October 6, 2008
Vol. 15, No.3
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Hobo Daze

shelden ave.

The view down Shelden Avenue from the Lambda Chi boat float.

As the homecoming floats were lined up under the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, students were milling around, checking out their hobo costumes and floats. All at once, a cacophony of noise erupted as all the vehicles that were able to run were started.

A mix of diesel and oil-burning gas engine odors inundated the cool autumn air, and we were off.

The Lambda Chis were nice enough to let me hitch a ride on their float as we chugged, or sailed, up from the bridge and the wrong way down Shelden Avenue toward campus.

We "sailed" because their float was a boat fit over a car, named the "SS Doc Berry," and it should have been awarded for its inventive engineering. An alum who drove the boat up from downstate said they customized it "with many different types of saws" removing its bottom to place it over the car.

The Delta Zeta women were riding and walking with us and were serenaded off and on by the Theta Taus, who were behind us in a customized dump truck. The Beta Sigs had a nice van, and some cars were so customized that they never made it out of their front yards on College Avenue!

As the parade continued on toward the pep rally and cardboard boat races, I bailed out. Safely on land, I was off to an Ambassador pizza, leaving the rest of the celebration to those younger Huskies.

Dennis '92

Editor's Note: We had Pep Band member and student writer Mark Blehm give us his thoughts on his last Homecoming. It is long, but worth the read!


5:05 – I've arrived at the Ambassador, and am checking out the costumes my fellow Pep Band members have devised this year.

Read more.



"Nearly peak," he said.

You said this would be the peak weekend.

"You have a good memory."

Maybe next weekend?

"Yep. I was a little off, so shoot me."

No, I'll just take the camera and shoot the trees.


At Tech

State Authorizes $25 Million for Great Lakes Research Lab

Michigan Tech has long been a leader in research related to the Great Lakes. Now that research is going to have a new home, on the campus waterfront. Today, Lt. Governor John Cherry, acting for Governor Jennifer Granholm, signed a capital outlay bill authorizing Michigan Technological University to spend $25 million to build a Great Lakes research center along the Portage Canal on the University's campus. More

Board Gives President Mroz Vote of Confidence

In a closed session at its regular meeting Thursday, the Michigan Tech Board of Control approved a 3.47 percent salary increase for University President Glenn D. Mroz. The action followed a periodic performance evaluation. "Michigan Tech continues to make excellent progress under Glenn's leadership," said Board of Control Chair Russell A. Gronevelt. "The Board of Control is pleased to acknowledge his performance with this increase." The $9,000 increase brings the President’s annual salary to $269,000.

Campaign Chair Dave House Gives Michigan Tech $10 Million, Largest Gift Ever

Michigan Tech alumnus Dave House has made a $10 million pledge to the University's national campaign, Michigan Tech Fund Chairman George Butvilas told the University's Board of Control at its regular meeting on campus today. With most of the contribution to come during House's lifetime, including two endowed professorships established recently, it is the largest outright gift that Michigan Tech has ever received. More

Rocking the Vote

Today is the last day to register to vote in Michigan for the Nov. 4 general election and a group of Michigan Tech students (including your TechAlum editor's son) are working hard to make sure no student gets left behind. Armed with voter registration forms from Michigan and surrounding states, members of the non-partisan Rock the Vote 2008 group have been registering students in their dorms, after class and at campus events. The group then mails or delivers the forms to the proper Secretary of State office or clerk's office. Rock the Vote Secretary Jeremy Sandrik said his group has registered approximately 300 people this semester. He said a traveling Secretary of State mobile registration trailer visited campus in September and registered 200 people. "Overall, we've been pretty successful," he said. More

Mroz Discusses Enrollment, Research, Finance and More at Forum

President Glenn Mroz reviewed a variety of University metrics and accomplishments Thursday at an open forum for the Michigan Tech community. He discussed enrollment, which has risen to over 7,000. "This is the largest incoming class since 1983, and it's happened while maintaining quality," Mroz said, noting that ACT scores remained at the same level as they were in 2007. In addition, the average freshman is in the 76.8 percentile of their high school graduating class, an increase of 2.6 points over the last two years. More

Alumni Around the World

Looking for Outstanding Alumni and Friends!

The Michigan Tech Alumni Association supports a wide range of award programs to recognize the many outstanding achievements of alumni and friends. Consider nominating a deserving individual for one of the following awards:

Outstanding Service Award: presented to alumni and friends making significant contributions to the success of the Alumni Association and/or the University.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award: presented to alumni under the age of 35 who have distinguished themselves in their careers. The award recognizes the achievement of a position or some distinction noteworthy for one so recently graduated.

Distinguished Alumni Award: presented to alumni who have made outstanding contributions both in their careers and to Michigan Tech over a number of years.

Honorary Alumni Award: honors individuals who have provided service and support of the University characteristic of a dedicated alumnus or alumna. The Association reserves this award to recognize the strongest non-alumni supporters of Michigan Tech.

Help us recognize the many outstanding accomplishments and contributions of our alumni and friends! The deadline for nominations is January 1. Award recipients are selected at the Association’s Winter Carnival meeting each year and presented at the August Alumni Reunion.

For more information on the awards, past recipients and the nominating process, see www.alumni.mtu.edu/awards or contact the Office of Alumni Relations at alumni@mtu.edu 906-487-2400.


Fill in the Blanks

Sig Eps
Maybe you were with the Sig Eps when they had a little smoke problem? Email me.

Fill in the Blanks: II

SAE cars
Were you in this pyramid in 1998 (we think). Email me.
View more sports >

Tech Sports

Huskies Bite Bulldogs for Homecoming Win


Phil Milbrath rushed for a career-high 202 yards and Michigan Tech’s defense came oh-so-close to a shutout in a 21-7 Homecoming win over No. 25 Ferris State at Sherman Field this afternoon. The seventh-largest crowd in school history of 2,989 saw the Huskies outgain the Bulldogs 389-240 in total yards to improve to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Tech held possession of the ball for more than 37 of the game’s 60 minutes. Nearly 10 minutes of that possession time came during the only scoring drive of the first half. The Black and Gold started on their 14 yard line and ran off 18 plays before Milbrath tallied his 13th touchdown of the season on a six-yard run. More

Toronto Defeats Hockey Huskies 3-1

The Michigan Tech hockey team out shot the University of Toronto 41-16 but gave up three power play goals to lose 3-1 in an exhibition game Saturday (Oct. 4) at the newly renovated John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The Varsity Blues finished the game three for seven on the power play while the Huskies were scoreless on their 12 chances. More

Women's Tennis Sweep Weekend Matches

Silvia Oliveros

Three-set wins at three of the six singles flights helped Michigan Tech to a 6-3 win in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women’s match action at Gates Tennis Center today. The match took five hours, 38 minutes to complete, and ended with the Huskies gaining their third win of the season. Tech led, 2-1, after doubles thanks to an 8-5 win at No. 2 and a 9-8 (4) triumph at No. 1. More

Women's Volleyball Huskies Roll Past Dragons, 3-0

The Michigan Tech volleyball team extended its winning streak to five matches after defeating Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference newcomer Tiffin, 3-0, Friday (Oct. 3). The Huskies (12-5, 7-2) hit .214 in the match compared to just .130 by the Dragons (10-8, 1-7). The Huskies won the first two sets (25-15, 25-23) and then rallied from a 14-20 deficit in the third set to claim a 25-23 win and the match. More

Around the Keweenaw

Driver in Fatal Accident Identified

Police believe they have identified the driver in an apparent hit-and-run accident in Chassell Township Sunday that killed a 2-year-old boy. Michigan State Police Sgt. Tom Rajala said the probable driver, an elderly male, came forward to police on Thursday after reading an article about the search for the driver. The driver is believed to have hit Dylan DeForge, around 9 p.m. Sunday on U.S. 41 near Massie Road, north of Chassell. DeForge died later that night at Portage Health. More

Keweenaw County on the Web

Keweenaw County now has a virtual presence online. The county's new Web site can be found at keweenawcountyonline.org. The site features an overview of the county, offices and department listings, contact information for commissioners and committee members and township officials. Meeting minutes and schedules are also listed, making the site a valuable asset for local residents, said Janet Shea. More

Trail Back to Court

orv trail

The Michigan Attorney General's office says it plans to file a motion with the Houghton County Circuit Court today for a show cause hearing regarding the barricades on the former Soo Line railroad grade between Houghton and Chassell put in place by landowners. "(We are) making a motion for the court to compel the defendants to appear and make them explain why essentially they're in contempt," Michigan Attorney General's Office Spokesperson John Sellek said. More

Houghton Council Discusses Signs

Sarah Cheney of Houghton had written to the Council asking them to address the ordinance, which prohibits the display of political campaign signs more than 30 days before an election. While cities can limit the location and size of signs, they can't limit time, Cheney said. City Manager Scott MacInnes told her the city was in the process of reviewing the ordinance and working on an amendment. "I'm glad to know that you're taking this issue seriously, and helping Houghton City members express their voices ..." Cheney said. More

From the Email Bag

Fill in the Blanks: The Krackerbarrel


The Krackerbarrel sure did serve pizza. I believe it opened in about 1962 and was one of the few places in town which served pizza. There was Gino's’s in Hancock and also the Venice Café. Later the Ambassador started serving pizza. The Krackerbarrel was right behind the Union and the pizza was carryout.

Ken Kok, ‘64


Long before it was the 'Krackerbarrel" it was originally
Vivians' store which was a neighborhood grocery store
owned by Charles (I believe) Vivian who lived on the
east side of Clark St. one house "up" from Houghton Ave. The store faced Houghton Ave and was at the bottom of Blanche St. Right across the street was a soda fountain known as George's or the Miners Hangout. It was where MUB sits today.

Douglass Seeber '54


I remember the store well. I lived up the hill on the top of Hubbell St.and would stop there to stock up on treats. I recall they served soft serve ice cream there - that was a real treat. I believe it was owned by the Johnson family. Their daughter, Ramona, went to Houghton High School with me.

Thanks for the memory!
Mary (Beeby) Eastman


Re: Krackerbarrel

Was owned by a Johnson (his son graduated from Tech). Was Babe's Market prior to that; don't
have enough time here to tell the stories about that!

Mike '68


The Krackerbarrel was located just across the street from the Memorial Union.

When I arrived here in 1977 it was my daily 10 AM stop for the Chicago tribune.

Before Al Gore invented the internet, it was my only way to keep up on sports from back home,
being stuck here in Packer, Lion, Tiger and Brewer land. ;-)

Bob Gilreath 1981


Sure. I remember the krackerbarrel. I used to buy the Chicago Tribune there if I remember correctly. I went to Tech from 69-73. I wasn't sure anything was operating in there by the time I graduated? Wasn't right behind the Student Memorial bldg.

Tom Permoda


I believe I do remember the Krackerbarrel, if it was on E Houghton Ave (I had a room at 1517 E Houghton Ave).

My recollection is that they sold terrible warmed-up frozen pizzas to take-out. My friends and I went there, though, for small cans of sauerkraut juice (UGH!). It was kind of a manly challenge to drink the stuff.

I also remember that when the street was covered with packed snow (a lot of the time), I would drive my ’36 Chevy, packed with said friends, over to the Krackerbarrel. I’d come along on the opposite side of the street, gas it, and do a sliding U-turn up to the curb in front of the store. I don’t know why, but the proprietor never complained, although it must have looked like we were coming in through the front window.

Denis Hayner
BSME 1961


Gone - but not before the record 78-79 snowfall year. they always had the totals on the front window of the Krackerbarrel - we could watch it from the Union. Sure missed it - and almost jumped into the demolition residue and stole the Mountain Dew sign, under tons of rubble. And to quote Joan Baez - "....then they put up a parking lot".

Mike Wank

Fill in the Blanks: SAE Teams

SAE cars

I recognize a few of these guys from when I worked on Future Car.

The red coat in front I believe is Jamie Roell

The green shirt behind the passenger door of the Future Car is Aaron Thul

The maroon shirt to the right of the Future Car is Matt Hortop

The white shirt behind Matt Hortop is Lauren ??.

Jon Schewe


Hi Dennis,
I can't exactly pinpoint the year but judging by some of the faces in the picture either 1999 or 2000. My first guess was 2000. MTU's spring of 1997 entry for the Formula SAE competition is car shown in the lower right. I don't recall why the '99 or '98 cars would not have been used for the photo. The photo was taken outside the Swift Building on the Houghton waterfront downtown which was used as the SAE shop from spring of 1998 through my stay at MTU. I believe the University lease ran out in the 2002 timeframe. I understand the building is now a private residence. As a 4 year member of Formula Car team, I recognize all the faces but unfortunately don't remember all the names:

Aaron Thul: Future Car passenger door with green t-shirt
Brandon Bloss: Future Car passenger door with grey sweat shirt
Matt Hortop: Future Car drivers door with brown sweat shirt
Lauren Devries (sp?): Future Car drivers door with grey t-shirt just behind Matt
Alex Macdonald: just behind Formula Car in grey t-shirt with arms folded
Nate Palmiter: next to Alex in blue coat and hat
Dennis Ward: next to Formula Car with white t-shirt and arms folded in front
I'm standing next to Alex in the grey t-shirt.

Daryl D'Andrea
BSME '01

Chemistry Industry Needs Engineers

Hi Dennis,
I found this item interesting from the daily executive briefing we get here at SME. The folks in the Chemistry and Chem Engg depts. probably are way ahead of the curve on this—because they are at Michigan Tech after all—but I wondered if you could pass it on to those dept. chairs. Thanks!
On another note, I will be visiting in Hancock later this week and plan to come by the campus on Friday to say hello to some ME professors I know. Where do you hang your hat, if I have time to stop in and say hi?


Editor's Note: Ellen did indeed stop by and we had a nice chat. She's related to former Hancock High principal Sylvia Eskola. (Carnival skits used to be held in the Eskola Auditorium in Hancock.) And, for the record, I am in G20 Admin. Bldg. and would love to see alums when they come up to visit.

Chemical industry lacks eco-trained engineers.

The Los Angeles Times (9/19, Cone) reports that "no university in the United States teaches basic toxicology or other environmental sciences to students studying for a traditional chemistry degree, even a doctorate. Chemistry textbooks are devoid of any mention too." John Warner, president of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry said that, "until chemists understand toxicology and related environmental sciences, then the new molecules they create may become our new environmental problems." According to a 2005 National Academy of Sciences report, "inadequate education and training of chemists" are to blame "as a major reason for the chemical industry's lack of emphasis on developing environmentally friendly compounds. A new educational agenda is 'the fundamental grand challenge' in making safer chemicals, the report said."

In a related article, the Los Angeles Times (9/19, Cone) notes that "most industries remain dependent on hazardous substances." Many issues, "including insufficient investment and lack of training, keep chemists from embracing green chemistry and designing safer substitutes for the vast majority of compounds in use today."

However, another Los Angeles Times (9/19) article points out that, "from giant pharmaceutical manufacturers to small 'designer' chemical companies, U.S. businesses are inventing ways to make environmentally safe products." The article offers "a sampling of the 62 winners of national green chemistry awards issued by the Environmental Protection Agency since 1996."

Forest Resources and Environmental Science on ESPN

I see that Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences are on ESPN!
- Colin


Passed along by Maria Janowiak . . . http://sports.espn.go.com/outdoors/timbersports/news/story?id=3592705


Football, Working at Tech, etc.

It was really entertaining, not only to see Tech playing football on TV, but to see them romp over Northern was especially rewarding. To think that this program was almost extinct just a few years ago (well, maybe more than a few, time flies whether you're having fun or not) makes it all the more amazing. Is hockey next on the agenda?

As for working while at Tech, I didn't have any consistent jobs, except for a stint in the old Mechanical shops building, which probably had a name, but I don't remember it. I can't even recall what I was doing there, but most likely cleaning up or something of that nature. I did a number of odd jobs from time to time, one of which was helping to unload a box car full of bags of cement for Matilla Contracting down near Dee stadium. Trains still operated on the track along the lakefront at that time, which tells you how old I am. I was a little stronger in those days, now, just picking up an empty bag might be a challenge.

I bussed tables in the dining room at the Dog House a couple of times. Since I was there a lot anyway it was a natural fit. During the Houghton Centennial I stayed up all night and guarded a concession stand near what used to be Andy's restaurant on Shelden Ave. None of this would qualify as working your way through college, of course. The people who actually did so are to be greatly admired. Getting through school was tough enough without working also.

My wife and I were in Houghton in July for her 50th High School reunion (Houghton High). Most of the activities took place at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, which is really a nice facility. I got to meet a lot of great people, as diverse a group of personalities and personal histories as one could hope for. Most everyone has a nickname, such as "Beaver" or "Fuzzy" or "Hindu". Any discussion amongst the local populace is loaded with similar references. That seems to be a more than common characteristic of Copper Country folks, as if their given names didn't quite identify them, or else it was a device to keep them humble. Unfortunately, we had to return home before the Tech reunion and so we missed out on the chance to participate in any of those events. Just being in the Copper Country is a real treat any time we can get there.

I do remember the Cracker Barrel, although I don't recall ever actually going in the store. Maybe if I had, they would still be in business.

David Elack '60
Overgaard, AZ

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Complete Job Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

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