2020 Mazda CX-8 Gets Modest Equipment Update For Japan Market

With attention focused on Mazda’s new MX-30 electric crossover at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, the Japanese automaker quietly announced a bevy of updates for a significantly larger crossover in its lineup. The three-row CX-8 is the company’s flagship people mover for the Japanese market, and though it looks the same on the outside as the current model, fresh tech and more luxury will be found inside. There’s also a new trim level and a special edition model in the mix, because who doesn’t love special-edition SUVs? We’ll start with the luxury bits, which include Nappa leather captain chairs and a one-touch walk-in switch for second-row bench seats in L Package variants. Cup holders and USB ports are available for second-row captain chairs as well, and some CX-8 models gain USB ports for the third row. A special coating said to dampen the sound of rain now adorns the CX-8’s roof, though if you prefer more noise, a power sunroof is offered on select models. There’s a bit more space in the CX-8’s sub-trunk at the back, and select Proactive models get heated seats for the second row. Speaking of Proactive, Mazda now offers a new XD Proactive S trim that gets black leather seats for ei...

Optimists seek support for ‘Blessings in a Backpack’ program

The Huron Valley Optimist Club is seeking support for their Blessings in a Backpack program, which currently serves 560 students in the Huron Valley School District each week. (Photo submitted.) In the United States, 13 million children don’t have enough to eat, and one-in-six children don’t get the food they need every day. Children are fed during the school week by federal government programs, but additional help is available through the national Blessings in a Backpack program. The nonprofit organization is currently feeding over 87,000 children in 1,092 schools. Each week, volunteers, in cooperation with school officials, distribute backpacks filled with enough nonperishable food for the weekend (six meals) for “at-risk” students. Students are participants in the subsidized free or reduced fee hot lunch program. The Blessings in a Backpack program currently feeds close to 600 students, but the number of eligible children is much higher. Oakland County has nearly 60,000 children who receive federal lunches. The Huron Valley Optimist Club and its members have come alongside to help raise funds and facilitate the program. Club President Tom Gaunt said. “It’s amazing in our sch...

Lincoln man climbs mountain with rowing machine on his shoulders in friend’s memory

A personal trainer from Lincoln defied the odds to climb England’s highest mountain with a rowing machine on his shoulders, and is now part way through a 24-hour gym challenge as he continues to raise money in his friend’s memory. Brad Thornton, 24, was friends with James ‘Jim’ Walker, 23, since their school days for 12-13 years.  Brad was left shocked by the news that James took his own life last month, and wants to encourage others to speak out if they need help. Brad has so far raised over £18,000 through his Just Giving page and different fundraising challenges, including the daring mountain climb, for the mental health charity Mind. Brad Thornton and a team of around 40 people conquered Scafell Pike in memory of their friend James Walker, who took his own life in November. Photo: DS Media Brad and around 40 other people, including players from Lincoln and Scunthorpe rugby clubs, climbed Scafell Pike on Saturday, November 30, which took around six hours to go up and down. The 24-year-old had the extra challenge of, not only carrying a rowing machine on his shoulders, but also rowing 10,000 metres when he reached the top. Brad, who has previously battled his own personal ment...