June 18, 2007 (Vol. 14, No. 3)

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:

paradeBridgefest '07

Another rite of summer passed through the Keweenaw this past weekend. Bridgefest is the annual celebration of that engineering marvel that joins Houghton and Hancock: the Portage Lake Lift Bridge.

Bridgefest is held in conjunction with the Seafood Fest, which takes place at the Houghton Beach area. The smell of lobster and shrimp was mixed with music, games, a triathlon, and other events that echoed across the Keweenaw Waterway all weekend long.

The event was kicked off by the annual parade, and I participated with the local Frisbee players who were throwing out mini-Frisbees to promote the 50th International Frisbee Tournament in two weeks.

The crowds were overwhelming. The streets were packed beginning at Franklin Square, where downtown Houghton begins, and got progressively crazier all the way to the bridge.

We threw out 1,000 mini-Frisbees and saw many people we knew, or heard our names called from the crowd. We also had t-shirts from the old teams: Library Bar, Al's Halfway, Diamond Mike's, Parkside Doughboys, and our team, Paul's Bar.

Our freebies were more popular than candy, believe it or not, and we were pretty sure all of the Keweenaw, with their children, lined the streets.

Bridgefest also serves to kick-off summer, which seems like it took forever to get here. And, when it did arrive, we were cooking in the 90s all of last week, including Friday night's parade.

We're not complaining, though. Summers seem to be getting shorter all the time, and Bridgefest is a great way to remind us how lucky we are to be up here.

At Tech

CHALLENGE X TEAM PREPARES FOR 2008: Todd Cimermancic graduates in December, and he has one regret. "I'll miss Year Four," he says. "I'm kind of disappointed to miss the grand finale." Cimermancic, a mechanical engineering technology senior, leads Michigan Tech's Challenge X team. It finished 11th this year, and while it would have been nice to win, he says, the team put in a solid showing. With major sponsorship from General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy, Challenge X is the nation's premiere collegiate motor vehicle competition. Seventeen universities from across North America were invited to improve the energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of a stock vehicle while maintaining drivability. This year, the winner was Mississippi State University.
More: <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/urel/news/media_relations/577/>


SCHOLARSHIPS SEND COMMUNICATION STUDENTS TO CONFERENCES: Michigan Tech has one of the largest scientific and technical communication (STC) undergraduate programs in the United States, as well as a rhetoric and technical communication graduate program, but Houghton's remoteness puts students at a disadvantage when it comes time to learn and network with professionals at the Society for Technical Communication's annual conference. Nancy J. Hoffman, who runs a technical communication business in Ann Arbor, visited the Houghton campus several times while she was a director-sponsor for the society covering the region that includes Michigan Tech. She also served on the Department of Humanities' STC curriculum development advisory committee. "I realized that Tech students couldn't take advantage of some of the best learning and networking opportunities--at Society for Technical Communication conferences, particularly the annual conference, which is held in cities all over the country," she said.
More: <http://www.admin.mtu.edu/urel/ttoday/previous.php?issue=20070618#1>


END OF ANNUAL GIVING YEAR FAST APPROACHING: Want your name included among this year's Michigan Tech supporters? You have until June 30 to make your gift to Tech to ensure your place on the University's annual Honor Roll of Donors. To ensure a place on this list, the Michigan Tech Fund recommends using your credit card to make a gift at this time. You can either go on line to <https://www.banweb.mtu.edu/mtu/mtf/giftform.xsql> or you can phone the Tech Fund directly at 906-487-2310. At this time, a gift sent through the mail may not make it the Fund offices by June 30 for processing. Even if you mail a check dated by June 30, your gift will not be included in the 2006-07 totals if received after this date. Web gifts can be made up until midnight on June 30 and will be counted as a 2006-07 gift.

Tech Sports

HAUSWIRTH TO JOIN MICHIGAN TECH HOCKEY TEAM--Forward One of Three Recruits Slated to Play for Huskies Beginning in 2008-09: The Michigan Tech hockey program has announced the signing of Jake Hauswirth (Merrill, Wis.) to a National Letter of Intent (NLI) for the 2008-09 season. Hauswirth, a 6-4, 205-pound center, registered 21-19--40 points in 58 overall games with the Marquette Rangers of the North America Hockey League (NAHL) during the 2006-07 slate. The owner of five power-play goals and four game-winning markers, Hauswirth accrued 76 penalty minutes in his lone year with the Rangers. He gained NAHL Player of the Week accolades Mar. 5 after scoring two goals and four assists in a three-game stretch against Mahoning Valley.
More: <http://www.athletics.mtu.edu/news.php?source2=news&source=0706130318mho.txt&PHPSESSID=c70bc5cff7b151e6210faa467a4168f0>


Around the Keweenaw

Adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

ANOTHER SIDE OF EDUCATION: In a basement corner of Wadsworth Hall on the Michigan Tech campus, a radio station is quietly tucked away. If not for the neon blue and green WMichigan Tech logo in the window, perhaps it would be unnoticed. Walking through the door, the beat and melodies of music broadcasting live over the air surround the station's occupants. Many students have walked through that door, and today the station is the largest student organization at Michigan Tech, said Kevin Smith, WMichigan Tech's general manager. Completely student run, the station offers different departments with positions for students to fill and learn from. Departments include business, public relations, computers and broadcasting.
More: <http://www.mininggazette.com/stories/articles.asp?articleID=7396>


GREAT LAKES SHOW IMPROVEMENT, BUT CONCERNS REMAIN: The health of the Great Lakes ecosystem is improving in some ways, but population growth, climate change and invasive species continue to raise troubling concerns about the future of the waters, according to a new report by Environment Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The report diagnoses the Great Lakes' well being as ''mixed,'' said Environment Canada's Nancy Stadler-Salt. While the Great Lakes continue to be a good source for treated drinking water, and levels of toxic chemicals have been significantly reduced over the last 30 years, there are some problems that can't be fixed, she said. The report lists invasive or non-native species among the major threats to the biodiversity and natural resources of the Great Lakes region, second only to habitat destruction.
More: <http://www.mininggazette.com/stories/articles.asp?articleID=7456>


GRASSROOTS EFFORT TO SAVE QUINCY SMELTER BEGINS: Eyesore. Blight on the landscape. An unsafe, broken-down pile of rusty junk. All of these descriptions have been used to describe the site of the former Quincy Smelter, and all of them make Mary Sears sad and angry. "I don't understand people who don't see its potential for tourism, not to mention the important link it is to our past," said Sears, who is spearheading a grassroots effort to preserve the smelter complex. Described by Michigan Tech University industrial archeology experts as "perhaps the most complete example of its type and age in the world," the smelting works ceased operation in 1971. Since then, the site's structures have spent decades marked by neglect and vandalism. In the late 1980s, the smelter complex was designated as an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site, thwarting efforts by Keweenaw National Historical Park to preserve it, as legislation prohibits the National Park Service from owning contaminated property.
More: <http://www.mininggazette.com/stories/articles.asp?articleID=7413>


HOUGHTON FAÇADE WORK TO START SOON: Bids have been tabulated for a collection of downtown facade grants, Houghton City Manager Scott MacInnes said Wednesday. "We hope within two weeks, we'd be starting construction on some of these projects," he said at the city's regular City Council meeting. The city received $160,668 from the state in Downtown Facade Improvement Initiative funding. The downtown businesses will contribute a total of $209,188. The businesses' facades are being renovated for a more historical look. Vintage photographs were used as reference points in determining the work. The six sites are: Suomi Restaurant, 54 Huron St.; Coon's Alignment & Repair, 401 Shelden Ave.; H&R Block (John Lewis building), 323 Shelden Ave.; Scott Ala's building, 317 Shelden Ave.; the Bezotte Building, 506 Shelden Ave.; and Pizza Works (Briggs Building), 414 Shelden Ave.
More: <http://www.mininggazette.com/stories/articles.asp?articleID=7446>

From the Emailbag

Regarding Chuck's Bar (AKA Spanky's and Diamond Mike's):

I turned 21 in December 1968 and don't remember Chuck's Bar at all. However, I remember dropping in at the Isle Royale bar in what sounds like the same place in the spring of 1969. It was quite the place with knotty pine walls and linoleum floor. Sort of hunting lodge decor. During the summer of 1969 Don Kratt purchased the Isle Royale and turned it into Spanky's, which turned into one of my many hangouts downtown. It had a cocktail lounge atmosphere with carpeting, dark walls, and Don's fantastic stereo system providing music.

George Wright '70


And, more on the Pizzeria (across from Diamond Mike's):

I spoke with Rich Koskela last night. He said his dad bought the Pizzeria in 1968... and sold it sometime after we moved out of the apartment in 1978. Rich said surprisingly his sister is the pizza lady at the Union.

I can remember many a cold winter night (which was almost the whole year, that we would run across the street with coats to get to Diamond Mikes, to play foosball and drink. And let's not forget Al's Halfway Bar. I always thought it meant once you got there you were 1/2 way home... owned by the Doll family... and who can forget it's during Friday happy hour with it's 25 cent pitchers of beer, and with a band playing.

And what about the Foosball league, where most bars had a team, and playing matches at different bars around the area, just like a pool league.

The best of times.

Skip Thomasser, 78


Dennis, can someone recall the names of 2 bars from the 70's.  One was downtown, about across from the Lode Theater, maybe a block further down.  The other was on old M-26 in Atlantic Mine, just south of the bypass.  They were favorites when I was at Michigan Tech.

George Hermanson 73/75

George: I think Jerry's and then the Longshot were downtown, and Al's Halfway (mentioned above) was the other.


Regarding Pat Nugent's note on photovoltaics: We have two professors in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering who touch on that subject area, but no research of note is happening on campus at this time.


Editor's note: We are redoing this email, since the link was wrong last week:

This is my late springtime email to request posting in the Alum News. And to remind Michigan Tech Alumni that our summer cottage on Lake Roland near Twin Lakes State Park in Houghton County is available again this summer. Available after the July 4th week starting on July 7th.  

Check out details at <http://hd4l.com/cottage/>

Please contact us for weeks that are open in July and August and September.  Some of August is already taken by Alum that have stayed at our place in the past.

As an FYI, Some details are not up to date on the website since we are doing (and already have done) a good bit of remodel and interior updating. We can provide those interested that information as needed.

Thanks for posting once again.

Bill Savela, P.E.
Michigan Tech BSEE, MSBA


I enjoy reading the alumni news. Now that its summer and because I played fast-pitch softball for Tech I wondered if under the sports section if you could note the results and comment a little on that sport. I'm sure many alums don't know this sport exists for the students. It may not exist anymore. If you can fit something in on this it would be enjoyable to read and may interest a few readers.


Marc D. Point, PE

Marc: I am sorry to say that men's fast-pitch softball has died out locally. It was becoming impossible to find pitchers, I was told. Women still play, however, and American Legion baseball and men's slow-pitch softball are thriving.


Alumni Association Programs


13, Saginaw, Annual Golf Outing at the Sawmill

2-4, Houghton, Alumni Reunion

Job Opportunities This Week

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

Director, New Media, University Marketing & Communications
(Revised and Reposted)


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


Michigan Tech is on the web at <http://www.mtu.edu>. 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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