February 4, 2008
Vol. 14, No. 18

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Closing Tech and Carnival Time

Tech closed last Wednesday, and it was good thing. It was dangerous. Blowing snow, 48 mph winds, subzero temps, windchills at -34, and we closed by 6:00 a.m., which got me to thinking about our closures conversation awhile back. I found the old page we created with all the emails we had about closing Tech. This latest closing makes two in one calendar year, which is really rare.

We've been bouyed by the hockey team's performance against Colorado College and, after battling back to gain a tie Saturday night at Alaska Anchorage, we can't wait for Wisconsin to come into town for Carnival.

Speaking of which, Carnival is heating up in the frozen snow and ice. Statues are starting take shape, the weather has been cooperating, and there is already some nice detail work in evidence. Special events are taking place on campus and elsewhere, including the Dee Stadium (ice bowling and broomball featured in the slideshow above), and even some curling up in Calumet.

On the home front, we are enjoying our family being united for one more week, and we'll check out the all-nighter, skits, and some hockey before Carnival ends.

Finally, I hope you enjoy this new TechAlum. We have a new feature: Alumni Around the Country, with a photo in the slideshow above and some more information on, in this case, the Alaska get-together, below. We will continue to improve TechAlum, so please send me your feedback!

It's a great time of the year to be a Husky. I wish you were here and please stop in the Admin Building if you are ever in Houghton. We'd love to chat with you.

Dennis Walikainen '92


At Tech

Student Dies in Skiing Accident

A student at Michigan Technological University has died following an accident on Mont Ripley Ski Hill.

Robert W. Smith, 18, of Norton Shores, was skiing at about 5:30 p.m. Friday when he apparently lost control, went off the run, and hit a tree. First aid was provided by the ski patrol, which transported him down the hill. He was taken by Mercy Ambulance to Portage Health System, where he was pronounced dead. More

Frozen in Fear: Tech Heats up for Winter Carnival


Snow has never been this scary.

Student groups at Michigan Technological University have been plotting since July to build the creepiest statues ever for Winter Carnival, bringing life to the theme "Frightful Creatures with Chilling Features."

The Winter Carnival recess begins officially on Wednesday, Feb. 6, the start of the All Nighter. Students work through the night, until 8 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in a frenzyof snow-statue building. Organizations entered in the month-long statue competition will complete masterworks begun in early January, while groups entered in the one-nighter competition will spend 10 freezing hours building their snow statues from the ground up. More

Chevy Nova on Ice

Actually, it’s a Chevy Nova IN ice, or it will be when visiting artists Mary Carothers and Sue Wrbican get through with it.

With the help of growing numbers of Michigan Tech individuals and organizations—including but by no means limited to the Blue Key Honor Society, Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, campus grounds manager Andy Niemi, the Snow Research Institute, and a stalwart crew of Hancock High School industrial arts students led by Jim Stevens and Mark Koski—the artists are hard at work on the Michigan Tech campus, freezing the 1978 Nova in a solid block of ice. More

Tech Rides the Rails into the Future

The closest railroad track is a narrow-gauge loop that transports tourists around the Houghton County Historical Museum grounds in Lake Linden. But Michigan Technological University is betting on the future of rail transportation in this country and the world by establishing a Rail Transportation Program (RTP) within the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI). More

Alumni Around the Country

Anchorage Alumni Event


Fifty Michigan Tech alumni, family and friends (including several who traveled from Minnesota and Houghton) got together in the VIP Lounge at Anchorage’s Sullivan Arena on Friday night.

Husky Hockey Coach Jamie Russell spoke to the group about the program and answered questions about the team. After enjoying a pasty dinner (thanks Pasty Central!), alumni ranging from the class of 1959 to 2006 shared Tech memories before heading upstairs to watch the Huskies battle the University of Alaska Sea Dogs (BTW, what is a sea dog?) Sadly, in spite of much energetic cheering from the Tech fans, the Huskies were shut out in Game 1 (but came back to tie 2-2 in game 2.

Many thanks to volunteer Vicki Chekan ’90 who did a wonderful job of organizing the event and welcoming everyone.

View more sports >

Tech Sports

Women's Lead in GLIAC Grows


No. 23 Michigan Tech defeated Lake Superior State last Saturday (Feb. 2) to move to 10-2 atop the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women’s basketball standings. Coupled with losses by Grand Valley State, Ferris State and Northwood, Tech’s lead in the GLIAC North Division is now two full games. The Huskies have a tough week ahead with games at GVSU Thursday (Feb. 7) and FSU Saturday (Feb. 9). More

Hockey Huskies Begin Four-Game Home Stand


Michigan Tech has 10 games remaining on its 2007-08 regular season schedule. Six of those 10 will come at home including each of the next four. Tech is 5-5-1 overall and 4-3-1in WCHA games at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena this season. More

Men's Tennis Starting Up

The Michigan Tech men’s tennis team went 1-2 at the UW-Whitewater Invitational to open its 2008 spring season. The Huskies defeated Concordia and lost to Wheaton and UW-Whitewater during the weekend. Tech will have a week off before traveling to Indianapolis for more non-conference matches Feb. 15-16. More

Sports Events View Composite Schedule
At Grand Valley State Women's and Men's Basketball, 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.
Wisconsin Hockey, 7:07 p.m.
At Ferris State Women's & Men's Basketball, 1:00 & 3:00 p.m.
Wisconsin Hockey, 5:07 p.m.
Carnival Finale Women's & Men's Nordic Skiing
Saginaw Valley State Women's & Men's Basketball, 5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Northwood Women's & Men's Basketball, 1:00 & 3:00 p.m.
NCAA Central Regionals Women's & Men's Nordic Skiing

Around the Keweenaw adapted from the Daily Mining Gazette

The Iceman Cometh

Two new ice sculptures are taking shape in Houghton.

Escanaba ice sculptor Ryan Brayak and his crew began work on Friday, and are expected to complete the projects this weekend.

Around 8:30 Friday morning, work started on three ice benches outside the Hellman Transportation Center on Shelden Avenue. Today, the project expands to three cylinders in the College Avenue Park, next to the Evangel Baptist Church. More

Wind Farm Proposed

A downstate development company plans to find out how much electricity is available in the air above Stanton Township.

Traverse City, Mich.-based Heritage Sustainable Energy LLC has been securing leases from property owners along the ridge that stretches from Liminga to Oscar Bay for the purpose of developing wind generation there. More

GE Aviation holds Grand Opening


GE Aviation’s expanded facility at the Powerhouse Building in Houghton sends a message to graduates, officials said: They won’t have to choose between the area and a decent wage.

“They know when they’re done with their education they don’t have to leave to find a job,” said Hancock Mayor Barry Givens. “They can stay here, raise a family and become members of our community.”

GE Aviation celebrated its move to the Powerhouse Building in Houghton with a grand opening Monday. More

From the Email Bag

Regarding Prince's Point

Hi Dennis,
Here’s a link to a good explanation of Prince’s Point, which is the beach at the southern end of the Nara Nature Trail:

Try to stay warm!!

Best as usual,
Candy Goulette

Regarding Concerts

Hi Dennis, I, too, remember the Linda Ronstadt concert as not being to good and many people walking out after awhile, me and my date included. The next year's concert was, if my memory serves me correctly, John Denver and his concert was very good and everyone stayed to the end.

John DePuydt, '71


Dennis, I remember hearing Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, and Maynard Ferguson concerts during 1971-74, and participating in jazz band clinics with them. I was so charged up after Ferguson's concert that I had trouble sleeping that night! He was amazing!

Robert Aho '74

Regarding Snowball Fights

With regards to the snowball fight it was going strong in the early 70's. State police would wind up closing 41 for periods of time to allow waves of dorm residents to conduct major charges in one direction or the other. I don't recall any injuries but....

Martin Vonk
B.S. ChEng 1974



I lived in Wads my freshman year fall 1972 to spring 1973. I was pretty wrapped up in football and trying to stay academically eligible so unfortunately I did not have a lot of time to spend on dorm activities and was not "in the loop" on many campus traditions like the snowball fight..

I was leaving Sherman Gym after a weight-lifting session at about 9PM one late January night when I noticed a large crowd gathered outside of DHH. What I really noticed was that they were outfitted in a wide array of winter "armor"! Many wore football or hockey helmets. Others had makeshift shields made from cafeteria trays and the like. I shook my head and chuckled about another weird MTU manifestation and turned toward Wads. I proceeded to US41 and was waiting for traffic to clear so I could cross when the first volley of snowballs came flying across from behind the ramparts of snow pushed up along the highway. This drew a loud guttural exclamation not unlike a scene from "Braveheart" from the DHH horde gathered behind me. I then realized that I was caught in "no mans' land" between the warring factions!

Soon the air was filled with white, round missiles. Some of these icy orbes were obviously manufactured well in advance and engineered to cause maximum damage upon impact. I rapidly determined that discretion was the better part of valor and sprinted across the highway with the horde on my heels. My compatriots on the Wadsworth Hall side of the highway can be forgiven for mistaking me as a vanguard of the attackers. I was hit repeatedly by "friendly fire" but managed to make it in the door and up to my room on the second floor which faced US41. Just as I entered my room an errant snow bomb crashed through the window. (I did not realize that they were aiming for rooms with the lights on and everyone "in the know" was instructed to keep their lights off during the firefight). As quickly as it began, the melee ended with MTU's finest rent-a-cops assisted by Houghton Police finally clearing the DMZ formally known as US41. I recall that they had traffic backed up in both directions for more than 4 blocks.

My RA helped me and my roomate find some cardboard to patch the hole where the window used to be. For some reason, no other rooms were available that night so we turned up the heat full blast and hunkered down under extra sleeping bags. The window glass was replaced by the time I got back from class for lunch the next day.

John M. Helge


Yes I it was 1963 or 64 when I witnessed the first and may be last one. The RA's and campus bulls were ready so we let a couple of snowfalls pass and then had the fight. I think it was at this time when US41 claimed a student(hit by a car). I can not remember how serious injuries were but I think the Admin. put a halt on the activity for that reason.

Ferdinand BSFR 69


I lived in Wadsworth the winters of 65/66 and 66/67. Don't remember which year the snowball fight was.., maybe both. The building across the street was Douglass Hall then I believe. With nearly the entire student body participating (it was about 3000 students then) large snowballs were rolled out into the road, closing it off to traffic. The dorms battled each other for quite a while. There was a news report in the Mining Gazette, that I think I've lost in all my moves.... that indicated when the police responded, they were unable to exit their patrol car because the influx of iceballs was too great. Toots ruled the day!

Tom Miller
BS BusAd 1969


I first moved in to Wads in fall of 79, and I well remember the view of the intra-dorm snowball fight that erupted as the first "real" snowfall hit campus. You described it as between Wads and the Walker building, which describes the location, but the snowball fight was between Wads and DHH dorms! I think at one point, the attack turned to "Get COED!", but I'm not 100% sure. I didn't join the fray, but could watch from 3rd floor East (Oread's Paradise). The fight started small, but grew quickly, and the 'front lines' even moved back and forth across the highway, as one side or the other would gain advantage.

I don't remember the scene as much the next year (80), and that was my last year in the dorm, so I can't vouch for any other years. I hope this helps fill in some of the 'oral history'.

On an un-related note, a special request: I see by the Winter Carnival schedule that Curling is included at the CCCC. Can you point me to any coverage of the curling events? I've been to the CCCC web page, but I'm aching for more. Since the last winter olympics, I'm a new-found curling junkie, so anything you can point me to, or include in the newsletter, would be terrific. Thanks, much!

I'm in a whole new phase of MTU-nostalgia. Got a recent note on Huskylink from a dorm pal. What fun. Thanks for helping all us alums stay close to da Tech!

Kragh Hertel
BSCS, 82


As I recall the snowball figthts, they were between DHH and Wads. The Co-Ed (sorry if I'm dating myself, I don't remember what it is called now) Hall mercenaries, er I mean residents, attacked our (Wads) flank.. When Tech/Houghton law enforcement officials first received intel that the 'Tradition' was about to take place, they stationed cruisers at the entrances to Tech on US 41. To protect both cars and students, I reckon. I don't know how 'short-lived' this 'Tradition' was, but it was well established by 1972 when I started at Tech and was going strong when I left in 1978.

"And, I never did hear if Muddy Waters jammed with Tech students back in the 1970s."

Now, I'm sure this answer isn't what you're looking for, but back in the middle 70's I think there was a 'Muddy' Waters that jammed with the Tech Hockey Huskeys. I think he was Canadian and maybe played for the 1980 Canadian Olympic team? Of course, things are starting to get hazy as seen
through the mists of time.

George Teachman


I attended Michigan Tech from '77-'82 we had the snowball fights across US 41 in '77 and '78. The thing that I remember the most was a police coming down US 41 with his lights on. He would have been Okay if he would not have made two mistakes.

His first mistake was stopping his car in the middle of the fights. Yes he became the target of both sides.
Then he made his second mistake. He tried to get out of his car. :( That was not his best decision that day.

Gary Reed, '82

Alumni Dominate Snow Carving Competition

The State of Michigan Snow Carving Competition was this past week in Frankenmuth Michigan. We had a very good showing in our second year of competition.

We finished in first place in the State of Michigan division.

We are now "Team Michigan" for the 2009 National Competition in Lake Geneva Wisconsin.

Attached are a few photos & the website address for the competition results.


Ryan R. Olszowy -Mech Eng 2002
Luke Dehtiar - Enviro Eng 2004
Max Dehtiar - Chem Eng 2006

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For other off-campus jobs, go to the alumni section of the Career Center website for alumni jobs.

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