TechAlum News

November 22, 2004 (Vol. 11, No. 28)

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

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

     It looks like we have some snow coming toward the end of the week, which would suit me just fine. The leaves have been off the trees for while and cloudy days can get awfully gray. As some letter-writers noted from my writing SKI instead of SKY last week, my mind has been wandering.

     The students are off this week. For you veterans, this would have marked the end of the first quarter. On most semester schedules, this would not be a week-long break, but the students lobbied for this during the calendar conversion.

     We're heading downstate for Turkey Day and I've been thinking back to my first trips as a student, lo, those many years ago. I clearly remember (and remembering is no small feat--just ask my wife) heading south from Houghton at the end of fall quarter with the weather much as it is today: some sunshine, no leaves, bare ground.

     The return trip revealed a different place--a winter wonderland. There were several inches of snow on the ground (the snow chart says we had almost 30 inches that November), so we unloaded our stuff at Wads, parked up in Lot 21, and tried out our new winter boots on the walk back.

     I'm sure I had some stronger words for the snow, as the winter dragged on, with the daily trudges to class. Those were the pre-snowmaking days at Ripley, so I also recall waiting for the hill to open, so I could take advantage of that cheap pass and the free campus shuttle.

     Now, Ripley will make snow this week, as the temperatures finally dip into the low 20s. I'll be hoping, on the one hand, for enough snow to get the x-c trail groomers out (which isn't in the forecast). On the other hand, I'd just as soon not drive through the stuff as we watch all the northbound Tech students pass us on Sunday.

     It is hard to believe, but this is newsletter #500, a milestone I never anticipated back in 1994. It has been a pleasure for me and is the highlight of my week. May you all have a pleasant Thanksgiving and may the Lions somehow learn how to play four quarters of football.

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

ELEVATOR MUSIC: The Lode headline "Elevator Music" says it all. A local rock band named Techmo Super Bowl performed last week in the large elevator in the EERC. The band, which expected Public Safety to quickly pull the plug, performed for an hour, riding up and down with their fans.

FINANCIAL AID CUTS TECH BILL TO 28 PERCENT: When it comes to the actual cost of their education, Michigan Tech students have a great deal. After accounting for financial aid and tax credits, the average undergraduate resident student pays just 28 percent of the "sticker price" of tuition and fees, according to a study just released by the Presidents Council of State Universities of Michigan.  More:

FACULTY MEMBER STUDIES GREAT LAKES SEPTIC ISSUES: When reports surfaced that raw sewage was flowing from a nearby home into the Keweenaw National Historical Park, Kathleen Halvorsen was not surprised. "Septic is the most serious form of decentralized pollution that we have," said Halvorsen, an associate professor in the social sciences department and the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. Her recent report, "Strengths and Weaknesses of Great Lakes Onsite Sewage System Regulatory Programs," found that national standards for regulating these systems are unevenly enforced around the Great Lakes. More:

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

Around Town

HOUGHTON ST. VINNY'S CLOSING: After 25 years in downtown Houghton, the St. Vincent DePaul Society Thrift Store will close its doors at the end of the month. The St. Vincent DePaul Society office in Marquette cited a number of factors in closing, including the need to update the store interior, lack of volunteers, and rising costs to stay open.

HANCOCK TO ADD PIERS: The city of Hancock will build four fishing piers along the Portage next spring, thanks to grants from the Downtown Development Authority and the Department of Natural Resources. The piers will be located just to the west of the bridge, between Porvoo Park and the Ramada Inn.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Darin Moyle (Darin.Moyle (at) PACCAR.comDean)

I have to ask. If a Dean falls in the woods, and no
one is there to witness, does the Dean make noise?

E-mail form Jeff Oakes '80 (noakes1 (at)

Dear Dean,

I attended the Collegiate Mountain Bike National
Championships held in Pennsylvania over the October
29-31 weekend to support my son and his University of
Massachusetts teammates where I was pleasantly
surprised to spot a Michigan Tech van in the parking
lot. I hunted down its occupants to learn that Tech
has a cycling team and a few of them drove 16 hours to
compete in the various races. I enjoyed talking with
them, catching up on Tech and the surrounding area,
and taking note on the good riding trails they told me
about in the event I ever get back there.

Fortunately UMass is a Division I school and Tech is
Division II so I was able to root for my son as well
as Tech as they were not competing against each other.

You may want to point out in your sports section that
the Tech mountain bike team placed 4th nationally!
That's a great result for a relatively small team
against the best schools in the country.

E-mail from John Andree '89 (jandree (at)


I just wanted to pass along a bit of info for those
alumni in the western Detroit suburbs region looking
for a good pasty. I just had one from a bakery in
Westland (on Wayne Road north of Warren) call Marry
Denning’s Cake Shoppe. They are predominantly a
bakery, but have a big sign out front saying the sell

I took one home, cooked it up (they are sold half
baked), and it was incredible. I would highly
recommend it to anyone in the area. They do seem to
have a limited supply on a daily basis, so calling
ahead might be a good idea. I found they have a web
site at, although they do
not mention the pasties. I will be returning
regularly myself.

E-mail from Curt Fitzgerald '97 (cmfitz (at)


It's that time of year again and a recent discussion
about annual snowfall reminded me of the Snow
Shoveling Diary. The company I work for opened a
Midwest office in Kalamazoo, and several people
transplanted here from Pittsburgh.

The conversation became very enjoyable when we learned
that one of the wives has not been told about the
amount of snowfall (although only minor compared
to Houghton) and that it stays from December until

I looked for my copy of the diary, but seamed to have
lost it over the years. Could you please post a copy
(or link to a copy) in your next newsletter?

Dean sez: Anyone have a copy of this they can send to Curt?

E-mail from Kurt Westphal '85 (Kurt.G.Westphal (at)

Hi Dean,

I think you had snow on your mind as you typed the
last newsletter. I am sure Bob Nemiroff will
understand your preoccupation, but would prefer you
accurately identify his efforts. You must have meant
to type "sky" not "ski" in the project header.

>professor Bob Nemiroff, co-founder of the popular
>Astronomy Picture of the Day web site, is back with
>Night Sky Live (, a series of
>photos taken by cameras with fisheye lenses at some
>of the world's major observatories. The images are
>then sent via computer and posted on the website,
>creating a continuous record of the night sky. Read
>more at:

E-mail from Karen Henry (Karen.S.Henry (at)

You wrote: PROJECT PRESERVES NIGHT SKI. This indicates
what you are REALLY thinking about!

E-mail from Evy Dudey '83 (edudey(at)

Dear Dean,

When I read your news article's headlines PROJECT
PRESERVES NIGHT SKI, I was thrilled that night skiing
is still an option for students and residents. I have
fond memories of many evenings on the SDC trails, my
skis kicking and gliding with only the moon lighting
the track. Then I read the rest of the article only to
discover you were talking about the night SKY, not
night SKI. Oops! As long as the night sky allows for
good night skiing, I guess everything is copasetic.

E-mail from Joe Masterson (jmasterson (at)


Make sure that you have enough clearance between the
wall and the stove. Refer to National Fire Protection
Codes. If my memory serves me correctly you will need
36 inches clearance or a firewall between the stove
and the wall. Also make sure that the chimney will
meet code. This can be done using a chimney designed
for a wood-burning stove. Best of luck. I put one in
my garage years ago and the only problem I had was it
would get too warm.

E-mail from Leigh Ann (Mrdeza) Boyd '68
(boydclan5 (at)

Hi Dean,

Sometimes a solution to a problem is so simple that
in hindsight, you wonder why no one had ever thought
of it before. I'm referring to the Bash at the Big
House. It helped sustain the Husky football program.
It gave Michigan Tech some great publicity in a town where
people forget that there are other universities
outside of Ann Arbor. It generated goodwill for U-M.
By allowing the stadium to be rented/used by Michigan Tech, lots
of alumni could attend a football game without having
to drive to the UP. It allowed old college friends to
get together again and reminisce about old times, and
it gave us all a renewed sense of Michigan Tech pride. And there
were tons of people hanging out in Ann Arbor after the
game, so it also helped the local merchants. It was a
win-win-win-win situation. Kudos to the person(s) who
came up with the idea. Hopefully this will be an
annual event!

Dean sez: Before we get into the Pep Band letters, we have found a video of the halftime show and will be making it available in some format, once we receive the copy in Houghton. However, we're always looking for photos and video of the event.

E-mail from Chad Lehner '97 (chad.lehner (at)


I had the privilege of being one of the alumni that
joined the pep-band at the bash. What fun! My
girlfriend recorded the half time show on her
digital camera and plans on posting the files on the
web in the very near future. I can pass along the link
once they are up.

E-mail from Art Rathke (artrathke (at)


A reminder, the DAWGS page has a lot more pictures of
the Bash:

Also, after the game, I was wandering around the
sidelines and I was talking to a gentleman from GVSU
who was sitting on the GVSU band's bleachers on the
field. As usual, I forgot the name of the person just
after he introduced himself, so I don't recall his
name now, either. He said he had videotaped the
halftime and wondered if we would like a copy. I said
that we would, so I gave him a business card and asked
him to either contact me or send a copy of a DVD
to me. I haven't heard anything yet from him.

E-mail from Mary West '82 (Anarakassah (at)

Hi Dean:

Oh geez....the Huskies Pep Band marching and playing
in formation.....good thing I was sitting down when I
linked to the photos.....evidently the days of
purposely not being in step and avoiding any
resemblance to a marching band/drum corps are long

Dean sez: In this case, the photos mislead. The band doesn't march in formation and will certainly, and violently, resist any suggestion that they do.

E-mail from Ward Rietz '03 (wwrietz1 (at)

Hey Dean,

First I'd like to say as one of those alumni on the
field playing with the Pep Band at the Bash... it
totally rocked! Coming out of that tunnel to "2001"
gave me the biggest buzz of my life! Our fans were
amazing and I'm glad to hear that everyone enjoyed the
show. I think the Pep Band did a DAMN good job of
putting that entire show together. Keep sharing the
love with them, I know they really appreciate it.

I think some parents of band members took video, I'll
ask them to get in touch with you, so the halftime
show can be put online for all to see. I'd like to see
it too.

One little comment though.. they're a Pep Band, not a
Marching Band. We definitely were not marching at the
Bash! ;o) But I know those comments were said with a
lot of love, so it's all forgiven (March is a swear
word to the band).

A bigger comment is that in future "third party
location" events of this type, don't' have the band on
the opposite side of the field as the crowd. I
understand the "acoustics" of it, but just put them in
the top of our fan section for the same effect (like
at GLI). It's more fun being with your fans and they
can actually hear what we're saying! It was a bit
hostile on the other side (not all GVSU students are
as polite as Gary says Michigan Tech students are). Oh, and
Gary, you rocked at Mitch's place, I had a lot of fun

Overall it was a great event and definitely worth
flying up from New Orleans for. Is there any talk of
doing this or something like this again? *cough*
Mardi Gras season in New Orleans *cough* Perhaps we
Could use the pre-game events from the Bash to bolster
the GLI tourney (i.e. big tailgaters to really get
alumni fired up).

DAMN, We're Still Good!

E-mail from Karen Finlayson '81 (kkfin (at)

Dean - OMG! The halftime show stills on are

Our daughter is a freshman at MSU and a member of the
Spartan Marching Band. I forwarded the link
to her at college, and my husband talked with her (on
cell phone) as she viewed the halftime show stills.
They were both howling about the "time-lapse" beer
stein shots!! She's forwarding the link to other
members of the marching band. . . and FYI, she says
"Great drill!"

So, if someone DOES have video of the halftime show,
PLEASE let us know!!

E-mail from Don Switzer '59 (dswitzer (at)


The pep band gave an absolutely stunning performance
at the Bash! Is there any chance that there is a
video available of one of their performances?

E-mail from Michael Nitschke (Michael.Nitschke (at)

With all of the other times that I have come close to
commenting on Woodbecking, winter traveling to Tech,
et. al., I will comment on one radio story that I had
back in the late 60's. We were camping at Mullett
Lake near Cheboygan, MI and listening to the local
radio one night. The station was getting interference
from another station, so after playing with the
tuning, we started rotating the radio around to
cut down on the interference. We found that when the
radio was oriented in one direction, we got the local
station in Cheboygan. But, rotate it 90 degrees, and
we were picking up Sheboygan, WI. I wonder if someone
at the FCC "Woodbecked" the assigning radio
frequencies or did they do that on purpose.

E-mail from Pete Dohms '67 (pdohms (at)

The mention of late night radio in the dorm while
pulling an all-nighter, reminded me of something I had
mostly forgotten.

In the mid 1960's, WGN Radio from Chicago was 50,000
watts on a clear channel, all the FCC allowed. Late
at night they had a host named Franklin McCormick, and
he was sponsored by Meisterbrau Beer. It would be 100
degrees below zero in Houghton, with a gale blowing
ice crystals straight down from Hudson's Bay late on
Tuesday night in February, but when Franklin McCormick
started talking about the attributes of Meisterbrau in
his deep, velvet voice, YOU WOULD NEED A COLD ONE!
That man defined "salesman."

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 7,089 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.

1955 Harold Nyquist hjnyq (at)
1971 Dennis Stone stone.dennis (at)
1972 Ronald Henning rwhenning (at)
1982 Kurt Larson kurt.larson (at)
1983 Timothy Schmutzler tim (at)
1988 Charles Booth booth006 (at)
1992 Jana Ash smlnskibumco (at)
1993 Gerri Kail gerri.kail (at)
1994 Douglas Coffman DCoffman (at)
1997 April Jones april (at)
1999 Emily Kemp (Montie) k_em_p (at)
1999 Scott Niemiec saniemiec (at)
2002 Erica Schwartz EricaSchwartz (at)
2003 Erin Lee (Donahue) rinner_roo (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.


29-30 Great Lakes Invitational hockey and alumni event
(Michigan Tech vs. Michigan on the 29th at 4:30).


8 Michigan Tech at Denver hockey and alumni event.
18 Michigan Tech vs. Notre Dame hockey and alumni event at Green Bay Resch Center.
22 Michigan Tech at Minnesota hockey and alumni event.

5 Michigan Tech at Grand Valley basketball and alumni event.
9-13 Winter Carnival
26 Michigan Tech at Alaska-Anchorage hockey and alumni event.

Job Opportunities This Week

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

  • Manager, Pavement Design and Construction Materials Program--Civil and Environmental Engineering

OFF CAMPUS: For off-campus positions, visit the alumni section of the career center's web site (

See you next week