TechAlum News

December 5 , 2005 (Vol. 12, No. 27)

A weekly electronic newsletter for alumni and friends of Michigan Technological University

Edited by Dennis Walikainen (MS ’92), Director, Web Development, University Marketing and Communications

For past issues, see our archives.

In this issue:

"State Champs" 

It's got a nice ring to it. The Houghton girls' basketball team won the Michigan State High School Athletic Association Class C State Championship Saturday, beating the previously undefeated Michigan Center Cardinals, 50-44. None of the Houghton girls were taller than 5-8, but they were never intimidated by the taller and talented Cardinals. It was Houghton's first state championship since their 1982 boys' hockey team did the trick. We are honoring them on campus with "congratulations" on our three highway signs, and other businesses in town are following suit.

I come at this from the other side of the bridge. As a Hancock Bulldog, class of 1974, the intensity of the rivalry often overshadowed all that we share in common. When I was in high school, we had the better football teams (no help from me) and hockey teams (ditto). Boys' basketball was all Houghton, and girls' hoops were just starting out. The first girls' games were low-scoring affairs attended mostly by relatives.

That's all changed. Today's girls' games are exciting, and the skill level is every bit as sharp as the boys. I was lucky enough to have three nieces play for the Bulldogs, and one made it to the state finals in Mt. Pleasant when Elizabeth Pietila (who went on to play for Tech) was a senior.

Houghton's girls coach, Julie Filpus, had a great comment when discussing traveling downstate from the UP to play in these contests: all the rivalries go away, she said, and the whole UP cheers for its representative, regardless if they are from Hancock, Marquette, or St. Ignace. That is true.

So, of course we all cheered for the Gremlin girls, even us Bulldogs. Besides, my son swam with the Gremlins his senior year and made many great friends on the other side of the bridge. We have much more in common than our rivalries allow: great school districts; smart students who succeed when they go to Tech or elsewhere; and involved and supportive families and friends. It's one more great reason to live up here. So, when the snow is coming sideways, and it is tremendously cold on Townsend Drive (and I forgot to wear my chook), we can still smile when we change the highway sign to read: "Houghton Girls State Champs."

Snowfall Update

As of December 4, 2005

                    This week (Painesdale)   Last Week (KRC)     Last year (KRC)

Snowfall to date             72.5"                      32.5"                             14"

On the ground                   23"                            9"                               6"


ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Remember the alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else: <>

At Tech

FORUM ON EAGLE PROJECT, NEW MINING RULES: There will be a forum on the Tech campus about the proposed nickel-copper sulfide mine in Marquette County and proposed rules to implement Michigan's new nonferrous mining law at a forum Tuesday, December 6, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in Fisher 135. include Joe Maki, U.P. district geologist for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality; Jon Cherry, manager of environment and governmental affairs for Kennecott; Dave Anderson of Flintsteel Restoration Association, a nonprofit environmental consulting group active in the Lake Superior basin; and Ted Bornhorst and Alex Mayer, professors of geological and mining engineering at Tech. An open discussion will follow the presentations. The DEQ has scheduled public information sessions and hearings on the rules December 7 in Lansing, with written comments accepted until December 19. The hearings are meant to receive comments on regulation of nonferrous mining in general, not on any specific mining operation. If permit applications are submitted for new mines, such as the Eagle Project, the DEQ will hold additional public meetings and hearings to receive comments on those specific mining proposals.

KNOW AN ALUM OR FRIEND WHO DESERVES RECOGNITION?  HERE'S YOUR CHANCE: The Alumni Association is seeking nominees for the 2006 Outstanding Young Alumni Award, the Outstanding Service Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Honorary Alumni Award.  Award descriptions and nomination forms are on the web at or you can contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 906-487-2400 (toll-free 877-688-2586) or by e-mail at mtu_alumni(at)  The deadline is Friday, January 13, 2006.

MAKE YOUR ANNUAL GIFT SOON: Many Tech alumni make year-end gifts to the University in order to benefit from a tax deduction for the current year. If you are planning to make a 2005 contribution to Michigan Tech, please don't wait; the end of the year is rapidly approaching! You can call the MTF at 906-487-2310.The IRS states that a check that you mail to a charity is considered delivered on the date it is mailed. Contributions charged on your bank credit card are deductible in the year you make the charge, so must be completed by December 31. Gifts to the Michigan Tech Fund can be made on line at

Tech Sports

WOMEN'S HOOPS #1 IN DEFENSE: The Michigan Tech women's basketball team ranks first in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in both scoring defense and field goal defense. The Huskies are allowing just 55.2 points per game and opponents are shooting a paltry 35.1 percent. Tech used its tough defense to claim a 69-43 victory over Ashland last Saturday (Dec. 3) in its home and GLIAC opener.

NORDIC SKIING UNDERWAY: Enough snow fell last week for coach Joe Haggenmiller's Nordic skiing teams to open their 2005-06 seasons over the weekend. The Huskies raced at Northern Michigan on Saturday (Dec. 3) and at home on Sunday (Dec. 4). A similar schedule (one race at NMU and one at home) is in place for this upcoming weekend (Dec. 10-11).


Men's Ice Hockey (2-13-1, 1-8-1 WCHA)

Dec. 2: #9 North Dakota 6, at Michigan Tech 1

Dec. 3: #9 North Dakota 8, at Michigan Tech 2

Women's Basketball (4-1, 0-0 GLIAC)

Dec. 3: at Michigan Tech 69, Ashland 43

Men's Basketball (1-4, 0-0 GLIAC)

Dec. 3: Ashland 70, at Michigan Tech 58

Nordic Skiing

Dec. 3: Men 3rd, Women 3rd at Northern Michigan

Dec. 4: Women 2nd, Men 3rd vs. NMU, Wisconsin-Green Bay


Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Huskies Drive Time, 7:30 - 8:00 a.m. on WKMJ, 93.5 FM

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Women's Basketball at Northwood, 5:30 p.m.  (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Men's Basketball at Northwood, 7:30 p.m.  (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Friday, December 9, 2005 (Husky Friday - wear school colors)

Hockey at #1 Wisconsin, 8:07 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Nordic Skiing at Northern Michigan (Trails & Time TBD)

Women's Basketball at Saginaw Valley State, 1 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Men's Basketball at Saginaw Valley State, 3 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Hockey at #1 Wisconsin, 9:07 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Nordic Skiing hosts Northern Michigan, (Time TBD)

All Times are Eastern

Around Town

HOUGHTON GIRLS HOOPS CHAMPS: It started as an innocent bus ride downstate and ended three games later with a state championship after the Houghton Gremlins girls basketball team defeated Michigan Center 50-44 in the Class C state final here at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center Saturday afternoon. Junior guard Alyssa Polso scored 15 of her game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, including a clutch three-pointer and crucial free throws down the stretch, to lift Houghton to its first girls basketball state crown and the first in girls basketball for the Copper Country region. "I never shot that many free throws in one quarter," said Polso, who sank 12-of-14 at the charity stripe in the last stanza. "I had experience hitting free throws this season and I shot them like I was in practice. Coach had faith that I could do it. We shot free throws at Okemos (in an earlier practice)." As their final practice was winding down, Polso asked Gremlins' head coach Julie Filpus if she could practice shooting free throws in case she needed to be ready to make them in a close ballgame. The request to shoot them paid off as Polso connected 11 straight attempts late in the game. "If you miss, the state championship could be on the line," Polso said.

JIM'S FOODMART STRIP MALL PLAN APROVED: The Houghton City Council approved an allowing for the re-zoning of two blocks commonly known as the Jim's Foodmart property. The property will be re-zoned from R-3 multiple family to B-2 community business district, allowing for the construction of an L-shaped strip mall surrounding the current grocery store. Approval of the ordinance brought an end to the project's back-and-forth motions between the council, the city's planning commission and property owner Bill Winter. "I think all of the issues raised by the council and the planning commission have been addressed," Winter said during public comment on the ordinance.

NATIONAL PARK TO FORMALIZE SITE PLANS: A proposed Keweenaw National Historical Park policy would create a formal program for selecting sites affiliated with the park, replacing an informal arrangement that had been criticized as confusing and arbitrary. To qualify for the new designation, sites would have to meet 11 different criteria, including adequate staff, a clear communication of its importance to the history of copper mining in the area and reporting of visitor totals. The park decided to adopt a formalized process a couple of years ago. The list of criteria was drawn up in conjunction with the cooperating sites in meetings during the previous year, said Advisory Commission member Tom Nemacheck. A committee of park staff and Advisory Commission members will review application packets in addition to visiting the site and talking with its overseers.


From the E-mailbag

More on the Edmund Fitzgerald:

I was preparing to take out a SCUBA class to Eagle Harbor for their check out dives when I heard about the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. My fellow instructor Dave Van Able called to tell me we had a new wreck to dive in Lake Superior. It wasn't until later when we found out about the loss of life that things became more serious. That morning it was windy with ice crystals stinging your face and any other exposed skin as we prepared to dive. We dove anytime the water was soft.


Diving along the Keweenaw any time there were waves reminded me of the haunting melody from Gordon Lightfoot's song.  The light dancing through the water, across the bottom and on various wrecks seemed to play out that tune.

John Saarinen


A letter in the mailbag asked about if anyone remembered the story of students that were in a canoe on Lake Superior back in '75 when the Edmund Fitzgerald went down. I can supply some information, although it has been a few years... I was Wadsworth Hall Association president in 75-76. My roommate took a message for me from the Coast Guard while I was in class the morning of Monday, November 10, 1975. I called back and found out that a freighter had picked up a canoe with hunting rifles and camping gear, but no people, off of the Keweenaw Peninsula the morning of the 10th. The canoe was marked Wadsworth Hall, Michigan Tech. (The dorm association had canoes that residents could check out.) I don't recall the exact chain of events, but we tracked down the names of the guys that had taken the canoes, and about the time that we started looking for them, a couple of them showed up at the dorm. I believe that 4 guys had taken the canoes on Friday and paddled out to Manitou Island, a couple of miles out into Lake Superior. The storm came up on Sunday and they attempted to get back to the Keweenaw as the storm worsened. The canoes swamped in the waves. One canoe was abandoned (freighter sighted it and picked it up at some risk to the freighter). The other canoe swamped but made it to shore. I think that the second one was unloaded of possessions once beached, but it was abandoned on shore and washed away. I understand that the whole group was in the water as they came ashore. They were suffering from hypothermia and drove themselves to the hospital on Sunday evening or night. Some from the group made it back to Tech on Monday.   

The canoe and equipment had been picked up by a downward bound freighter on Monday off of the Keweenaw. I am not sure what the name of the freighter was, but it's possible that it was the Arthur M Anderson that was traveling with the Fitzgerald. 

The Coast Guard dispatched the Cutter Woodrush from Duluth to the east end of Lake Superior on Tuesday to look for the Fitzgerald (which went down just after 7 pm Monday night). The Woodrush returned to Duluth in December or January. The Woodrush brought the WHA canoe back with it and dropped it at the Coast Guard station (West side of the Keweenaw, on the Hancock side of the Portage). My former roommate had a pickup truck, so he helped get the canoe and bring it back to Wadsworth.  I remember carrying it to storage with deep snow on the ground. I don't think that we recovered the second canoe.

The hall association wanted the residents that took the canoes to pay for the lost canoe, their lawyers threatened to sue the dorm and Michigan Tech because of the "leaky, dangerous conditions" of the canoes that led to their swamping. There was a legal standoff, and the matter was dropped. After that, residents that checked out canoes were asked to sign an agreement that the canoes would not be used on Lake Superior (at least not in weather that could sink a 739' ore-boat!)

Hope this fills in some of the story.

Mark Turpin, BSME '76


And one on Detroit Hudson Thanksgiving Day Parade:

I was costumed as Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater in the 1947 Parade and was employed by J.L. Hudson from 08/43 - 09/48 before enrolling at MCMT, @Sault Ste. Marie.   I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1950 so didn't graduate in '52.

Paul D. Deeley '56

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1963     Malcolm Barry Baxter         malcolmb(at)

1975Bruce A. Kavanagh       bkavanagh(at)

1976David S. Linari          dlinari(at)

1976     Thomas D. Reser          rock71553(at)

1976     Jeffrey F. Luke          jflmn(at)

1976David J. Cox              coxd(at)

1976     Frederick L. Holmes         flynspurs(at)

1979Brian K. Holfeiner     holfebk(at)

1979 Barbara A. Bonefeld       bbonefeld(at)

1980James D. Fuller          jfuller(at)

1985 Michael D. Peterson       mpeterson(at)

1986 Alan H. Augustyniak         aaugustyniak(a)

1991 Matthew D. Weber

1993 Erik J. Garland          egarland(at)

1994 Philip G. Prothero       yooper(at)

1994 James R. Sorenson       jimso(at)

1995 Leah M. Lemanski (Mukavetz) leah.lemanski(at)

1995 Abraham P. Phothirath     apphothirath(at)

1996 Kok-Ken Lee             pinnacles4(at)

1997 Sarah E. Lafave (Siler)     sarahhah(at)

1998 Jonathon S. Wong        jswong12(at)

2001 Karen Lannom (Owens)        timber_butt(at)

2001 Britt A. Forslund       brittalyse(at)

2002 Nathon S. Shirey         nsshirey(at)

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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.

December 9-10 Hockey - Madison, WI

December 10 Mid-Year Commencement

December 10 Basketball - Saginaw Valley

December 29-30 - GLI, Detroit

Job Opportunities This Week

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

No postings this week.

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