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Grand Rapids store looks to stop 'mancession'

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)-The Men's Wearhouse in Grand Rapids is trying to help end what it's calling the 'mancession.'

The company says the nation's economic downturn has hit men especially hard; 82 percent of all jobs lost were held by men. It says nearly ten percent of unemployed men can't afford a nice suit to make the right first impression on potential employers.

That's why the Men's Wearhouse kicked off a national suit drive Wednesday, collecting professional attire for men and women.

"It's nice to have the guys look good when they go in for their interviews," says Dan Spoelstra, who is the assistant manager at Men's Wearhouse in Grand Rapids. "It's always good to have them make a good first impression on an employer and it makes the guys feel better as well."

The clothing will be donated to more than 200 charities nationwide, including In the Image in Grand Rapids. The drive runs through September.

Cornerstone University students are welcomed in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- Hundreds of students are back in Grand Rapids ahead of a new school year.  Cornerstone University welcomed back more than 400 students Wednesday.  Organizers helped them move into their new home.  This year's class comes from 20 states and 14 nations.

Cornerstone University President Joe Stowell says, "Every class is different, but every class is valued.  Every one of these lives have been prepared to come and experience Cornerstone University so we value them individually and we're thrilled to have them as a class"

Classes at Cornerstone will begin next Wednesday.

Former addicts help church members build a Habitat for Humanity home

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- Some former drug addicts who are rebuilding their lives are also building a future for a family in Grand Rapids. 

Men from Guiding Light Mission's recovery program joined members of Westminster Presbyterian Church Wednesday to help build a home for Habitat for Humanity.  They spent several  hours hammering together a home on Merrill Southwest. 

Volunteers said they didn't mind Wednesday's rain or high temperatures.  Volunteer Patrick Weber says, "Giving back to the community, it helps a lot. I feel really good about it."

Church member Ron Hoekman says, "It's really a joy to have them working here to be able to work along side them."

The men from Guiding Light Mission have helped with a variety of events and organizations in the past including the Mental Health Foundation and Picnic Pops.

Grand Rapids neighborhood celebrates end of construction

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Mayor George Heartwell and other community leaders today cut the ribbon to celebrate the end of construction in the Hall Street and Madison Avenue area of southeast Grand Rapids.  

For the past two years, the area has been ripped up for construction as workers seperated storm sewers.  While they were at it, they added ornamental lighting, seating and other enhancements to improve the ambience of the Madison Square business district. 

Heartwell said it was "a vital area that was flat on its back and is coming back strong." 

A community streetfair wil be held at Madison Square Saturday.

Oval Office rug made by Grand Rapids company

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - When President Obama spoke to the nation from the Oval Office Tuesday night  there was a new rug under his feet. It was designed and made in Grand Rapids by the Scott Group.

"It's quite an honor," says Scott Group president Michael Ruggeri.

The Scott Group on Kraft Avenue is one of the country's leading custom rug manufacturers. They made and delivered the new Oval Office rug at no charge.

"It's been a very special experience for me and everybody here," says rug designer Mary VanHaaften.

"To have it there and be able to point to it , everybody takes great pride in it," adds vice president for operations Tim Hill.

The Scott Group contacted the Obama team more than a year ago and offered to make an Oval Office rug if and when the President decided to remodel.

"We would be willing to provide the rug at no cost," was the offer says company president Ruggeri.

Democratic candidate for governor stops in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Monday, the Republican running for governor campaigned in West Michigan.  Tuesday, it was the Democrat.

Virg Bernero, along with his running mate, Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, brought what he calls his "Fighting for Main Street Tour", to Uncle Cheetas Soup Shoppe on Wealthy Street.

Bernero, the Mayor of Lansing, campaigned in Bay City and Flint Monday, fresh from the Democrats nominating convention held in Detroit over the weekend.

He says that the two-party election system is more "Wall Street vs. Main Street than Republican vs. Democrat and he'll likley promote his plan for a "Michigan Main Street" bank to partner with local lenders so small businesses no longer need to rely on Wall Street banks

Scott Group makes rug for the Oval Office in the White House

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM)- President Obama will address the nation Tuesday night in a televised speech from the Oval Office.  If you watch, you might see a West Michigan company's contribution to the White House. 

The Obama family recently remodeled the Oval Office while they were away on vacation.  The improvements include a new rug made by the Scott Group which is based in Grand Rapids.

Scott Group President Michael Ruggeri says, "It is the rug that adornes the Oval Office which is the premiere address in the United States, if not the world, so for 140 people who got behind this project and were involved in one way shape or form it is an unbelievably gratifying experience."

Designer Mary VanHaaften says, "It is an honor to contribute to part of American History really words cant describe what an honor it is."