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Dee’s Babycakes opening retail location this weekend

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At only 10 years old, Vicksburg’s De’jonae Curtis is already a business veteran.

Her business, Dee’s Babycakes, has been providing sweet treats to private customers even as she competed in contests such as last year’s Sweetest Chefs of the South in Ridgeland.

This Valentine’s weekend Curtis is taking her success up a notch by opening a retail location at the Vicksburg Mall (3505 Pemberton Square Blvd.). In addition to her creative takes on cupcakes, Babycakes is also offering milk chocolate and white chocolate covered strawberries.

But Curtis’ goals aren’t all about profits and joining the Chamber of Commerce.

‘I started selling my Babycakes in hopes to give back to nonprofits like animal shelters and cancer organizations and do something I loved,” Curtis says on her GoFundMe page.

“I want to continue to give to people in need and learn more from my gift,” she added.

The name, Babycakes, is in honor of her cousin, Claudia, who died of cancer.

Dee’s Babycakes is celebrating its soft opening from Feb. 13 to Feb. 15. Friday she will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. or until everything is sold out. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit Dee’s Babycakes Facebook page, and look for a website soon.

Business

Love’s donates $2,000 to Bovina Elementary

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Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr., left, and Vicksburg-Warren Partnership President Pablo Diaz, right, look on as Love’s Manager Quentin Ryland cuts the ribbon with area school children to the new Love’s in Flowers.

Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores donated $2,000 to Bovina Elementary School during the grand opening of its new location in Flowers, Miss., today.

The Flowers store, located off Interstate 20, adds 72 jobs and 94 truck parking spaces to Warren County. It is one of three stores the company officially opened within the past week. The other two stores are in Greenville, Va., and Watonga, Okla.

“These new locations allow us to serve professional and four-wheel drivers and get them back on the road quickly,” said Tom Love, founder and executive chairman of Love’s, in a statement. “We’re excited to continue adding convenient locations to communities across the country.”

With more than 9,000 square feet, the new Love’s in Flowers includes an Arby’s, showers and laundry facilities, and even a dog park providing interstate travelers a safe and convenient stop, and locals a new fast-food option.

In addition to the donation to Bovina Elementary, Love’s is also donating $2,000 to Riverheads High School in Greenville and $2,000 to Building A Better You in Watonga.

See our tour of the new store on our Facebook page.

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Vicksburg resident launches internet interview show

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Joèl Barsky and Marvin Hunter at 10 South. (photo furnished by Joèl Barsky)

Vicksburg resident Joèl Barsky has launched an internet show called “Irie Chat” featuring interviews with musicians, comedians and other entertainers with talent.

On the show, Joèl travels to different entertainers as they talk about things such as life, commitment and careers. Joèl aired his first episode a couple of months ago after interviewing Kyle Rising of the band Sensi Trails in Boca Raton, Fla.

“I want to let artists share their stories because I feel it’s something that is needed,” Joèl said.

During the interviews, Joèl is always located in a relaxed setting to make the artist feel at home. The longer the conversations continue, the more the artists get into deep details about their personal lives or road experiences.

So far, “Irie Chat” has four episodes. The latest interview featured local comedian Marvin Hunter. Joèl has plans to expand “Irie Chat” as he conducts more interviews. His next episode was taped in Austin, Texas, as Joèl traveled there over the weekend to interview blues singer Jackie Venson.

For anyone interested in watching the interviews, go to the “Irie Chat” YouTube page where you’ll find all of the episodes completed to date and can subscribe to never miss another one.

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Bernie Ebbers, convicted WorldCom CEO, dead at 78

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Bernie Ebbers in his 2003 booking photo.

Bernie Ebbers, convicted in one of the largest corporate frauds in history, died on Sunday. He was 78.

Ebbers spent 12 years in prison after presiding over an $11 billion accounting fraud at WorldCom, formerly headquartered in Clinton, Mississippi. Ebbers received a compassionate release in December on a 25-year sentence due to his failing health.

The former CEO of WorldCom was once hailed as a great American success story. Ebbers came from modest means and turned the company into one of the nation’s largest telephone companies, employing some 80,000 people at its peak.

The huge success turned out to be a huge accounting sleight of hand. In 2002, the company filed for bankruptcy. Thousands of WorldCom employees lost their jobs and their retirement savings, as Ebbers encouraged employees to vest heavily in the company through their 401ks. Other companies swallowed up by WorldCom, such as Jackson-based SkyTel, simply disappeared as what was left of WorldCom was sold off.

The phantom success also had a major impact on the phone industry as companies such as AT&T attempted to emulate and catch up to WorldCom and couldn’t. The late ’90s saw 40,000 AT&T employees laid off.

In 2005, a jury convicted Ebbers of securities fraud, conspiracy and filing false reports, charges he never admitted to and continued to blame on those who reported to him. The sentence of 25 years was one of the harshest ever given to a corporate leader.

On paper, he was worth $1 billion, but in the final accounting, Ebbers surrendered about $40 million to investors who had lost billions when the company filed bankruptcy.

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