March 5, 2007 (Vol. 13, No. 40)

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

Edited by Dennis Walikainen (MS ’92), Senior Editor, University Marketing and Communications

For past issues, see our archives.

In this issue:

Closing Tech

It doesn't happen often, but it did Friday. The University was closed after the Houghton County Road Commission advised it. The back roads were in rough shape from a storm that dropped more than a foot of snow Thursday night, and even the county snowplows were getting stuck.

Friday we ran the snowblower once in the morning and once more time in the afternoon. It was warm, so the snow was heavy. The winds came out of the east, and those always don't bode well. The roads are very narrow with some impressive snowbanks lining the streets of Houghton and Hancock.

This all prompted the question: when was the last time Tech closed? We recalled one time (mid-1990s) when we closed due to wind chills at 12:00 noon until the following noontime. Many local homes had frozen pipes that winter. We also talked about the mid-1970s. I remembered one particularly bad storm, around the same time, when the White Pine Express buses were bringing the miners back north from the White Pine Mine. Folks along M-26 would call the radio station--"Snow Control Central"--and report when they saw the buses go by. One longtime Ad Building veteran guesses that we've closed 4 or 5 times since the early 1970s.

So, do any of our alumni out there recall these closures, or are we, like a Keweenaw storm from the east, piling on the memories--real or imagined?


Snowfall Totals (from KRC)

Snowfall total: 127.25"
Depth on ground: 25.0"
Snowfall total last week: 107.75"
Depth on ground last week: 24.0"
Snowfall total last year: 193"
Depth on ground last year: 36"


At Tech

ONLINE ALUMNI COMMUNITY CONTINUES TO GROW: Early responses continue to be positive from other alums who are joining the new Online Alumni Community. Approximately 4,400 alums of your fellow alums have updated their bios and profiles in just three weeks. Don't be left out. If you haven't checked out the site, use your First Time Number and log in that was mailed to you. The information is, of course, secure. For more about the Michigan Tech Online Alumni Community, contact mtualum(at) or the Alumni Relations office at 487-2400.


NSF FUELS SNOWMOBILE COMPETITION: Young engineers developing clean snowmobiles--quiet, low-emissions machines that still smoke in the performance department--got a boost recently, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's Division of Polar Programs. The funds are earmarked for four teams entered in the zero-emissions category at the annual SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, set for March 19-24 at Tech. The Society of Automotive Engineers event attracts teams of engineering undergraduates from across North America. The goal: design a snowmobile with lower environmental impact-less noise and fewer emissions-without sacrificing the performance that snowmobile enthusiasts crave. "We're very pleased that NSF has taken an interest in the 2007 Clean Snowmobile Challenge," said Jay Meldrum, executive director of the Keweenaw Research Center and lead organizer of the Challenge. "We think it's an excellent fit, particularly considering the unusual demands placed on scientists doing sensitive measurements in polar regions."
More: <>


CAREER FAIR A SUCCESS: More than 170 companies sent representatives to Tech's winter career fair, held on Tuesday, Feb. 20. Approximately 120 of these companies requested interview spaces for Feb. 21 and 22, totaling 1,600 interview slots. Jim Turnquist, director of the Career Center, reported that the companies were impressed with the 2,500 students who attended the career fair. The turnout was significantly larger than the representatives encountered at other major universities. Furthermore, Turnquist says the companies were impressed at how well prepared, well dressed and serious the students were. Among the recruiters at the career fair was the Department of Defense, whose STAR program, in which they hired an on-campus student representative, attracted an impressive number of students to the booth. The average wait time to talk to one of the two DOD representatives was about 20 minutes. "They were very impressed with the number of students who came to the booth," Turnquist said. It is estimated that nearly 360,000 positions will open within the DOD in the next few years. This year, only Michigan Tech is participating in the STAR program, but that is anticipated to change as word of the program's success spreads to other schools.


TOP FOUR CANDIDATES NAMED IN PROVOST SEARCH: The search committee for the provost and vice president for academic affairs has selected four finalists for the post. They include David Bejou, dean, School of Business, Virginia State University; Alex King, head, School of Materials Engineering, Purdue University; Lesley Lovett-Doust, dean, Science and Environmental Studies, Lakehead University; and Robert Marley, dean, College of Engineering, Montana State University.


By Steve R. Miner, outreach coordinator, Counseling Services

Tech outdrew NMU, 136 to 126 pints, to win the annual Blood Drive Competition held Jan. 24. Tech has claimed the plaque seven of eight years that the friendly contest has collected blood for the UP Regional Blood Center. During that time, Tech has collected 1,049 pints of blood for 10 regional hospitals. Thanks to all students, faculty, staff and community members who supported our winning effort.


FACILITIES OPERATIONS, CAMPUS PLANNING TO REPORT TO VP FOR ADMINISTRATION: Campus Facilities Planning and Campus Facilities Operations will report to Vice President for Administration Ellen Horsch, effective today, President Glenn Mroz has announced. Both areas had been under the supervision of CFO Dan Greenlee. Since Greenlee has recently assumed additional duties as CFO and director of operations for the Michigan Tech Fund, the Facilities areas were transferred to allow him to concentrate on his financial management responsibilities. Campus Facilities Operations will continue under the direction of John Rovano. Facilities Manager Jim Heikkinen has agreed to serve as interim director of campus facilities planning.


Tech Sports

HOCKEY SPLITS AT MINNESOTA, HEADED TO COLORADO: Tech gained a split at Minnesota to end the regular season last weekend. The Huskies finished with 27 points in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play--their most since 1997-98--to finish tied for sixth in the league standings. Tech is the sixth seed in the WCHA playoffs that begin this weekend. The Huskies will travel to face fifth-seeded Colorado College in a best-of-three-games format with contests scheduled Friday (Mar. 9) at 9:37 p.m. ET, Saturday (Mar. 10) at 9:07 p.m., and Sunday (Mar. 11) at 9:07 p.m. if necessary.
More: <>

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL NOT SELECTED FOR NCAA TOURNEY: The Tech women's basketball team was not one of the eight teams from the Great Lakes Region selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament as the pairings were announced tonight via an internet video broadcast. The Huskies, who compiled a record of 19-9 this season, could not break into the top eight after being ranked ninth in last week's regional rankings.
More: <>

ST. LOUIS TALLIES HAT TRICK: Sophomore Justin St. Louis (Calgary, Alta.) tallied his first career hat trick in a 5-4 win at #4 Minnesota last Saturday (Mar. 3). The winger scored Tech's first three goals in the game to give him five goals in his last four contests and six for the season. St. Louis' hat trick was the second registered by a Husky this season with Peter Rouleau (Hancock, Mich.) notching the other with three goals vs. Alaska Anchorage on Oct. 27.

BARTELS SETS THREE-POINT RECORD: Senior Jenna Bartels (La Cross, Wis./Logan) broke Tech's career three-point record during last Friday's (Mar. 2) GLIAC Tournament Semifinal game at Gannon. The 6-0 forward drained three triples in the contest to finish her career with 142--one more than previous record holder Connie Pleshe's 141.

NORDIC TEAMS TO TAKE PART IN NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: Five Tech Nordic skiers will participate in the NCAA Championships in Jackson, New Hampshire this week. Senior All-American Kristina Owen (East Wenatchee, Wash./Eastmont) will compete at the NCAA Championships for the third straight year. Four others--sophomore Elizabeth Quinley (Anchorage, Alaska), redshirt freshman Jenna Klein (Ely, Minn.), redshirt freshman Jesse Lang (St. Louis Park, Minn.), and junior Kevin Heglund (Andover, Minn./Anoka)--will all be taking part in their first races at the event. Freestyle races are scheduled for Wednesday (March 7) with classic races on tap for Friday (March 9).
More: <>


Recent Results

Hockey (16-15-5, 11-12-5 WCHA)
3/2--at #4 Minnesota 3, #18 Michigan Tech 1
3/3--#18 Michigan Tech 5, at #4 Minnesota 4

Women's Basketball (19-9, 12-6 GLIAC)
2/27--Michigan Tech 63, at #12 Grand Valley State 57
3/2--at Gannon 80, Michigan Tech 60

Men's Basketball (13-15, 8-10 GLIAC)
2/27--at Northern Michigan 77, Michigan Tech 54

Men's Tennis (4-6, 0-1 GLIAC)
Did not compete

Nordic Skiing
Did not compete

For up-to-date standings, go to the following links:
WCHA Hockey: <>
GLIAC Women's Basketball: <>
GLIAC Men's Basketball: <>


What's Happening This Week

Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Huskies Drive Time, 7:30-8 a.m. on Mix 93.5 FM
Nordic Skiing at NCAA Championships (Jackson, N.H.)
--Women's 5K Freestyle Race, Men's 10K Freestyle Race

Friday, March 9, 2007
Hockey at Colorado College, 9:37 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM <>)
--WCHA Playoffs
Nordic Skiing at NCAA Championships (Jackson, N.H.)
--Women's 15K Classic Race, Men's 20K Classic Race
Women's Tennis vs. Ursinus (at Orlando, Fla.)
Men's Tennis vs. Moravian (at Orlando, Fla.)

Saturday, March 10, 2007
Hockey at Colorado College, 9:07 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)
--WCHA Playoffs
Women's Tennis vs. Puerto Rico Rio Piedras (at Orlando, Fla.)
Men's Tennis vs. Franklin & Marshall (at Orlando, Fla.)

Sunday, March 11, 2007
Hockey at Colorado College, 9:07 p.m. (Live Radio, 93.5 FM)
--WCHA Playoffs (If necessary)

All Times are Eastern

Around the Keweenaw

Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

BARAGA COUNTY INDUSTRY LOOKING FOR TRAINED EMPLOYEES: Major employers in Baraga County have a particular interest in ongoing efforts to consolidate career and technical skills education in the county. The Upper Peninsula Regional Industrial Manufacturing Skills Alliance (UPRIMSA) has been working to establish a program to train high school students and adults for work in industry and other skilled trades. It is a cooperative effort between educators, industry leaders and others with a stake or interest in the local economy. Cooperation is key, according to Terex Handlers Director of Operations Sander Ansingh, who is involved in the process. "I think that is a very important aspect of ensuring that we have the work force we need in this area, trained and capable of meeting the needs we have in this industry," Ansingh said. Employers like Terex Handlers, Pettibone and others are paying close attention because of a need to fill jobs with employees with the right skill sets. "Mechanical understanding, mechanical aptitude, it's always a plus if you have a little knowledge in hydraulics and automotive electricals," Pettibone Vice President for Engineering Ray McDonald said. "All of those things tend to stand you up a little taller if you've got some background."
More: <>


BLIZZARD SOCKS AREA: Thursday's buzzword was blizzard. And true to the forecast, it swept into the Keweenaw Thursday night with gusts of 35 miles an hour, snow, thunder and lightning. Many streets, schools and businesses, including Michigan Tech and the Houghton County courthouse were closed Friday. Local meteorologist John Dee said the wind remained strong through Friday. The storm, which was a low pressure system trekking up from southern plains, was probably enhanced by Lake Superior, he said. Thursday night's snowfall measured between 7 and 12 inches, and the snowfall was between 5 and 7 inches Friday. The total at the Keweenaw Research Center at the airport was 15 inches for the two days.


CHASSELL SCHOOL DISTRICT PROPOSES RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT: Chassell Township Schools and Chassell Township are trying a new way to get more families to move into the school district. The two entities recently split the cost of a feasibility study for a residential development on 17 acres the district owns adjacent to the school property, part of which was formerly the Hiawatha Drive-In movie theater. Chassell schools Superintendent Mike Gaunt said the proposed development would address a need in the community. "The challenge is it's difficult to find a median-priced house in the Chassell district sometimes," Gaunt said. By developing the property, the district hopes to make more options available for families looking to move out of starter homes. "We very clearly don't want a trailer park there, but we also very clearly don't want high-end, expensive homes there because those are already available in the district," Gaunt said.
More: <>


HOUGHTON MULLS NEW LOGO: Mining, hockey, or both? With the Houghton City Council split on a new city logo, the people will have their say in an upcoming Internet poll. Discussion centered on three possibilities: A miner, ringed by the words "City of Houghton" and "Michigan"; the same logo, with the words "The Birthplace of Professional Hockey" below it; and a similar format, but with a silhouette of a circa-1900s hockey player standing in for the miner. The miner is similar to the one on the city's current logo, but features different shadowing and more facial definition. Councilmen Craig Kurtz and Gernot Joachim said professional hockey was more distinct to Houghton than mining. But both preferred the miner by himself to adding the hockey motto below it. "Let's grasp that, and envelop it, and not send a mixed message..." Joachim said. Rachel Lankton, Bob Backon and Lee Hauswirth disagreed, saying mining was an important aspect of the city's history.
More: <>


HANCOCK STREETSCAPE PROJECT ON TRACK: Hancock's streetscape project is back on, say city officials. After bids last September came in higher than expected, the city tried again earlier this month, and those, they say, are more on target. "We've got a low bidder, and it's local, to boot," Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson announced to city council members Feb. 21. "It looks like we have a go project." Bay Electric of Dollar Bay submitted the winning bid of $318,813.92. Anderson said the project had a number of components to enhance the area from the Portage Lake Lift Bridge to the former Scott Hotel building. Deteriorating sidewalks will be repaired or replaced, and streetlights will be installed to match the historical lighting currently in place in the first three blocks of the downtown. In addition, a "pocket" park will be created on the south side of US Highway 41 near the bridge across from Dave's BP Super Service.
More: <>

From the Emailbag

Hello from sunny and warm Texas--The backside of the original "Heikki Lunta Snow Dance Song" was "Heikki Lunta Go Away." I still have several copies of the 45 from my days of working at WMPL. (Dave Riutta--aka Heikki--is still around and lives in Calumet).

On the other hand, "Highway #7" was out long before that by a Minnesota DJ named Bobby Aro, and the backside of it was "Kipera Polka", which I also have on the original 45.

I enjoy the newsletter.

What did you ever find out about Felix Waltanen and the column done by Mike Johnson?

Dick Storm

Editor's Note: Dick, thanks for the info. We are still searching for "Third Stool from the Left" articles. More info to come.


I am younger that Lynn T. Morgan, since I graduated a whole year after he did. Actually, we are probably the same age, as I chose to spend five glorious years at Michigan Tech. I may be getting senile here, but I do not remember anything about Heikki Lunta. I was pretty active on campus and with the Phi Taus, so this might not have been on our radar screens. Furthermore, I dated a lot of local girls, some of whom were Finnish, and none of them mentioned anything about a mythical Ms. Lunta.

My thought would be that it may have started about then, but perhaps it didn't achieve cult status until well after Lynn and I had left the scene.

Carl M. Zapffe


Hello Dennis,
We received a Houghton-like snow storm over the weekend here in St Paul, MN so it was very appropriate for me to catch some of the Tech hockey game on Saturday night via the web. I can tell you the excitement stretches beyond the Keweenaw and I'm looking forward to attending this Saturday's game here vs. Minnesota as part of the local Michigan Tech alumni event.

I see that, as of this morning, Michigan Tech's hockey team is ranked 18th in the country  :) - when's the last time that happened? We'll keep our fingers crossed for home ice in WCHA round 1!

Always enjoy your newsletter,

Fred Koerschner

Editor's Note: Fred, we didn't get home ice for the playoffs, but we are playing at CC, and we defeated and tied them this year. We were ranked in the top twenty earlier this year. And, I'm glad you got to enjoy a victory over the Gophers!


Alumni Association Programs


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

16--Keweenaw, KAC St. Urho's Day Annual After Work Social at the KBC

16--Grand Rapids, Michigan Tech Alumni Night: Hockey with the Griffins

26--Chicago, Chemistry Alumni & Friends at ACS National Meeting


Job Opportunities This Week

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

Tenure-Track Associate Professor/Professor, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences

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

Position: Sales & Marketing Leadership Development Program.
Salary: $50,000-$55,000. Location of Position: Madison, Wisconsin.
Deadline: March 30, 2007
How to Apply: Send resumes to Louise Larson via e-mail: Louise.Larson(at)
Fax: 608-226-5698
Contact for Questions: Louise Larson, Human Resources Manager
Phone: 608-221-5826

Michigan Tech is on the web at <>. For the alumni pages, click on "Alumni/Friends" at the top of the home page.

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University Marketing and Communications
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