TechAlum News

January 31, 2005 (Vol. 11, No. 36)

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

      Get out the "way-back machine." I can't remember the last time I gave you a golden oldie, but today is one such day. A series of meetings and other interruptions have prevented me from thinking much about the column, so I've decided to go back...back...back into the archives. Way back on January 13, 1997, an event occurred which led to the coining of the term "Woodbecked" and inspired the current name for this column ("Husqi Tales.").


January 13, 1997 -- More and more snow continues to pile up, as a weekend storm brought 15-18 inches, starting Thursday night and lasting through Saturday.  I haven’t done the math (I am, after all, a non-engineer), but we must’ve had 50 inches of snow in the last two weeks.  If we hadn’t had such a slow start in December, we’d be vying for that record!

      Last week I told you about the demise of my snowblower.  Tom Johnson, in a letter below, suggests that the act of trashing a snowblower enter the language as “Woodbecked,” as in, “He Woodbecked his snowblower.”  I am flattered.

      Let me tell you about my experience with finding a snowblower then actually trying to run it.  Calls to every dealer I could think of resulted in the same story, “Sorry, we’re sold out for the season.”  Apparently dealers receive their quotas and the manufacturing plants then ramp up to build lawnmowers.

      It is another Keweenaw inconsistency, I guess, along with the need to have snowmaking equipment at a hill that receives an average of 230" annually (Mt. Ripley---and it faces the wrong direction).  It is winter in the Keweenaw and not an Ariens, John Deere, Simplicity, or White (now THERE’S a name for a snowblower) to be had.

      One dealer had a nine-horse in stock when I called that fateful Monday morning.  I figured I’d call around and maybe look into a used machine.  While doing my lunch hour swim, though, I decided it was time for action--it was continuing to snow!  I drove back over to Hancock (after showering and dressing, of course), only to find the machine gone and no more in stock.

      But a tip from a friend took me to Wenberg Repair in Dollar Bay, dealer for the Husqvarna line.  A Monday afternoon phone call revealed four machines in stock!  One seven-horse and three ten-horse snowblowers.  I was in the car like a flash and at their doorstep, MasterCard in hand.  I soon owned a seven horsepower Husqvarna snowblower, you betcha!

      Just an hour beforehand I didn’t even know Husqvarna made snowblowers.  So far, everyone I’ve mentioned this to responds: “Oh, must be good....they make great chain saws.”  And it does cut right through that snow.

      But that’s not the end of the story.  The dealer delivered the machine that evening and there was snow to move.  After dinner, I started it up to tackle what the grader left behind.  I discovered the Husqvarna throws snow at least three times as far as my old machine--up to 30 feet.  MORE POWER!!!!

      But it stalled when it ran into a heavy load.  I hauled it back to the garage, hooked up the electric start, fired ‘er up and was back at it.  It stalled again.  I added some “Heat” to the gas tank, repeated the procedure and finished most of the job before it stalled and wouldn’t start at all.  Not wanting to jump to conclusions that I had purchased a lemon, I figured, ‘Hmmm, must need some engine adjustments,’ and put the new baby to bed.

      The next morning, I took it out again and marveled at the power.  Until it stalled.  And wouldn’t start.

      Out with the scoop to finish the job and some choice words for the Swedes in charge of Husqvarna.  I called Wenberg later that morning and was told how to adjust the gas/air mix.  I tried it when I got home.  But it still would not start.  I checked the carburetor.  I checked the oil.  Still, no go.

      Then I checked the gas tank.

      Those Swedes!  Their machines run much better with gas than without.

Snow Watch '04-'05

As of January 31, 2005
                     This week   Last week   Last year  
    Snowfall to date    120.76"    115.26"      169.5"     On the ground         36"        38"         32"
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

JOSHI RECEIVES CAREER AWARD; STUDIES CELLULOSE: Chandrashekhar Joshi, an associate professor in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, has received one of the National Science Foundation's prestigious Career awards. The $584,000 award, combined with a $300,000grant from the US Department of Agriculture, supports his studies of how to develop trees that produce better quality cellulose. More:

SORORITY PLANS 25-YEAR REUNION: Alpha Delta Alpha sorority will celebrate its 25-year reunion this summer during the Alumni Reunion. The event will take place the weekend of August 5-7. For information contact Kim Klender at ksklende(at) or visit the ADA alumni website at

Summer Youth Program
Hockey camp

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

Around Town

STATE HOUSE REPS TOUR HANCOCK: City of Hancock representatives welcomed a team of Michigan State Housing and Development Authority officials last week, as the city seeks a $500,000 Neighborhood Preservation Program grant. The money would fund facade and infrastructure improvements on homes and businesses in the downtown area.

SNOWMOBILE FATALITY ON BRIDGE: A 24-year-old Wisconsin man was killed in a solo snowmobile accident last week on the snowmobile trail portion of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. According to Houghton City Police Department officers, it appears as if the man lost control and hit one of the side steel rails at 12:27 a.m. this morning as he was traveling from Hancock to Houghton on the old railroad track that has been converted to a snowmobile route.

HOUGHTON PLANS WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENT: The Michigan DNR has recommending funding a grant to provide a pavilion, parking lot, and relocation of a walking/biking trail on the Houghton waterfront, just east of the Super 8 Motel. The $255,000 grant would require a $127,500 match by the city. City Manager Scott MacInnes said the funds would likely be taken out of the city's general fund for 2005-06.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Scott Wolfe '97 (scottwolfe(at)

Hi Dean,

I have to laugh about your comment about how people
have dumped snow into the streets or have pushed it
across the street and it being illegal. It drives me
crazy seeing people doing that around down here in the
Detroit area and not thinking anything of it. I was
one of the chapel rats that lived at St. Al's church
and had to plow the snow for the church. I plowed the
snow across the street one time and within an hour had
a cop knocking on our door telling us that that was
illegal and would give us a ticket if he saw it again.
So, I can attest that they do enforce it!

Hope all is good up there! We'll keep digging out
down here! As well, it is not so much a "slow week"
down here, but rather a greater ratio of drivers
(mostly bad ones driving rear wheel drive cars with
bald tires) to inches of snow fallen.

E-mail from Dave Huhta (dhuhta(at)

I have a picture of a thermometer in Chassell from
February 17th, 1979 registering a "crisp" -49F. I
worked at an auto repair place at the time and we had
both of our tow trucks out and several of us out in
our personal vehicles jump-starting cars. That was
the year of the record snow and I think it protected
most of the water lines in the area.

By late morning it had warmed to -25 and I did a bit
of cross-country skiing, but cut it short when I
realized that all the sane people were inside and
would have been frozen stiff before anyone found me if
I had an injury.

E-mail from Tom Piehl '63 (tompiehl00(at)


I for one definitely remember No-Pay George's. It was
next to the Golden Pheasant on the curve in Hancock.
I still tell my friends about this great hamburger
place in college and the 'price was right!' I still
regret that I was one of the many who beat George out
of a few tabs and to this day I always tip at least
20% to try and clear my conscience.

The stories of the Board of Trade, Doghouse, Chuck's
and good old Bosch Beer bring back that thirsty
feeling to this day. Another story I tell is that
because I was only 20 when I graduated, all of these
watering hole stops were underage and thanks to some
pretty good counterfeiting of ID cards.

Another classic experience was smelting in the Spring
in the streams near Baraga. What a rush to get a call
that "they were running" and to pile in cars and go
down with a keg, garbage cans and dip nets. Staying
up all night dipping, drinking and eating half or not
cooked fish with or without guts and heads attached.
My friends here in Georgia just can't get over that
one! Thanks for the news and all your efforts,

E-mail from Frank Guerin '95 (martini_time(at)

Just one more story about the 78-79 winter driving,
though I was only in elementary school at the time.
At my construction site recently in Owosso, MI, an OTR
Hauler bringing a pre-fabricated electrical room was
Discussing the road conditions in Ohio due to the mix
of rain then freezing rain then snow. After
commenting that the roads were okay and the other
drivers pose the challenge, he continued about the
time he was stranded on US-2 in the winter of 78-79.

The roads were filled with snow and traffic came to a
halt. He was hauling logs in small convoy with a
fellow trucker hauling potatoes and other cars
that ventured out for a long drive to nowhere.
Realizing they were all stuck, the potato truck with
enclosed trailer offered shelter while the logging
trucker emptied the barrel of sand he carried for
traction and it became a burn barrel. For about two
days, several people huddled around the fire and ate
raw potatoes until the snow began to clear and a house
was spotted. They ventured to the house and made it
in for warm meals and showers until the roads were
cleared. Must have been a wild time!

E-mail from Bob Walsron (waldron7(at)


Careful about 'snow capital' taunts (or complaints).
If you look at some of the info for Donners Pass in
the Sierra Nevadas, or some of the western ski areas
this winter, they make Tech look like a walk in the

E-mail from Lisa '92 and Tim Wysocki '94
(Massachusetts residents)

Dean said: "Meanwhile, good luck to you New Englanders
And Pennsylvanians and southern Michiganders, as you
dig out from that weekend dusting you received.
Twenty-four inches? Heck, that's a slow week around

That's right... it's a slow "week" for you. It's was
a pretty good night for us. :-)

E-mail from Thomas Barber '94 (Thomas.Barber(at)


In response to your comment about "New Englanders"
digging out from 24" of snow. Having lived in and
around Boston for rough 10 years I can state that
24" of snow in Boston is much more difficult to handle
then 48" or more in Houghton. It's not really the snow
that is a problem, the problem is where to put the
snow. Even in the city in Houghton it's easy to just
push the snow off the side of the road. In Boston, you
can't push the snow to the side of the road because
there is not side of the road, there either a sidewalk
or even worse a building within inches of the road.
Therefore, every last bit of the snow needs to be
picked up and hauled out of town. In the winter of
1996 when we received almost 100 inches of snow I had
to fit all the snow from my 200 sq ft driveway onto my
60 sq ft yard. Try that in Houghton!!!

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

Hi Dean,

As always, great newsletter. As a resident of PA for
the past 10+ years now I always get a good chuckle out
of what folk here think bad winter conditions are.
During our recent snow storm I happened to be visiting
relatives in Michigan for a funeral but had to drive
through the snowy conditions on the way back to
Allentown, PA. Actually, the OH Turnpike is always
kept up very well, that wasn't a problem at all, but
snow with the hills and curves through the entire
route of I-80 in PA was a bit more challenging.

It still seemed easier than anything I can recall
while at Michigan Tech (recalling especially a 14 hour drive
back to the Saginaw area that normally took 8 hours,
but I made it within 50 feet of my parents driveway
after driving 500 miles that night), however I don't
think my wife thought I was so truthful about snowfall
amounts and road/driving conditions. She'll find out
in a couple of weeks when we arrive for Winter
Carnival (my first visit back in 15 years and her
first visit to da U.P. ever).

When I got home to Allentown I found about 1 foot of
snow on our 300+ foot driveway, I had it cleared away
in a matter of about 1-1/2 hours. Didn't really sweat
it much since it is lots easier with the snowblower
than shoveling like I did at Tech. Although, as
compared to normal storms here, this "Michigan snow"
was much easier to deal with than the typical storm
that may start with light fluffy snow but then
switches over to rain so it is a sloppy mess to clean
up. No wonder folk on the east coast don't like
winter the way I do! Maybe everyone from the midwest
should partner with somebody from the mid-Atlantic or
New England areas and trade living conditions for one
year. I think it would be real eye opener for
everyone involved.

Glad to see the Hockey Huskies did well last week. I
hope they do as well on the Saturday of W.C. while I'm
visiting. If nothing else, it will still be a lot of
fun to see the game as well as sing along with the pep

E-mail from Jim Russell '84 (RussellJA(at)


Regarding our weekend dusting of snow (about 12" - I
live outside of Philadelphia), I asked my lovely wife
for a yooper scooper for Christmas. Loving me as much
as she does, she got me what I asked for rather than
the snow blower she had wanted. Well, I am very happy
to say that the yooper scooper did a GREAT job and I
cleared my driveway and long sidewalk (we live on a
corner) in less than half the time that it would have
taken me with just a snow shovel. The fact that I
also had no back pain when I finished was an added

Thanks for the weekly newsletters. They're a welcome
distraction on Mondays. Keep up the great work!

E-mail from Becky (Shetron) Nold

Dean -

On the contrary! I learned to drive in the winter and
it was great experience! One of my classmates went in
the ditch on her first day. Laura will gain a skill
that will be with her for life. That summer driving
stuff just comes naturally later on, but the winter
driving is like a whole different language some people
never learn.

One thing my Dad did for me that I will always
appreciate - he took me out in a snowy parking lot,
and told to go at it turning donuts and skidding to
my heart's content. It was a rear wheel drive car and
so I had more fun than one would nowadays. But it was
great experience in learning how to handle a skid. I
think he even walked home leaving me to do this
without him watching. Whoopee!

E-mail from rockers(at)


I believe this last weekends Hockey results are
deserving of a little more publicity! A "Sweep" of
"dem Gophers" in their "Own Hole"! On Saturday night a
100 or so faithfull Tech Alumns were in attendance and
quoted in Sundays Minneapolis Paper with our final
minute chant of "Sweep..Sweep..Sweep..." as the Gopher
fans exited the building.

The pre & post game gathering (CELEBRATION) added to
the great night. Thanks to Rick Elsner who handled the

E-mail from Duane Karjala '73 (karjala(at)

The Mich. Tech. hockey game at the U. of Minn. last
Saturday nite was a great experience. Tech. won
Saturday 3 - 1, and won on Fri. 6 - 3; a sweep! To
see the Huskeys dine on Gophers was like the days of
old. Many thanks to Rick Elsner for making the
arrangements. I forgot how much fun Tech. hockey
games are.

E-mail from John Rice (johnrice(at)


I retired after 36 years with Burns & McDonnell, moved
to the lake and started an engineering recruitment
practice four years ago. I could use a truckload of
civils--transportation and site development.
Opportunities are in design to project management. A
couple have principal/ownership potential. I'm also
looking for a geotechnical engineer, airport-airfield
infrastructure engineer, water and municipal
wastewater engineer. PE license is a plus for all
positions. These opportunities are in Kansas City,
northwest Iowa, Springfield, Wichita, Oklahoma City
and Columbus OH.

A couple of these positions are posted on For key words, enter Rice

If you refer someone that I can successfully place
with a client, I'll send you a $200 Sam's/Wal*Mart
gift certificate.

Do you know any alums who are in the job market? I
could also place some good T&D engineers experienced
in substations and transmission.

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 7,115 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.

1957 Larry Nault larrynault(at)

1970 Robert Baker robert.j.baker(at)
1978 John Keeler JCKeeler49(at)

1983 Franklyn Lucas f.lucas(at)
1986 David Baxter geoskunk(at)
1987 Vincent Blair vblair(at)
1988 Peter Moutsatson pmouts(at)

1993 Leah (Samuli) Marcotte lmmleah(at)
1993 Robert Messina rlam(at)
1995 Jeanette (Foley) Albright
1995 Chrystal Brooks number1brooks(at)
1997 Dennis Hiew dshiew(at)
1997 Brian Ball brianball(at)
1997 Erica Denofre edenofre(at)
1999 Stephanie Eliason stephanie_eliason(at)
1999 Alicia (Bushfield) Huntley huntleys(at)

2000 Amy Graham amy.s.graham(at)
2002 Jason Cherwak jncherwa(at)
2002 Joseph Paoli joe.paoli(at)
2004 Kristin Antilla keantill(at)
2004 Jason Stefanski jdmolson2004(at)
2004 Stephen Phillips spuddpower(at)
2004 Megan Palen mpalen(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 Michigan Tech at Grand Valley basketball and alumni event. See

9-13 Winter Carnival

18 Alumni night with the Fury (Muskegon). See

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

  • Michigan Tech invites applications for the position of
    Lecturer in computer engineering. Applicants should
    have an MS in computer engineering, computer science
    or electrical engineering and at least three years of
    experience in computer engineering. Michigan Tech is
    an equal opportunity employer. Send resume, a
    statement of teaching interests, and names and
    addresses of three references to
    ecesearch (at)

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

See you next week