January 23, 2021


A Morris County teacher was honored for turning his home into a makeshift manufacturing plant where he helped produce more than 12,000 pieces of protective equipment for workers using 3-D printers.

Jason Erdreich, a Randolph resident, was selected for a “Mazda Heroes” award in recognition of his efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, the automaker’s North American branch announced.

“This year has been full of challenges and we wanted to lean into our brand’s heritage of finding innovative ways to brighten people’s lives,” Mazda North American Operations President Jeff Guyton said in a news release. “We were inspired to create the Mazda Heroes program to honor all those who are working tirelessly to uplift their own communities. We hope through Mazda’s acknowledgment of their efforts, they’ll feel empowered to continue to give back to those around them.”

Erdreich, a middle school shop teacher, used his technical expertise to gather 3-D printers to produce the badly-needed PPE for healthcare facilities and other frontline workers. The 3-D printing technology allows users to produce physical objects from digital files with the special printers. Various items can be made with the printers, which often use less material than other manufacturing methods.

The Madison Public School District teacher also incorporated his 3-D printing project into his teaching by designing remote learning courses for his students around the manufacturing technology.

“He solves problems, in and out of the classroom,” Erdreich’s wife, who nominated him for the award, said in a video accompanying the announcement.

“With massive shortages of PPE, local front line workers were desperate for any life-saving protective gear to keep them safe so Jason rounded up about fifteen 3-D printers from his school, brought them home and hooked all together in our living room,” she added.

Based on the submissions nationwide, Mazda North American Operations selected 50 winners “based on their demonstrated selfless acts, creative thinking, and contributions to community,” according to the company. Each winner will be given a Mazda MX-5 Miata 100th Anniversary Special Edition, the news release said.

Erdreich is the only winner from New Jersey, a spokeswoman said.

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Noah Cohen may be reached at [email protected].

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WYOMING, Mich. — A man has been hurt after being trapped beneath a car that slammed into his western Michigan home.

Police in Wyoming, outside Grand Rapids, said the vehicle ran a stop sign about 1:30 a.m. Friday, crossed over the man’s yard and struck the front of his house.

The homeowner was laying in his bed at the time of the crash. A portion of the home’s wall had to be removed to allow rescue crews to reach the man. He was listed in serious condition at a hospital.

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The car’s driver was injured and hospitalized. A passenger in the car was not hurt.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

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Police said the items found at Saturday’s scene linked them back to a home in the 4100 block of Maggie Street.

HOUSTON — Several Houston police officers searched a home in Sunnyside early Sunday morning that they said is possibly linked to the woman found dead in the trunk of a car at the end of a chase in Beaumont.

Police said the items found at Saturday’s scene linked them back to a home in the 4100 block of Maggie Street.

So far, police have not revealed if they found anything related to the crime.

At about 8 a.m. Saturday, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper attempted to stop the driver of a white Honda who was driving at a high rate of speed on I-10 in Chambers County.

The driver, later identified as 35-year-old Victor Campbell Jr. from Fresno, pulled to the right when the trooper turned on his sirens, but then immediately sped off.

Campbell led the trooper and other law enforcement eastbound on I-10 where he crashed out near Milam Street in Beaumont. 

Campbell was injured in the crash and had to be taken to a local hospital. He was taken to Jefferson County Jail after he was released. 

While searching the Honda, DPS troopers found a dead woman in the trunk. She was later identified as 28-year-old Briana Teirra Johnson from Houston. 

According to DPS, Campbell faces the following charges:

  • Felony evading arrest
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Tampering with evidence
  • Abuse of a corpse

Additional felony charges are pending.

Houston police are asking anyone who may have information to help them solve this case to please call their homicide unit at 713-308-3600 or call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.

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A security team assigned to Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey was involved in a shooting Saturday evening outside her Granada Hills home over an attempted car theft, authorities said.

The shooting and attempted theft of a security vehicle in the 17900 block of Mayerling Street was reported at 6:20 p.m., a Los Angeles police dispatcher told City News Service.

According to police, the security officers were in two cars parked outside Lacey’s home. As an officer exited one of the cars, two people pulled up in their own vehicle. One of them then tried to get into the empty security vehicle, prompting the shooting.

The two suspects fled the scene without being struck by gunfire, the dispatcher said.

Lacey lost her reelection bid earlier this month to former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón, who will takeover the nation’s largest prosecutor’s office in January.

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Some people have a simple driver-vehicle relationship with their cars. There’s nothing wrong with that, but for other people it goes way deeper. A car is a source of conveyance, a home away from home, even a friend. A car’s owner can be its driver, mechanic, doctor and caretaker.

Those of us who have that kind of relationship love working on our cars — whether it means popping the hood or getting under the chassis. The former is a lot easier and safer than the latter, though. When we’re lifting up our cars to take a peek at what’s underneath, we can’t afford any accidents or equipment malfunctions.

Thankfully, the right home car lift is a lot more stable and secure than old jacks. It also gives you a better vantage point when working on your car, allows you more storage room in your garage, and even takes pressure off the tires during long-term storage. But what should you look for in a home auto lift? How do you know when you’ve found the right one?

Here are some of the best car lifts available for home garages, based on expert opinions and customer satisfaction. And make sure to read on afterwards for pro tips on picking the right auto lift and proper installation.

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When it comes to a residential garage car lift that’s easy to use and works well whether you’re storing your car or working on it, it’s hard to beat the Triumph NSS-8. This four-post garage lift has an 8,000-pound weight capacity, plus it has a lift height of 72 inches, meaning that you can safely and easily park a standard-sized car under your lifted vehicle.

The Triumph NSS-8 comes with accessories that make using it more convenient. For instance, it has a set of casters so it can be wheeled around a garage, as well as drip trays that prevent any fluid from running off a lifted vehicle onto whatever is stored underneath. Finally, there’s a jack tray that allows for a jack to lift one end of a vehicle.

The Triumph NSS-8 is currently one of the top 10 best-selling vehicle lifts on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. Satisfied customers have cited the reliability of the product and the ease of installation as selling points.


Just because you like working on your car in your garage doesn’t mean that’s the only place you ever want to be able to do it. Maybe you want to get a friend’s opinion, so it would be handy to be able to lift up your car at their place.

For situations like that, the QuickJack BL-5000SLX is an elegant solution. A true portable car lift, the BL-5000SLX weighs 215 pounds, but can lift up to 5,000. The lifting height of 17.5 inches is lower than that of the other models on this list, but provides easy access from a horizontal position.

The low price


BRANFORD — Perpetrators in a recent car thefts didn’t follow the typical scenario of taking unlocked cars that had the keys left in them, according to police.

The keys were not in the 2012 Cadillac or 2011 Audi and the cars were not broken into, yet thieves allegedly recently took off with two cars from the same residence as the owners slept in the house, police said.

“On this particular occasion, they actually went into the home and went to the kitchen when the homeowners were sleeping inside and grabbed the keys off the counter and they stole a purse and drove off with the cars,” said Branford police Detective Lt. Dominick Eula.

Eula said this is the first case that he can recall of someone entering a home in Branford to obtain car keys.

The Cadillac and Audi were recovered. Police declined to talk about the exact location, but did note that stolen cars are being found in all the major cities, including New Haven, Hartford, Bridgeport and Waterbury. Police also declined to say whether the home was locked at the time the keys were taken.

Branford has seen a marked increase in car thefts recently and while Police Chief Jon Mulhern said entering a home is not the usual method of gaining access to cars in town, it has happened in other towns in the region.

“I think we could agree to say that … going into the house, that is definitely a progression that is very concerning,” he said. “On the scale of how many cars are stolen and how many houses are entered, there’s no comparison.”

In Branford, car thefts have increased by 119 percent since last year, according to Mulhern.

He noted that for Jan. 1 to Oct. 1, 2019 there were 26 motor vehicle thefts. During the same period January to October for 2020, there were 57 motor vehicle thefts.

“They’re crimes of opportunity,” said Mulhern. “They’re reaping some benefits from it, so we’re seeing more and more groups engage in it.

“It’s a way of transportation,” he added. “It’s a way to facilitate other criminal activity. We are seeing these cars used in other crimes.”

Eula expressed concern about this recent case.

“Do I think they are getting bolder? Yeah,” he said. “Again, I think we’re creating a society where there’s no repercussions. If you know you’re never going to get in trouble.

“They get arrested multiple times for this type of thing and they get more emboldened and that’s what we’re seeing,” he said.

Police chiefs across the shoreline expressed concern about the laws associated


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Police lights

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Cleveland City Council selects leader of Detroit Shoreway non-profit to replace Councilman Matt Zone (cleveland.com)

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Metro Nashville police homicide unit detectives are working to identify the gunman who killed a 34-year-old man Monday outside South Nashville home.

According to police, Alexander Presley died in a 7:25 p.m. shooting on Weaver Drive just south of Murfreesboro Pike.

Officers responding to a report of gunshots in the area located Presley nearby inside his running vehicle on School Lane, police said. The car had a bullet hole in it and Presley died at the scene from a gunshot wound.

Witnesses reported Presley was in his car in the driveway of his home when a newer model black sedan pulled in behind him. Police said two people got out and approached Presley’s vehicle. 

One of them fired a shot, police said, and the two people fled. 

Presley drove to the 1300 block of School Lane where officers found him.

A description of the two people were not provided by police.

Anyone with information about the murder of Alexander Presley is asked to call Nashville Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.  Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and qualify for a cash reward.

This is a developing story.

Natalie Neysa Alund is based in Nashville at The Tennessean and covers breaking news across the south for the USA TODAY Network. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.

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