February 13, 2006 (Vol. 12, No. 36)

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:

What a Weekend

It would be hard to imagine a better Carnival weekend. I know, I'm sounding like the Chamber of Commerce guy, but it was nothing short of spectacular. On a sunny Friday afternoon, under brilliant blue skies, we joined 3,700 of our best friends at Sherman Field. We were attempting to break the Guinness World Records for largest snowball, largest snowball fight, and most snow angels. They videotaped us entering, and they also had aerial photos to document the numbers. They counted the number of people entering and put the approximate total on the scoreboard.

For two minutes during the snowball fight, the air was filled with snow as we ducked and threw over and over again. I took one shot off my hat, but no damage. The snow was powder, but there were chunks on top to throw.

Then we all found spots to lie down and do our angels. My wife and I tried to remember the last time we did that, and since the kids are both in college, it had been at least fifteen years.  When it was done, we had three new records: 6'9" snowball, and the totals for snowball fight and snow angels bested the old marks (3,000 and 1,700, respectively).

We grabbed a meal at the Ambassador Saturday, along with everyone else in the Keweenaw, before heading out to the statues. They were very impressive this year: size and detail. The Delt Sigs, TKEs, and Phi Taus all deserve credit for incredible creations (results at www.carnival,mtu.edu), and many other impressive statues dot the campus. My son had even joined in with the North Wads statue during the all-nighter. Both hoops teams won Saturday, and the hockey team tied number-one-ranked Minnesota 2-2 Saturday night (they lost Friday night 7-4, and the Gophers are the best team I've seen this year).

Later Saturday night, we saw the Alan Parsons Live Project, and they were remarkable. Their guitar player was incredible, the drummer was tremendous, and they all sing! The highlight, though, was their vocalist, P.J. Olsson, who's dad, Milt, was conducting the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra with the band. Milt's other son, Stef, is head of our Alumni Relations Office. It was great music--the soundtrack to my undergraduate days--played well (and loudly).

After the concert, the broomball courts were still busy, so we stopped and got some hot chocolate. The co-ed serving it said that, back home, her dad had captured an image of her off the Michigan Tech webcam and sent it to her. And that was the theme for the weekend. A father and son rocked Houghton, three generations played hooky and played in the snow on Sherman Field, and we showed the statues to my mom and step-dad (and they were impressed). So, when we talk about the Michigan Tech family, it is often literal and gives even more meaning to Carnival.

See you next year.

Snowfall Update
(Website http://www.admin.mtu.edu/alumni/snowfall/)
As of February 4, 2006

Snowfall to Date, On the Ground

This Week: 149.5"     25"
Last Week: 147"     24.5"
Last Year: 108"     24"

ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Remember the alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else: <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/pps-cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl>

At Tech

SCIENCE ED, VIA THE WEB, FROM TECH TO MICHIGAN SCHOOLS: Tech has great science scholarship, and we want to get the word out beyond campus. Educators have taken a giant step toward better dissemination with a website called Tech Alive, created by students, faculty, and staff. According to Marty Auer, professor in civil and environmental engineering and instrumental in Tech Alive, the first major Tech Alive project addressed the Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum. Working under a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Joan Chadde of the Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education has prepared curricula relating to water, ecosystems, and energy. If fully adopted, these curricula would potentially reach an audience of more than 750,000 Michigan students in grades 4 through 9. The curriculum web page, which features engaging animations, still images and photographs, glossary, and text, is located at http://techalive.mtu.edu/meec.htm

And, while we are on the education front, our Department of Education has a record number of courses for professional development for teachers this summer: http://www.ed.mtu.edu or contact Brad Baltensperger,
department chair, at brad@mtu.edu or 906-487-2460.

STUDENTS ROLL BIGGEST SNOWBALL, OTHER RECORDS FALL: Tech students rolled up a snowball Friday that should get them into the record books. At 6 feet, 9 inches in diameter, it is unofficially the biggest snowball ever recorded. "It was an exercise in determination, in sheer will," said student Robert Niffenegger, who helped organize the event. "It took the largest people we could get from the Tri-Hall Weight Club." To meet Guinness World Records specifications, a snowball must be rolled, not packed, and the bigger they are, the heavier they are. "It's at least a ton, if not more," Niffenegger said. "We had about 20 people pushing at the end."

The snowball was the first of three world-record attempts undertaken. An estimated 4,000 school kids, members of the community, and university students and staff thronged to Michigan Tech's football field to participate in the world's biggest snowball fight and make the most snow angels in a single event. Organizers believe they have the numbers to beat the previous records, 1,791 angel-makers and 3,084 snowball-throwers. The air was white with projectiles as crowds launched their snowballs. Michigan Lt. Governor John Cherry and Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz were on hand to throw out the first ceremonial snowballs.

"ALADDIN" TAKES FIRST FOR DELT SIGS: Delta Sigma Phi polished up a victory in Michigan Tech's Winter Carnival statue competition today with their frosty diorama based on the cartoon "Aladdin," nabbing first place among the university's highly competitive fraternities. "Cartoon Art for the Young at Heart" was the theme for this year's carnival. Student statue makers took advantage of the recent sub-freezing temps to work around the clock on their icy works of art. Delta Sigma Phi's entry, "Aladdin in the Land of Frozen Sand," depicts a market scene in front of a castle. Tau Kappa Epsilon took second for its "A Christmas Heist Caught in Ice" statue based on "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." The third-place winner is Phi Kappa Tau. Their "When Gotham's Under Attack, Batman Has Its Back" features an array of nasty villains and the Bat Team in mythic Gotham. The Phi Taus won the overall points race among fraternities.

COX FEATURED IN FLORIDA PAPER: Legendary coach and member of the Huskies Hall of Fame Verdie Cox was featured in an article in the January 28th edition of the Naples, Florida, News-Press. Cox, who began working at Tech in 1949, is quoted as saying: "My first job there was head basketball coach, offensive coordinator for the football team, tennis coach, intramural director, physical education teacher, and golf pro in the summer." Cox, who is 88 years old, currently operates a driving range with his son, Tom, in Citrus Park. Cox is also a member of the Upper Peninsula and Southern Illinois University Sports Halls of Fame.

Tech Sports

HOCKEY TEAM EARNS TIE AGAINST NATION'S TOP-RANKED TEAM: The hockey Huskies earned a valuable point in the WCHA standings with a tie against #1-ranked Minnesota last weekend during Michigan Tech's annual Winter Carnival celebration. Nick Anderson (2-1--3) and Tyler Shelast (1-2--3) led Tech offensively, while Rob Nolan turned aside 71-of-74 shots between the pipes. The Huskies are now 1-2-1 against teams ranked #1 in the nation. They defeated then-#1 Wisconsin by a score of 4-2 in Madison back on Dec. 9.

SENIOR DAY FOR HOCKEY SET FOR SATURDAY: The Huskies host Wisconsin in their final home series of the regular season next Friday (Feb. 17) and Saturday (Feb. 18) at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Six seniors--Nick Anderson, Chris Conner, Taggart Desmet, Pekka Saittakari, Brandon Schwartz and John Scott--will be recognized during Saturday's contest for Senior Night.

LADIES CLINCH HOME GLIAC TOURNAMENT GAME: The women's basketball team defeated 25th-ranked Lake Superior State, 72-41, last Saturday (Feb. 11), and in the process clinched a home game to start the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. The Huskies, who own a 13-2 league record, can finish no worse than second in the North Division and will be at home on Tuesday, February 28, to open postseason play. Tech still has the opportunity to gain home-court advantage throughout the league tournament by having the league's best record. Only Grand Valley State owns a better record currently (13-1). The Huskies travel to face the Lakers this coming Thursday (Feb. 16) in Allendale, Mich.

For up-to-date standings, go to the following links:
Hockey: http://www.collegehockeystats.net/standings/wcham
Women's Basketball: http://gliac.org/womens/basketball/default.asp
Men's Basketball: http://gliac.org/mens/basketball/default.asp


Men's Ice Hockey (7-19-4, 6-12-4 WCHA)

Feb. 10: #1 Minnesota 7, at Michigan Tech 4
Feb. 11: at Michigan Tech 2, #1 Minnesota 2, OT

Women's Basketball (17-5, 13-2 GLIAC)

Feb. 9: at Michigan Tech 66, Ferris State 52
Feb. 11: at  Michigan Tech 72, #25 Lake Superior State 41

Men's Basketball (13-11, 9-6 GLIAC)

Feb. 9: Ferris State 66, at Michigan Tech 63
Feb. 11: at Michigan Tech 75, Lake Superior State 58

Nordic Skiing

Feb. 12: at Northern Michigan Invitational

Men's Tennis (0-5, 0-0 GLIAC)

Feb. 11: St. Cloud State 9, at Michigan Tech 0
Feb. 12: Lake Superior State 8, at Michigan Tech 1


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

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

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Women's Basketball at Grand Valley State, 6 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)
Men's Basketball at Grand Valley State, 8 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Friday, February 17, 2006 • Husky Friday (wear school colors)

Blueline Club Luncheon, 12 noon (Hockey Educational Center • Begg Conference Room)
Hockey hosts Wisconsin, 7:07 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Nordic Skiing hosts CCSA Regionals, TBA
Women's Basketball at Ferris State, 1 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)
Men's Basketball at Ferris State, 3 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)
Hockey hosts Wisconsin, 7:07 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Nordic Skiing hosts CCSA Regionals, TBA


Friday and Saturday, February 24-25 at St. Cloud State Charter Cable 8:07 p.m.
Friday, March 3 at North Dakota, Fighting Sioux Sports Network (FSSN) 8:37 p.m.
Saturday, March 4 at North Dakota FSSN 8:07 p.m.
Friday, March 10 - WCHA Playoffs TBA
All Times are Eastern

Around Town
(Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette)

LT. GOV. VISITS: Lt. Gov. John Cherry may have been in town Friday to take part in some of the Winter Carnival activities at Michigan Tech University, but matters of state were still on his mind. Cherry spoke briefly about education and health care issues. In her budget which she presented to the Legislature Thursday, Gov. Jennifer Granholm proposed increasing the per pupil foundation by $200, and increasing the overall school budget by $362 million for the 2007 school year. Those increases are part of the Granholm administration's goal of doubling the number of college degree holders in the state. "To do that you have to increase capacity," Cherry said. "Our K-12 system has to be on solid ground to prepare our students for a post-secondary experience." Cherry said increasing the minimum credits in math science and humanities for high school graduation and switching from the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) to the American College Test (ACT) are also issues important to the administration

WIND TURBINE CONTROVERSY CONTINUES: Any wind farms on Mt. Horace Greeley will have to wait a little while longer. Following an hour of public comment Wednesday regarding a proposed contract with downstate Mackinaw Power LLC to construct test wind towers on the Eagle Harbor Township elevation, a motion in favor of signing a contract made by Keweenaw County Board of Commissioners Chair Frank Stubenrauch died for lack of support. About 30 township officials, north-end residents, and other interested parties attended the public hearing held at the Keweenaw County Courthouse prior to the regular monthly commissioners' meeting. The meeting was the second on the issue of the contract, which drew criticism from area residents Jan. 11. Under that contract, Mackinaw Power intends to install two testing towers at the former Air Force radar site. During the initial five-year lease following testing, the company would pay $3,000 per turbine each year, or 3 percent of the gross operating proceeds, whichever is greater.

DOWNTOWN HOUGHTON PREPARES FOR JUNIOR OLYMPICS: The Houghton Downtown Business Association is planning a series of activities in connection with the upcoming Junior Olympics. The Nordic skiing event, which will be held at the Michigan Tech Trails from March 3 to 12, is expected to bring about 2,000 visitors to town. During the week, all businesses are asked to stay open until at least 9 p.m. At 6 p.m. March 6, businesses will compete in the Yooper Tube Luge event, to be held on Isle Royale Street. Office Express U.P. owner Jack Ham displayed one of the sleds at the DMA's meeting. While their usual cost is $10, downtown merchants can purchase them for $6.97 at Swift's Hardware. "If Swift's sells out, try down in Houghton before you go to the big box store," Ham said. Once sledders reach the bottom of the hill, they'll find a polka band, a snow house with hot chocolate and soup, and a bonfire. The City of Houghton is planning on installing ice sculptures with candles throughout the downtown. Most will be in the planters, with some also placed down in the snowhouse. Above them on light posts will be windsocks bearing the colors of the Junior Olympics.

From the E-mailbag

Dennis - I felt compelled to take just a minute to point how cool it is to see Michigan Tech folk showing up on the international arts scene (and even cooler to say that both are acquaintances of mine from my time performing on the Michigan Tech fine arts scene).  The whole world wants to think of us as just a bunch of 'toots', but we're not quite as one-dimensional as everyone wants to believe.

I always enjoy reading the newsletter, thanks.

John Uhrie
Class of '91 and '96



In response to "Changes Planned For Houghton", particularly this comment:

"...the Yooper Loop could potentially be replaced with a roundabout, which are becoming more common."

I lived in New England for 8 years after leaving Tech (I've since wised up and moved to Minnesota!) and roundabouts, or rotaries, are not a good idea. I have seen a few that the traffic was so bad that they were reconfigured to include stoplights or remove the rotary altogether. This is primarily because rotaries cannot handle large volumes of traffic efficiently which is especially evident when used at the exit of a major highway. The traffic would routinely backup onto the highway because there was no way to regulate the traffic getting onto the rotary. Now of course Houghton does not get the volume of traffic that parts of New England get, but during peak times I don't believe that a rotary would provide much relief to congestion nor make it less confusing of an intersection.

Brian Steward '97


Well, last year was the first chance I had to visit Michigan Tech in 15 years, and the first visit for my wife Ede. We were there for Winter Carnival. After talking about our visit at a wedding (of a fellow alumni) in Saginaw this past Labor Day weekend where we met a few other alumni from the same era we have decided to all meet up this year at Michigan Tech.  We'll be there next week, though, just missing Winter Carnival activities, but still hope to see some nice snow statues.  We'll be snowmobiling for a couple of days so hope our sled's aren't stolen! 

I can't wait to be cheering for those Hockey Huskies again, either.  It's got to be pretty exciting to have Jamie Russell & Randy McKay back up there again, this time leading the team by coaching.  I had season tickets during my years there as a student and remember watching them play, and I always cheered on Randy as his career with the NJ Devils progressed.  It was truly amazing watching the skating talent of Chris Conner last year during our W.C. visit and we sure can't wait to see him in action again. 

I'm also really anxious to see the finished projects around campus.  Last year there were quite a few projects that were about 1/2 done.  After being away for 15 years the changes sure look dramatic and are a proof of the success of Michigan Tech and the students it turns out.

See you next week!

Mark Schreiner
BSEE '90

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Alumni Association Programs

CHAPTER EVENTS: For more information on alumni chapter events,
e-mail mtu_alumni at mtu.edu or see the alumni chapter site on the web.

February 15 Cincinnati: Presidential Reception

February 16 Atlanta: Presidential Reception

February 16 Grand Rapids: Men's/Women's B-Ball vs. GVSU

February 23-24 Pittsburgh: National College Fair

February 27 Tampa: Presidential Reception

February 28 Orlando: Presidential Reception


Job Opportunities This Week

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

Assistant Football Coach-Wide Receivers and PE Instructor--Athletic Department
Executive Chef--Dining Services

OFF CAMPUS: For off-campus positions, visit the alumni section of the career center's web site ( http://www.career.mtu.edu/alumni.php)