March 12, 2007 (Vol. 13, No. 41)

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:

Hockey Huskies Bound for Final Five

It was "Sleepless in Hancock" last night as I listened to a nail-biter of a Huskies hockey game. They prevailed, 1-0, after many pucks clinging off posts and numerous chances for both teams. It was tough getting to sleep, but it's on to St. Paul and the WCHA Final Five where we will play Wisconsin Thursday night!


From the President


Michigan Tech asks you and its many alumni and friends to act in the next two days on its behalf.

As this is written, Michigan faces an economic crisis that threatens Michigan Tech and the entire state. Staring at a budget deficit of $3 billion, Governor Jennifer Granholm must take action to comply with Michigan's requirement of a balanced budget.

Governor Granholm has offered a detailed plan to the state legislature to address the budget fallout from Michigan's struggling economy. No alternate plan has been offered. As the domestic auto industry declines and Michigan's reliance on manufacturing erodes, the state economy is in crisis.  Michigan has lost tens of thousands of jobs as it transitions to the 21st century economy. Governor Granholm knows that higher education and K-12 education are the keys to Michigan's economic revival. Her plan includes three vital commitments:

* Invest in education
* Preserve health care services
* Maintain adequate funding for community safety

The Governor's budget would invest an additional 2.5% in colleges and universities. Michigan's economic decline has resulted in a reduction of Michigan Tech's annual general fund appropriations of $6 million since 2002.  The Governor has made an educated workforce one of her highest priorities.

In addition to identifying $400 million in budget cuts, the Governor's plan replaces the Single Business Tax, due to expire at year's end, with a simpler, new Michigan Business Tax. It assesses a two-cent tax on all business and consumer services such as legal fees and club memberships, which currently are not taxed. Liquor and tobacco taxes would increase, tax loopholes for businesses would close, and individuals would receive a break on automobile purchases. Medical expenses would be exempt.

The situation is urgent. Without legislative action on the Governor's plan, she will be forced to begin the process of Executive Order cuts at the end of this week.

Here is Michigan Tech's request: If you agree that Michigan must invest in its people, and that Michigan Tech's success is crucial to the state's economic future, this is your chance to help. Within the next two days, contact your state senator or representative and call for immediate action on Governor Granholm's plan to solve our economic crisis by investing in education. If you are outside of Michigan, you can contact friends and relatives in Michigan to prompt their support.

The stakes are high for Michigan, and particularly for Michigan Tech. Please help us continue to provide our students with world-class teaching and research so that they can create Michigan's and our nation's future.

Glenn Mroz

Links for State Representatives and Senators:


More information available at <>


Snowfall Totals (from KRC)

Snowfall total: 129.75"
Depth on ground: 25.0"
Snowfall total last week: 127.75"
Depth on ground last week: 25.0"
Snowfall total last year: 195"
Depth on ground last year: 32"


At Tech

WOLVES, MOOSE STRUGGLE ON ISLE ROYALE: A plague of ticks, stifling hot summers and relentless pressure from wolves have driven the moose population on Isle Royale National Park to its lowest ebb in at least 50 years. Their numbers have sunk from last year's record low of 450 down to 385, the lowest since researchers began tracking their numbers on this wilderness Lake Superior archipelago. Now in its 49th year, the project is the world's longest-running study of predator-prey relationships. "Along with this is an even more impressive decline in wolves, from 30 to 21," said Assistant Professor John Vucetich (SFRES). "The main reason is a lack of food." For wolves, that translates into a lack of moose.
More: <>


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.


TECH WINS THEATRE TECH OLYMPICS: A two-member team from Michigan Tech won a lighting instrument worth several hundred dollars at the Theatre Tech Olympics held during this year's Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival for Region III in Milwaukee. Colin Brandt and Dan Gossens defeated teams from the five-state region, including Purdue, University of Michigan, University of Illinois-Urbana, and University of Evansville. The margin of victory was 61 seconds, ten times the average for the event. The Tech Olympics consists of five timed problems prepared by faculty members to test backstage skills and ingenuity. Teams confront lights which need to be repaired, hung and focused, non-functioning sound systems and challenges involving carpentry, rigging, even costume changes, as they race against the clock. The contest favors strong across-the-board skills, something Michigan Tech students excel in, says Roger Held, chair of Visual and Performing Arts.
More: <>


Tech Sports

HOCKEY HEADED TO WCHA FINAL FIVE AFTER SERIES WIN AT COLORADO COLLEGE! Michigan Tech outlasted Colorado College, 1-0, in game three Sunday (Mar. 11) of a gruelling, three-game series to advance to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five next week. The Huskies will make their first appearance at the Final Five since 1996 as they face Wisconsin on Thursday (Mar. 15) at 7 p.m. at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
More: <>

TESLAK TURNS IN RECORD FOURTH SHUTOUT OF 2006-07: Sophomore Michael-Lee Teslak (Fernie, B.C.) compiled his fourth shutout of the season with 18 saves on Sunday (Mar. 11) to help Michigan Tech to 1-0 win in the game and 2-1 win in the WCHA first-round playoff series. Teslak started and played all three games of the series and tallied 64 saves on 67 shots (95.5 pct) during the weekend. Teslak, who is 8-2-2 in his last 12 games, has tied Jim Warden's (1974-75) school record of four shutouts in a season.

OWEN EARNS ALL-AMERICAN HONORS AGAIN! For the third straight year, Michigan Tech's Kristina Owen (East Wenatchee, Wash./Eastmont) has garnered All-American accolades. The senior finished eighth in the 15-kilometer classic race in day three of the NCAA National Collegiate Skiing Championships at Jackson, New Hampshire, last Friday (Mar. 9). Owen turned in a time of 50:20.1 to lead the crop of five Huskies at the NCAA Championships.
More: <>


Recent Results
Men's Ice Hockey (18-16-5, 11-12-5 WCHA)

3/9--#18 Michigan Tech 2, at #16 Colorado College 1, OT
3/10--at #16 Colorado College 2, #18 Michigan Tech 0
3/11--#18 Michigan Tech 1, at #16 Colorado College 0

Men's Tennis (5-7, 0-1 GLIAC)
3/9--Moravian 5, Michigan Tech 4 (at Orlando, Fla.)
3/10--Michigan Tech 7, Franklin & Marshall 2 (at Orlando, Fla.)

Women's Tennis (7-9, 4-5 GLIAC)
3/11--Radford 9, Michigan Tech 0 (at Orlando, Fla.)

Nordic Skiing
3/7-9--Michigan Tech 17th at NCAA Championships

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

Monday, March 12, 2007
Men's Tennis vs. Fairfield, 11:30 a.m. (at Orlando, Fla.)
Women's Tennis vs. Puerto Rico Rio Piedras, 12 noon (at Orlando, Fla.)
Women's Tennis vs. Wesleyan, 6:30 p.m. (at Orlando, Fla.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Men's Tennis vs. Lees-McRae, 11:30 a.m. (at Orlando, Fla.)
Men's Tennis vs. Wesleyan, 6:30 p.m. (at Orlando, Fla.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Women's Tennis at St. Leo, 3 p.m. (at Orlando, Fla.)
Men's Tennis at St. Leo, 3 p.m. (at Orlando, Fla.)

Thursday, March 15, 2007
#18 Hockey vs. Wisconsin, 7:07 p.m.
--at WCHA Final Five, St. Paul, Minn.
--Live Radio, 93.5 FM; Live TV, FSN North

Friday, March 16, 2007
#18 Hockey at WCHA Final Five, St. Paul, Minn.
--Live Radio, 93.5 FM; Live TV, FSN North

Saturday, March 17, 2007
#18 Hockey at WCHA Final Five, St. Paul, Minn.
--Live Radio, 93.5 FM; Live TV, FSN North

All Times are Eastern

Around the Keweenaw

Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

Michigan Tech MESSAGE TO LEGISLATURE: HIGH-TECH LEARNING ESSENTIAL TO GROWTH: Learning happening at Michigan Tech University is an essential part of moving Michigan toward a high-tech economy. That was a major part of the message Tech President Glenn Mroz delivered while testifying before the state House Appropriations Subcommittee for Higher Education Tuesday. "The basic message was that Michigan Tech is growing as a research university and that we have the highest proportion of grads in the state in science technology, engineering and math," Mroz said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "And that we are probably the most effective in the state at bringing technology to the marketplace in cooperation with the Smartzone here and other partners." In recent years, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and state legislators have been touting a transition from manufacturing to high-tech jobs as the solution for the state's struggling economy.
More: <>


GARTNER'S CLOTHING STORE CLOSES: Gathering around the counter on the ground floor of Gartner's Department Store in Hancock, they could be workers passing the time during a mid-afternoon break. The group of four--Julie Paulson, Dave Pleimling, April Stevens and co-owner Roberta Kahn--talk about one Easter when live rabbits were put in the windows. "I had to clean that crap out everyday," Pleimling said.

"But the kids loved it," said co-owner Roberta Kahn. They won't have another Easter to talk about. The 121-year-old department store closeed its doors on Saturday. The store was founded by father and son Jacob and Isadore Gartner, who emigrated from Germany in 1884, local historian Mac Frimodig wrote. For their first two years in the Copper Country, they had no fixed location, instead peddling their wares on foot (Jacob had a fear of horses). In 1886, they opened a permanent location on the corner of Tezcuco and Hancock streets, near the site of the current Gartner's Furniture Store, which will remain open. The business moved to its current Quincy Street location nine years later.
More: <>


STATE JOBLESS RATE DECLINES, STILL HIGHER THAN NATION: While Michigan's unemployment rate in January was the lowest monthly rate since July, the overall trend has been one of continued job losses at levels well above the national average. State officials said Wednesday that Michigan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.9 percent. That's down from 7.2 percent in December, revised from the initial figure of 7.1 percent. The state's jobless rate increased from the January 2006 rate of 6.8 percent. In the same period, the national jobless rate decreased fell from 4.7 percent to 4.6 percent. Statewide, no improvement is expected and joblessness could worsen, economists say. The nonpartisan House and Senate fiscal agencies, along with the Michigan Department of Treasury, met in January for their twice-annual revenue estimating conference and forecast an unemployment rate of 7.4 percent in 2007 and 7.7 percent in 2008.
More: <>


LICENSE FEES TO STAY PUT: Jim Hulkonen bought his annual fishing license, a deer hunting license, and a few other licenses last Thursday afternoon. He paid the same price for the licenses he did last year, a state of affairs that caused relief for many other license purchasers on the first day of sales for the 2007-2008 license cycle. "The propaganda is it is going to go up, and it didn't go up a penny," said Indian Country Sports owner Steven Koski, who sold Hulkonen his new licenses. Sportsmen had feared a substantial increase in the price of licenses this year after a work group suggested just that in a report it delivered to the Natural Resources Commission in November. State legislators balked at that proposal, which among other increases would have hiked the price state residents pay for an all-species annual fishing licenses from $28 to $40.
More: <>


From the Emailbag

Editor's Note: Your responses to the school closing issue were overwhelming. I will create a separate web page for them, but here is a smattering of what was sent.

I graduated in 1995 from Tech. My father, now deceased, recorded EVERYTHING in his journals. My mom looked back in the 1994 journals and he had written "Christine called at 1 p.m. today. They excused them from school at noon due to cold weather." That was Wednesday, January 19th, 1994. I still remember walking home with a friend whose eyelashes froze together. Now my husband (BS '93, MS '95 in EE) and I live in California so this cold weather talk is so foreign.  How soon you forget. I was raised in Gladstone so I can say I'm a full-blooded Yooper.

Christine Sigfred


Hi Dennis,
I graduated from Tech in 1980 and my husband (then fiancé) Ken graduated in 1981. Tech was closed for at least a half-day while we were there, and we think it was the winter of '79-'80, likely Jan/Feb. I remember I was at the Union studying and heard the school was closing, so I decided to head to the ME building to let Ken know. The blowing snow was so fierce that I had to head towards the EE building with closed eyes and try to gauge how long to walk before I would be blown to the ME building. Eventually I made it there, found Ken, and he walked me to my apartment on Jasper. My eyes were closed the entire way and, as I recall, they were frozen shut by the time we finally got to my apartment. My apartment was in an old house and its inadequate wall heater's pilot had blown out. Ken brought a small space heater from his room at the Sig Tau house, and I spent the rest of the day trying to keep warm and listening to people calling in to WMPL to let their families know where they were. I really got a greater appreciation for the strong sense of community in the Houghton/Hancock area that day as I listened to the station completely give itself over to helping the community deal with the blizzard. That day has stuck in my head ever since.


Michigan Tech was closed once during the early 1960's because of a storm, but I don't remember the exact year.

Pat Ochodnicky 1964


School was closed when we were all driving back from Thanksgiving break in 1985. All the roads in the U.P. were closed down, as well as the Mackinac Bridge and Michigan Tech Students had to be housed by the Red Cross. (start humming the song "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" now). I made it back just ahead of the closures but it took 23 hours from Detroit, instead of the usual 10 hours. My ride was a guy that was bringing an aquarium full of piranhas in the back seat of his car, and he didn't want the fish to die, so we stupidly forged on. My mom was really worried because the weather news was even on downstate and so she kept Calling the State Police and asking for them to look for us. A few years earlier, a woman met her maker by driving her Yugo (remember those?) off the Mackinac Bridge and no one was sure if it was an accident or not (it was later deemed a suicide) but it made us think every time you drove over it when the bridge sways in the wind.... and it sure did that day!

We stopped to get a bar somewhere north of Marquette to steady our nerves--it was the only place open and we needed to take a break from driving snow-blind for so many hours. When we rounded the bend at Keweenaw Bay, Lake Superior was washing over US 41 in waves, and we had several inches of solid ice encapsulating the vehicle instantaneously. We forged on, and made it to Houghton at 4 am. I had to get out the drivers side of the car because my side was frozen solid. The snow was so deep I had to climb on my hands and knees up to my front door, and when my roommate showed up an hour or so later, we had to dig a spot in the shoulder high snow for her car, or it would have gotten towed. The good news was that the piranhas, and my driver and I made it!

They canceled school that Monday because there weren't enough students to have school. Most were still in Red Cross shelters all over the U.P., or holed up in bars after they put their car in a snowdrift. That was the last time Michigan Tech had closed for weather, to my knowledge. Thanks for the fun memories of Thanksgiving Drive '85. There were even some commemorative T-shirts made and sold by some enterprising Michigan Tech students that year. They sold out before I got one.....

Cynthia Protas Hodges


We had a record snowfall my freshman year. The 72 Keweenawan (p. 317) has the following article under the headline "The Biggest News In The Copper Country Was The Snow": "During the 1971-72 fall, winter, and spring seasons, over 297 inches of snow fell, breaking all previous records. For the first time in over 30 years, Michigan Tech was closed for a full day on January 25th. What would we have done without "Snow Control Central."

Norm Dollhopf


Oh yes!   
I was in school from '79 and graduated in '83. In 1981, we had blizzards hit us on the weekends 3 weeks in a row. I believe we ended up one weekend (memory is shoddy on this one) with the Friday off. The second weekend, they announced the school closure on Sunday for the following Monday. The second closure I recall quite well because a few of us decided to get a barrel, and using the dog sled (for winter carny races), we went to Jims...but it was then we trekked thru town and up the hill to the convenient store (name long forgotten) where supplies were to be found....and then back thru town and to a sorority house next to campus.....all with about 3 feet of visibility....

On a different note, I work in Shanghai, China. It's an amazing experience to be wearing your Tech shirt and have so many people come up to you that graduated from there or taught there.....imagine getting your hair cut and having a lady with her sons tell you that she graduated in '82 with her husband....and then the guy sitting next to you say he graduated in '95, trading stories from our Tech days......for our company, we've got to have 10 to 15 Tech grads here alone. 

Lee Luetge
Dow Corning

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

24--Keweenaw, 40th Annual Jazz Reunion and Don Keranen Memorial Concert

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

Assistant Football Coach-Linebacker/PE Instructor, Athletic Department

Assistant to the VP for Student Affairs, Student Affairs

Facilities and Events Coordinator, Memorial Union
Full-time mid-August to mid-May, half-time mid-May to mid-August

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

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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Houghton, MI 49931-1295
(906) 487-3510