, $35 at the door; call 601960-2300; email info@operams.org; operams.org.

without refund. $35 general admission; call 601-292-7121; email arden@ardenland.net; dulinghall.ticketfly.com. Chimneyville Arts Festival Dec. 4-5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at Bill Waller Craft Center (950 Rice Road, Ridgeland). The organization for preserving, promoting and encouraging excellence in Mississippi’s regional crafts holds their annual event featuring one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items from some of the state’s foremost craftspeople. Price TBA; call 601856-7546; email director@mscrafts.org; find it on Facebook. Charlie Mars Dec. 4, 7:30 & 9:30p.m., at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). Singer-songwriter

admission; call 601-354-9712; Eventbrite Luckenbach at BB’s Live Dec. 12, 8 p.m., at BB’s Live—Bonny Blair’s (1149 Old Fannin Road, Brandon). The Willie Nelson tribute band performs at the local bar and music venue. Price TBA; call 769-447-5788; find it on Facebook. The Vamps Dec. 19, 7:30 & 10 p.m., at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). Local band The Vamps perform two live, socially distanced shows at the Jackson music venue. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the early show and 9:30 for the late show. Guests have the option of purchasing a two- or four-top table, for the use of their party only, for the entirety of the

show. Face coverings are required anytime guests are not seated at their own table. Guests are required to pass a temperature check before entry into venue. Duling Hall reserves the right to ask any guest not observing the stated COVID-19 guidelines to leave without refund. $20 general admission; call 601-292-7121; email arden@ardenland.net; dulinghall.ticketfly.com. The Black Jacket Symphony Presents Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ Jan. 7, 8 p.m., at Thalia Mara Hall (255 E. Pascagoula St.). The band performs the music from Pink Floyd’s album “The Wall” from start to finish, plus a set of the band’s greatest hits. $25-$35 admission, price varies by location of seat; call 601-9601537; thaliamarahall.net. Wesley Walker Trio Jan. 30, 10 p.m., at Shuckers Oyster Bar (116 Conestoga Road, Ridgeland). The central Mississippi country artist performs on the patio at the local oyster bar. Admission TBA; call 601-850-1906; email wesleywalkermusic@gmail.com; find it on Facebook.

CREATIVE CLASSES Snowbirds Canvas Class Nov. 27, 6:30-8 p.m., at Fat Cat Art Cafe (5352 Highway 25, Suite 1700, Flowood). The Flowood art cafe offers the class teaching participants to paint a “snowbirds” canvas. Class limited to 12 participants. Ages 16 and up. Face masks required. Social distancing observed. $22 early registration, $26 after 11/27, $10 to reserve spot; call 601-992-6553; find it on Facebook. Art of the Audition for Theatre Nov. 30, 5:30-7 p.m., at New Stage Theatre (1100 Carlisle St.). Francine Reynolds leads the four-week class training actors in proper audition technique. The class offers tips for textual analysis and clarifying specifics when making authentic acting choices. Participants work with prepared and cold reading material, discuss emotionally and intellectually taking charge of the audition, and learn to maximize chances of landing the role. Participants bring prepared 60 second memorized monologue to first session. All skill levels. Ages 18 and up. $100 fee for four-week class; call 601-9483533 ext. 245; email sfrost@newstagetheatre. com; newstagetheatre.com. Chunky Knit Lap Blanket Workshop Nov. 30, 6-8 p.m., at Market House (5647 Highway 80 E., Suite 1, Pearl). The mercantile and DIY studio offers the class in knitting a chunky lap blanket. All supplies included in class fee. No refunds. $65 class fee; call 769-233-8739; email markethousediystudio@gmail.com; markethousediy.com. Playwriting for Adults with Joseph Frost Nov. 30, 7-8:30 p.m., at New Stage Theatre (1100 Carlisle St.). Joe Frost leads the six-week workshop designed to help writers of every level navigate the process of generating and developing new play ideas through in-class exercises in structure and dialogue, sharing newly created short scripts, navigating feedback, and polishing through rewrites. Ages 18 and up. $150 fee for 6-week class; call 601-948-3533 ext. 245; email sfrost@ newstagetheatre.com; newstagetheatre.com. Jingle Blocks - Make A Block Set Dec. 1, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Downtown Giftery (151 W. Government St., Brandon). The Brandon gift shop offers a class in making decorative wooden “Jingle Blocks.” No painting experience required. All supplies provided. Participants receive 20%

November 25 - December 8, 2020 • boomjackson.com



ARTS // body art

Azha Tattoos: Helping Others Tell Their Stories through Body Art // by Jenna Gibson



ou have decided to add a little art to your bodily canvas. You have researched and chosen a tattoo shop and artist, and you’ve decided on a design, style and placement. Once the paperwork is complete, you relax in an often dentist-style chair, and the artist sanitizes the area and transfers the stencil. Tattoo machine in hand, the focused artist traces the design and fine-tunes the linework before adding shading and maybe a splash or two of color. A protective layer of ointment is applied to the completed tattoo to avoid bacterial infection, and a transparent bandage seals the area from the open air. Once the tattoo has healed, you’re ready to show off the artist’s hard work. Azha Sanders has worked as a licensed tattoo artist for 11 years and currently works at Forged True Tattoo in Brookhaven. The Kosciusko, Miss., native moved to Jackson when she was 13 years old, and she has held a passion for art her whole life. “I’ve been doing art for as long as I can remember,” Sanders says. “It’s always been my number-one hobby. It’s my safe place. Fortunately, my family encouraged creating


Azha Sanders sits in front of the 10foot-by-12-foot mural she painted at Kirksey Middle School in partnership with City Heart Church in Jackson. The mural’s theme, “royal,” is meant to inspire strength and worthiness.

art. I just always loved to draw and paint on things, and when I started tattooing, it was



Winter Barn Painting on Pallet Board Dec. 1, 6-8:30 p.m., at Market House (5647 Highway 80 E., Suite 1, Pearl). The mercantile and DIY studio offers the class teaching pallet knife painting techniques to paint a winter barn and landscape. All supplies are included in admission. No refunds. $55 admission; call 769-233-

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8739; email markethousediystudio@gmail. com; find it on Facebook.


November 25 - December 8, 2020 • jfp.ms

discount on any purchases made in the store on the day of the class. $45 fee, participants get 20% off in-store purchases day of; call 601-7241347; email downtown_giftery@yahoo.com; find it on Facebook.

Ceramic Lighted Christmas Camper Dec. 1, 6-8 p.m., at The Stompin’ Grounds (310 Airport Road S., Pearl). The local craft store offers the class in designing and making a decorative ceramic Christmas camper, complete with Christmas lights. All paints and supplies included. Must have ticket to attend. $38 fee includes all supplies; call 601-487-8081; email thestompingrounds@yahoo.com; find it on Facebook.

my truth and to speak my language. I can really a lightning-bolt kind of moment.” At the onset of COVID-19 in Mis- show what I care about and put it out in sissippi, Forged True Tattoo had to shut the world and inspire someone,” Sanders down, but it has since opened its doors, says. “And through tattooing, I get to help another person do that. I get to collaborate maintaining health-safety guidelines. Beyond tattooing, Sanders creates with someone else and tell their story. To murals, portraits and paintings, and she me, that’s so incredible. Being able to estaboften enjoys using watercolor and markers. lish that connection is priceless.” Sanders manages an online store Some of Sanders’ more notable works include 7-foot-tall panels of Oprah Winfrey where patrons can purchase prints, stickand Elvis Presley in the Jackson-Medgar ers, magnets, clothes or accessories featuring her artwork, depicting Wiley Evers International both original and existing Airport; two portraits fictional characters. for the characters GrizaThe 32-year-old artbella and Mungo Jerrie ist spends the bulk of her from “Cats the Musical, spare time with her huswhich were auctioned off at Thalia Mara Hall band, Josh, and their two to benefit the Mississippi cats, although she also Spay and Neuter Clinic; a enjoys going outdoors and mural at Kirksey Middle patroning her local gym. School; and a mural for For more information the recent “#ArtofVoting” or to view her artwork, visit series that Eli Childers Sanders’ tattoo of the azhatattoos.com, find her organized. on Facebook, or follow her “Art is a way for Spring Sprite character on Instagram at @azha. me to be able to speak from Disney’s “Fantasia.”

Christmas Tree Platter Pottery Workshop Dec. 5, 10:30 a.m., at The Stompin’ Grounds (310 Airport Road, Pearl). Melinda Palmer of Mo Pottery leads the class in making a holidaythemed platter. $45 fee; call 601-487-8081; email thestompingrounds@yahoo.com; find it on Facebook. Lemon Bowl Transfer & Paint Workshop Dec. 8, 6 p.m., at Market House (5647 Highway 80 E., Suite 1, Pearl). The DIY studio offers the workshop teaching techniques for applying IOD transfers and embellishing with paints. $55 fee; call 769-233-8739; email markethousediystudio@gmail.com; find it on Facebook. Cactus canvas class Dec. 11, 6:30-8 p.m., at Fat Cat Art Cafe (5352 Highway 25, Suite 1700, Flowood). The Flowood art cafe offers the class teaching participants to make a cactus painting. Class limited to 12 participants. Ages 16 and up. Face masks required. Social distancing observed. $22 early registration, $26 after 12/9, $10 to reserve spot; call 601-992-6553; find it on Facebook. Blythe Doll Customization Panel Dec. 12, Jan. 12, Feb. 12, 8-9 a.m., at Blythe Doll House (3630 Saint Clair St.). The monthly creativity workshop allows attendees to learn how to customize Blythe dolls. The group shares information regarding topics such as sewing doll clothes, photographing dolls and more. Free admission; call 662-598-8115; email info@thisisblythe.com; thisisblythe.com.



601-672-0755; email dyowell@aol.com; find it on Facebook.

Curator Tour | Leonardo Drew: City in the Grass Nov. 28, Dec. 7, 1 p.m., at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). Chief curator Ryan Dennis leads guests on a tour of the interactive art installation. Free event; call 601-9601515; email ywilliams@msmuseumart. org; msmuseumart.org.

Virtual Job Fair Dec. 10, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at Virtual (Online). The career event offers opportunities for job seekers to virtually meet recruiters, hiring managers, and others who are hiring now. Participants should have an electronic copy of their resume and should be prepared to interview with recruiters. Professional attire required. Free event; call 678-787-1632; email info@fcacareerfairs. com; eventbrite.com.

Museum After Hours Dec. 17, 5:30-8 p.m., at Virtual (Zoom, Facebook Live). Evening event at the art museum includes one-night pop-up exhibitions, live music, films, interactive games and activities, and specialty mocktails. Free online; call 601960-1515; email ywilliams@msmuseumart. org; find it on Facebook. Piercing the Inner Wall: The Art of Dusti Bongé Feb. 20, 11 a.m., at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). The exhibit features works by the artist widely considered to be the first Mississippi artist to work consistently in a Modernist style. Admission price TBA, free to members; call 601-960-1515; msmuseumart.org.

Tulip Tuesday Dec. 1, Dec. 15, 10 a.m.-noon, at Virtual (Zoom). The Flower Growers of Mississippi invite fellow gardeners to a Zoom webinar every other Tuesday with the goal of educating Mississippi growers in growing cut flowers for business-to-business or business-toconsumer sales. Experience in commercial flower growing not necessary. Free registration; call

BE THE CHANGE Infertility Support Group Dec. 1, Dec. 15, Jan. 5, 6-7:30 p.m., at M7 Coffee House (111 N. Wheatley St., Ridgeland). Parryscope & Positive Steps Fertility and Mississippi Baby Company offer the group for people struggling with issues surrounding infertility. Participants can join for an informal, safe space to talk with others who can relate. Adults only, please. Free support group, food and drink available for sale; call 833-767-7837; email fertility@parryscope.com; find it on Facebook. 3rd annual Burnout Human Trafficking Car Show Dec. 5, 7 a.m., at Burnout Trafficking Car Show (101 Parkway Road, Brandon). The open car show benefits Say Something School Assemblies, a non-profit organization raising awareness of human trafficking. Classes in show include pre-’49 cars and trucks, ‘49-’72 cars and trucks, ‘73-current cars and trucks, modern muscle, import, motorcycles, rat rod, and more. Trailer parking area available. Concessions available. Vendors welcome. Awards presented at 2 p.m. $20 vehicle registration


G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center hosts a drive-through food pantry for eligible veterans at the west entrance. The food pantry serves veterans enrolled in health care at the VA Medical Center in Jackson who meet the Mississippi SNAP guidelines. Participants are asked to remain in their vehicles. Staff and volunteers verify eligibility and load food into vehicles. Free to eligible veterans; call 601-209-1043.

fee; email info@saysomethingassembly.com; find it on Facebook. Clean Up Day Dec. 5, Jan. 5, Feb. 6, 8 a.m.-noon, at Buddy Butts Park (6180 N. McRaven Road, Clinton). Members of the organization Friends of Mississippi River Basin Model gather monthly at the site of the full-scale model of the Mississippi River to clean up the area and keep the model from falling into further disrepair. Participants are encouraged to bring lawn equipment such as mowers, chainsaws, weed-eaters and brooms. Volunteers of all ages welcomeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;jobs available for everyone. FMRBM provides gloves and water. Free to volunteer; email friendsofmrbm@gmail. com; find it on Facebook.

Junior League Jumble | First Finds & Reveal Party Jan. 28, 6-10 p.m., at 6240A Old Canton Road (6240A Old Canton Road). The womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s service organization holds the reveal party for their annual rummage sale event. The party includes food, drinks, games, music and shopping. Reveal party tickets sell for $50 per person. For guests who want extra time to shop, the First Finds ticket allows the partygoer to enter and shop an hour early (6:00 p.m.) for an additional $10. Tickets for two people to attend the party plus the early shopping hour may be purchased for $100. See pricing details above; email jumblechair@jljackson.org; juniorleaguejumble.com.

Ho-Ho Hoth Charity Event Dec. 12, noon, at Vanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CCG - Comics, Cards & Games (731 S. Pear Orchard Road, Suite 1, Ridgeland). The local game shop hosts a charity event to donate toys to families in the Jackson area. The toy drive is combined with their year-long Star Wars Legion event as players compete to be the final winner. Free with toy donation; call 601-898-9950; email vansccg@gmail.com; find it on Facebook. IBD Support Group Meeting Dec. 15, 6-7 p.m., at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center (2510 Lakeland Drive, Flowood). The Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

group meets monthly to offer support to one another and raise awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the Jackson area. Free meeting; email jacksonibdgroup@gmail.com; find it on Facebook. Volunteer Saturday @ Good Samaritan Center Dec. 19, 9 a.m.-noon, at Good Samaritan Center (114 Millsaps Ave.). Good Samaritan Center provides a variety of activities for children ages 8 and up, on the third Saturday of each month. Parents must accompany kids ages 8-12, and chaperones must accompany children 12 and older. Groups over five members must call in advance so that appropriate accommodations may be made. Free admission; call 601-3556276; find it on Facebook.

Junior League Jumble Jan. 30, 6 a.m.-noon & 1-3 p.m., at 6240A Old Canton Road (6240A Old Canton Road). The womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s service organization holds their annual rummage sale benefitting more than 30 community projects and initiatives in the Jackson metro area. The Peek & Purchase event offers a head start on the bargain hunting with early access from 6-8 a.m. for $10. General admission shopping begins at 8 a.m. and costs $5. The half-price sale offers free admission and runs from 1-3 p.m. $5 gen. admission., $10 early admission. (6-8 a.m.), free 1-3 p.m.; email jumblechair@jljackson.org; juniorleaguejumble.com. 35th Annual Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Benefit Gala Feb. 20, 6-11 p.m., at Brandon Civic Center (1000 Municipal Drive, Brandon). The Rankin County service organization announces its 35th annual gala benefiting its projects supporting children and families throughout the county. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s theme is â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Mad Hatterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ball.â&#x20AC;? Discounted ticket prices through Dec. 31. $50 single admission (early bird), $80 couple admission (early bird); call 601-706-9727; email email@ rankinja.org; find it on Facebook.

Check jfpevents.com for updates and more listings, or to add your own events online. You can also email event details to events@ jacksonfreepress.com to be added to the calendar. The deadline is noon the Wednesday prior to the week of publication.


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Thelma Sanders Scholarship Dance Virtual Watch Party & Draw Down Dec. 26, 8 p.m., at Virtual (Online). The local alumni association reimagines their annual scholarship fundraising event as a virtual watch party featuring music from DJ Unpredictable 601 and comedy from Rita Brent. In addition, every ticket holder is entered for a chance to win one of the numerous door prizes, including the grand prize of $2020. Full-page color ads may be purchased for $100 for broadcast to viewers of the event and JTAC social media sites. $25 virtual admission, $100 optional ad purchase; call 601-460-4569; email jtac1869@gmail. com; jtac.tcnaa.org.

NAMI Central MS Family Support Group Meeting Dec. 10, 7-8:30 p.m., at St. Dominic Hospital (969 Lakeland Drive). The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Central Mississippi hosts a peer-led family support group for family members, caregivers and loved ones of individuals living with mental illness. The group meets on the second Thursday of each month in the St. Catherine Room at St. Dominic Hospital. Free admission; call 601-899-9058; email centralms@namims.org; find it on Facebook.

Drive-thru Food Pantry Dec. 19, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center (1500 E. Woodrow Wilson Ave.). The

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40 Spray brand 41 Troupemate of John, Terry, Terry, Michael and Graham 42 Hot tub sigh 43 â&#x20AC;&#x153;Green Acresâ&#x20AC;? prop 44 South Korean currency exceeding in frequency? 50 Not live 51 Exclamation of pain 52 Neitherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s companion 53 Naomi of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Viceâ&#x20AC;? 55 Tarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tankardful 57 ___ Cat! (cat food brand thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s somehow still around) 58 Gas station offering 59 Multi-country currency sprung at the last minute? 62 Lupino of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Beware, My Lovelyâ&#x20AC;? 63 â&#x20AC;&#x153;If I Had a Hammerâ&#x20AC;? singer Lopez 64 Brunch beverage 65 One complete circuit 66 Antique photo tone 67 Beyond full


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45 Surprise wins 46 Lack of foresight? 47 Have a hunch about 48 Formal informer 49 Chowed down on some grass 53 Sing the blues 54 Title girl of a Verdi opera 56 Pasta suffix, commercially 57 Blue-green hue 60 Ending for past or post 61 Night wear

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SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

“Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked,” observed Sagittarian author Jane Austen. She wrote this confession in a letter to her niece, Fanny, whose boyfriend thought that the women characters in Jane’s novels were too naughty. In the coming weeks, I encourage you Sagittarians to regard pictures of perfection with a similar disdain. To accomplish all the brisk innovations you have a mandate to generate, you must cultivate a deep respect for the messiness of creativity; you must understand that your dynamic imagination needs room to experiment with possibilities that may at first appear disorderly. For inspiration, keep in mind this quote from Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

Capricorn novelist Anne Brontë (1820–1849) said, “Smiles and tears are so alike with me, they are neither of them confined to any particular feelings: I often cry when I am happy, and smile when I am sad.” I suspect you could have experiences like hers in the coming weeks. I bet you’ll feel a welter of unique and unfamiliar emotions. Some of them may seem paradoxical or mysterious, although I think they’ll all be interesting and catalytic. I suggest you welcome them and allow them to teach you new secrets about your deep self and the mysterious nature of your life.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):

Aquarian philosopher Simone Weil formulated resolutions so as to avoid undermining herself. First, she vowed she would only deal with difficulties that actually confronted her, not far-off or hypothetical problems. Second, she would allow herself to feel only those feelings that were needed to inspire her and make her take effective action. All other feelings were to be shed, including imaginary feelings—that is, those not rooted in any real, objective situation. Third, she vowed, she would “never react to evil in such a way as to augment it.” Dear Aquarius, I think all of these resolutions would be very useful for you to adopt in the coming weeks.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20):

In June 2019, the young Piscean singer Justin Bieber addressed a tweet to 56-year-old actor Tom Cruise, challenging him to a mixed martial arts cage fight. “If you don’t take this fight,” said Bieber, “you will never live it down.” A few days later, Bieber retracted his dare, confessing that Cruise “would probably whoop my ass in a fight.” If Bieber had waited until December 2020 to make his proposal, he might have had more confidence to follow through—and he might also have been better able to whoop Cruise’s ass. You Pisceans are currently at the peak of your power and prowess.

ARIES (March 21-April 19):

An anonymous blogger on Tumblr writes the following: “What I’d really like is for someone to objectively watch me for a week and then sit down with me for a few hours and explain to me what I am like and how I look to others and what my personality is in detail and how I need to improve. Where do I sign up for that?” I can assure you that the person who composed this message is not an Aries. More than any other sign of the zodiac, you Rams want to be yourself, to inhabit your experience purely and completely—not see yourself from the perspective of outside observers. Now is a good time to emphasize this specialty.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20):

“Humans like to be scared,” declares author Cathy Bell. “We love the wicked witch’s cackle, the wolf’s hot breath, and the old lady who eats children, because sometimes, when the scary is over, all we remember is the magic.” I suppose that what she says is a tiny bit true. But there are also many ways to access the magic that don’t require encounters with dread. And that’s exactly what I predict for you in the coming weeks, Taurus: marvelous experiences—including catharses, epiphanies, and breakthroughs—that are neither spurred by fear nor infused with it.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20):

In 1994, the animated movie The Lion King told the story of the difficult journey made by a young lion as he struggled to claim his destiny as rightful king. A remake of the film appeared in 2019. During the intervening 25 years, the number of real lions living in nature declined dramatically. There are now just 20,000. Why am I tell-

ing you such bad news? I hope to inspire you to make 2021 a year when you will resist trends like this. Your assignment is to nurture and foster wildness in every way that’s meaningful for you—whether that means helping to preserve habitats of animals in danger of extinction or feeding and championing the wildness inside you and those you care about. Get started!

CANCER (June 21-July 22):

Is there anyone whose forgiveness you would like to have? Is there anyone to whom you should make atonement? Now is a favorable phase to initiate such actions. In a related subject, would you benefit from forgiving a certain person whom you feel wronged you? Might there be healing for you in asking that person to make amends? The coming weeks will provide the best opportunity you have had in a long time to seek these changes.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):

Scientists know that the Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down—but at the very slow rate of two milliseconds every 100 years. What that means is that 200 million years from now, one day will last 25 hours. Think of how much more we humans will be able to get done with an extra hour every day! I suspect you may get a preview of this effect in the coming weeks, Leo. You’ll be extra efficient. You’ll be focused and intense in a relaxing way. Not only that: You will also be extra appreciative of the monumental privilege of being alive. As a result, you will seem to have more of the precious luxury of time.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):

Adventurer Tim Peck says there are three kinds of fun. The first is pure pleasure, enjoyed in full as it’s happening. The second kind of fun feels challenging when it’s underway, but interesting and meaningful in retrospect. Examples are giving birth to a baby or taking an arduous hike uphill through deep snow. The third variety is no fun at all. It’s irksome while you’re doing it, and equally disagreeable as you think about it later. Now I’ll propose a fourth type of fun, which I suspect you’ll specialize in during the coming weeks. It’s rather boring or tedious or nondescript while it’s going on, but in retrospect you are very glad you did it.

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LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):

“I made the wrong mistakes,” said Libran composer and jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. He had just completed an improvisatory performance he wasn’t satisfied with. On countless other occasions, however, he made the right mistakes. The unexpected notes and tempo shifts he tried often resulted in music that pleased him. I hope that in the coming weeks you make a clear demarcation between wrong mistakes and right mistakes, dear Libra. The latter could help bring about just the transformations you need.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):

“Home is not where you were born,” writes Naguib Mahfouz. “Home is where all your attempts to escape cease.” I propose we make that one of your mottoes for the next 12 months, Scorpio. According to my astrological analysis, you will receive all the inspiration and support you need as you strive to be at peace with exactly who you are. You’ll feel an ever-diminishing urge to wish you were doing something else besides what you’re actually doing. You’ll be less and less tempted to believe your destiny lies elsewhere, with different companions and different adventures. To your growing satisfaction, you will refrain from trying to flee from the gifts that have been given you, and you will instead accept the gifts just as they are. And it all starts now.

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