December 1, 2008
Vol. 15, No.7
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Thanksgiving Memories
(Including the Drive Home and Back)

We always host Thanksgiving dinner at our house, and this year was the smallest yet. We could all fit around one table, when in the past we had a hard time squeezing around two. Our children were together out east, however, and we connected to them and other missing relatives via webcams. The grandparents couldn't believe the technology.

We told the old stories from both peninsulas: Thanksgiving day snowstorms and wild rides in the UP; Lions football games at Tiger Stadium and the Hudson's parade downstate.

But, at the same time our dinner has shrunk, we had another addition to our family. A great nephew was born in Arizona over the weekend, and we were able to see the photos over the Internet, sharing the excitement with the new grandmother, who was seeing the photos for the first time.

Maybe someday these new family members can start their own traditions while telling the old stories.

And back on campus, we await the influx of students coming back to begin that final push of fall semester. They had to deal with some treacherous roads on the way home, and we hope they all get back safely.

I'd love to hear of your Thanksgiving drives back and forth to Houghton, too.

(I remember getting around Keweenaw Bay with the help of a Baraga County snowplow. Couldn't have made it without him.)

Dennis '92

Snowfall Totals
Total 17"
On Ground 6"

Last Week
Total 6"
On Ground 2.5"

Last Year
Total 27.25"
On Ground 18"


At Tech


As we approach the end of the 2008 calendar year, we want to take a moment to remind our alumni and friends that it's not too late to make an annual contribution in support of Michigan Tech - and still receive a 2008 tax deduction.

You can phone the Tech Fund offices at 906-487-2310 or toll free at 877-386-3688 to make your gift with a credit card. You also have the option of making your credit card gift through our secure online gift site by going to These online gifts can be made up until 11:55 (EST) on December 31.

The Michigan Tech Fund offices will be closed on December 24 and 25, but will reopen on December 26, 29 and 30 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. On Wednesday, December 31 the office will be staffed from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm.

Michigan Tech Receives $1.5 Million Grant
for Developing Flex-Fuel Hybrid Technologies

The Michigan Public Service Commission has awarded a team of Michigan Technological University researchers $1.5 million to develop technologies for flex-fuel hybrid vehicles. The grant builds on over $1 million in support from General Motors, Sensors Inc. of Saline, Argonne National Laboratory's Transportation Technology R&D Center and Michigan Tech. More

Learning from Worms: Forestry Researchers
Build New Underground Lab at Michigan Tech

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, and in their new "mesocosm," Michigan Technological University faculty, students and US Forest Service scientists can monitor their impact on a simulated forest floor under different conditions. The mesocosm is that construction project you may have noticed next to the USDA Forest Service Forestry Sciences Lab, just above the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science off MacInnes Drive at Michigan Tech. It's the only one of its kind for northern forest research and one of very few anywhere in the country. More

Chrysler Foundation Gives Michigan Tech $118,000

The Chrysler Foundation has approved three grants to Michigan Tech totaling $118,000. Part of the foundation's Aid to Higher Education program, the awards include an engineering grant for $110,000, a grant of $3,000 to the Society of Women Engineers and a $5,000 grant to the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. The engineering grant includes support for the YES! Expo (Youth in Engineering and Science), the Advanced Motorsports Enterprise, the Alternative Energy Research Building, the PrISM Enterprise, the University Career Center, the Society of Automotive Engineers, the Chrysler Opportunity Scholarship and the Chrysler Fellowship.

Fill in the Blanks


Remember when the Dow Atrium was new? We think this was 2000. Recognize anyone? Email me.

Fill in the Blanks: II

old campus photo

Remember when the road went through campus? Isn't that a '68 Camaro in the background? This was from the late 1960s, we believe. Email me.

View more sports >

Tech Sports

Bowe and Holt Push Tech to 81-58 Win Over Finlandia

Michigan Tech received big games from Fedrick Bowe and Georgio Holt to defeat Finlandia 81-58 today at the SDC Gym. Bowe tallied career- and game-highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds while Holt added a career-best 17 points to help the Huskies move to 3-2 on the season. Four 3-pointers by Holt in the first six and a half minutes helped the Huskies jump out to a double-digit lead. The hosts expanded the margin to as many as 18 before the Lions battled back to within seven at the 2:15 mark of the half. Thanks to a layup and dunk by Bowe in the final 90 seconds of the half, Tech entered the locker room up 36-23. More

Hockey Huskies Lose to Bemidji State

Tyler Scofield scored a pair of goals to lead the Bemidji State hockey team to a 2-1 win over Michigan Tech tonight. The Huskies finished with a 79 to 32 advantage in total shots attempted in the game. The Beavers improve to 5-7-0 overall and the Huskies are 2-11-1. “Similar to Friday night we controlled the play territorially and possession wise,” said head coach Jamie Russell. "We need to find a way to win the game on the scoreboard." More

Keith White Named to Academic All-American First Team


Academic All-American Keith White.

Michigan Tech football student-athlete Keith White has been named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America College Division First Team it was announced today by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The senior is the Huskies’ first Academic All-American in football since Joe Berger was a first team pick in 2004. White, with a 3.97 grade point average in mechanical engineering, was one of only two wide receivers selected to the College Division First Team. The College Division includes all football players nationwide in NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA. More

Volleyball Has Two Players Named to All-Region Team

Michigan Tech had two players named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Midwest Region team. Senior Jen Jung was named a first-team selection and junior Veronica Armstrong was an honorable mention selection. With her region honor, Jung will be placed on the ballot for AVCA All-American honors. "This is a great honor for these two woman," said head coach Krista Mikesch. "They have both been a very important part of our program." More

Around the Keweenaw

Black Friday in the Keweenaw

The term Black Friday may have an ominous sound, but the day after Thanksgiving is the day many retailers anxiously hope will put them "in the black" revenue-wise. Danielle Ventre-Olson, manager of the JCPenney store in the Copper Country Mall, said the store opened at 4 a.m. today, although the place was crowded early, by 5 a.m., the pace had slowed down quite a bit, and by 6 a.m. the pace was picking up again. More

DNR Working on Chassell Trail


It's been a few years, but Michigan Department of Natural Resources personnel have resumed a project halted by litigation over access to a stretch of the former Soo Line railroad grade between Houghton and Chassell. The DNR and a professional surveyor worked on the trail Monday, DNR Spokesperson Mary Detloff said. More

Life During Streetscaping

Houghton City Manager Scott MacInnes discussed the tentative plans for next year's downtown streetscape project during a meeting of the Downtown Merchants Association Thursday night. Final designs are expected to be completed for the nearly $5 million project by the start of the year. Bid-letting is expected to occur in April, clearing the way for construction work to begin in May. MacInnes said the work was unlikely to be completed "before deer hunting season." More

Temporary Shutdown at Smurfit-Stone

Smurfit-Stone Container's Ontonagon paper mill will cease production from now through the end of the year, a company official said. Company Spokesperson Mike Mullin said the mill is taking market-related down time that will impact about 150 employees. He declined to give further information. State Rep. Mike Lahti, D-Hancock, said his office has been in contact with Smurfit-Stone and blamed the closing on national and international economic troubles. He said he expects the plant to reopen at the first of the year. More

From the Email Bag

Fill in the Blanks I: In the Pool


This is the Jazz Lab Band PR photo from circa 1998-9 taken in the old Walker pool, which is now blocked off. A much younger me appears in the left part of the photo.

This was a terrific band! Great players, hard workers, AND a lot of fun!

Hope this is helpful!

Mike Irish
Director of Jazz Studies


This WAS at the bottom of the old pool... Unfortunately, and for the life of me, I cannot remember even what building the old pool resides in!!!! Regardless, I am the trombone player sitting down at dead-center of the picture Why we took it? ... Because we could!

Guy LaRouche - 2000 BS in ChE - '96-'00 MTU Jazz Lab Band


Hi Dennis,

I remember this photo shoot, but never saw the results of it! This is the Jazz Lab Band circa 1998/99, taken in the old pool which still exists in the basement of the Walker Center. You can see director Mike Irish standing, second from the left, me with the trombone in the door, Guy LaRouche sitting in the middle with the trombone, Mark Reichardt behind him in plaid with the trumpet, and Gus Sandberg on the far right with the tenor sax. I can't identify or remember the rest off-hand. I also don't recall what was the occasion for the photo shoot, nor why this location, of all places, was chosen!

Philip Wells (2000)


Dennis, I'm betting that shot was taken in the old pool under the offices on the south side
of Walker. Or what was known as Sherman GYM when I first arrived here. The door was cut in
to allow access. Yes the Pool is still there.

Bob Gilreath



I am pretty sure that this is the bottom of the old pool in Walker.

Dustin Sommer
Broomball Chair
B.S. Civil Engineering



I'm not sure what that is, but I recognize a few people:

The two trombones on the ground are Mike Campbell (foreground) and Guy LaRouche (in the Tech sweatshirt). That's also Mike Irish, Assoc. Professor of Fine Arts, standing second from the left in the back row, which probably makes this a Jazz Lab Band or Jazz R&D Band event. I'm guessing this is like Circa 1996 or so. Might want to check with him.

Kevin Britton


…if you know the right doors, I think you can still find the bottom of the pool that used to be in Walker Arts and Humanities when it was Walker gym. It could have been there.

Scott Gishia

Editor's Note: I should have known better! I think I'll take a trip to the Walker building this week and look for the pool!

Fill in the Blanks II: Pre-Zamboni


don't remember the "beast" pictured but I do remember a tank of hot water that was mounted on 2 bicycle-type wheels and pushed or pulled with great effort by a student(?) on skates. The water was fed into a carpet-like drag that flooded the ice as it went. Before the "flooding", the surface was cleared of loose ice debris by a gang of students with push shovels. This was probably the winter of '52-'53.

Jim Grubb, '56


When I first arrived at da' Tech in September, '57, Dee ice, as I recall, was resurfaced in between periods by "rink-rats" using shovels to remove the loose cuttings from the previous period of hockey. This was followed by a small, hand-pushed Zamboni-like resurfacing unit to apply the water for the fresh ice surface.

The '58/59 season, or maybe the following year, was when the Dee got its first true Zamboni.

Frank Shoffner


old zamboniDennis:
What a great picture, I appreciate your help in locating it. However, it’s not at all like the little machines Tech used during my stays there, ‘59-‘63 & ‘66-‘67.

A friend and former Tech roommate, Ray Schultz, did find a picture of one used in Detroit’s Olympia Stadium that is almost identical to the ones I remember from Tech. I’ll attach a picture. Tech’s machines weren’t quite as “modern” and “aerodynamic” looking as those from Olympia. Instead of that nice round water container Tech’s had what were obviously home made square, metal boxes. The rest looks pretty much the same.

Thanks again and best regards from NM,
Dick Kuenzer EE

Dick and all: Thanks for the responses. I do remember the rink rats with the shovels. Also, there used to be three outdoor rinks in Hancock, and I did a little flooding and scraping back in the day at the Terrace in the east end.

Michigan and the Big Three

Dear Mr. Walikainen:
I understand that, politically, Dr. Mroz must support Michigan industry but I believe that GM needs more drastic surgery than the article implied. My first job (for 3 years) starting 1977 was with GM. I was disappointed with GM then and now.

I heard Mr. Honda spoke at a MTU graduation ceremony. Raffling the Honda 350 motorcycle created quite a memory. I still remember Mr. Honda's humility and his speech about car design. As an engineer I was impressed then (enough to start my career in the car industry).

I'm even more impressed with Honda engineering now. I've driven my last 2 Civic's have a total of 543,000 breakdown-free miles, averaged 37 MPG, and performed no major repairs.

I believe there is a place for a reborn GM. The following article presents a "major surgery" viewpoint that utilizes existing business models and laws (no legislation required).

GM: The Case Against a Bailout

I was pleased to meet Dr. Mroz at a summer alumni reunion. I realize that you and Dr. Mroz are busy but would be thrilled to hear a response. Thanks for your attention.

Bryan Lundgren
EE Class of 1977


Hi, Glenn:
Your plea to "Help the Automakers: Michigan's Future Depends on It" isn't falling on deaf ears. Far from it. You're absolutely right that we do need to support our local car makers--but we also must make certain, if Congress is to do the job, that the money isn't going down a dark, bottomless rathole.

The output of the Big 3 (with some exceptions) has been the ever larger SUVs or trucks that not only have an insatiable appetite for petroleum product, but at the same time pollute the atmosphere. Yes, they're working on getting us more fuel efficient and less polluting cars, but they've had some fits and bumps in getting the product on the salesroom floor. The EV1 introduction as leased vehicles then sudden pullback and destruction of that fleet comes to mind. Ford is doing OK, I think, with its hybrid SUV but it should and must do better across its product line.

There's been talk about joint battery development efforts by the Big 3, but I've not yet seen any results there. I do think they've seen the message sent by the consuming public, but with the hue and cry brought forth by the ungodly increase in gasoline prices simply caught them flatfooted. Of course, they have expenses in building their product, too, that other automakers don't have that contribute to the less than favorable price of the cars on the showroom floor.

So, let's hope the Congress does come through with an assist program for the Big 3, but it simply can't be to keep the workforce working for another three to six months producing the same non-salable product and we have to go through the same saving exercise next year. It won't be a pretty exercise, I don't think, in Congress determining what the "bailout" should be. But whatever it is, there will have to be attainable goals set into that stick that must accompany the carrot that also must be given.

Best wishes,
Howard Barikmo


Hello Dennis:

After reading the article, "Help the Automakers: Michigan's Future Depends on It", I can't help but to wonder if giving the automakers a 'bailout' would be analogous to giving that man a fish so he can eat for a day. The big three have had deep seeded troubles for decades: Not addressing the rising threat of Japanese competition, operating inefficient plants and supply chains, Union influences that breed inherent inefficiency, and entitlement programs that, in some cases, force the companies to pay laid-off employees full wages for years after plants are closed.

The constituents of Congressmen who don't have a stake in the auto industry won't have much sympathy for such an article until the auto industry demonstrates change. With the UAW lurking in the background, like a computer virus, the machine cannot run efficiently. Take time to dig up the Detroit News video of a Ford plant that is state of the art: Suppliers on-site feeding parts on a just-in-time basis. Reporters conclusion: Such a plant could never exist in the USA. Why? Unions. Where is this plant? Brazil. Question - How does Honda, Toyota and Nissan produce efficiently in the USA? My guess is that one of the 'big three' will have to fall into bankruptcy, then rise from the ashes as a lean and non-union company. Have your future grads get their passports ready.

Best regards,
Jerry Pellette '84

Newspaper-stuffed Room

It was with great interest that I read about the newspaper stuffed room in 1951. The same thing was done on 4th floor Wads in 1973/4. One of those whom the police associated with the incident was a DJ on Wads radio who announced a newspaper drive in the area for 'a worthy cause'. Various residents collected newspapers for several hours. One of the participants had a floor pass key and used it to access the room of certain residents who decided that there were likely better quality parties in Marquette than Houghton and planned to return MUCH later. This attitude was not supported by the rest of the members of KYBO house and appropriate consequences were deemed appropriate. The room was stuffed for several hours by many motivated participants with copious supplies and the return of the miscreants was anxiously awaited.

Thereabouts 4AM two rather confused residents encountered significant challenges in attempting to enter their dorm room where they had planned to collapse on their beds after a long drive. Pulling wads and wads of newspaper from their room drew a significant number of enthusiastic participants (who of course had no idea how such a situation could have occurred) who proceeded to pull newspaper from the room until 4th floor Wads was full of newspaper and residents knee deep from end to end.

It was 'decided' that the newspaper needed disposal and the incinerator chute was the obvious answer. Newspaper was stuffed into the chute until flames erupted onto the 4th floor when the chute was closed and incinerator room evacuated until things cooled, repeat again and again for an hour or so . . .

In the morning things were quiet much later than usual (thankfully a Sunday). All of the hallways on 4th floor Wads were dirty gray to about knee height (as were most residents) from newspaper ink. Unfortunately for a certain DJ not only students had heard the call for newspapers but it also had been picked up by the local constabulary. They were less than amused by what was reported as 'Flames shooting from the roof of Wadsworth Hall, visible for miles around.'. The DJ was questioned but remained adamant that he was only an innocent dupe for what had been touted as a worthy cause.

Personally I thought that 'miles around' was a bit of a stretch.

Steven Haeg, 1977

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