TechAlum News

December 20, 2004 (Vol. 11, No. 31)

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. For past issues, see our archives.

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

NOTE: Next newsletter, Jan. 3.

     You will note in the "Around Town" section below that the Library Restaurant and Brew Pub is for sale. One of my first dates with she-who-would-become-my-wife took place at there and I'm sure many of you have similar memories (of the Library, not my date).

     My late father-in-law, for example, remembered the building as the Board of Trade, where fans would race during intermissions of Tech hockey games at Dee Stadium, to warm up and prepare for the next period.

     By the time I came to Tech, the name was the Library and it was a pool table and peanut shells on the floor kind of place. Downstairs, you drank beer and told lies. Upstairs was the classier "Homonym," with its high-backed bar stools and occasional entertainer.

     As the legal drinking age increased from 18 to 21, the Library evolved to accommodate an "older" clientele and became more restaurant than bar. Gone was the pool table; in its place were tables and "study carrels."

     The owner was Jon Davis and the menu was a collector's item, full of witticisms ("children caught running will be eaten") and the famous sandwiches like the RB-squared.

     Jon sold the business in the early '90s, then a fire gutted the building in 1995. After a two-year ordeal, the new owners rebuilt, eliminating the second floor and adding a dining area with windows overlooking Portage Lake.

     It was quite different from the original, but most locals got used to the new look and enjoyed the new feature: a microbrewery. And so it goes: another generation of Tech students began making the place their own.

     Here's to a happy holiday season to you. See you next year!

Snow Watch '04-'05


As of December 19, 2004

                      This week  Last week   Last year 

    Snowfall to date    40.08"     26.28"      52.0"      

    On the ground         8"         6"        12.5"


See our snowfall chart, dating back to 1890, at

Day--by-day snowfall:

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

MROZ HOLDS FOURTH OPEN FORUM: Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz held his fourth open forum in nine months as president last week, addressing a wide range of questions from the faculty and staff in the audience. Mroz said Tech is on track for a balanced budget this year and he is optimistic about next year, although he said state appropriations are "a wild card." He said that student enrollment remains the key to financial health, reiterating the goal of increasing the number of students to 6,0000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students by 2007.

PROGRAMMERS MAKE INTERNATIONAL CONTEST: For the second year in a row, Michigan Tech will be represented in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals. Joe Nievelt, a senior in computer science, and Kyle Rokos, a graduate student in computer science, competed in the 2004 world finals and will do so again this year. Jonathan Kaus, a senior in computer engineering, will join this year's team as well. For more information on the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, visit

WRITING PROGRAM WINS AWARD: The humanities department's Scientific and Technical Communication Program is one of 11 winners of the Conference on College Composition and Communication's (CCCC's) Writing Program Certificate of Excellence for fall 2004. Established in 2004, this CCCC award is presented to 20 writing programs each year.

TECH FUND END-OF-YEAR REMINDER: The Michigan Tech Fund reminds you that the end of the tax year is fast approaching. If you plan to make a donation to Michigan Tech, this is a good time to do so and take a deduction for 2004. For details, or to make a gift online, go to

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

Around Town

911 MOVES TO NEGAUNEE: After nine months of rising costs and limited revenue, the Houghton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to switch the county 911 service from the Houghton County's Central Dispatch in Laurium to the Michigan State Police's Negaunee Regional Dispatch. The move is scheduled to occur after the first of the year. County officials started reevaluating local 911 services after estimates projected the center's expenses would exceed revenues by 2007.

FIRE, POLICE BENEFIT: Three new emergency vehicles are coming to the Copper Country as the result of recently completed federal grants. The village of Laurium finalized a $65,130 grant and a $199,870 loan for a new fire truck and police vehicle. Lake Linden closed on a $46,000 grant and $73,000 loan for the purchase of a new fire truck.

WIRING SUSPECTED IN LAURIUM BLAZE: Electrical wiring in the attic is suspected as the cause of a fire that destroyed the former Laurium Tea Room, Monday. The remains of the building, at the corner of Depot and Osceola streets, were knocked down by an excavator.

LIBRARY FOR SALE: The other "Library" is for sale. The Library restaurant/brew pub, in its various forms, has been part of student and faculty life for decades.  It evolved from picnic tables and tossed peanut shells to today's bright, modern building with a beautiful view of Portage Canal and a micro brewery.  If you want more specific information regarding a sale, email Jeanne Kurtz (jkurtz(at) or call her at the Century 21 North Country Agency, 906-492-0001 (MLS #217501).


From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Chris Shamie '01 (clshamie(at)

Hi Dean,

Here's a question for ya: Last week I met an Michigan Tech alum
that graduated in the 60's (Charlie Allbright), and he
said "nice to meet an old toot." Where does this term
come from?

Dean sez: There are several theories for where this came from. In fact, I still have some of the e-mails from the last time this came up. I'll summarize.

1) TOOT--Tech Out Of Towner -- this theory says the phrase was coined after WWII, when the Tech GIs swept local girls off their feet.

2) "Toot" as in the sound made by the whistle on an engine, Engineers drive trains--Tech graduates engineers.

3) A local term for Tech students "Roodely Toots," which meant something like fancy nerds. Particularly used when local girls would bring their Tech boyfriend to a HS dance.

#1 and #3 apparently started as being derogatory, but evolved into everyday use.

A Calumet native and a L'Anse native both support #1. A Houghton native and '53 grad of Tech supports #3.

E-mail from David Koch (kochds(at)

Dean: You may want to make note and recognize the Michigan Tech
Mountain Bike team which took 4th in Division II of
the National Collegiate Mountain Bike Championships in
Seven Springs, PA in October. I was leafing through
The 12/27/04 issue of VeloNews (, the
US's primary magazine covering competitive cycling,
and there on page 63 were the results of the national
championships with the mention of Michigan Tech. No photos or
add'l descriptions, but at least in the results.

E-mail from Bruce Kettunen (bekett(at)

Yeah, fine, but can he draw a perfect circle freehand
on a blackboard? ;-)

"REMOTES SPICE UP PHYSICS: Robert Weidman may never be
A stand-in for Alex Trebek, but his new brand of
Lecture gives introductory physics almost as much
pizzazz as a prime-time game show..."

Dean sez: Bruce refers to Dave Chimino, long-time physics professor, who amazed students with his perfect circles, sometimes drawn with his back to the blackboard.

E-mail from Pete Montagna '86 (PMontagna(at)KINGINDUSTRIES.COM)


Dr. Weidman's approach toward teaching Physics sounds
similar to the approach taken by Dr. Eric Mazur of
Harvard's Physics Department. I went to hear him
speak once about undergraduate education and how
students often get through the "number-crunching"
aspects of a technical subject without truly
understanding the concepts. It was fascinating! I
try to use this methodology when I teach as a adjunct
engineering professor, and it really helps the
students. I force them to answer some conceptual
questions about the lecture material prior to coming
to class (force: to make it part of their grade!).
This forces them to read (or at least review) the book
- something most technical people hate doing - and be
better prepared for my lecture. I would encourage any
other newsletter readers that teach part-time to try

Dr. Mazur said that the biggest criticism he heard
about this style of question-and-answer teaching is
that students end up teaching each other and/or
teaching themselves the subject matter. A nice
situation for any instructor!

Keep up the good work with the newsletter! Tech is
truly a special place, because of the special people
associated with it.

E-mail from Joel Franck '81 (jfranck(at)

The "storm" of the century (1978-79).

I remember it well. Snow was never an inconvenience
for me. It was more a way of life. I grew up in
Wakefield (western tip of the UP) and snowfall had
always averaged 200+ inches annually. But when it
started snowing in Houghton in November and kept
falling until April, we knew it as "our winter of
discontent". It reminded me of Rudolph getting called
up by Santa to lead his sleigh in the 'worst storm in
history' and Christmas almost being canceled. Well,
fortunately, Christmas went on as scheduled that year.
In fact, most events went on as planned. Winter
Carnival organizers couldn't have asked for a better
present. The one other item that was of historical
importance to Tech that year was that classes were
canceled a half day. Once everyone became accustomed
to the snow, life went on as usual.

May your Christmas never be canceled and your New Year
be prosperous.

E-mail from Kendall Ymker (kymker(at)

Hi Dean,

The following is part of this week’s newsletter:
E-mail from Cathi Meinecke (hoobadog(at)
“Hey Dean,
Just a note on the Thanksgiving drive that made the
record books. It was 1985, I believe one of the
campus groups sold t-shirts….”

The group that sold the t-shirts was Campus Crusade
for Christ. I know because I was involved in the
process. The artist was Dave Apfel and the shirts
said "I survived Thanksgiving Drive ‘85."

I also made it up to Tech before the roads were
closed. It was quite interesting driving around the
edge of the lake in Baraga (just below the statue of
Bishop Baraga). The water was up to the bottom of the
car doors and there were logs and ice chunks floating
in the middle of the road. I am not sure how we
managed to make it all the way without getting in some
kind of trouble along the way.

Thanks for the great newsletter and keep the stories

E-mail from Jeff Nolin '84 (jjnolin(at)

Hi Dean,

Thanks for the great newsletter. The snowfall chart
sure looks like solid evidence of a coming ice age
(global cooling?). The graph shows an increase of
approximately 100" per year, over the last century.
Last week is not going to change the trend! Any
insight? Thanks again.

Dean sez: The historical aberrations in the snowfall list are attributed to the change in locations and technology used in measuring snow. Snow measurement techniques have become more advanced and more accurate since World War II.

E-mail from Carleton Britt (cebritt(at)


Please ask everyone on the email list to send Doc
Berry a Christmas card. He is a terrific guy and could
use some holiday cheer.

Below is his address from the Lambda Chi Alpha
alumni list.

"Last Friday night a small group of us went to visit
Doc in Cypress Manor Seniors Home. Doc isn't doing
very well. He remains quick witted and sharp, but his
body is getting old. He is very feeble and misses his
house on Isle Royale St. very much. I would encourage
all alumni and actives to get a hold of Doc as his
days spent in the Cypress Manor are pretty dull. He
stays in a dorm sized room with a book, crossword
puzzles and a small TV. I am sure he would appreciate
letters from everyone who he hasn't been able to see
in years. If you need his address, email me and I can
get it for you." (E-mail Nathan Zambon --

E-mail from Greg Eckhart '00 (GEckhart(at)

As always, I thank you for the great update from the
UP. Sorry about all the white stuff.

I wanted to share the chuckle I got out of this week's

Hockey (1-14-1 Overall, 1-13-0 WCHA)
Did not compete

I was just wondering if anybody else saw the irony
there. Sorry to be on the pessimistic side, but...

E-mail from Rod Kuncaitis (rkuncaitis1(at)


I noticed in your newsletter that you noted that the
hockey team "did not compete" last week. Further
attention to their record makes it look like they
haven't yet!!!

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 7,103 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.

1972 James Murphy murphy(at)
1980 David Schultz daledave(at)
1981 Thomas Janiszewski tom_janiszewski(at)
1982 Frederick Sirota fred.sirota(at)
1982 Debora Hester (Olsen) kdjnak(at)
1990 Timothy Gerdeen timig(at)
1990 Stanley McGrew shmcgrew(at)
1992 Larry Schneider mtu(at)
1996 Kiu Nai Pau admin(at)
1996 Christopher Jarman jarman(at)
1997 Erin Grassl edgrassl(at)
1998 Victoria Harrison (Crenshaw) vicki(at)
1999 Loraine Black (Bissell) bissell(at)
1999 Kathryn Childress kchildress(at)
2002 Gerald Langlois jockolanglois(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

  • Marketing Program Manager--Sponsored Educational Programs/Graduate School

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

See you Jan. 3