TechAlum News

March 8, 2004 (Vol. 10, No. 40)

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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

We had a nice little snowstorm on Friday, reminding our Board of Control members that March is a winter month in the U.P. In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that two board members are Yoopers (although one is from the Iron Mountain banana belt--does that count?) and one is a part-time Yooper, with a place in Dollar Bay.

The storm's timing was just a bit early, since students weren't due back from spring break until today. Maybe this snow event will serve double duty as the St. Patty's Day storm, too.

My daughter's high school band is supposed to march in the Hancock St. Patrick's Day parade next weekend. Hancock seems to specialize in winter parades--there is one in mid-January each year, too, for the Heikinpaiva mid-winter celebration.

The St. Patrick's Day event seems a bit of a stretch (suffering, perhaps, from a dose of the blarney, is it now?), as the parade route demonstrates. Marchers in their green snowsuits will travel by restaurants called "Kaleva" and "Gemignani's," not to mention the Finnish Mutual Life building and a florist called Kukkakauppa. It ends at Gino's. Maybe his last name was O'Toole, but I doubt it.

As someone who played a brass instrument (as opposed to having a lot of brass, although my wife might tell you I fit that bill, too), I cringe at the thought of playing outside in sub-freezing temperatures. I can just feel my lips stick to the mouthpiece, like that kid who touches his tongue to a cold flagpole on a dare. Hello cold steel, goodbye taste buds.

Snow Watch '03-'04

As of March 6, 2004 
                             This week   Last week   Last year 
         Snowfall to date      211"         207"       190.5"
         On the ground          27"          26"        30"
See our snowfall chart, dating back to 1890, and day--by-day snowfall for this season.

At Da Tech

WARMING TREND AFFECTING WOLVES/MOOSE: Wolves are up and moose are down this spring at Isle Royale National Park, the home of a 46-year study of predators and their prey. Researchers suspect that a global warming trend may be behind the shift. According to Rolf Peterson, professor of wildlife ecology, the moose population has slid to 750, down from 900 last year and 1,100 in 2002. In the meantime, the number of wolves has seesawed upward over the past decade and is now up to 29, as many as the park has seen since 1980 and 11 more than last year. More.

Tech's basketball teams combined to have the GLIAC Player
of the Year in men's basketball (Josh Buettner) and women's
basketball (Andrea Novak), and also the GLIAC Men's
Basketball Coach of the Year in Kevin Luke. For the
third straight season and sixth time in history, Michigan
Tech's men's basketball team has advanced to the NCAA II
Championships. The Huskies will battle Gannon in a regional
quarterfinal game on Saturday (Mar. 13). More.

BOARD APPROVES NEW DEGREES: The Michigan Tech Board of Control approved two new degrees at its meeting March 5. The board also approved the reinstatement of a Master of Science in Business Administration degree, starting in September. The board gave final approval to a new bachelor of science program in psychology and preliminary approval to a PhD degree in industrial heritage and archeology. More.

ALUMNUS APPOINTED TO BOARD: Governor Jennifer Granholm has appointed Russ Gronevelt, a 1968 Michigan Tech graduate, to the university's Board of Control. Gronevelt attended Friday's meeting. He is president of Orchard Hiltz McCliment, a civil engineering consulting firm in Livonia, Michigan. He also serves on the Michigan Tech Fund Board of Trustees and the civil/environmental engineering advisory board.

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

Around Town

NEW AIR SERVICE BEGINS THURSDAY: Northstar Flight Service will begin nonstop flights between Houghton County Memorial Airport and southeast Michigan's Oakland Pontiac International Airport this Thursday, March 11. Flight time is usually less than 2 hours. Ground transportation or car rentals are available and can be coordinated at the time of ticket purchase. Air and ground reservations may be made by calling toll free 888-966-7847.

Flights will leave Houghton at 7:30 am Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and depart Pontiac at 5:30 pm those same days. Friday flights leave Houghton at 5:30 pm and depart Pontiac at 3 pm. A Sunday flight will leave Pontiac at 5:30 pm. The fare is $520 roundtrip or $370 one-way.

REDRIDGE DAM IN DANGER: It's a matter of when the Redridge Dam fails, not if, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The wooden dam is located just upstream from the large steel trestle visible from the road to Freda. Stanton Township was given ownership of the site in 1992, but the sparsely populated township has no money to take on the expense of hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair, replace or remove the dam.

HANCOCK OFFICIALS TRAVEL TO FINLAND: A delegation of Hancock city officials and hockey players will travel to Finland this fall in an attempt to attract Finnish entrepreneurs to the SmartZone incubator in the city. City officials hope to meet with Finland's President Tarja Halonen and Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, among others.

ST. AL'S FOUNDER DIES: Bill McGee, the first priest at St. Albert the Great University Parish, has died from head injuries sustained in a biking accident in California. McGee spearheaded the drive to build the local Catholic student parish in 1963.

Sports Results

Hockey (8-23-5 Overall, 6-19-3 WCHA)
3/5 -- at #1 North Dakota 5, Michigan Tech 1
3/6 -- at #1 North Dakota 5, Michigan Tech 1
Next - at North Dakota (WCHA Playoffs)

Men's Basketball (21-7 Overall, 13-5 GLIAC)
3/2 -- at #21 Michigan Tech 87, Northern Michigan 66
3/5 -- #21 Michigan Tech 69, Gannon 59
3/6 -- at Findlay 73, #21 Michigan Tech 68
Next - NCAA Tournament vs. Gannon at Romeoville IL

Women's Basketball (16-11 Overall, 11-7 GLIAC)
3/2 -- at Ferris State 72, Michigan Tech 70
Next - Season complete

Men's Tennis (2-7 Overall, 0-0 GLIAC)
3/1 -- at Florida Southern 8, Michigan Tech 1
3/3 -- Michigan Tech 6, Rose-Hulman 3 (at Altamonte Springs, Fla.)
3/3 -- at Stetson 9, Michigan Tech 0

Women's Tennis (9-7 Overall, 6-4 GLIAC)
3/1 -- at Florida Southern 8, Michigan Tech 1
3/3 -- Michigan Tech 8, Rose-Hulman 1 (at Altamonte Springs, Fla.)


From the E-mailbag

Dean sez: Some responses to Bill Ellerthorpe's inquiry about older
alums on the 'net

E-mail from Bob Fricke (bfricke(at)

Well, maybe a little older, class of '48, because of a
short interruption by Uncle Sam, should have been
'43!! I'm a native of the area, born and raised in
Hurontown, came back in '79 taught at Tech, 'til, 87
and retired, still in the home I was born in!! I know
all about using tire chains, etc

E-mail from Tom Kirby '54 (thomas.kirby(at)


Re. Bill Ellerthorpe's inquiry about "Who is older and
still on the 'net?" I was in the class of '54 (1954
that is!) and I know Bob Carnahan and Dante Iacavoni,
both '52 Grads follow the letters, but I am sure their
are many "older" alums who also tune in every week.
But hang in there Bill, some day you too may be
considered an "older" Woodbeck Newsletter follower!

E-mail from M.C. Clark '61 (MandFCLARK(at)

Hi Dean,

I thought I was ancient! Bill Ellerthorpe makes me a
youngster. Enjoy the weekly letter.

E-mail from Ken Nickel '48 (BIKWNICKEL(at)

From Ken, a real old timer, but not the oldest, yet. I
enjoy your weekly updates, but I missed the snow
report in your latest.

Being in Arizona I like to inform my golf buddies,
(three times a week) about the conditions in the
UP. Our golf recently has been a bit of a hassle, we
sometimes have to wait an hour so the frost will be
gone from the greens. Do you have that problem now?

Also give me an explanation, I never heard the term
"toots" until your letters. I think I can assume its
meaning, but help me out. There may be some others who
are in the dark.

Dean sez: First, I had a tee time for November 10 and am
still waiting for the frost delay to be lifted. Second:
There are two theories to the toots nickname. One is that
it is a play on engineers, as in train engineers. The other
is that it is an acronym -- TOOT -- Tech Out Of Towner. I
tend to believe the former.

E-mail from Bill Seaman '39 (Billtango(at)

Dear Dean:

Tell Bill Ellerthorpe ('45) he may be the oldest
reader, but my recollections marching as a "frosh" in
the 1934 Nightshirt Parade probably precede his
memories of Tech.

I graduated in 1939 after taking off half a year
seeking manganese in Central America. I make no claim
to being oldest because dancing Argentine Tango keeps
me young.

E-mail from Ray Smith (RaySmith726(at)

Dean: There was a note this week to the effect that
Bill Elerthorpe '45 thought he was probably the oldest
one reading your news letter. He will have to beat me
to do that but then I'm not a true Tech graduate;
however at 87 years I still remain a great fan

E-mail from Russ Stebbins (russ1910(at)


RE: Roof Shoveling

My friends and I used to make big money shoveling
roofs in Munising during high school. We would
joyously celebrate snow days in true capitalist
fashion by stalking the neighborhoods for likely
targets. $50-$100 was big money back in the mid 80's
for one roof...Of course we never admitted that
we had fun doing it and enjoyed nothing more than the
jump down into the pile of snow we had created. I also
have a great picture of me after I had finished
shoveling my grandpa's trailer in Melstrand, I was
literally able to walk off the roof onto the snow
pile. This was the same day that my buddy asked why I
was 4 feet higher than was then we had to
inform my grandpa that his roof had collapsed under
the weight of the snow. Guess what I got to do the
next summer!

Greetings from my little part of Germany where I have
the best of both worlds, my yard is bare of snow, but
I can drive on the weekend to some of the greatest
skiing in the world!

E-mail from Roy Schmidt '85 (rds3wave(at)


Speaking of "your testament to stamina, strength and
Courage," I'm signed up for the Keweenaw Trail Running
Festival (
in July, and I'm wondering if any other alumni will be
participating. It's three runs in two days -- a 10k to
start off your morning, then a 5k hill climb that
evening, and finally, a 25k the next morning. Should

My smarter/better half (Audrey of '87) has wisely
decided to cheer me on from the sidelines.

E-mail from Joe Schmidt '89 (hockeyjoe(at)


I spent last Thursday and Friday reacquiring an
appreciation for the wet, heavy snow of which you
speak. After a 24 hour snowstorm with conditions that
reminded me of Tech in days past, my yard was buried
in 18 inches of snow. I took advantage of the
situation and shoveled most of the neighborhood for a
great workout. Not so unusual for most readers, but I
am now in the Charlotte, North Carolina area and aside
from a couple of ice storms and a brief dusting of
light snowflakes, snow is a very foreign object. It
also causes panic and chaos on the roads, so I keep my
vehicles safely hidden in the garage. Luckily, the
weekend brought temperatures in the 60's, so the roads
are clear and the only remaining evidence is my
quickly shrinking tribute to winter carnival, a 10
foot snowman.

Thanks for the memories,

E-mail from Naomi Ojala '82 (npojala(at)

Hi Dean,

My first term at Michigan Tech was fall '74. We would travel to
NMU once in a while to visit friends on the weekends.
That was the first time I ever saw anyone doing the
"gator". At that time, we weren't doing the "gator" at
Michigan Tech. I'd recommend that anyone wanting to participate,
should remove any valuable jewelry beforehand. I lost
a valuable stone from my ring. Luckily it was found
days later, quite a distance from the dance floor!

E-mail from Marc Chambers '79 (MChamb8598(at)

Your headline error with the "Police recover robbery
Monty" brought to mind some of the infamous errors by
The Daily Mining Gazette in the 1970's or as the
neighbor lady referred to it "The Daily
Disappointment". A headline that should have read
"Tech hires new Fund Director" when Ron Helman was
hired read "Tech hires new Fun Director".

A particularly egregious error turned the headline
that should have read "Mormon Missionaries visit local
area" into "Moron Missionaries visit local". Last but
not least a headline about the Houghton High School
hockey goalie's "shifty" goaltending helping the
Gremlins to victory became something unmentionable
when the "f" was left out of shifty. I'm not sure if
some of those misprints were entirely accidental. I do
miss the local gossip column called "Briefly Told" (I

I'm bringing my Alabama born and Georgia bred wife up
there at the end of April for a fraternity reunion and
I think I have her convinced that there will still be
3 feet of snow on the ground. Come to think of it out
in the woods there still might be that much snow.

E-mail from Ken Kamlay '71 (kamlay(at)


I hope you don't mind another story about Dean Meese.
During the Viet Nam war, after the U.S. invaded
Cambodia and 4 students were shot and killed at Kent
State University, many students at Tech met to decide
how we would protest the shootings. As you might
imagine, the ideas ran the gamut, from marches to
boycotting classes to burning down the ROTC building.
Finally, Fr. Bill McGee, then pastor at St. Albert the
Great student parish, suggested that, as a peaceful
act, we have the protesters clear the wooded area
uphill from the church and turn it into a "People's
Park". The idea was accepted, and for the next 3 days,
students paraded up and down "cardiac hill" to help
dig, rake and clear the area. As "Chapel Rats," my
roommates and I helped to coordinate the effort and
therefore spent much of those 3 days in the park
interacting with the hundreds of people who
participated in the event.

As you might expect, early in the process, then-
President Smith arrived with the media to turn over a
ceremonial shovel full and show the University's
support of the project - it was covered very well.
About an hour later, who should show up but Dean
Meese, by himself and in his work clothes. He grabbed
a shovel, worked for an hour or so and left. I don't
think anyone else recognized him. I did, because, just
like countless others, he let me stay at Tech even
though my grades indicated I should go elsewhere. I
was so impressed. Here he was, working on the park
anonymously, doing his part without recognition or
fanfare. To me, that's who he was, a genuine down to
earth guy, who quietly did his job and inspired many
of us.

In an additional sad note, Bill McGee, who was pastor
at St. Al's until he left Tech in 1972 and eventually
moved out to Santa Rosa, California, died this past
Sunday (Feb 29th). He died in a biking accident at age
79 (he was still an avid biker and jogger). He will be

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 6,963 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.

1962 Fred Roueche froueche(at)
1973 Gene Dillenbeck the_maples(at)
1974 Michael Farver michael(at)
1979 Phillip Harvey PHARVEY132(at)AOL.COM
1979 James Chown jsc3(at)
1981 Kenneth Goodwin melrowgo(at)
1981 Patrick Grates grates(at)
1982 Rick Rollenhagen rollenha(at)
1990 Jeffrey Harma jeffharma(at)
1991 David McCash david.mccash(at)
1993 Peter Gleneski pgleneski(at)
1994 Daniel Rummer Rummerranch(at)
2000 Weilong (William) Li WilliamLi(at)
2002 Lynn Hamlin (Makela) lamakela(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.

25 -- Chicago Alumni Event


5 -- Washington DC Presidential reception
19 -- Dallas Presidential Reception
20 -- Austin Presidential Reception
21 -- San Antonio Presidential Reception
22 -- Houston Presidential Reception

12 -- Detroit Chapter Golf Outing, Fox Creek, Livonia

Job Opportunities This Week

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

  • Visiting assistant professor--Social Sciences

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

  • Industrial Controls Eng./Field Service Eng.
  • Environmental Health Specialist
  • Senior C++ Programmer (Houghton County)
  • Thermal Modeling Manager (Houghton County)

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