Listen to this article

Parkland College announced its Automotive Technology program has received a donation from Mercedes-Benz USA: a 2017 E300 luxury sedan.

The car will be used as part of a Mercedes-Benz technician training and development program.

Use of the car will allow Parkland’s automotive technology and motorsport students to complete up to 20 Mercedes-Benz certifications while they’re in the program, according to Jon Ross, Parkland transportation faculty chair.

“The transportation programs at Parkland College are excited to be able to offer the training in cooperation with Mercedes-Benz USA,” he said. “The donation by Mercedes-Benz USA reinforces the quality and reputation of our automotive training program.”

Ross said Mercedes-Benz has a unique way of diagnosing and repairing vehicles.

“Mercedes recognizes the need to put this technology in front of our students,” he said. “Mercedes-Benz also has different expectations about wiring repair. I and two other instructors participated in two days of online training in August focused on Mercedes-Benz’s process for wire repair.”

Ross said the Parkland program has a long relationship with local Mercedes-Benz service center, Sullivan-Parkhill Imports.

The Parkland program also has a long history of vehicles being donated by manufacturers, he said.

“We usually have about 30 vehicles on campus for training purposes,” Ross said. “Until this past year, Parkland had not purchased vehicles for training. We relied on donations. We had an amazing opportunity to buy a hail-damaged 2018 Chevrolet Volt that we are using to increase our training options for hybrid vehicles.”

Family Dollar upgrade

The Family Dollar store at 1204 N. Market St., C, has been undergoing a remodeling, the Chesapeake, Va., chain announced.

Additions include $1 Dollar Tree merchandise, more freezers and coolers with an expanded selection of food, plus household products, beauty products and seasonal items.

“Family Dollar is proud to be a part of the Champaign community, and we are excited to welcome existing and new customers to our newly renovated store,” said Jim Van Slyke, Family Dollar spokesperson. “The refreshed store will provide even greater values and convenience to our shoppers.”

The company said a store the size of the one in Champaign typically employs six to 10 people, and prospective employees can apply online at or by inquiring at the store.

Calling small businesses

The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for its annual Small Business of the Year award.

The award honors a growing, successful small business that has achieved its status through ingenuity and hard work and has made a significant long-term contribution to the local community and economy.

To be eligible, businesses must be chamber members, located in Champaign County, in operation for at least three years, have a solid track record of growth and demonstrate integrity and community involvement, according to the chamber.

The winning business will be named at the chamber’s annual meeting.

Self-nominations are welcome. The deadline to submit a nomination is 5 p.m. Sept. 18.

Share news about your local business: Deb Pressey can be reached at 393-8258 or at