TechAlum News

June 1, 2004 (Vol. 11, No. 4)

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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

Sunday, I had the opportunity to attend my first high school graduation since . . . well, in quite some time. Hancock had one of its 1954 alumni give the graduation address. The speaker was Margaret Hamilton, who led the MIT team that wrote the onboard flight software for NASA's Apollo missions.

Many of you, particularly those with a technology and engineering bent, would have enjoyed hearing the stories she told about the days when the space agency was making it up as it went along. The we've-never-done-that-but-so-what attitude that seemed so prevalent at the time.

She pointed out that some of the most popular subjects in science and engineering today--like software engineering and computer science--didn't exist in the late '60s, when computers became a huge part of the unmanned and manned moon launches.

I had the chance to talk with her a little bit before things started and her stories brought back memories of a defining moment for my generation. I clearly recall laying on our family room floor--I think my parents were hosting a card party--watching the grainy live video feed of Neil Armstrong making his way down the ladder of the lunar lander and becoming the first human to set foot on the moon.

For the rest of my junior high and high school days, I was fascinated with the space program and secretly toyed with the idea of someday working for NASA. Second-year calculus and second-quarter physics, had other ideas.

ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Remember the alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else:

At Da Tech

PHYSICIST NAMED TO RESEARCH AWARD: Alex Kostinski, professor of physics, is the 2004 Michigan Tech Research Award recipient. A theoretical physicist, his research has encompassed optics, astronomy, fluid mechanics, atmospheric science, radar meteorology and polarized waves. More:

SUSTAINABLE FUTURES RECEIVES $3.6 MILLION: A joint program between Michigan Tech and Southern University-Baton Rouge has received a $3.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The Sustainable Futures IGERT will pair engineers with social policy students to encourage graduate study in the area of sustainability. More:

TRAILS ATTRACT SKI CHAMPIONSHIP: Michigan Tech and the Copper Country Ski Tigers will host the 2006 Nordic skiing junior national championships in March 2006. The event, known as the Junior Olympics, brings together the nation's top youth skiers (ages 14-19) each year for competition in five different events. More:

RAFFLE BENEFITS ATHLETICS: Michigan Tech athletics' Grand Raffle is back in 2004-05 with a top prize of $10,000 in cash. A total of 20 prizes will be awarded, including a 2005 Kawasaki Bayou four- wheeler; a seven-night Caribbean cruise for two, a Brett Hull autographed Detroit Red Wings jersey and other items. Tickets can be purchased on-line at

TECH FUND YEAR-END REMINDER: 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

SUSPECT CHARGED WITH GUNDLACH FIRE: A 38-year-old man has been accused of setting fire to the Harbor Haus in Copper Harbor and for setting the blaze that destroyed the Gundlach Construction building on the Houghton waterfront. Jeffrey Todd Abramson is being held in the Keweenaw County jail for allegedly breaking into cabins at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge and starting a fire at the Harbor Haus in Copper Harbor (the building suffered little damage). He was arraigned in the Houghton blaze last Thursday.

911 MOVING TO NEGAUNEE: After months of deliberation, the Houghton County Board of Commissioners has voted unanimously to switch 911 dispatching services from its local center in Laurium to the Michigan State Police's regional dispatch center in Negaunee Township. The local 911 center, established in January 2001, is expected to face funding shortfalls by 2007. The move will reduce costs from the current operating budget of $534,000 to under $200,000.

ALUMNUS BENEFITS FOUR STUDENTS: Four Jeffers High School seniors are the first recipients of a scholarship fund established by Michigan Tech alumnus John Opie and his wife, Ruanne. The four will receive $2,000 each to attend Michigan Tech from the Ruth Jose Scholarship Fund. The Opies set up the fund last fall in honor of John's mother and aunt (it is named for his mother), who both attended the Painesdale school. The Opies are also major benefactors to Tech, including support for the Opie Library, now under construction.

ACADEMY MAY SEE NEW LIFE: A group established by Vietnam war veterans is putting together a plan for a youth treatment facility at the former Keweenaw Academy site. The academy was a youth correctional facility and is located at the site of the old Air Force radar base on Keweenaw County's Mount Horace Greeley. Survivors, All Inc. has done similar work in Vietnam. The facility would serve court wards, provide residential treatment for children between 12 and 18 years old, and a residential substance abuse program for those between 13 and 18 years old.

LOCOMOTIVE MOVES TO WISCONSIN: The Copper Range Locomotive No. 29, stored for years at the Quincy Smelter site in Ripley, is moving to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum, in North Freedom, Wisconsin. The museum plans to restore and display the locomotive, which was used for freight and passenger service from 1907 to 1953 by the Copper Range Railroad. The museum also has two Copper Range passenger coaches.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Eric Klammer (Eric_Klammer(at)

I spotted the billboard on I-75 northbound just south
of I-475, I think it was, this weekend. It's a LONG
ways off I-75; If the logo hadn't caught my eye, I
wouldn't have noticed it. You might want to forward
this to the people in charge of billboard buying. I
doubt that sign is getting them their money's worth.
Sign looked good, though.

E-mail from Mark J. Schreiner '90 (vze3v8dt(at)

Hi Dean,

On a recent trip back to Frankenmuth for Mother's Day
weekend I also noticed the same type of billboard as
was noted by another post in the 5/24/04 News. I
noticed this while I was driving northbound either
along US-23 near Ann Arbor or I-75 near Flint.

Please let other subscribers on the list know that the
new bulletin board has an area for Alumni of the
Amateur Radio Club, W8YY. Okay, so I'm sure there are
not a great number of people out there who do care
about that, but those few of us who were active in the
club would enjoy hearing from others and maybe getting
together on the airwaves sometime. It would be handy
to use the bulletin board to schedule such operating

I just found some photos from a picnic that we (the
Michigan Tech Amateur Radio Club, now called Husky Amateur Radio
Club) had in about 1989. One of the photos shows that
we had Dr. Martha Sloan's son and a German foreign
exchange high school student who was staying with the
Sloans along with us. If anyone knows their names
(does Martha subscribe to this?) please forward along
the information. Maybe I'll scan the photo and send
it to Martha when I get some spare time.

E-mail from Kim Krulek (Kim.Krulek(at)

I have now seen two Billboards . . . one going
southbound on I-131 just south of downtown Grand
Rapids, and another I just saw yesterday driving
westbound on I-96 to Lansing around the Okemos

E-mail from Al Robertson '54 (k8bll(at)


I recall packing up to leave DHH for summer vacation
in very early June, probably in 1951 or 1952 and
noticing a fair amount of snow still at the top of Mt.
Ripley. The image sticks with me to this day. True, it
was the remains of the drift of blowing snow
accumulated over the winter, not snow on the ski area
itself, but still impressive. In Paradise today, a
motel piles all the snow they remove from their
driveways in one place on the lawn near the road so
every year Memorial Day visitors can marvel at "all
the snow" the UP must get each winter.

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 6,985 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.

1971 Glen E Petaja glen_petaja(at)
1972 Kerry Irons irons54vortex(at)sbcglobal,net
1972 Chi-Yong Choi pghcyc(at)
1980 Joseph Burgess jburgess(at)
1985 Jeff Lewis lewjeff(at)
1993 Catherine Cole cpcole(at)
1993 Tricia Arieta (Duncan) tarieta(at)
1994 Daniel Rummer DrH2O70(at)
1995 Krystan Grant (Lim) krystan19(at)
2002 Daniel Mattson dmattson(at)
2003 William Buczek bbuczek(at)
2004 Kyle VanderMolen kjvander(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.


5 -- West Michigan Chapter Golf Outing, Saskatoon Golf
Club, Alto. Contact Robin Vincek (rvincek4(at)
By May 28.

12 -- Detroit Chapter Golf Outing, Fox Creek, Livonia
Contact Jerry Philo (jkphilo(at) by May 21.

19 - African-American Alumni Association seventh annual
picnic--Belle Isle, Detroit. (Pavilion #1; noon-6)
Contact Betty Chavis (ythbetty(at)

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

5 -7 -- Alumni Reunion--Houghton

Job Opportunities This Week

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

  • Concertmaster/Community String Teacher--Department of Fine Arts (Regular, full-time, nine-month position)
  • Lecturer--Engineering Fundamentals

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

  • RF Engineer
  • Mine Manager
  • Civil Engineer, City of Trenton
  • Product Trainer
  • Engineering Representative

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