August 14 , 2006 (Vol. 13, No. 14)

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:


The thought occurred to me as I was watching in wonder as my son hooked up our new dryer vent: how many Tech engineers began their careers on the living room carpet working with Lincoln Logs or Legos?

Saturday, while I mounted the outside part of the vent (the easy part), he took apart the old one, assembled the new hose, two connections, a gasket, and had it all in place before I finished the fourth and final screw. "Don't move it too much now," he warned. Thanks.

I once explained to my wife that there are two types of husbands: the mechanic with the garage full of tools and the ability to actually do things with them that actually work; and then there are guys like me. I feel fortunate that my son has some of the former capabilities, inherited from her side.

I can trace his engineer beginnings to Legos, tub-fulls of which survived the great basement purge and yard sale. My childhood centered on Matchbox cars, then Hot Wheels (it was Detroit, after all). My father passed on his mechanical abilities to one of my older brothers, who spent his life in construction. When I was helping my dad, I could never even figure out what wrench to bring him, until he would finally, in frustration, say, "Bring them all."

So, maybe some of my son's capabilities did come from my side. They just skipped me altogether.

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

HONRATH RECEIVES 2006 RESEARCH AWARD: Richard Honrath, whose work has helped shed light on some of the fundamental processes behind atmospheric change, has been selected to receive Michigan Tech's 2006 Research Award. Honrath, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, was most recently honored for his efforts to establish--and then give away--the PICO-NARE atmospheric research station in the Azores. Honrath spearheaded the construction of PICO-NARE (stands for Pico International atmospheric Chemistry Observatory-North Atlantic Regional Experiment) in 2001. The sauna-sized observatory sits atop Mt. Pico, the highest point in the Azores and the only spot in the mid-Atlantic where the air is high enough to escape the effects of the ocean environment. This has made it a perfect place to measure pollution drifting from North America. Since PICO-NARE was built, it has been generating a stream of data on atmospheric pollution, and in its five years of existence, two surprising discoveries have come to light. More: <>


RESEARCH PROGRAM GROWING QUICKLY: Tech has the fastest-growing research program among the state's four research universities, according to the latest figures compiled by the National Science Foundation. Overall research funding at the university increased 17.9 percent from 2002-03 to 2003-04, when research dollars shot up from $30.3 million to $35.7 million. Michigan Tech is ranked 179th in total research dollars among the approximately 600 universities in the U.S. tallied by NSF and 129th among all public universities. During the same time period, Wayne State University's research funding was up 5.0 percent, with Michigan State University's program growing 1.3 percent. Research funding at the University of Michigan fell 1.4 percent. "This is a real tribute to the faculty, staff and students who are doing an outstanding job expanding research," said David Reed, vice president for research and provost. "It also reveals how the university has been aligning itself to realize a key element of our strategic plan: to establish world-class research, scholarship and innovation." Michigan Tech's research program has continued to grow, up to $41.2 million in 2004-05. In addition, at 10.5 percent, Michigan Tech is 18th in nation based on the proportion of research funded by industry. The National Science Foundation statistical tables are available at <>.


FRISBEE GOLF COURSE READY: The Intramural Sports Department has constructed a nine-hole disc golf course on Sharon Avenue by the Advanced Technology Development Center. Five holes are near the Tech Center and four holes are behind the SDC. There are signs at each throw area that contain information on that hole (distance, par, location). An information board will be constructed at the first throw area displaying a course map/layout, rules and information on each hole. A box for scorecards and pencils is also planned for this area. The first hole is adjacent to the parking lot at the ATDC, and University Images has a wide variety of discs in stock. IM Sports will have a disc golf tournament on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 11 a.m. The tournament will be open to all students, faculty, and staff. More information will be posted at a later date. Contact the Intramural Sports Office at 487-2929, 487-3040, dlhagenb(at) or crpelliz(at) for more information.


TECH STUDENT IN RUNNING FOR MISS MICHIGAN USA: If pizzazz counts, a Michigan Tech student could be the next Miss Michigan USA. Heather Richards, 19, will be traveling to Port Huron for the Oct. 21 pageant, and she says it's not what you think. "If you're a blond, people think you're a cheerleader majoring in fashion design," says the flaxen-haired Richards, who looks just like you'd think a Miss Michigan USA contestant would look while simultaneously studying premed and earning junior standing as she enters her second year at Michigan Tech. "We do have a couple of fashion design majors, but most students are studying something real." Some contestants bring another set of preconceptions to the pageant. "Lots of girls are from the U.P. now, but sometimes they still ask us, 'Do you have electricity?' Or, 'You don't still have to use porta-potties, do you?'" Richards says, with a roll of the eyes. Richards, a Gladstone native, has been participating in pageants for four years, and most recently was first runner-up in the Miss Michigan International competition, held in Ann Arbor. More: <>

Tech Sports

CHRIS TOK NAMED ASSISTANT COACH FOR MICHIGAN TECH HOCKEY TEAM: Tech Head Men's Hockey Coach Jamie Russell announced today the hiring of Chris Tok (pronounced Talk) as assistant coach. Tok, who was an assistant coach for the United States Hockey League's Waterloo Black Hawks during each of the past five seasons, replaces Ian Kallay, who left to pursue private business interests in June. "I appreciate the opportunity to work for Michigan Tech and am excited to work with a great coaching staff," said Tok. "I will work hard to help this program continue building. My goal has always been to bring in the best players that want to be a part of your program, and that will continue at Michigan Tech." Tok helped guide the Black Hawks to a 141-137-23 regular-season record and a 14-10 mark in USHL playoff games over his five-year tenure. In 2002-03, the Black Hawks amassed a 38-17-5 record and secured the first Eastern Division title in franchise history. Waterloo continued its success in 2003-04 by recording a 30-27-3 mark and capturing its first Clark Cup title in the USA Hockey Tier I National Championship series. "Chris brings an outstanding resume as both a player and coach and he will be a great addition to the Michigan Tech hockey program," said Russell. "He has played on excellent teams at Wisconsin and his teams in Waterloo experienced unparralled levels of success. As an ex-defenseman in the WCHA he will be a great fit at Michigan Tech. His ability to recruit top-notch players in the USHL will definitely help our program. " Coach Russell also announced that current assistant coach, Pat Mikesch, would take on the role of lead assistant coach. "Pat has done a great job and deserves to be rewarded," said Russell. "He is a hard worker and has proven to be an excellent recruiter and coach for this program."


SANREGRET NAMED TO PRESTIGIOUS NCAA MANAGEMENT COUNCIL: Michigan Tech Director of Athletics Suzanne Sanregret has been elected to a term on the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Management Council. She was nominated as an at-large representative and confirmed by the NCAA Division II Presidents Council at their August 3 meeting. The NCAA Management Council is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Division II. Among other things, it implements policies adopted by the NCAA Executive Committee and Presidents Council, makes recommendations of bylaws and regulations to the Presidents Council, makes interpretations of association bylaws, appoints members to NCAA committees, and reviews appeals by member institutions of decisions made by committees. "I am honored to be selected by my peers for this term on the Management Council," said Sanregret. "This is a great opportunity to represent Michigan Tech and the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference at the national level." Sanregret, who begins her second year as Tech's athletic director, is currently on the Division II Membership Committee and Community Advisory Group. In the past, she has served on the Legislative Committee (2001-05, two of those years as chair) and the NCAA Women's Basketball Regional Ranking Committee (2001-04). Sanregret's term on the Management Council, which consists of 25 athletic administrators from Division II institutions across the country, begins immediately and runs through January, 2011.


TECH PICKED FIFTH IN GLIAC FOOTBALL COACHES POLL: Michigan Tech has been picked to finish fifth of 13 teams in the 2006 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Preseason Football Coaches Poll announced today. The poll was was released in conjunction with the league's football media day luncheon held Bay Valley Resort. Michigan Tech, which finished fifth in the league with a 6-3 record a year ago, received 83 points in the coaches' poll. The Huskies trailed Grand Valley State (143), Saginaw Valley State (131), Ashland (119) and Northwood (117) in the final tally. GVSU registered 11 first-place votes, with Ashland garnering the other two. Ferris State and Indianapolis tied for sixth in the poll with 81 points. The final six teams were Hillsdale (65), Wayne State (59), Findlay (49), Northern Michigan (34), Gannon (29) and Mercyhurst (23). Michigan Tech kicks off the 2006 season by hosting Wayne State at Sherman Field on September 2. The Huskies began preseason practice Sunday, August 13.



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 and WLUC TV6

MACKINAC BRIDGE MAY HAVE BEEN TERRORIST TARGET: Downstate Tuscola County prosecutors say three Texas men arrested on terrorism charges may have had plans to bomb the Mackinac Bridge. Although St. Ignace State Troopers say the reports are unconfirmed, the men, ages 19 to 23, all of Middle Eastern descent, are charged with collecting or providing materials for terrorist acts and surveillance of a vulnerable target for terrorist acts. The defendants are being held on $750,000 bonds.  Authorities arrested the trio Friday after they purchased 80 cell phones from a Wal-Mart. And the Marquette Sheriff's Department is investigating a similar incident that occurred on Thursday at the Wal-Mart in Marquette.


KEYSTONE BAY FIRE CONTAINED: Department of Natural Resources crews have stopped the spread of a brush fire on the eastern tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, though it likely won't be extinguished for months. "We have it pretty well contained," said Allan Keto, the DNR's resource protection manager for the Upper Peninsula. Firefighters have held the fire at Keystone Bay to 129 acres. The fire, which first began in early July, flared up again on Aug. 3. Thirty DNR personnel still remain at the site. Crews are now placing irrigation pipe around the perimeter of the fire, and will be putting in sprinklers, which Keto said would help keep the water lines cool. The area is thickly vegetated with trees and brush, which has prolonged the fire and made access more difficult. At the start of the fire, DNR trucks could get no closer than a quarter-mile in to the inner edge of the blaze, forcing firefighters to bridge the gap on foot. And the situation's a little different now, Keto said. Winds and higher humidity over the past few days have helped to weaken the fire. "We're starting to get a handle on it, anyway," Keto said.


HOUGHTON RENTAL BOARD APPROVES RENTAL UNIT, FRATERNITY HOUSING: The City of Houghton Rental Housing Board Wednesday approved a rental license for a four-bedroom house at 103 E. Houghton Ave., on the condition that adequate parking be secured by next August. Richelle Kohl, the house's owner, is seeking to rent the unit to her son and three of his friends, all university students. She said she planned on retaining the house as a rental for students after they graduated. In hearings Wednesday, both the housing board and the Zoning Board of Appeals questioned the availability of parking for the unit, which is zoned R-3 (multiple-family). The house has a two-car garage attached, as well as two potential parking spots beyond the sidewalk--one gravel/dirt and one paved. While the tenants will have a snowblower, the snow could still be difficult to clear, City Manager Scott MacInnes said during the zoning hearing. "We're passing on a problem to the Public Works Department and everybody else to handle," he said. The tenants would also be unable to park along the spots in summer, he said, as the city is attempting to restore spots between the sidewalk and the streets as green space.

In other action, the Rental Housing Board approved a rental-housing license for the Charleston House Historic Inn building at 918 College Ave. The building will be used by the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Mike Laux, of the fraternity's alumni housing corporation, said the building would be closed for maintenance during the summer months. The exception would come during alumni weekend, when it would be available to alumni on a first-come, first-serve basis. "That's our intent, to keep this property in its original form," he said.


WORKER DIES IN ACCIDENT AT MOYLE CEMENT PLANT: A 30-year-old man died Wednesday evening while working at the Moyle Construction Cement Plant on M-38 in Ontonagon. Tom Kestie, of Dollar Bay, was found trapped between an end loader and a conveyer belt at about 5:25 p.m. He passed away at 7:13 p.m. Jeff Moyle, president of Moyle Construction & Development Inc., said Kestie had been employed with the company for three years as a concrete truck driver and operator. "He was very well liked and responsible," Moyle said. "He knew what he was doing. It wasn't his first day on the job by any means." Kestie was not married and does not have any children. His mother lives in Calumet. Moyle said Kestie was doing work around the yard when the accident happened. "It happened in late afternoon and they were almost done for the day," he said. "He was there by himself." Moyle said he could not provide more specific details until an investigation by the Michigan Occupational Safety Health Administration is completed. A representative from MIOSHA is headed from Escanaba to the site today. In the meantime, all Moyle construction operational services are closed, including the lumberyard, shop and warehouse. Only on-site projects will continue working. Moyle said the accident is the first fatality or major accident since Moyle started almost 30 years ago. About two-dozen employees worked alongside Kestie at the cement plant. "He was a great guy," he said. "It's very sad and unfortunate. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends and the people he worked with."

From the E-mailbag

Since I was an early 60s student, I don't have info on the "Third Stool From the Left." However, I was around during part of the era of "Sammy Sez:" I never learned who Sammy was; and in fact really didn't want to know. The reason: for a time I was Sammy's secret cohort, going by the moniker of Foster Grant. I would write a brief commentary, much like Pat Parker describes, and drop it off at the Lode office without identifying myself. If Sammy used my piece, he'd always reply with, "Dear Shady," i.e.: the Foster Grant/sunglasses connection.

A year after I left, a co-alumnus gave me a copy of the Lode where Sammy lamented, "Foster Grant, where are you?!"

It was a little bit of fun.

Bill Riegel


Hi Dennis,
I don't know if she's on the alumni mailing list or not, but one of my classmates, Kathy Helman Kilponen, was an author of Sammy Sez in the late 50s, early 60s. She was/is a very "proper" and smart local coed, a math major and member of Phi Lambda Beta (now Alpha Gamma Delta). I'll bet some of the men may be surprised to hear that considering the content sometimes. It was a big secret who the author was, but my roommate who was also on the staff told me, and Kathy has since admitted it.   :-)

Gail Richter  '61


In the early '70s I was the author of the Sammy Sez column in the Lode for a year or so. The actual writer remained anonymous, using the moniker Sammy. Only my editor knew who actually wrote the material.

The column was a politically incorrect parody of life on campus and in "Hoton." Sammy always responded to "readers" questions in broken Finnglish, further satirizing the community. No doubt, da Sam wuld knot B we'll receivedized tuday, eh?

J.B. Hoyt '74


Dennis, one of the authors of "Third Stool from the Left" was a Humanities prof named Mike Johnson. Mike is now deceased.

--Robert Aho, Class of 1974, Biological Sciences

  Student Number 35477 

Editor's note: We've received many notes from alums, including some on campus, regarding "Sammy Sez," and "Third Stool," and some Lode reprints featuring ads for the Golden Pheasant, Bosch Beer, and Spanky's. Much of Sammy Sez is funny and unprintable. The "Third Stool" column I received features the local legend Felix the Cat.

We also were shown a cartoon--"Da Tech is . . ." which was drawn and written by Denny and Cher LeSage, and was even printed in a booklet (for 50 cents) by The Bull Press (the Lode). The disclaimer in the 1973 booklet states: "Any resemblance between the characters in this book and any living or nearly living person or persons is obviously accidental as the cartoonist's ability to draw, let alone draw anything recognizable, is questionable and subject to protracted debate."

We wonder if the LeSages are still around.


Student ID Number? What's a Student ID Number? (Just kidding.)

In my day (50-54) we had no need for such, the MCMT student body was so small, we almost knew everyone by their first name!

Tom Kirby '54


My ID card was issued in Fall of 88--Commenced in fall '93 left in Feb '94.

My card has my Social Security number on it. They used to post our grades by SSS number--then truncated it as they figured out that might not be a good thing to have posted and unattended.

Eric Klammer '93


With a new baby in the house, my husband and I have been discussing how great it would be if we could get our hands on a pair of infant sized Stripes. You could find them my freshman year in the bookstore and up at the SDC, but they disappeared from the shelves by my sophomore year. Do you think any alumni out there would have a pair that they would be willing to sell?  I'd love to buy a pair for the new little guy. I can be contacted at WilsonLJ(at)

Jennifer Wilson, '99 BSME

Alumni Association Programs

ALL CHAPTER EVENTS: For more information on alumni chapter events, e-mail mtu_alumni(at) or see the alumni chapter site on the web:


10 - Tech Legacy Reception, Winter Carnival

Job Opportunities This Week

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

Gift Processor--Michigan Tech Fund

Auditor--Internal Audit

Chair--Department of Mathematic Sciences

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