TechAlum News

July 18 2005 (Vol. 12, No. 8)

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

     OK...someone is fooling with Mother Nature. It has been a hot July in the UP. After a weekend in the upper 80s and low 90s, we have respite today--only 75. But look at this goofy forecast; 71 Tuesday, 90 Wednesday, 73 Thursday.

     Whoever is playing games--we've had enough, OK? We Yoopers (and at least this adopted Yooper) can't stand the heat. We spent the afternoon at McLain, but even Lake Superior's proximity didn't provide any temperature reduction. The water sure did, but that was only temporary (and only for as long as you can stand the, uh, chill).

     So what do you do, post-lake? Order take-out and retreat to the basement. That's what we did, with our trusty videotape of Stage 15 of the Tour de France.

     Our Tour experience is enhanced this year by the presence of a book we received in the mail last week. We've become a Nielsen Family. Since Thursday, we've had a log book on the couch, with a column for each family member, diligently marking what we watch and when we watch it.

     It is only for a week, but it is a Tour week and maybe we can play a small role in getting OLN, or someone else, to continue to cover the most intense sporting event on the planet.

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

TECH, RUCKUS MAKE DOWNLOADING LEGAL: Michigan Tech has signed an agreement with the digital entertainment service Ruckus, which will allow students to download music and movies legally. For $14.95 a semester, subscribers will have access to over 700,000 songs. For a rotating library of blockbuster movies and hit TV shows, the cost is $19.95. For both services, the charge is $29.95. More:

BOARD ELECTS NEW LEADERS: Michael Henricksen and Kathryn Clark were recently elected chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the Board of Control. Both have served on the board since 2001. Henricksen is a 1964 Tech graduate in forestry. More:

FOOTBALL NAMED TO PRESEASON TOP 25: The Michigan Tech football team is ranked 16th in Street & Smith's 2005 Football Yearbook Division II Preseason Top 25. Last year, the Huskies took the GLIAC championship and earned their first-ever berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs. Tech returns 10 starters from last year's 9-2 squad. The Huskies open the season on August 27 at Northern Michigan.

FRESHMAN FEEDING FRENZY: Science, technology and consumerism are just a few of the subjects Michigan Tech freshmen will explore this summer as they read "Feed," by M. T. Anderson. For the second year of Michigan Tech Orientation's Summer Reading program, this futuristic book was chosen to get incoming students thinking critically before they enter college. More:

Around Town

BRIDGE OPEN, AND OPEN, AND OPEN: The Michigan Department of Transportation is looking into the cause of a 38-minute malfunction of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge last Thursday night. The bridge could not descend properly after being lifted at about 8 p.m. to allow a sailboat to pass. The delay caused traffic jams spreading back to College Avenue and M-26.

DRY SPELL CONTINUES: A six-week dry spell has caused concern for area water-dependent recreation and agriculture. According to the National Weather Service Marquette station, rainfall in Houghton since June 16 has been 2.4 inches. And no substantial rain is forecast for the coming days. Summer heat and lack of rain have pushed parts of Upper Michigan into moderate drought conditions, increasing fire potential to dangerous levels, compromising inland lake and stream levels and adding stress to crops and livestock.

CITY APPROVES LIBRARY LEASE: Houghton city officials have approved the final lease and management agreement between the City of Houghton and the Portage Lake District Library. Under the terms of the lease, the city will build and own a new library building, leasing the library to the Portage Lake District Library board. Groundbreaking is slated for tomorrow.

HANCOCK LANDMARK TO BE REVIVED: The five-story former Scott Hotel, most recently home to Hancock Hardware, will have its interior and exterior overhauled to more closely resemble the building's original form and function. Mike Lahti, who purchased the building in October, is planning a series of improvements to the structure that was built in 1906. Three commercial tenants will occupy the first floor, with 32 residential apartments in the second through fifth floors. Units will be available for rent in the fall of 2006.

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Carolyn Rowland (carolyn(at)


Wow. If this is Louis Galdieri, they've been working
on this documentary [on Italian Hall] for a long time
(I talked to him in 2002 about this project). Do you
know when this documentary is schedule to be
released and how we are to see it?

Dean sez: They are seeking funding for actually producing the project, so there is no timetable.

E-mail from Bob Brown '53 (MAGMAN6(at)

Hey Dean:

At the Italian Hall, the doors were not bolted
although there were reports that they were held shut
to keep the people from escaping. I personally felt
that this was promoted by those in favor of the strike
because no one was ever identified as being guilty of
this type of action. I have always believed that the
story of the door design opening inward and the crush
of panicked people piling down the stairs never
permitted them to be opened, is closer to correct.

As part of one of the classes that we had at Houghton
High in the 40's, Miss Siewert, the teacher had a
large collection of Miner's Bulletins put out by the
Western Miners group headed by Charles Moyer. They
never mentioned "bolting of the doors", although there
were many dramatic pictures of the bodies stacked up
and many very sad stories about the loss of children.
Or in one case, where the parents held their child
above their heads while they suffocated in the crush.

Maybe Larry Lankton has a better perspective on this
since he has done a great deal of research and
probably even talked to Norman Tresize who was alive
at that time, but may be dead now.


E-mail from John Titlow (heterodyne(at)

Good afternoon Dean:

I hate to point this out to you but the Italian Hall
disaster did not result from bolted doors at the
bottom of a stairway as you detail in this issue of

Per "Cradle to Grave" by Larry Lankton (1991) page
236. "They pushed open the double doors and left the
building. But behind them, somebody tripped and fell,
causing a tragic chain reaction. Dozens of individuals
near the bottom of the stairs crumpled into a tangled
mass. A human dam formed at the base of the

The books by Fred Rydholm also have the same detail as
Lankton. You may want to correct this error in the
next TechAlum.

What made the Italian Hall tragedy is that the hall
had one main exit, and most died of asphyxiation. To
my knowledge the doors were never recorded as being

E-mail from Jon Steele '75 (jon.steele(at)


The latest (July 11) newsletter brought back some
memories. In the summers of 1973 & 74, I was a dorm
counselor in the youth hockey program. The Women in
Engineering program was also in progress and all of
the kids were fed at Coed Hall. The hockey players
were housed in Coed and I think the young women were
housed there also. As a counselor, one of the biggest
challenges was ensuring the mingling between the two
groups was limited AND monitored. Now flash forward
to September and I'm back to being a student (with a
10:1 male:female ratio). Some of those new freshmen
girls sure did look familiar and, I discovered, a lot
more mature than they did in July. I sure did have a
case of mixed emotions....

E-mail from Frank Shoffner '62 (fhshoffn(at)

Those of us who experience "resident" Canada Geese
fully appreciate the expression, "Loose as a goose."

E-mail from Pat Weston (Westpatm(at)


I live in Grand Ledge, MI and we have plenty of geese
flying in and out of our town. We are fortunate to
have the Grand River flowing through the town and the
geese love it. So do the ducks. I think the geese are
beautiful and love to see them fly in formation. Sure,
they make messes. However, I will take the mess along
with the geese.

E-mail from John Gietzen '73 (Jrgietzen(at)

Hi Dean,

I missed the beginning of the "geese" discussion. But
it has been proven that a mated pair of swans (they
mate for life) will keep geese away from a very large
area, like a small lake. The will return year after
year. Usually they will not build large flocks. They
are a more solitary type of animal. They typically
avoid people and are nice to look at.

E-mail from Jim Pruner '61 (jrpruner(at)


I doubt the story of a Frat house next the Bosch
brewery is true. The brewery was west of Houghton on
the Houghton canal road, and while the brewery was
still operating I don't think there were any frat
houses located near by.

E-mail from Jeff Sikes '86 (jeff.sikes(at)

Dean, we spent July 13-17 in Munising, MI camping and
scuba diving the shipwrecks in Munising Bay. This was
the first time I recall seeing temperatures in the
U.P. above 90; it was 95 on Sunday when we left! The
past 3 years we've gone to Munising in July, it has
been cold and rainy; one night it got down to 35 F!
This year, it was so warm that we went swimming in
Lake Superior without wetsuits. I love camping in the
U.P., but was very glad to be back in my central air
last night.

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 7,110 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.

1968 Alan Groff magnum8sd(at)
1974 James Weber jweber(at)
1978 Claudia Alimpich claudia(at)
1984 Gregory Ackerman 4acksonthego(at)
1985 William Shust shust(at)
1985 Karen Ackerman (Busby) 4acksonthego(at)
1990 Kimberly Magsig (Magsig) kim.magsig(at)
1991 Karen Widas (Kokal) kwidas(at)
1994 Heather Taucher (Barrick) rioandcowgirl(at)
1995 Michael Buettner mike_buettner(at)
1998 Melissa Harper (Bachand) mmharper(at)
1999 Anne Drzyzga adrzyzga(at)
2001 Britt Forslund brittalyse(at)
2003 Jason Mittlestat jsmittle(at)
2004 Daniel O'Neill dponeill(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.


30 West Michigan Chapter at Whitecaps baseball

4-6 2005 Alumni Reunion in Houghton.

GREEK REUNION INFORMATION has been moved to the web. For the link, go here:

Job Opportunities This Week

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

  • no new postings

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