TechAlum News

April 26, 2004 (Vol. 10, No. 46)

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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

My family tells me I woodbecked the weather, as we walked out of church into a steady snowfall yesterday. One blames last Monday's announcement of the SnowWatch feature of this newsletter retiring for the season. Another blames the recent addition of a ski box to the top of my car.

Let's face it, who puts a ski box on their car in April?

I actually purchased the ski box in January, but neither car had a roof rack. After gradually collecting parts from e-bay sellers, I received the final puzzle pieces last week.

For me, it was Christmas in April (another point made by those holding me responsible for the wintry weather) as I installed the rack and box. Testing ensued, making sure the box didn't gracefully sail into the Portage after hitting an updraft on the bridge.

(Don't laugh, I once bought a rigid wading pool from K-Mart and had to tie it to the top of the car to get it home. As I held on to the pool out the driver's window, we hit the bridge and an updraft almost pulled the pool--and my arm--right off. I was certain we would soon resemble a re-re-make of the movie, Flubber.)

But hey, I had ski chic on my side. The box is much less expensive than the other skier status symbol--a new Subaru Outback or Forester. Even though I couldn't see the box from the driver's seat, it still felt pretty cool riding around with that ski box, even though it is almost longer than my car).

Even hard core winter enthusiasts are sick of the cold weather and April snowfall, so I removed the box yesterday and stored it in a garage location recently vacated by our snap-in rain gutters. So blame me for the rain now, but any further snowfall is someone else's responsibility. Time for you Subaru owners to get out your bike racks.

NEW ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Today, we're unveiling a new alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else. Take a test drive at

You have to register and will receive a password back by e-mail. You can then change the password to something you can remember after you log-in the first time. Anyone can start a thread. I've anticipated some categories, but let me know if you would like to see others.

At Da Tech

BRANAGAN TO DELIVER COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS: Dan Branagan, a 1990 graduate of Michigan Tech, will deliver the spring commencement address on May 8. He is the founder and chief technical officer of The NanoSteel Company in Idaho Falls, Idaho. In 2002, Forbes magazine recognized him as one of 15 people who will "reinvent the future." More:

STORM TO RECEIVE SERVICE AWARD: Michigan Tech will honor Richard Tuisku, better known as Dick Storm, with its Distinguished Service Award at the May 8 commencement. Storm, a Michigan Tech business graduate, has been broadcasting in the Keweenaw since 1964 and is co-owner of Tu-Mar Broadcasting, which owns three area radio stations. More:

CHOWDHURY WILL RECEIVE HONORARY DOCTORATE: Subir Chowdhury, author and quality strategist, will receive an honorary doctor of engineering degree at commencement. He is chair and CEO of ASI Consulting of Livonia, a world leader in achieving quality. More:

SENIOR NAMED MERIT AWARD WINNERS: Milan Lathia and Sara Mantila have received the 2004 Michigan Tech Fund Merit Award. Six other students were named "nominees of distinction." The Merit Award recognizes academic and service achievement. More:

The end of the Michigan Tech Fund's fiscal year (June) is rapidly approaching. If you plan to make a gift to the Michigan Tech Fund, please consider doing so before that time. Credit card gifts can be phoned in or made through the web site (

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

Around Town

GUNDLACH BUILDING DESTROYED: The Gundlach Construction warehouse, on the Houghton waterfront just west of the UPPCO building, was destroyed by a Saturday morning fire. The state fire marshal is expected in town today.

"YOOPER LOOP" CONSTRUCTION BEGINS: US-41/M-26 construction began in earnest this morning on the south end of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. Southbound bridge traffic is being re-routed as contractors begin building a third lane at the south end of the bridge. The detour is expected to last until June 16.

SUNDEW MAKES LAST VISIT: The Coast Guard cutter Sundew, which has visited Portage Lake twice a year for 25 years, made its last voyage to the area last week. The 60-year-old cutter, which maintains navigation aids, will be decommissioned May 27.

STURGEON FLOODING EASES: Rains and snow melt last week pushed the Sturgeon River over its banks in several locations between the Pricket Dam in Baraga County and the river's mouth just south of Chassell. The flooding has eased in recent days.

From the E-mailbag

Dean sez: Several of you wrote to keep my math on the straight and narrow.
If the 2004 Pictorial was the 41st, the first would have been 1964.

E-mail from Mark Foster '86 (markfoster(at)

Well, I've been a long time subscriber and avid reader
of your fantastic newsletter, but never a contributor
before. You piqued my interest with your opening
statement in this past week's edition regarding your
fear of heights, but desire to be a pilot. I, too, am
not fond of being on the roof, up in a tree, at the
edge of a cliff, etc., but I AM a pilot (something I
wanted to be since I was a kid).

During my final term of my senior year at da Tech, oh
so many years ago, I made sure that I had professors
who all believed that graduating seniors should not
have to take final exams if they felt comfortable with
their current grades going into finals week. So,
rather than taking any final exams that last week of
school, I went out to the Houghton County Airport, and
started my flying lessons. I had already taken the
ground school during the same year (in the basement of
Nutini's bar in Hancock! ;-), and I had saved my last
$500 for just this occasion.

I showed up at the airport and said, "How much flying
can I buy with this?" placing all of the money I had
to my name on the counter. That down payment bought me
7.7 hours of flight time and paid for my written FAA
private pilot exam (which I flew to Marquette -- my
first "cross-country flight" -- to take). Seeing the
Copper Country from above, especially in the Fall, is
one of my favorite ways to go CCC'in. ;-)

I then graduated and moved to Texas for my first
"real" job, and finished my flight training down
there. Shortly after getting my license, I purchased a
plane, and never looked back. I now have my instrument
and commercial pilot ratings, as well as flight
instructor and seaplane ratings. That plane has served
me well over the last 17 years, 3000+ flight hours and
three engines. I still use it extensively for my
business travel, and to come visit my good friends who
still live up in da U.P., like Gary and Kim Tunstall,
and Milt and Trudy Olsson, and others. The next time I
come up for a visit, we will have to get together for
a quick tour of the Keewenaw from the top.

Love the newsletter. Keep up the good work.

Oh, the other thing I did in spite of my fear of
heights, was to join the Michigan Tech Skydiving club when I was
there. After 750+ jumps, I was no longer afraid of
heights -- well, at least when we were at least 2000
feet up and I was wearing a parachute! ;-)

E-mail from Jim Weber '74 (JWeber(at)

Hi Dean!

Auto salvage yards were mentioned last week, and I
can't help but add a few memories. As a freshman in
1970, I was broke without a vehicle. But I was
fortunate to have had a roommate named Bill Morton who
was a mechanical wizard and together we could fix
anything, we thought.

One day while touring south of Houghton on Pilgrim
Road, we noticed a 1949 Chevrolet sitting flat on the
ground out in George Knauz's pasture. It was a black
2-door, with the long sloping fastback style body.
He said we could have the car for $20, but we said we
had to get it running first.

After a few weeks of working on it each day after
class, we were able to drive it around the pasture.
We would obtain needed parts from the junk yard near
Isle Royale Mine Location just up the hill from
Houghton. The owner (Ed Manninen?) would let us scout
around the yard which contained at least 5000 cars it
seemed, until we found one with needed parts, which we
would then take off ourselves. I remember one time
buying a front seat for $3, feeling ripped off a
little, and selecting a few valueless additional items
such as steering wheel with a big chrome ring, a rear
view mirror, and a couple headlights which all fit
nicely under the seat as a kind of bonus.

What great cruises (the legal drinking age was 18)
around the CC we had in that car--I especially
remember flying down Garnet Street with about six in
the car when the breaks went out, and thankfully I was
able to careen into the remote freshmen parking lot
(what a hike that was from Wads) on two wheels until
coasting to a stop. I still own that car which I plan
to restore if I ever retire. I sure do appreciate the
reliable cars of today, but midnight salvage
operations to keep the '49 running were also an
important part of my Tech education--something my
modern kids will never experience, I'm sure. And I
wasn't the only Toot driving a vintage relic around

E-mail from Bill Savela (pnwyooper(at)


2004 summer vacation season is nearly upon us, so here
is our annual cottage offer to Michigan Tech alumni email
readers and others. Our lakefront cottage on Twin
Lakes in Houghton County is available.

The cottage is on Lake Roland near Twin Lakes state
park and available again this year. We usually have
several Michigan Tech alumni and friends taking advantage of the
cottage availability again and hope to find a few
more. It's been fun to hear the positive comments and
know families have enjoyed a break from the busy lives
we all lead these days.

Details and photoscan be obtained by e-mailing either
my wife Shannon or me at pnwyooper(at) or

General information: On Lake Roland about 30 minutes
from Houghton toward Ontonagon on M-26. View is
westerly, with nice sunsets over the water. This
summer cottage is a waterfront location with sandy
beach and new 48' dock, two bedrooms, 1 bathroom,
sauna, fireplace, comfortable kitchen, dining and
family room, good sized enclosed porch and a large
deck with gas grill. Scenic 9 hole golf course within
a mile of the cottage, good fishing, decent friendly
convenience store close by and a great place to kick
back, watch the ducks swim by and stay off email for a
week or two. (Actually we do have phone with dialup
access capability for those of us that just can't stay

Availability is from June 1 to October 30. Presently
early June, last week of July, Aug 7 to 14 and August
28 to Sept 11 are reserved.

E-mail from David Elack '60 (themisture(at)

Hi Dean!

Glad to hear you were successful in making it up the
"wall". I'm sure you got a lot of personal
satisfaction from it, and you did it in a safe manner.
I can remember climbing up the side of Douglas
Houghton Falls with a couple of other fools back in
the late 50's. It probably wasn't all that much of a
climb, but it seemed like it when I was up there. I
don't know why I did it other than not wanting to look
"chicken" in front of my compatriots. It was a dumb
thing to do, but I felt pretty good about myself after
reaching the top. It took quite a while to stop
shaking afterward though.

You've had several messages concerning entertainment
events that have taken place at Tech over the years
and, in particular a performance by the Kingston Trio,
which occurred during my watch. Their performance at
Sherman Gym was great, as noted, but the party at the
Dog House later was really something. We got to meet
the Group up close and personal and there was much
music and drinking until Babe Colombe and Jeff
Fountain, the bartenders, were forced to chase
everyone out at 2:30 A.M. The party may have moved to
another location after that, but my memory gets kind
of hazy at that point (it was past my bedtime).

On a different note, there was the Houghton Centennial
celebration, which occurred, I believe, around 1960.
At that time there was a relatively famous duo called
Lulubelle and Scotty, who were prominent in what was
then known as "Hillbilly" music. I think the town
fathers were duped into signing on a couple as
headliners who cashed in on their fame by using very
similar sounding names. The end result was not very
good, even if, or especially if, you were a country
music fan and people stayed away in droves (if that's
possible; I don't know if a drove exists if there is
nothing in it).

I was encouraged to see the note from Roland Griffith
regarding "Trex". We have just installed a little over
1000 S.F. of the stuff on our house in the White
Mountains of Eastern Arizona as part of a major
addition to what was a rather humble cabin. We've had
the place for nine years and we just moved into it
permanently this year. The deck was painted when we
acquired the house and we kept scraping and painting
it year after year. After it was demolished we learned
that it was actually cedar and not the cheap packing
crate wood that we thought. Apparently, painting the
cedar was a bad idea which somehow promoted rot. Trex
is a composite product made up of recycled plastic,
among other things, and is not supposed to rot or fade
or require any maintenance. I hope this is true
because we're mighty tired of scraping and painting.

Thanks for keeping us up to date on what's going on at
Hoton. I look forward to your letter every Monday.

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 7,004 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.

1969 James McEachen mceachenjt(at)

1973 David Tetreau david.tetreau(at)
1975 Thomas Van Dam vandamtom(at)
1977 Chris Knudstrup cknudstrup(at)
1979 Gino Stagliano g.stagliano(at)
1979 David Lund DavidJLund(at)MSN.COM

1980 Jerry Philo jkphilo(at)
1981 Craig Stanton cgstanton(at)
1981 John Haan jphaan(at)
1982 Rick Rollenhagen rollenha(at)
1985 Linda (Gast) Sawyer lsawyer(at)
1988 David McCoy mccoy.d.r(at)
1989 Luciane Altieri alt_zim(at)

1992 Justin Hill justhill69(at)
1993 Kelly Crannell kellyc_2004(at)
1993 Linda Huston (DeYoung) l3huston(at)

2000 Timothy Andrews tim_andrews_pcv(at)
2000 Aaron Singer adsinger(at)
2001 Shaun Wolski shaun.wolski(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.

26 -- Green Bay Chapter Golf Outing Contact Suzanne
Berkovitz (sberkovitz(at)

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

31 -- West Michigan Chapter -- Whitecaps Baseball Outing
and BBQ Picnic, Fifth Third Park

Job Opportunities This Week

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

  • Admin. Asst. -- ME-EM

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

  • Technical sales engineer--aerospace
  • Human resources supervisor
  • Lecturer, computer science (Michigan Tech)

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