July 31, 2006 (Vol. 13, No. 12)

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:

Coming Back

There are many great things about working at Tech: watching students learn, grow, and move on; meeting fascinating people in and out of the classrooms; and celebrating the special occasions: K-Day, Homecoming, Commencements, Carnival, and Alumni Reunion, which begins this Thursday. (Complete reunion preview is here: <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/urel/ttoday/previous.php?issue=20060728>.)

There are some special activities planned this year. Former President Ray Smith is coming back to receive an Honorary Alumni Award. If you've ever had the opportunity to talk to Ray, you know he's got great stories to tell, so that'll be a real treat. The Alumni Relations and Memorial Union folks have created a Big Tent Social with free food and refreshments Saturday. The Volleyball Reunion is also happening, and they'll be doing it up Saturday night.

Also, the KD's are having an all-class reunion, and the Lambda Chi's will be having an open house at their new digs, the old Remington house (or Charleston House B & B) on College Avenue, Friday, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Finally, there will be fireworks Saturday night, thanks to the Bridgefest rainout in June.

There will also be the usual Pasty Picnic (I'll be there), campus open houses and tours, Keweenaw Alumni Chapter Social, Chili Challenge, Reunion Dinner, golf outing (I'll be there, too), and much more. Watch for a special web photo page devoted to the events.

Or, better yet: load up the car, work on remembering the old stories, and come back for a few days.

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

WOOD TO WHEELS: Wood from northern forests may someday find its way into your gas tank. By the time it does, researchers at Michigan Tech aim to have examined the entire journey, from harvest to tailpipe and back again, with the goal of creating a source of ethanol that's sustainable, environmentally safe and economical. The university's Wood to Wheels, or W2W, project has brought together scientists and engineers from multiple disciplines to research ethanol-powered transport from a 360-degree perspective. Since Michigan Tech is surrounded by vast tracts of timberland, the project is an excellent fit. "Because of our location, we felt we had a vested interest in looking at this issue," said David Shonnard, a professor of chemical engineering and director of the Wood to Wheels Graduate Enterprise. "Any human activity has consequences, and as we move toward biofuels, we want to minimize the negative impacts."

Researchers will evaluate how Great Lakes forests and wildlife would be affected should enough biomass--wood and other plant material--be harvested to sustain an ethanol production facility. "We're looking at Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, the three upper Great Lakes states," said Ann Maclean, an associate professor of forest resources and environmental science. "As a nation, we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and we need to reduce emissions. Ethanol can provide a substitute for gasoline, and it's a very clean-burning fuel, but as we develop it, we need to assure that the process doesn't harm the environment." MORE: <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/urel/news/media_relations/503/>


ROLF PETERSON FEATURED: A feature story on Rolf Peterson and his research with moose and wolves on Isle Royale appeared in the Wichita, Kansas, Eagle < http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/living/15100800.htm>.


ALUMNI REUNION KICKS OFF THURSDAY: This year's reunion is scheduled for August 3,4, and 5, and we'll be honoring the Golden "M" Club (all classes that have previously celebrated their 50th reunion), the classes of 1956, 1966, 1976, 1981, 1986, and 1996. Everyone's invited! More information is available here: <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/alumni/reunion/>

Tech Sports


August 3-5: Volleyball Alumni Reunion <http://www.volleyballreunion.mtu.edu>

Thursday, August 24: Volleyball Season Opener: vs. Abilene Christian, 1 p.m. (at Marquette)

Friday, September 1: Women's Cross Country Season Opener: UP Collegiate Opener, 3 p.m. (Tech Trails)

Friday, September 1: Men's Cross Country Season Opener: UP Collegiate Opener, 3 p.m. (Tech Trails)

Saturday, September 2: Football Season Opener: Huskies host Wayne State, 1 p.m.

Friday, September 8: Women's Tennis Season Opener: Huskies host Findlay, 3 p.m.

Around the Keweenaw

Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

CALUMET MAN CHARGED IN SHOOTING: The 21-year-old Calumet man charged with allegedly shooting at four people picking berries on his property this week may have been a former boyfriend of one of the victims, according to the Michigan State Police. Thomas Hansen, of Calumet, was charged in Houghton County District Court Wednesday with one felony count of assault with a dangerous weapon, punishable by up to four years in prison. He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of firearms while aimed without malice, which is punishable by up to a year in jail. Hansen was arrested Tuesday for allegedly shooting at four people picking berries on his property Monday, according to the Michigan State Police Calumet post. The Post said they are still investigating the possible relationship between Hansen and one of the victims. Hansen allegedly came up behind the four people on property near Golf Course Road at about 1 p.m. and shot toward them, insisting they leave the property or face further harm. A statement from the MSP said according to the alleged victims, the shots were fired in close proximity to them and they could hear bullets passing by and hitting branches near their heads. No one was injured during the incident.


HOUGHTON APPROVES APPLEBEE'S LIQUOR LICENSE: The Houghton City Council approved the transfer of a liquor license from the recently closed Jake's Bar on M-26 in Winona to the newly constructed Applebee's location at 980 Razorback Drive. The council approved the transfer unanimously. In other action, the council set a public hearing for Aug. 9 for the housing license for the Charleston House Historic Inn building at 918 College Ave. The Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity plans to use the building as its house.

* set public hearings for Aug. 9 on a parking variance and housing variance for 103 E. Houghton Ave. The building, currently zoned R-3 (multiple family), would house four Michigan Tech students.

* heard from Department of Public Works Supervisor Mark Zenner that clearing work has been finished on the lower half of the Nara Sled Trail. Zenner estimated work at the site, which also includes a sled hill, was about 75 percent complete.

* said road work would soon begin on Razorback Drive. The work, to be done between the Huron Centre and Sharon Avenue, will take place in installments.

* heard an update from Zenner on possible paving jobs for the summer. The work, estimated at nearly $114,700, includes projects on Quincy Street, Bridge Street, Huron Street, Lake Avenue, Portage Street, Sixth Street, lower Emerald Street, Houghton Avenue, Dodge Street and South Street. As the full amount would be too expensive, the council members will visit the sites before the next council meeting to see which jobs are the most necessary.

* approved Community Development Block Grant applications for a $165,000 Signature Building Grant to redevelop the former Superior Music building, as well as a Facade Improvement Program Grant providing $200,000 for seven downtown businesses.

* gave permission for the building of a snow village in the Waterfront Park parking lot.


HURON CREEK ANALYSIS CONTINUES: The citizen advisory committee charged with developing a management plan for the Huron Creek Watershed is still discussing possible reforms in the section of the creek where Houghton will be building a leachate collection system. The three-mile creek stretches from Green Acres Road in Portage Township to the Houghton Waterfront Park. The Huron and Isle Royale mines operated along the creek for nearly a century, while land along the creek was also used as a landfill during the 1960s and 1970s. Leachate is the result of water percolating through other material. When percolating through landfills, it can pick up high concentrations of surrounding materials, including metals. The creek section discussed Tuesday runs less than a quarter-mile, going from Sharon Avenue to the Control Structure at Frog Pool behind the former Ming Garden building. The most accessible portion of that, near Sharon Avenue, is in the worst shape, with "yellow boy" deposits of iron and manganese along the shores, and debris such as an upturned shopping cart.

In contrast, sections further upstream are more isolated, with fewer indications of activity. "You could be walking through here, and have no idea that there is any commercial development anywhere near you," said Alex Mayer, director of Michigan Tech's Center for Water and Society. Department of Environmental Quality tests at seepage points near Sharon Avenue and Frog Pool showed levels of copper, manganese and mercury well above state guidelines. A DEQ toxicity test, which measured the mortality rates of waterfleas placed in leachate water samples, indicated that the seepage point nearest Sharon Avenue wouldn't meet standards, while the first one would. The advisory committee is working with Michigan Tech's Center for Water and Society on development of a management plan for the site, which is expected to be finished by August 2007. "That's not so long, when we're still trying to get to know each, and, as (Tech professor) Hugh (Gorman) said, still trying to figure out what the stream should look like in the long term," Mayer said.


From the E-mailbag

Talking about garage sales and getting rid of old stuff:

My father-in-law, uncle, and father passed away between May and July this year and both my mother and mother-in-law have the dreaded task of going through things and getting rid of them. Both of them are asking me and my husband if we want anything. I told my husband that we will have to get rid of some of the stuff in our house first before we get take on any of our parents' stuff. Most likely I will be going to Wisconsin next year to help my mother with a major garage sale. She has already gone through the cans of food that my dad liked to eat, but she didn't and gave them to the food pantry. She has also gone through his clothes and gave them to Goodwill or threw them out. My mother-in-law has been giving us the food my father-in-law liked, but she didn't, and distributed out his church books and model kits that he didn't finish. I told my husband that we are not taking on the National Geographic magazines from the 1950's to now because we do not have room. Hopefully they will find a new home.

I also want to say to that gentleman that graduated in 1971 that I was 5 when he graduated and had actually lived in Laurium during part of the time he was at Tech. I graduated in 1988 and feel old when those that graduated in the 90's and later start telling their stories. I am hoping to come up to Tech next April when the President's Council of Alumnae meet again. My parents had a great time the last two times I came up for that and I would like to start the tradition again with my mother. Even though my mother lives in Wisconsin, my father is buried in Negaunee and this will give us some time to bring flowers to his grave in his birthday month. Even though my father went to Northern Michigan University, he was proud that I attended Tech. I may live in Texas, but the U.P. is in my blood and I hope to move back up there someday.

Stacey E. Morrison, MS


Those indoor soccer games in the spring left quite a mark on me also. Back in the day there was a lot less soccer around and I wasn't aware of any girls that played growing up. But I had watched my brother play for years by the time I got to Tech so I felt like a comparative expert when we women of Mafia House put a team together. Unfortunately I wasn't bright enough to wear kneepads and I ended up losing a lot of skin off both my kneecaps. It didn't stop me from using a "header" to score a goal which I think was mostly a fluke and shocked me as much as the goalie! I think that goal was one of the highlights of a mostly un-athletic life and more than made up for the skinned knees. Thanks for bringing back some great memories!

Beki Franchock


I was a member of the soccer "club" back in the 70s. I remember playing the hockey team in soccer and then reciprocating in a hockey game. The results were always the same. The soccer team always won the soccer games and the hockey team always beat up the soccer team during the hockey games. I also remember the swim team challenging the hockey team to a swim meet in exchange for a hockey game. Same results.

Mark Walter (1975)
PS: And yes, I had a student ID back then- 33640


Hi Dennis,
I played for the women's side of the soccer club during the 1999-2000 season, and the intramural tournament was still being held in the hockey rink. I'd never played indoor soccer before, so the combination of the slippery concrete and the use of the sideboards as an extra player was an exciting deviation from the standard grassy soccer field.

Before playing indoors in the winter, we had played outdoors on the football team's practice field above the SDC. Unfortunately, the season was short and cold for outdoor soccer in the Fall, so we were playing inside, in the multipurpose room pretty early. I think I preferred the concrete surface over the rubber surface though. It left fewer burns when you were tackled.

Jennifer Yotz
MS Forestry 2000

Editor's note: The soccer club still plays indoors, according to intramural/recreation folks. They use the multi-purpose room in the SDC.


Regarding the SSN/ID Number discussion:

For you alums wondering if the change from SSN to an ID number effects you, you don't have to worry, because is doesn't. Tech has only used SSN as an ID since 1994. It's our practice to change alums ID's to non-SSN ID numbers shortly after their graduation, (once the Board of Control has conferred their degrees to be exact). We made this change in order to protect your SSN about six years ago.

Mary Jane Lowney '77
Director, Administrative Information Services


Editor's Note: This is regarding his Tech ID card, pictured here:

I keep it with my Tech grade sheets and the checkbook ledger that shows I paid MCM&T $46.45 for all my first year textbooks and $54.97 for my slide rule and drafting and lab equipment. Now that’s information you might not want to share with present-day students! The textbooks, slide-rule and drafting equipment I still have and use.

Speaking of textbooks; I have a box or two of textbooks from 1959 though the early ‘70s. You know of any library up there that could make more use out of them than holding down the carpet in my office closet? [I put Dick in touch with the Archives.]

Best regards,
Dick Kuenzer


Theta Tau would like to welcome all members and friends to celebrate our 100 year anniversary at Michigan Tech. On Friday 9/15/06 we will hold a welcome back party at the fraternity house for members and friends of Theta Tau. Saturday and Sunday will be members and family only. If you would like more information, please contact Mike Guenther at Mguenther2000(at)aol.com.

Scott Northuis

Alumni Association Programs

ALL 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: http://www.admin.mtu.edu/alumni/chapters/usamap.html


3-5 - Alumni Reunion: <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/alumni/reunion/>

Schedule of Events: <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/alumni/reunion/Reunion_ScheduleofEvents.pdf>

3 - Keweenaw Chapter 2nd Annual Reunion Social: Downtowner Lounge

5 - Grand Rapids Whitecaps Alumni Event

12 - East Coast Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show


10 - Tech Legacy Reception

Job Opportunities This Week

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

Integrated Marketing Communication Specialist/Editor-- University Marketing and Communications

Senior Graphic Designer-- University Marketing and Communications

Staff Assistant/Technical Writer-- Civil and Environmental Engineering - LTAP/TDG

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