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Local News

    If you drive on Interstate 985, those evening lane closures you’ve been experiencing are about to pay off. Not one, but two bridges will be opening this week. After about three years of work, lane closures and delays, drivers will soon be able to get around Hall County much easier. “It greatly increases our east-west connectivity in the Hall County region,” said Georgia Department of Transportation spokesperson Katie Strickland. We’re taking you along the two new bridges in the area, Monday on Channel 2 Action News This Morning starting at 4:30 a.m.
  • Authorities are investigating an early morning house fire that left one child dead and a teenager injured. The fire happened around 6:40 a.m. Sunday on Highway 42 South near Indian Springs in Butts County. Fire officials told Channel 2′s Christian Jennings that there were adults in the house at the time of the fire but sadly, the 12-year-old boy didn’t make it out. “I believe the father tried to get them out, units arrived shortly after that and made entry and rescued the juvenile out of the house,” said Butts County Fire Chief Mike Wilson. Wilson said the boy was rushed to a nearby hospital but died. A 16-year-old girl was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Atlanta. Wilson said this fire is really affecting his firefighters. “It’s terrible. It’s terrible. We’ve got several firefighters just devastated. Some are being debriefed now in Jackson, and then we also have contacted some of our pastors and they’re going to debrief the rest of the guys later on,” Wilson said. Investigators are still pinpointing what caused the fire. 'It’s still under investigation. We have the local fire marshal as well as the state here,” Wilson said. The Red Cross is working to help the family. The fire chief in Butts County told me they’ve contacted pastors so that firefighters can speak with them about what they experienced this morning. A 12-year-old boy died in this fire. A 16-year-old girl was injured and taken to an Atlanta hospital. The Red Cross is assisting pic.twitter.com/PZZMsw2MRb — Christian Jennings (@CJenningsWSB) January 26, 2020 ⚠️County Fire units responded to a structure fire on 42 South near Indian Springs at approximately 6:40 AM. There has been one confirmed fatality, while another victim has been airlifted to Atlanta. Expect traffic congestion in the area. Our thoughts are with the family. pic.twitter.com/H1niNaNOag — Butts County Georgia (@ButtsCountyGa) January 26, 2020
  • Amy has had quite the medical journey at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Heart Center. She has had a heart transplant, multiple rounds on the life-saving ECMO machine, a multi-drug resistant blood infection, kidney failure, a tracheostomy and more. Now, she’s has reason to celebrate. She’s ready to move on to the next stage of healing! She first got our attention after video of her dancing to Ariana Grande went viral. She is a big fan of the singer and nurses played her song to help cheer up the 14-year-old. It was the first time Amy smiled after months of treatment. Meet Amy, a 14-year-old #Arianator who has been in our Cardiac Intensive Care Unit for more than 2 months. She smiled for the first time in weeks when her nurses played one of her favorite songs. @ArianaGrande, let us know if you want to meet Amy when you’re in town this weekend. pic.twitter.com/c1hXSpvW9C — Children's (@childrensatl) June 6, 2019 Now, Amy has another reason to smile. After 296 days, Amy got to leave Children’s cardiac intensive care unit. On January 21, nurses decorated the hallway with dozens of balloons and made posters for her. She clearly meant a lot to the nurses and staff. We wish Amy the best of luck!
  • For the most part, Brandon Dali Salinas felt like an American. The 18-year-old is from the small town of Dalton in Northwest Georgia and has a thick Southern accent. He attended his local church, was a Boy Scout, and helped his mom with a little brother who has asthma. Salinas has lived in the United States for almost 17 years, and all three of his siblings and his now-estranged father are United States citizens. Now, he has been deported to Mexico, a country that is completely foreign to him, following an arrest on charges of possessing a small amount of marijuana and lying to police about his age ​last April​. Salinas, who drove without a license in 2018, had violated his probation with this new arrest. But since he was a minor at the time, sheriff’s deputies drove him home to his mother. Salinas admits he made mistakes. But what for many young Americans would be an arrest with few long-term consequences, Salinas faces a life-altering ordeal thousands of miles away from his family. “I wouldn’t consider Mexico my home even though I'm from there,” Salinas told ABC News recently. “I wouldn't consider it because I wasn't raised there. I didn't grow up there. I was just born there.' The Trump administration has pushed to arrest more unauthorized immigrants while both eliminating Obama-era rules that prioritize dangerous felons and canceling basic protections for young people like Salinas living in the country without proper documentation. As more and more kids -- who came to the U.S. as young children -- reach adulthood, the recent attempts to close off avenues for resettlement and rehabilitation mean small, unresolved crimes can have dire consequences for them. “I don’t think he had a care in the world when he was making the mistakes that any kid would make. The problem is that he’s undocumented at the same time,” said Mark Scaggs, a project coordinator for the Southern Poverty Law Center. Speaking to ABC News about his arrests, Salinas said he’s “always regretted it, each and every day -- just knowing that I could have been a better person.” After he was arrested in April and then released to his mother, Salinas graduated from high school and then celebrated his eighteenth birthday. Thirteen days later, on May 7, the police knocked on his door. They re-arrested him and booked him into jail, charging him with five separate counts, including marijuana possession, lying to authorities ​about his age and violating his probation from the 2018 incident. He remained in jail for three months. After his mother, Ivon Castillo (who asked that ABC News not use her full name because she feared reprisal from authorities), posted bond for him on Aug. 1, he wasn’t immediately released. A month later, he was transferred directly into ICE custody, according to sheriff’s department records. He remained in the Folkston, Georgia ICE processing facility for five months. The Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office did not return ABC News’ requests for comment about why Salinas was not released on bond or about their broader cooperation policy with ICE. (MORE: ICE raids across major US cities fall short of expectations but fear remains) Whitfield County, like several other local law enforcement jurisdictions in the southeast, maintains a working agreement with ICE to flag all undocumented persons who are detained by local sheriff's deputies -- no matter how small the offense, according to a local ICE official. Salinas was one of them. ICE agreements with law enforcement President Donald Trump and his administration have strongly encouraged local law enforcement agencies to adopt these “287(g)” agreements with ICE, products of Clinton-era immigration law that make use of local community resources for federal immigration enforcement. The same types of programs were initially encouraged during the Obama administration when deportations hit record levels. But civil rights groups and big cities across the country started pushing back. Several jurisdictions -- including New York and Los Angeles -- created so-called “sanctuary” policies to limit cooperation between local police and ICE. The Obama administration later reversed course to prioritize the deportation of violent felons with criminal convictions. “What the Obama administration did was really narrow that net for arrests,” said Randy Capps, research director at the Migration Policy Institute. “That kind of shut down this universal screening model.” During his first month in office, President Trump issued an executive order to promote the type of universal screening that currently takes place in counties like Whitfield County, and also to eliminate the Obama-era priority of removing those convicted of violent and other major crimes. “The percentage of offenses that are serious is very small,” Capps said. Trump administration officials point to the serious criminals picked up by the 287(g) programs. In budget year 2018, local officials across the country flagged 13 unauthorized immigrants who had been convicted of homicides and 150 convicted for sex offenses, including sexual assault. But smaller offenses like marijuana use and traffic violations are generally more common, resulting in more ICE arrests for those accused of minor crimes. John Tsoukaris, the acting ICE field office director for the Atlanta region where Salinas was taken into custody, acknowledged that 287(g) programs can result in those who are merely accused of minor crimes getting deported, but noted his agents are required arrest anyone they encounter without proper documentation. “I’m not sure it’s appropriate to exclude those individuals just because they have minor crimes,' Tsoukaris said. “I think you actually have the right under the authority of the law to stop these people from re-offending because they are not supposed to be here and they can be removed.” “We’re a country of laws and we expect everybody to follow it,” he added. Charges and convictions for traffic violations, driving under the influence and illegal drug use are the most common infractions seen among those arrested by ICE followed by assault and immigration-related violations, according to the most recent data released by the agency. DACA no longer an option for many Simply by living in the United States undocumented, Salinas was committing a civil violation under federal law, thus potentially eligible for deportation. “I always realized I was different from everybody else,” Salinas said. “I had to limit myself in the things I could do. I was limiting myself -- like I can’t drive a car to take my girlfriend out to eat. Or I couldn’t apply for certain jobs.” Like a growing number of undocumented teens, he hadn’t applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program protection as a child, which would have given him some license to live and work in the U.S. Around the time he would have needed it for driving, college or working, the Trump administration was ending enrollment for new applicants. Salinas’ mother told ABC News she had hoped for a more permanent solution. She wanted Salinas’ father, a U.S. citizen, to petition for her son’s legal status when he was a young teen. But Salinas’ parents got divorced, they lost contact with his father, and an application was never started. The DACA program is now tied up in the courts, but initiating a new application hasn’t been possible since 2017, meaning the number of unprotected, undocumented teens like Salinas will likely grow for the foreseeable future unless the Supreme Court rules to fully reinstate it, or Congress steps in with a more permanent solution. Even if he had gotten into the program, under the Trump administration, undocumented teens have increasingly seen their protections stripped even for minor infractions, meaning a second chance for someone like Salinas is rare. 'Sometimes you don't get second chances' Castillo told ABC News that her son is a “big mama’s boy” and that they tried to speak every other day while he was detained. She says he was “desperate” to get out. “I just wanna tell her that I love her,” Salinas told ABC News recently. “And if I could change the past, if I could be a better person in the past, I would. But I can't. And that's what I regret each and every day.” Since legally becoming an adult, Salinas has spent about two weeks free and 8 months behind bars. “I want to support my family how they support me,” Salinas said while in custody. “I just -- I’ll be strong for them. I’ve spent a lot of time in here reading the Bible, and it says patience is key.” Salinas had his first court date with immigration judge Wayne Houser, Jr., an immigration judge, in October 2019. Houser has been an immigration judge in Atlanta since 2002, having spent over 20 years practicing law in Tennessee before then. From 2014-2019, he had a 96% asylum denial rate, according to TRAC Immigration, an independent project from Syracuse University. According to Fernando Chavez, Salinas’ lawyer, who didn’t start representing him until this month, Houser tends to be harsher on undocumented immigrants. “He’s known as the guy who denies everything. His bond denial rate might be higher than his asylum denial rate,” said Chavez, referencing Houser’s denial rate. “And not only that, he moves at such a slow pace in his cases,” Chavez added. The Department of Justice and Executive Office for Immigration Review don’t comment on judge’s decisions. Salinas was scheduled to see Houser a total of three times in the fall of 2019. But he only saw him once. Then, on Jan. 8, his case number was finally called. Salinas went in front of Houser with no attorney representing him. According to Salinas, Houser asked him what form of 'relief' he wanted, but Salinas didn’t know what that meant. Salinas’ request for voluntary departure, which would have let him leave the United States on his own terms, was denied by the judge. As a last attempt, Salinas admitted that he had gone “down the wrong road;” that he had made “bad mistakes and bad decisions;” that he never “wanted to be that person.” He said he told Houser he regretted his decisions, and that he tries to improve himself each and every day. “I just want to push myself to do better, and I feel like if I could have another opportunity -- just do things right -- I will,” Salinas told ABC News. According to Salinas, Houser responded “sometimes you don’t get second chances.” Houser went on to order Salinas’ removal from the United States to Mexico. It was just the second time Salinas officially appeared in Houser’s court. Salinas was deported on Jan. 20, 2020. “He sounds shocked because he’s in a new place with new people,' Castillo told ABC News. 'But he sounds happy to be out [of detention].” According to Castillo, the plan is to have Salinas live with her parents in Torreon, Mexico, despite the fact that he has never met them. “So I feel like I just gotta have faith that God is gonna get me to the way and just to keep my head up,” Salinas said. “You know, it's not the end of me.” Brandon Dali Salinas lived in the United States for almost 17 years and always felt like an American. Now, he has been...Posted by ABC News on Sunday, January 26, 2020 ABC’s Ignacio Torres contributed to this report. This report was written by ABC News
  • If you’re planning on running your errands today, make sure you do it in the first half of the day. Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Eboni Deon says showers will move in for some areas later this evening. Temperatures are expected to be near normal levels. We’re updating the timing of when the rain will fall in your area, throughout the day on Channel 2 Action News. Afternoon highs will reach the lower to mid 50s. Clouds will build but rain holds off until later tonight. pic.twitter.com/Y36tZF3DZA — Eboni Deon, WSB (@EboniDeonWSB) January 26, 2020
  • Keith “Bo” Tharpe spent years on Georgia’s death row insisting a juror’s racist views had put him there. Tharpe — who finished what he expected to be his last meal on Sept. 26, 2017, before the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of his execution — died late Friday at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Butts County. His death likely was due to complications from cancer, according to a news release from the Georgia Resource Center, which represented him in recent years as he attempted to appeal his death sentence. He was 61. In 1991, Tharpe was sentenced to death for killing his sister-in-law, Jaquelin Freeman. Seven years later, juror Barney Gattie dropped several racially biased statements while being interviewed by Tharpe’s lawyers, including calling Tharpe the n-word. “After studying the Bible, I have wondered if black people even have souls, ” said Gattie, according to an affidavit he signed years after the trial. Gattie also said Tharpe’s sister-in-law came from a family of “nice black folks.” “If they had been the type Tharpe is, then picking between life and death for Tharpe wouldn’t have mattered so much,” Gattie said. “My feeling is, what would be the difference?” Gattie, who was white, said he voted to sentence Tharpe to death because he “wasn’t in the ‘good’ black folks category.” However, Gattie later backed off that statement. Gattie is now deceased. In a 6-3 decision in 2017, U.S. Supreme Court justices said they were concerned Gattie was racist and only voted for the death penalty because Tharpe was black, sending the case back to a lower court on appeal. Still, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously against Tharpe’s appeal, saying it could not retroactively apply a 2017 U.S. Supreme Court opinion allowing courts to consider evidence of racial animus by jurors. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Tharpe’s subsequent appeal. The Georgia Department of Corrections has not yet responded to a media request to officially confirm the inmate's death. Marcia Widder, one of Tharpe’s lawyers at the Georgia Resource Center, said the courts’ refusal to consider the impact of Gattie’s views “a stain on the judicial system” and calls for more effort to eliminate racism in the criminal court system.
  • Police say a driver was shot six times in Gwinnett County Saturday, which caused him to crash. Police said the man was shot on Annistown Road near the Walmart. The victim was shot in the leg and shoulder before driving over the median and crashing into a driver on the opposite side of the road. The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. It’s unclear if the other driver was hurt. The victim told police he noticed a man in a green car following him from a nearby gas station before opening fire. The victim described the man as a black man in his 20s with a fade haircut and a dark-colored puffy jacket. The victim said he didn't know why he was attacked. Police are still searching for the shooter. Police are asking anyone with information to call Gwinnett County Police Department detectives at 770-513-5300.
  • Witnesses are describing the disturbing sounds they heard from a small airplane's engine moments before it crashed Saturday in Coweta County. Two people died. Channel 2′s Tony Thomas was in Senoia, where an aircraft crashed into the trees a few feet off of Highway 16 outside Senoia. Investigators plan to return to the site in the morning. Laquita Connell heard the small plane before she saw it. “We heard some puttering from an airplane, and it go really low,” Connell said. “It sounded like his engine was cutting out or he was out of gas. It looked like he was about the hit the store, and he pulled up and hit the field.” The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was a Mustang Two, a low-wing, two-seat acrobatic plane. Coweta County Sheriff Lenn Wood told Thomas the pilot had just landed, picked up a passenger and then taken back off from Big T’s airport, a private, grass-lined runway about a quarter-mile from the crash site. 'It was a plane that had just been purchased in Florida and flown up here,' Wood said. Authorities have not publicly identified the pilot or the passenger. 'We were hoping he was able to pull up in time, but he didn't,' Connell said. The FAA is still investigating the crash. FAA confirms 2 ppl died in a small plane crash in Coweta County . I’m at crash site just off Highway 16 near Senoia. Plane was a Mustang 2. @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/TV9PZgfTq8 — Tony Thomas (@TonyThomasWSB) January 26, 2020
  • The owner of a local jewelry store is being hailed as a hero after he fought back against a group of brazen armed robbers. Channel 2′s Michael Seiden was in Sandy Springs, where the robbery happened Saturday afternoon at the corner of Abernathy and Roswell roads. Seiden obtained exclusive video of the moment the owner attacked the robbers with a pickle jar, among other things. The video shows the smash-and-grab robbers storming the store and holding up frightened customers and employees at gunpoint. 'They had hammers and were breaking everything and grabbed Rolexes,' one witness said. The thieves didn’t get very far. BREAKING: Suspects running from police plow into a car. @SeidenWSBTV is now on the scene for a live report at 6. pic.twitter.com/GA1jmGa9iN — Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) January 25, 2020 The owner, who asked Seiden not to identify him or his business, was returning from lunch when he saw the robbery in progress. The owner went on the attack, hitting them over the head and in the face with a bag full of glass pickle jars. “He hit them with three bottles of pickles and I pretty much grabbed him and subdued him until the cops came,' another witness said. The owner held one of the robbers down until police arrived. The three remaining robbers sped away from police and ended up crashing on Glenridge Road. At one point, Seiden saw officers in a wooded area with their guns drawn. Three of the four suspects are now in custody, police said Saturday night. They were identified as: Antonio Collier, 40, from Atlanta Antwan Dekarlos Robinson, 17, from Atlanta A 16-year-old juvenile from East Point All three have been charged with armed robbery, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, felony criminal damage to property, possession of tools for the commission of a crime, battery (2 counts) and obstruction. Police are still searching for a fourth suspect. In the last 10 minutes, we saw officers searching a wooded area near the crash site. https://t.co/5Buf1QmSFG pic.twitter.com/yzlGDsYLfX — Michael Seiden (@SeidenWSBTV) January 25, 2020
  • Georgia Power is warning customers to be vigilant to avoid a scam. The company said they have seen an increase in reports about criminals posing as Georgia Power employees to extort money from customers. Scammers claim to be from Georgia Power and demand payment to avoid disconnection. The company is reminding customers that they will never ask customers to provide a credit card or debit card number over the phone. 'Additionally, the company will never send employees into the field to collect payment in person or ask a customer to pay anywhere other than an Authorized Payment Location (APL),' the company said in a statement. Georgia Power is asking that anyone who receives a bogus call to call customer service at 888-660-5890.

News

  • A pilot was killed Saturday morning when a small plane crashed into the side of a north Florida home, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. The family inside the home managed to escape the home without injury, the Sheriff’s Office said. A picture a viewer sent to Action News Jax shows the moment when a plane crashed into the front yard of the Lake City home.In the picture, a man in an orange shirt can be seen running across the yard to try to help the pilot, but he had to retreat because the flames were too extensive. Neighbors watched as a ball of fire flared up in their neighbor’s yard. Kristy Amato said she hears many small planes and often worries about them. “I was sitting on my couch watching a movie with my daughter, and I heard a plane take off like all of the planes take off,' Amato told Action News Jax. “Then I heard a backfire, then a loud kaboom, so I ran out front and there was a plane in my neighbor’s yard on fire.” Columbia County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Murray Smith told Action News Jax that after crews put the fire out, the pilot’s body was found underneath debris. “Shortly before 10, we received about 59 911 calls,” Smith told the television station. Smith said he believes the plane was a single-engine aircraft. The National Transportation Safety Board is now working to find out where the Piper PA-32 was going and the name of the pilot who died. Officials believe he was the only person on the plane. “There is an airport nearby, but so many neighbors have come over and gave so many stories, so we’re just going to wait for NTSB to get all of the facts straight,” said Smith. The Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB are investigating what caused the plane to crash, but the investigation likely won’t be complete for months.
  • Three people — including two teens — are in custody and police are looking for a fourth after an armed robbery at a Sandy Springs jewelry store.  Antonio Collier, 40, Antwan DeKarlos Robinson, 17, and a 16-year-old juvenile were arrested after the incident, which happened about 4:20 p.m. Saturday at a business on Abernathy Road near Roswell Road, officials said.  Witnesses to the robbery and the store owner were able to subdue two of the suspects until police arrived, Channel 2 Action News reported.  Three men walked into the business and tried to steal items from the display case, Sandy Springs police spokesman Sgt. Sam Worsham said.  “They had hammers and were breaking everything and grabbed Rolexes,” a witness told Channel 2.  The owner, who was returning from lunch, saw the robbery in progress, the news station reported. He told Channel 2 he hit the robbers over the head and in the face with a bag full of glass pickle jars.  Two bystanders then tackled one of the suspects, Worsham said.  Two other suspects drove off in a car, he said. The incident turned into a police chase that ended in a crash on Glenridge Road.  One of the suspects was arrested at the scene, and the fourth suspect ran away into a wooded area, Worsham said.  Collier, Robinson, and the juvenile are all charged with armed robbery, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, felony criminal damage to property, possession of tools for the commission of a crime, obstruction and two counts of battery.  Read the full story from Channel 2 Action News here.
  • Tamra Judge is leaving “The Real Housewives of Orange County” after 12 seasons, the star of the Bravo series said in an Instagram post Saturday. “It’s been a wild 12 years. But it’s time for me to move on,” Judge wrote on Instagram. “I’m sad to go but I’m very excited about my future.” Judge is currently the longest-running full-time cast member in “Housewives” history, People reported. She joined the show during its third season in 2007, according to the magazine. Judge’s announcement comes a day after fellow co-star Vicki Gunvalson also announced she was leaving the reality television show, E! Online reported. Judge said she was looking forward to life after the series. “It’s been a wild ride, and after all these years, I’m looking forward to life away from the cameras,” Judge told People. “I was offered a chance to come back to the show in a limited role, but would prefer to walk away on my own terms.” Judge has been part of the show’s most memorable moments, including the show’s first wine toss, People reported. She also starred in a three-episode spinoff of the series, “Tamra’s OC Wedding,” which documented her June 2013 wedding to Eddie Judge. “I want to thank all the fans who have offered me their support over the years,” she told People. “It’s meant a lot.”
  • Margaret Mackie is not a household name in the music industry, but she’s getting there in a hurry. The 83-year-old dementia patient from Scotland has gone viral on YouTube with her heart-melting duet of “My Way” with her caregiver, Jamie Lee Morley. The pair recorded a single of the song, with proceeds going to Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society. People with elderly parents will have a tough time avoiding the tissues after watching the sweet, sentimental ballad made famous by Frank Sinatra. But Mackie is not ready to face the final curtain just yet. She’s content to keep singing. Morley, a musician who works as a food server at the Northcare Suites Care Home in Edinburgh since it opened last fall, told The Washington Post he was walking past a lounge at the center when he heard a lovely voice singing Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Morley told the newspaper he thought someone had left the radio on, but then he saw Mackie singing the song in perfect pitch. “I was stunned,” Morley, 31, told the Post. “I’ve loved singing and music since I was a little lad, and I could just tell that Margaret did, too. Her voice is amazing.” Morley and Mackie sang “My Way” at the care home’s Christmas party in December, CBS News reported. A video of the duet was posted to YouTube and quickly went viral. “Every day in work we sing this song together and I do whatever I can to brighten her day and all the other residents,” Morley wrote on YouTube. 'For those close to me will know this was my Grandad’s funeral song who our family sadly lost to Alzheimer’s last year. I’ve never really sang this song, as it’s a classic, but I knew how much Margaret and her family would love it.” Mackie’s family attended the Christmas party and enjoyed the duet, CBS News reported. They are even more delighted with the response to the video. “It has brought her back to life. The dementia was taking a hold of her and she was getting sad with it, but this has given her a new lease of life,” Mackie’s daughter, Mairi Hunter, told the BBC. “It’s quite remarkable how she can remember the lyrics. It just seems to come back to her. “She wants everyone to be happy. People cry when they hear the song and she’ll say ‘No don’t cry, I want you to be happy.’” Meanwhile, the recording of “My Way” is No. 6 on the United Kingdom’s Amazon download chart and at one point reached No. 27 on iTunes’ Top 40 in the U.K., the Post reported. That’s ahead of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran, the newspaper reported. Morley filmed his excursion with Mackie to the recording studio and released the single and a music video to go with it Dec,. 28, CBS News reported. The music video has had nearly 200,000 views since its release. Mackie, a former whiskey distillery worker, rarely remembers one day from the next, the Post reported. She came to Northcare Suites in October from another care center, Jordan Simpson, manager of Northcare Suites, told the newspaper. While Mackie might be forgetful, she never forgets the lyrics to her favorite songs, Simpson said. “Singing is something that makes Margaret happy. She has a great singing voice,” Simpson told the Post. “And although she has dementia, she has a great memory for song lyrics. She and Jamie sing together most of the day.” Mackie said she wouldn’t mind recording another song, and joked about recording an entire album, the BBC reported. “It’s great seeing your face in all those newspapers,” Mackie told the BBC. “It’s nice to have a busy life like that, every now and then.” The single can be purchased on iTunes here.
  • A FedEx driver in upper Michigan went beyond the call of duty while delivering a package Thursday morning. The delivery man was dropping off a package for Jodi LaFreniere in Manistique around 11:42 a.m., WLUC reported. Instead of just leaving the package on the snowy stoop, the delivery man grabbed a shovel and cleared off the area, the television station reported. “Shout out to this guy! He shoveled my stoop while I was gone,” LaFreniere wrote on Facebook. LaFreniere, who is a kindergarten teacher, told WLUC she received an alert on her phone from her doorbell camera. When she checked the video, she saw the delivery man shoveling off her porch. “I was wondering who was at my house since my fiance was away in Alaska, teaching,” LaFreniere told CNN. LaFreniere hadn’t spoken to the delivery driver -- Melvin J. Marlett, who has worked for FedEx for 23 years -- but said her fiance, Rodney Riesland, has spoken with him since he is usually home when deliveries are made, CNN reported. “There are good people out there who do selfless acts,” LaFreniere told WLUC. LaFreniere decided to post the video to Facebook as a way of saying thanks. “FedEx is proud of the many contributions our team members make to the communities we serve every day,” FedEx spokeswoman Heather Wilson told CNN. “We commend our courier, Mel Marlett, who went above and beyond to help shovel snow for our customer while making a delivery.” Marlett told CNN he thought shoveling the snow was the right thing to do. “I would hope it’s something that anybody would have done,” Marlett told the cable network. “If you take care of your customers, they take care of you.”
  • Sophie Yazzie, the longest-living veteran in Arizona and a member of the Navajo Nation, died Saturday. She was 105. Yazzie died at her Tucson home, according to Facebook posts by Women Warriors and the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services. Yazzie, who was born in Canyon de Chelly in 1914, enlisted in the Army when he was 28 and served during World War II, KPNX reported. She was a Women’s Army Corps Technician Grade 4 and was honorably discharged after the war, according to Navajo Times. Yazzie graduated from Wingate Boarding School in 1934, the website reported. She returned to her alma mater after the war and worked there until she retired at 70, KPNX reported. Wanda Wright, the director of the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, released a message of condolences, KNXV reported. “I am blessed to have met Sophie and hear about her service to our country. Last summer we were honored to be able to present Sophie with Governor Ducey’s Arizona Women Veteran’s Week proclamation,' Wright said. 'We send our deepest condolences to her family and friends, and will always remember her legacy.” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted a tribute to Yazzie on Saturday afternoon. She had four children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.