TechAlum News

February 14, 2005 (Vol. 11, No. 38)

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

The snow came last Monday and Tuesday, along with some cooler weather, setting things up nicely for the statue builders. Unfortunately, many sculptures had already succumbed to the previous week's record warmth. Congratulations to the overall winners in all four student categories: Sigma Phi Epsilon, Delta Zeta, Army ROTC, and Summitt House. See all the results and photos at

Hooray, too, for the hockey team, scoring a win and a tie on the weekend to win the overall series and move up in the WCHA standings.

This time of year always brings out the worst in cars. Salt and crud from the road make every car the same brown color and (usually) the cold temperatures discourage applying soap and water.

But there comes a time when you just get sick of looking at that blob and want to make everything fresh and clean. Such a mood hit me on the way to work one day last week, so I detoured to the car wash on Sharon Avenue, figuring there would be no line at 7:30 am.

It seemed a bit chillier than I thought as I coaxed some bills into the change machine. I returned to my bay, feeding quarters to the beast until it came to life. I sprayed down the car, then flipped the switch to "foam brush."

When I grabbed the brush, I realized the bristles were frozen together and ice was hanging out of the nozzle. I banged it on the concrete a couple of times and the foam started bubbling. I started rubbing the car and realized it was colder outside than I thought--I wasn't washing the actual car body with the brush, but a thin sheet of ice instead.

With one quarter left in my pocket and 58 seconds left on the clock, I dropped the brush, flipped the switch to "rinse," and aimed the sprayer wand at the car with one hand, fumbling in my pocket for a quarter with the other. I blew most of the ice coating away as the clock ticked to zero.

When I pulled into the parking lot at work, I chose a spot that would be in the sun for most of the day (yes, the sun did come out). When I finished for the day, I came out of the building and saw . . . a car that looked more brown than its natural green and in serious need of a wash.

Snow Watch '04-'05

As of February 12, 2005
                     This week   Last week   Last year  
    Snowfall to date    125.76"    120.76"      198.5"     On the ground         24"        22"         34"
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

CARNIVAL WINNERS: Sigma Phi Epsilon took the top fraternity spot and Delta Zeta was the winner among women's groups following the 2005 Winter Carnival. The Sig Eps took first in the stage revue, second in special events and fourth in statue to earn the honor. Delta Zeta had a second in stage revue, first in special events, and second in statue for their title. See all the results and photos here.

GOVERNOR'S ORDER WILL COST TECH $885,000: Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has filed an executive order to cut the current higher education budget by over $27 million for the current fiscal year. Michigan Tech's portion of the cut totals $855,000. The appropriations committees of both the state house and senate must approve the executive order before it takes effect. The committees are expected to consider the order early this week. More:

CARGILL LICENSES PAVEMENT COATING: Last year, Russ Alger's pavement coating gave Wisconsin's icy Wolf River Bridge a rare accident-free winter. Now, licensing agreement with corporate partner Cargill in hand, Alger and his team from the Keweenaw Research Center are expanding the test program to other Snow Belt bridges. Cargill is marketing the coating under the brand name SmartLane, and if all goes well, it could be de-icing trouble spots all across the U.S. More:

ACCIDENT CLAIMS RIPLEY SKIER: A 26-year-old man from Hancock was killed in a skiing accident on Mont Ripley Thursday. Jeffery Homola of Coal Dock Road, Hancock, was skiing near a chairlift support pole, when he veered into a group of trees. He apparently lost control and struck one of the trees.

STILL TIME TO PANTS THE BAND: The Huskies Pep Band needs new striped bib overalls. The newest of the famous stripes are now 10 years old. Chair of the fine arts department, Milt Olsson, has found a vendor to provide 150 pair of the unique bibs, but he needs alumni to help in the payment department. Pep band alumni and supporters: your $50 gift will provide one set of bibs (you can, of course, purchase more than one, if you like). Go here to make a gift, making sure you specify "pep band bibs:"

TECH SEEKS ALUMNI OPINIONS: If you haven't done so already, please consider filling out the survey aimed at helping the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering revise the "electrical engineering for non-EE majors" course. To fill out the survey, go here.

HOBEY CAMPAIGN ON: Last year, Michigan Tech's Chris Conner won the fan balloting portion of the Hobey Baker selection process, resulting in a lot of publicity for Michigan Tech hockey. This year, Colin Murphy is a candidate and you can vote every day at

Summer Youth Program
Hockey camp

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

Around Town

FINANCE AUTHORITY TAKES IN TECH BUILDING: Local business and governmental leaders enjoyed a change of scenery Thursday when the regular meeting of the Local Development Finance Authority met at the newly-constructed Advance Technology Development Complex. The ATDC is one of the three business incubators marketed by the LDFA through the Michigan Tech Enterprise Corp. The building includes space for Tech's corporate relations office, the SmartZone, and student Enterprise projects.

PUBLIC HEARING FOCUSES ON GRATIOT: The Keweenaw County board will hold a public hearing March 9 on a grant application to purchase 100 acres at the mouth of the Gratiot River. The Northwoods Conservancy would write the grant application to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and Keweenaw County would hold title to the land.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Kendra (Thornley) Stinson '85 (ktstinson(at)

Hi, Dean. About wearing ski goggles around campus...I
wore my chemistry goggles walking across campus during
one blizzard in the winter of '81 or '82 - they kept
my eyes from tearing up, thus preventing my eyelashes
from freezing together! I live in Florida now - my
kids love hearing that story.

E-mail from Wendy Watson (wwatson(at)

Hi Dean...

I have to disagree with you and Kerry...I have walked
across campus with ski goggles. In 1979, I was a
freshman living in DHH. I was in a morning lit class,
when the prof announced school was closing at noon,
but he was leaving right then to go home and meet his
kids. It seems the white-out conditions has caused
the Houghton school system to send kids home too. My
roommate Donna and I put on our ski wear...including
goggles... and hiked across campus to Jim's Foodmart
to get party supplies. Seemed like quite an extreme
adventure at the time...and all to secure booze for
what turned out to be an amazing impromptu bash! (A
good argument for always maintaining a well-stocked

E-mail from Rebecca Nold (rebecca.nold(at)

Hi Dean -

What is the Zamboni song? I just remember the
Engineer's Song (We are, we are, we are, we are the
Engineers) and the Copper Country Waltz (everyone
stands and sways). Has one of those been replaced?

Maybe you should put the Zamboni song AND the Heiki
Lunta Snow Dance on the web. Come to think of it
maybe you should wait on the latter 'til all the
Carnival tourists get back home. But it would be
preparation for next year.

Dean sez: The Zamboni song is titled "I Wanna Drive the
Zamboni" and performed by the now-defunct Minneapolis-
based Gear Daddies. It is played, along with the Copper
Country Anthem during the second intermission.

E-mail from Tom Prausa (tjprausa(at)


I get your alumni letter each week and I thought I
would let you know of a tidbit I stumbled upon just
now involving Michigan Tech. Every once in a while I check out
"The Drudge Report online ( One
of the headlines was "A Mysterious Streak Above
Hawaii..." so decided to check it out. When I clicked
on it, there is a picture of the night sky. I will
let you check it out, but make sure you look in the
lower right hand corner where it says, "NSF/NASA
Michigan Tech." Maybe Michigan Tech has found ET!

Any word on how Michigan Tech is involved?

Dean sez: The Michigan Tech connection is Bob Nemiroff, a faculty
Member in the physics department. He maintains the site,
which he started with a partner when he was at NASA's
Goddard Space Flight Center.

E-mail from Jim Wilson '55 & '58 (jnj.wilson(at)


As I write this I am looking at a copy of the Winter
Carnival pictorial for the 1958 Carnival. The statue
on the cover is the KD's 3rd-place Cinderella's
Castle. It was made from ice bricks cut from large
blocks cut from Chassell Bay--a time-consuming
process. That may have been the only "ice" statue
ever made at Tech.

The "pictorial" isn't labeled as such, but contains
b/w photos of all carnival activities, leading off
with a photo of the queen, Barbara Billeadeau, and
ending with the Sno-Ball (do they still have that?).
Photos of selected statues for 1958 as well as a few
from prior years are included.

E-mail from Kevin McDevitt '92 (kmcdevitt(at)

I read the story about the Pep Band needing new bib
overalls and couldn't help but think what a great fund
raiser it would be for the Pep Band to sell their old
bib overalls to interested alumni to raise funds for
the new ones or for other needs. It would require
coordination for the collection and shipping effort
but I bet there are a good bunch of alums who would
love to have a pair of those bib overalls and would be
willing to pony up a good donation for a pair. I
might even try to buy one to use as my "snow clearing"
get-up for those cold mornings trudging behind the
snow thrower. The neighbors would only think I am a
little stranger than they already find me.

Dean sez: Milt Olsson, fine arts chair, says this may be
next, but we've got to get those new ones first :-)

E-mail from Elaine Engstrom '01 (elaine_engstrom(at)

Greetings Dean,

Just wanted to let everyone know about a new alumni
site now open to Michigan Tech alumni:
Before 2005 the site was just for yooper high school
alums, but now it's open to Michigan Tech and NMU. There is a
yooper dictionary, yooper jokes, real estate
available, recipes -lots of cool yooper stuff. I was
born a troll from Lansing, but my yooper in-laws from
Ishpeming keep me posted on these yooper gatherings.
Take care and keep up the good work!

E-mail from Don Ilkka '78 (WndyMdwFrm(at)


In response to your Husgi Tales, if memory serves me
right it was in the 70s last week here in central
Florida. Though we are still dealing with hurricane
damage I didn't see a single cross country skier. As
the new roof was being installed on my office building
(compliments of hurricane Charlie) last week the
roofers were interrupted by rain, not a single snow
flake fell to disturb their progress. If it had it
would have been tremendously disorienting to the crew
doing the roof. Keep up the great work!

E-mail from Jon Wennerberg (jon(at)

Thanks for sending Dr. Mroz, his wife, and Dr. Seely
to Marquette last Wednesday (2 February). Okay, maybe
you weren't responsible directly, but I thought I'd
use that line as an excuse to get this note in the e-
newsletter. Anyway, the three of them braved the
winter thaw weather to drive all the way to Marquette,
where they attended and addressed the February meeting
of the Marquette Range Engineers Club. Speaking for
the members, I offer once more "Thank you" to them for
their visit.

It was, for me at least, especially interesting to
hear Bruce Seely (social sciences department chair)
wax eloquently on the vital place that "liberal
studies" have in the education of today's engineering
and technical students. It's more important than ever
for a graduate to be able to express himself clearly,

Now for the question: When I was an undergrad, and
for a few years after graduation, I either recorded
the concerts on campus or spotlighted them, as a
helper to Sound and Lighting Services. In yesterday's
email was a note from a fellow that's putting together
a history of in-concert performances of the Canadian
band "The Guess Who". If memory serves, that band did
appear at Tech -- sometime in the early 70's, I
think. I'm pretty sure I was there -- I think it was
in the SDC, soon after that building opened. Anyway,
he'd like as many details of that show as he can get,
so if any of the readers of this august publication
have some details about that show, I'd appreciate
seeing them. Please email me with whatever you've
got, boys and girls, and I'll winnow them into
something coherent (that'll be a trick for me!) and
pass them along. Thanks in advance.

E-mail from Courtney Fitzsimons (u238criticalmass(at)

Really loved the letter from weridehds(at) in
the 2-7-05 newsletter. I lived thru the same stuff. I
was in my second year in 78-79, in Wads (I moved to
Daniel Hts for Spring Term, had to get outta there!)
when Tech was closed for only the second time in the
century. I think the other time was in the 30's or
40's. So of course we all had to trek down to Jim's to
make sure we had enuf provisions to sustain us. I was
20 then, the "18 year old" rule had only recently been
passed, and never got carded by Jim or Bob. In 81, I
had just joined the Phi Kaps, but lived up in the
Heights again, with a different crew. So of course, I
had to get down to the house for the grand PKT snow
party. Hey, dear departed Jim Vencato was on our Board
of Control, and the house is (was) just across the
street, so we had no doubt about accessibility to the
liquid necessities of a fraternity. Okay, the solid
ones, too. Ya gotta get the frozen pizzas.

I was also in Ohio in 84, in Toledo. I was working as
a field service engineer, and had to fly out of
Detroit Metro early the morning the snow started. I
had an 83 5.0 Mustang GT 5 speed, with those gawd-
awful (for snow) Michelins. Right at the sweeping
banked exit for I-275 from I-75 north, a semi had slid
down against the lower guardrail. Behind him was a
Mich State Trooper, who had also slid down, trapped
against the rail. I thought "Nah, I can do this!". So
I hit the exit running, wheel cranked way far right,
and I look over, and the trucker and the trooper are
standing next to each other, arms crossed, just
shaking their heads. I got thru it by taking up most
of the highway by being sideways, hit the
straightaway, and got to Metro no problem, plenty of

And my flight was delayed 3 hours.

But Dean, I had a great time this Labor Day for our
alumni reunion. The campus was awesome, I'm envious of
the Union, the Library (campus branch), and the
Materials Sciences building. It was also the first
time I ever stepped foot into the Civil Eng building,
And when they complete the CILIT, the campus is gonna
look incredible from US41.

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 7,123 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 Lind james.lind(at)

1977 Gary Young young.g(at)

1982 Kay Beaton kay(at)
1982 Kathy Ward kathyelizabeth(at)
1983 Susan Duncan (Bell) susieduncan(at)
1985 John McElreath johnmac63(at)

1991 Shane Isenhoff akatroutbum(at)
1992 Chad Zielinski chadz(at)
1992 Jason Brewer brewerj3(at)
1994 Christopher Brown cbrown39(at)
1995 Tracie Osterhart (Waisanen) rio1998(at)
1997 John Wettack john.t.wettack(at)
1998 Amanda Buckoski (Miskovich) buckoski(at)
1998 James Wieser jwieser(at)

2000 Renee Mallory rrmallor(at)
2000 Joline Skinner (Brandenburg) jeskinne(at)
2001 Matthew Parks mdparksatmtu(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.

18 Alumni night with the Fury (Muskegon). See

18 Keweenaw Chapter second annual jazz night. Detroit
jazz composer, Pamela Wise. For more information:

26 Michigan Tech at Alaska-Anchorage hockey and alumni event.

7 Iron Mountain Chapter student send-off

18 West Michigan -- alumni night with the Griffins

14 West Michigan Chapter Spring Dinner

25 Green Bay Chapter 26th Annual Golf Outing

11 Detroit Chapter 2005 Gold Outing

ADA PLANS 25-YEAR REUNION: Alpha Delta Alpha sorority will celebrate its 25-year reunion this summer during the Tech 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

ALPHA XI ZETA PLANS 20TH REUNION: Alpha Xi Zeta is planning its 20-year reunion Labor Day Weekend, September 2-4, 2005. For more information, contact Shannan Fisher at snfisher(at)"

SIGMA PHI EPSILON PLANS 40TH: Sigma Phi Epsilon will celebrate its 40th anniversary during the Michigan Tech alumni reunion weekend this summer, August 5-7.

Job Opportunities This Week

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

  • System Administrator--School of Business and Economics
  • Assistant Contracts Analyst--Research and Sponsored Programs

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

See you next week