Sparta student selected as part of NASCAR marketing team

October 22, 2009 // 0 Comments

by ANA OLVERA  The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Inc. (NASCAR) is pleased to announce that one of five Central Michigan University (CMU) students selected to participate in NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing in Motion is Austin J. Suttner from Sparta. NASCAR Kinetics, launched January 2009, provides hands-on learning experience and allows these students to gain real world marketing experience while being immersed in the sport of NASCAR. The participating schools were selected on their marketing programs and students’ eagerness to gain real world practice and knowledge. Each week the CMU team will respond to a case study provided to them by NASCAR, allowing students to use techniques and lessons taught to them in the classroom. Placing students in the shoes of professional marketers, public relations practitioners and business professionals, NASCAR Kinetics assignments are based upon everyday challenges facing NASCAR and its sponsors. “These case studies will challenge us to come up with ways to attract new fans to NASCAR, usually the younger fan, 8 to 24 years old,” Suttner said, “It’s a good experience for problem-solving in a real world job setting. We are forced to think outside of the box and come up with answers on our time and quickly.” The team will also plan and execute a NASCAR Day panel discussion. Among the panel participants will be NASCAR professionals in marketing, human resources, diversity and series operations. CMU students, faculty and employees are encouraged to support their team by attending the panel discussion, which, along with case study performance, will determine the winning NASCAR Kinetics school. The winning school will receive the grand prize, an all-expense-paid trip to South Beach, Miami, during Ford Championship Weekend. Suttner hopes to “meet some drivers” if their team wins. “My favorite all-time driver was Ricky Rudd, but… now I would have to say Carl Edwards,” said Suttner. In order to participate, students had to fill out a program application and were interviewed via phone. They were selected based on their application and interview performance, as well as their on-campus involvement, cumulative grade-point average and desire to join the NASCAR Kinetics team. Suttner heard about the program in a presentation in one of his classes. “I have been a NASCAR fan ever since I was a little […]

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County kicks off with home in Sparta

April 8, 2009 // 0 Comments

Calling all volunteers … Habitat for Humanity of Kent County has kicked off a build in North Kent County on Tuesday, March 31, and volunteers are needed. Absolutely no experience is required. Habitat has plenty of jobs at all skill levels, including framing, siding, painting, land scaping, work site assistance and clean up, meal prep, and more. To work on site, you must be 16 years or older. Construction will continue through June 20. Sign up as a group, or come out and meet new friends.  Habitat guarantees you will find this to be a most rewarding experience. Shifts are two, four or eight hours long – construction runs during the week and from 8 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.  Weekday volunteers are in high demand. For more information and a construction schedule, contact: Colleen Mahon-VanDoren at 774.2431, ext. 224, or check out In 2008, HFHKC celebrated its 25th anniversary by building its 250th home.   Habitat Kent builds all LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) homes, making them one of our nation’s leaders in the construction of affordable environmentally sound homes. In 2006, Habitat Kent built the nation’s first affordable LEED home, as recognized by the United States Green Building Council.  Habitat homes are not “given away;”  homebuyers invest 300 to 500 hours of “sweat equity” with Habitat prior to assuming responsibility for 25-year-mortgage.  To qualify, homebuyers must earn between 25-60 percent of the area median income.

Next Step Underway for Sparta Downtown Revitalization

March 5, 2009 // 0 Comments

On March 11, between 7 and 9 p.m., local residents may be receiving a phone call for a survey about downtown Sparta. Be nice – this isn’t a telemarketer. This will be a call from Sparta business representatives, as well as many Sparta High School Interact Club members, to conduct a short phone survey to ask questions about downtown businesses. The questions will include topics such as why shoppers visit downtown Sparta, how often do they visit downtown Sparta, where do you do most of your family shopping, and why do you choose to shop in other areas. The purpose behind this anonymous survey is to collect information about current downtown Sparta to current and new potential shoppers from as far as 20 miles away. Working with the national consultants HyettPalma, downtown Sparta business representatives are kicking off the residential phone survey project as part of the blueprint process. The blueprint process is a program designed to give a community a market-based downtown action plan, used to guide downtown’s revitalization efforts of the next five years. The blueprints program was a grant awarded to the Village of Sparta as one of six eligible communities. The “Blueprint for Michigan’s Downtown” program is a grant award from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). In addition to the phone survey, Sparta area business representatives, as part of the Blueprint Committee, are scheduled to host a Sparta area town meeting on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at the Sparta Civic Center at 7 p.m. The town meeting is open for community members, business representatives, organization leaders, and residents to voice their thoughts of the future for downtown Sparta. Working with the consultants, the community will answer questions such as: If the residents, business community, and government were to work together over the next five years to make downtown Sparta the best it could be, what would you like to see result from that effort? For you to consider those efforts a success, what kind of an experience would you like to be able to have in downtown Sparta five years from now? What would be the type of businesses found in downtown? Who would the customers and users of our successful downtown be in five years? What kinds of […]