TechAlum News

January 12, 2004 (Vol. 10, No. 32)

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An award-winning weekly electronic newsletter for alumni and friends of Michigan Technological University. Written and distributed by Dean Woodbeck '78, Director of News and Information Services.

In this issue:

  • Husky Tales
  • At da Tech
  • Around Town
  • From the E-mailbag
  • E-mail Updates/Welcome to new subscribers
  • Alumni Chapter Events
  • Job Opportunities
  • Electronic Services for Alumni

Husqi Tales

The snow gods have looked kindly upon the Keweenaw during the last week, filling the needs of statue-builders, skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers and all others who build monuments and pay tribute to Heikki Lunta.

Unfortunately, though, old Hank Snow has no pull with Hebe, daughter of Zeus and goddess of youth. Her powers of rejuvenation are sorely (in more ways than one) needed by your humble correspondent.

As regular readers know, cross-country skiing has become my great winter passion. I came to the sport in my 40s, so my technique (not to mention my speed) leaves something to be desired. I continue to chase a 12-year-old around the trails, daring to go everyplace he does.

So it was I found myself at the top of a steep hill on the Tech trails yesterday, hearing the call of my companion, "Let's bomb it!" He did. Then I did. He made it. That made one of us.

"Gee, I heard this sound like a large amount of puffy snow falling from a tree," my son described to his mother on the phone (no, he wasn't calling from the emergency room--his mother is out of town). "I turned around and there was Dad, face-planted in the snow."

Fortunately, we were within two kilometers of the end of our two-hour extravaganza, with lunch an attractive goal and a sauna even more appealing. My shoulder, which has been injured before (not surprisingly in similar circumstances), began to ache a few hours later. I called on Hebe for help, but hedged my bets with ibuprofen.

Snow Watch '03-'04

As of January 12, 2004 

This week Last week Last year
Snowfall to date 105.5" 73.5" 87"
On the ground 20" 11" 9"

See our snowfall chart, dating back to 1890, and day--by-day snowfall for this season.

At Da Tech

STATUES, BROOMBALL START TODAY: The second semester starts today and so do statue construction and the broomball competition. We have webcams on two month-long statue sites (although one will not be operational until mid-week). We also have cams on both broomball courts. Also, the camera monitoring the Center for Integrated Learning construction site is back by popular demand. See:

We will again have still photos of carnival statues, and all carnival events, starting later this week at:

BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING RECEIVES WHITAKER GRANT: The Department of Biomedical Engineering has received a $180,000 grant from the Whitaker Foundation to help develop new industrial co-ops and internships. "We're anticipating that there will be some other good spin-offs from these relationships too," said Professor Dave Nelson. "This will hopefully lead to additional permanent placement opportunities for students upon graduation." Michigan Tech's biomedical engineering program got its start in 1997, thanks to a $942,605 Whitaker Foundation grant.

ME-EM ALUMNI INVITED TO CARNIVAL GAME: On Saturday, February 7, 2004, the ME-EM department will host a complimentary alumni reception in the MacInnes Skybox during the Huskies hockey game against St. Cloud State. All ME-EM alumni are invited to attend; game time is 5:05 p.m. If you are interested, please respond to Gail Sanchez in the ME-EM Department at 906-487-2911 or e-mail glsanche at

FOR MORE INFORMATION from Tech, see the weekly newsletter
Tech Topics:

Around Town

HEIKINPAIVA THIS WEEKEND: Hancock's annual Heikinpaiva, a Finnish celebration of mid-winter, takes place this weekend, Jan. 16-17. New this year are Finnish tango lessons and an ice sauna. For all the details about the event, see:

PRISONER SUES COUNTY JAIL: A Hancock man serving time in Houghton County Jail is suing over conditions in the facility. Isaac U. Laplander says he has been exposed to excessive and harmful carbon monoxide due to faulty ventilation and that jailers won't give him his anti-depressant medication. The jail's boiler room had high levels of carbon monoxide in early December, but county officials say the problem was fixed Dec. 15. Sheriff Brian McLean says he and his staff are meeting all of the prisoner's requirements.

MESABA HAS TENTATIVE CONTRACT: An interruption in air service to Houghton County airport has been avoided with a tentative contract agreement between Mesaba Airline and its pilots. Mesaba operates as Northwest Airlink and is the only carrier serving the Hancock airport. After canceling flights Saturday, Mesaba has returned to a full schedule today.

HUMANE SOCIETY PLANS NEW SHELTER: The Copper Country Humane Society says it will build a new $400,000 animal shelter near its current facility on US-41 south of Houghton. The society has already raised more than half of the required amount and hopes to break ground in May. The building will include 32 dog kennels with enclosed runs, 30 cat kennels, isolation rooms for sick and nursing dogs and cats, and indoor and outdoor exercise pens.

Sports Results

What's Happening This Week

Thursday, January 15, 2004
Basketball at Gannon, webcast
--Women's Game - 6:00 p.m.
--Men's Game - 8:00 p.m.

Friday, January 16, 2004
Hockey hosts #1 North Dakota, 7:05 pm, webcast

Saturday, January 17, 2004
Nordic Skiing at Nor Am Series, Classic Races
--Women's 10K--10:15 a.m.; Men's 15K-12 noon
Basketball at Mercyhurst, webcast
--Women's Game - 1:00 p.m.
--Men's Game - 3:00 p.m.
Hockey hosts #1 North Dakota, 7:05 pm, webcast

Sunday, January 18, 2004
Nordic Skiing at Nor Am Series, Freestyle Races
--Men's 10K--9:30 a.m.; Women's 5K-11:30 a.m.


Jan. 10 -- Michigan Tech 3, Wisconsin 2
Jan. 9 -- Wisconsin 4, Michigan Tech 2

Women's Basketball
Jan. 10 -- Michigan Tech 81, Hillsdale 71
Jan. 8 -- Wayne State 63, Michigan Tech 61
Jan. 5 -- Michigan Tech 63, Northland 46

Men's Basketball
Jan. 10 -- Michigan Tech 88, Hillsdale 69
Jan. 8 -- Wayne State 53, Michigan Tech 48

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from John Dlouhy '54 (empaco at

The Duluth South Shore train that ran daily between
Chicago and Calumet made a 5 AM early morning stop so
the train members and passengers could catch a
breakfast at a diner along side the tracks. Does any
one recall where that might have been.

E-mail from Joe Fishbein '75 (jmf at


Here are a few hints that I've learned from 18 years
of marriage and home ownership. All are based on
first-hand experience:

1. Consider yourself fortunate. At least it's paint
she wants, and not wallpaper!

2. If she does decide on wallpaper, make sure you use
a good quality sizing on the walls before putting up
the paper. That way, when she changes her mind 3 or 4
years down the road and wants paint instead, the paper
will come off fairly easily ("Fairly" being a relative

3. A bathroom is a poor choice for your first
wallpaper job.

4. If you go ahead and size the walls, and she
changes her mind and decides to paint instead (before
you put up the wallpaper), you can paint over the
sizing with a good quality acrylic-based latex paint
(Home Depot's "Behr" paint works very well).

5. Nobody who works at any paint or home improvement
store knows how to paint over sizing. I got different
answers from every place I called, ranging from "It
can't be done" to "Scrub off the sizing" to "Just
paint over it." I finally found the answer by calling
a local paint manufacturer and talking to one of their

6. If you paint a room that had been previously
decorated by a kid using blue and purple enamel poster
paints, it takes 2 coats of "Kilz" and 2 coats of
latex paint to cover up the artwork. If that same kid
had also drawn on the walls with glow-in-the-dark
lipstick, scrub the affected area with TSP before

E-mail from Erik Garland (egarland at

Great story, Dean. I am in the midst of refinishing
some 75 year old hardwood floors... a task previously
accomplished on our past home with fine success (only
not 75 years old). Well, the "sand/strip, clean up,
and possibly get a coat of stain in one day" has
turned into a 3 day sand, swear, sweat, clean chore
(completed last night) followed by a small section of
stain application. Your "lap mark" comment reminded
me of my error last night in stopping stain mid
floorboard and then starting again.... a dark mark.
Well.... since I am doing a second application of
stain, I will probably be able to fix it.

Remember this one reassuring thought: You are always
your toughest critic... your mistakes/oopses along the
way are most often only seen by you.

Sounds like a job well done. Welcome back to the
"never-ending home improvement team".

E-mail from Rebecca (Heikkinen) Johnson '90
(rebeccajohnson at

Hey Dean!

Love reading the Tech Alum newsletter each week,
although it often makes me homesick for the UP! I do
manage to get up there once a year or so but that's
not often enough. Anyway, I must wholeheartedly
agree with Donna (Zalensas/Walen) Jones that the
Ambassador was one of my favorite hangouts
for their legendary tostada pizza and Quaaludes! Since
graduating from Tech 14 years ago, I've yet to
discover anything that comes close and I've never been
able to recreate them either. Yep, here it
comes...the request for those "secret" recipes
if anyone is willing and able to divulge that info.

Thanks again and keep up the great work!

E-mail from Mark Schreiner '90 (vze3v8dt at

The blue/purple drink was my favorite at the
Ambassador as well. It was called "Purple Rain". I'd
love the recipe for that one as well. Seem to
remember it had Blue Curacao (sp?) but not sure what
else. I really remember the big bar tab at the end of
one night with lots of us there! Some folk left early
and left dollars they thought would cover, but those
of us that were left had to buck up the rest!

E-mail from Marty Oldford (MSOldford at


I would like to echo the comments about Dean Meese and
his dealings with the troubled student at Tech. My
junior year was a year of many transitions in my life.
Leaving the dorm, joining a fraternity, working on the
Lode staff and dating a local lady created a
noticeable drag on my grade point average which
prompted a nice letter from the Dean telling me to
either shape up or be prepared to ship out.

With Winter Carnival activities just ahead my rehab
period was a little longer than the allowed one term
but that dreaded termination letter never arrived.
Maybe he saw something in me worth saving or maybe it
was because my older brother had paved a smooth road
at da Tech in the 50's. Whatever, I survived that
crisis and went on to become a registered engineer
with a most satisfying career.

Many years after graduation I talked to him after a
Tech hockey game in Denver. We were both "in our cups"
from celebrating a great win against the DU Pioneers (
he was a real big hockey fan too) and I worked up the
nerve to say thanks for the way he handled my problem.
He passed it off as no big deal. I suspect that this
was a scene that he had encountered many times before
from Toots who had been bored with the continual
pressure of studies while our friends downstate
partied away.

Now, 40 years later, I am still grateful that he had
the foresight and patience to allow me to work
everything out and get back on track. He was a real
friend of the student and will be sadly missed. A
belated but heartfelt "thank you" to Dean Meese for
just being there when you were needed most.

E-mail from Rick Martin '68 (cbcapt at

Dean, just thought I would be one more alum who would
add a story about my association with Dean Meese. In
1963 when I came to campus with my parents to "check
out Tech", I had the occasion to meet Dean Meese. I
guess not everyone has this early opportunity, but it
was for a unique reason. I mentioned to my campus tour
guide that I was interested in the US Navy and of
course Dean Meese was an active Naval Reservist
drilling (that's attending meetings to you
landlubbers) at the Hancock Reserve Center. So I
was given a meeting with the Dean to discuss this
question. Well he informed my that Tech had no
program, but the Naval Reserve was there should I want
to join. At that time I was looking for a ROTC type
program, not just a reserve program. Little did I know
that I would come around on this issue about two years

In 1964, after Fall term, I left school to get my
priorities straight. Well, like I was supposed to do,
I went to my local draft board to tell them that
I was out of school and they should take away my
student deferment. What was I thinking?? Anyway, I did
and they promptly reclassified me to 1A. Well, with
the war heating up, I was quickly given a little
notice to take a physical for the Army. Needless to
say, I did not want to go into the Army and miss not
graduating. Well, cutting to the chase here, I joined
the Naval Reserve in Ohio and began drilling at home.

In January 1966 I returned to Tech to complete my
education and began drilling at the Hancock Reserve
Center where Dean Meese was still active as a Navy
Captain. During my reserve time, I had the occasion to
see Captain (Dean ) Meese once a month and had some
good conversations during that time. I remember him as
a very kind, gentle, and concerned person who would go
out of his way to see to it that you were OK and see
if he could do anything. He interviewed me for a
Navy program, but I never did enter that program, but
stayed at my current position which is what I did for
two years after graduation. Well, after release from
active duty, and waiting about 4 years, I decided that
I really loved the Navy and wanted to continue with
the program. I believe this was as a result of my
meeting Dean Meese and listening to his love for the
Navy and its people. So in 1975 I reaffiliated with
the Navy as an Ensign in the Civil Engineer Corps. I
spent the next 26 years in the CEC and officially
retired in 2001. And I owe it all to a very caring man
who gave me advice and direction in my very formative
years at Tech.

So to you Dean (Captain) Meese, thanks...and May you
always have Fair Winds and Following Seas...FOREVER!

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 6,968 direct subscribers.

Here are the new e-mail addresses from the past week. Please note, we are
using the word "at" instead of the at sign to guard against spambots.

1963 Samuel Ochodnicky sbo at
1969 Michael Murphy mpmurphy at
1969 David Bittner dave at

1983 Janet Douglas (Smith) jan_douglas at

1993 Shanon Manor (Nicol) shanman at
1993 Charles Simpson simpson.chuck at
1993 Rod Ewacha rn.ewacha at
1994 Eileen Ostrowski emo_34 at
1996 Tyler Stuettgen tyvicki at
1998 Benjamin Krom tbkg at

2000 Timothy Barry trbarry397 at
2001 James Stanchina beaks at
2002 Kimberly Hill (Teenier) khill216 at
2003 Daniel Hoffman hoffmad at
2003 Frank A Whiton apexvideo at
2003 Jason T Kamrath jason_kamrath at

You can update your information at:

Alumni Association Programs

CHAPTER EVENTS: For more information on alumni chapter events,
e-mail mtu_alumni at or see the alumni chapter site on the web.

Job Opportunities This Week

ON CAMPUS: Complete job descriptions for these positions are available by e-mailing jobs at

  • No new positions

OFF CAMPUS: For complete descriptions, jump to our jobs web site.

  • Environmental Biologist
  • Instructional Designer
  • Fishery Geneticist
  • Open Pit Development Specialist
  • C++ Programmer, ThermoAnalytics in Calumet
  • Principal Investigator, ThermoAnalytics
  • Aerospace Engineer

See you next week

TechAlum is a weekly electronic newsletter published by the Michigan Tech Alumni Association. For more information, contact Dean Woodbeck at techalum at