July 18, 2011
Vol. 17, No. 24
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Canal Runs

The break wall on the Hancock side of the canal.

There is more than one "Canal Run."

There is the footrace that was held this past weekend: ten miles from McLain State Park to the Citizen's Bank building in downtown Hancock. I've run that in the past, and it is a great event: people line the canal with sprinklers and water stations (and they needed them on this hot and muggy Saturday).

But alumni are probably more familiar with the other Canal Runs: grabbing some friends and heading out to the Houghton or Hancock breakers and beyond to enjoy the greatest Great Lake.

The canal roads on both sides offer many opportunities to stop along the way.

On the Houghton side, there is Cole's Creek, where more than a few alumni did some smelting or other fishing during their days at Tech. There is also the famous covered drive, where the trees almost create a tunnel for a couple of miles.

Schmidt's Corner beckons, too. Although not the original building, it is still a nice pit stop on the way out to the Houghton breakers. Older alums will remember all the photos on the walls, courtesy of the legendary Bill Brinkman, resident of Redridge.

When you finally get to the breakers, there is still a small park with picnic tables and spots for campfires.

On the Hancock side, the old Colonial Steak House is no longer there. You might remember the really good pizzas. Yours truly was a dishwasher there. The Gold Medal Room featured the 1960 Olympic ice hockey gold medal of Rod Paavola of Hancock.

High Point featured some nice swimming holes, and the winding road had several uphill off-shoots you could explore: Bear Lake, Salo, Waasa.

McLain State Park is a favorite end destination, of course, and it's now home to K-Day. In our younger and poverty-stricken years, we had a couple of dead end roads, on both sides of McLain, that would take us down to the water without paying the state park fee (all of $1 back then).

The perfect Canal Run would end with a sunset and maybe a bonfire, while we would marvel at Superior and have a renewed appreciation for our location.

Dennis '92, '09

At Tech

Bugs and Slugs and Spiders, Oh My!

Help wanted: Must be willing to work for free. Arachnophobes need not apply. Actually, Kathy Roberts admits that sometimes her quarry make her a little edgy. “Ew, that’s a different-looking spider,” she says, peering into a glass vial containing a tangle of hairy arthropod legs. Under her microscope are a couple other not-so-alarming spiders, and off to the side are rows of vials filled with all manner of creepy-crawlies. More

Researchers Connect Volcanic Activity to Mini-earthquakes

The ash from the recent eruptions of the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle in Chile disrupted airplane schedules, the ash even circled the globe a second time, causing even more delays. A Michigan Tech researcher and his graduate students are studying how volcanoes like this erupt and what their relation is to earthquakes. They hope to resolve much bigger issues than airplane inconveniences. More

From Oil Spill to Toxic Waste: the Polymer Solution

Last October, a containment dam belonging to a Hungarian alumina manufacturer collapsed after heavy rains, releasing 200 million gallons of caustic sludge. Eight people died in the flood of lye-like red mud, which overwhelmed nearby towns and created an environmental catastrophe. More

Alumni Around the World

Tech Impressive in Traverse City Cherry Royale Parade


On Saturday, July 9, the Michigan Tech International Cherry Royale Festival parade entry was awarded the Queen’s Trophy for Most Humorous entry. Tech’s entry was led by the bright yellow Tech admissions SUV and included over 30 members of the Huskies Band (below), Blizzard T. Husky, a semi trailer loaded with five SAE competition vehicles (left) with the Eco car following.

bandAlumni were thrilled to have this opportunity to show their Tech pride with the impressive display of the performance enterprise vehicles and the unique Pep Band in their stripes.

Along the parade route, the band played and chanted continuously while students and alumni handed out Tech pompoms and candy to the children.

Blizzard was a big hit with the kids and the Pep Band blew folks away, as expected. Students from the design teams for the Baja, Formula, Clean Snowmobile, Super Mileage and the EcoCAR competition vehicles walked the route as well.

Marchers included new graduate Jenna Parker, who in 2007, was one of the first recipients of the Northwest Michigan Chapter Scholarship and Christopher Blessing who received a scholarship from the Chapter to attend Tech this fall.

This wonderful display of Michigan Tech pride would not have been possible without the dedicated volunteers from the Northwest Michigan Alumni Chapter who helped plan the many details, housed students, and marched in the parade. Special thanks to organizers Linda ‘83 and Gary ‘83 Wittbrodt and to Gary Holcombe ’72 who loaded the vehicles and drove the semi which was provided by of Elmer’s Crane and Dozer. Host families deserve a special thank you! Cindy ‘78 and Don Kring, Kristi Abbey-Jorns ‘93, Tim Wolf ‘05, Liz and Ron Lutheran, Gary and Diana Holcombe, Mike and Pam Revard, Gary and Linda Wittbrodt.

Hole in One Contest Added to Alum Golf Scramble

The Tervo Agency is sponsoring a hole-in-one contest at No. 8 at the MBA Association golf outing during Alumni Reunion. The prize for a hole in one is $10,000 cash, and if more than one golfer gets a hole in one than the $10,000 is divided evenly among the winners.

As far as the golf outing, detailed information can be found at the MBA Association's webpage.


Michigan Tech alumni, staff and faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students from all departments across campus, as well as local community members, are invited. It's a 4-scramble tournament and golfers can sign-up even if they do not have a team. One of our plans is to form/fill teams with less than four players.

There will be prizes to reward the top-three teams ($300, $200 and $100), and three competition prizes worth $100 each (longest putt, closest to the pin, longest drive). We're planning to reward the "worst" performer. We're also planning to have raffle prizes and finally, we'd like to encourage early registration with payment (cash or check) to confirm participation.

More details can be provided regarding the event, so we can answer any other questions you might have.

Pierre Bekwone '08

Fill in the Blanks


Cliff diving at Canyon Falls, July 2005. Did you ever try this? Email me.

Bosch Brewery Fire

Bosch Brewery FireYou might recall the Bosch Brewery fire on the Houghton Canal in 1974. Email me.
View more sports >

Tech Sports

GLIAC Honors Tech Student-Athletes for Academics

The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference recently honored 21 Michigan Tech student-athletes for academic success. Michigan Tech had 16 student-athletes earn GLIAC All-Academic Excellence honors and five student-athletes gain GLIAC All-Academic accolades. “This is a great honor for these student-athletes,” said Michigan Tech Athletic Director Suzanne Sanregret. “These honors reward the hard work that each of these student-athletes puts into academics.” More

Northern Michigan To Be Added to WCHA for 2013-14

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association today released a statement on future membership of the league: "The CEO's (chief executive officers) of the five member teams that will make-up the men's WCHA as of the 2013-14 season are supportive of Northern Michigan University's entrance into the conference. WCHA men's membership in 2013-14 will include University of Alaska Anchorage, Bemidji State University, Michigan Technological University, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and St. Cloud State University." More

Around the Keweenaw

Airport Makes Improvements

It's a summer of improvements at the Houghton County Memorial Airport. A portion of the entrance road to the airport is being relocated. Work started around June 1, and will wrap up in another month and a half, provided weather cooperates, said HCMA Manager Dennis Hext. "The purpose of the road is to give it more of a flow going into the airport, and to establish infrastructure," Hext said. More

Lahti Buys Former D&N Building

Citizen's Bank
The tallest building in Hancock has a new owner, but its current tenants are staying put. It's hoped new ones will soon move in. Real estate developer Mike Lahti said he purchased the eight-story former Detroit & Northern Bank building on Quincy Street in Hancock at the beginning of July after prolonged negotiations with the former owner, Flint-based Citizens Bank. "Citizens Bank is going to remain there with a long-term lease," Lahti said. More

Story Line Art Project Displayed at Tech

It's hard to miss the thousands of white cloth panels
currently hanging around the Michigan Technological University campus. And to the naked eye, it may look like a uniform theme, but what some may not know is that each panel tells a unique story related back to someone in the Copper Country. More

From the Email Bag

Consumer Advocate

Con Ad
Dennis – The Consumer Advocate was the first place I ate in Houghton in 1978. That fall I fought the first of many battles with the thick cheese on top of the French Onion Soup! It was a great place to grab a sandwich before a CC cruise.

Tom Kispert

Tom: A couple of "CC cruises" are addressed in the feature above.


Yes, I remember the Con Ad well. They had good cheese soup and their nachos were just cheese melted on chips in the microwave. My ex-fiance and I would frequent a number of restaurants in downtown Houghton such as the Library, the Ambassador, Los Dos Amigos, Marie’s Deli and the Con Ad. I would pick up aluminum cans and turn them in for money so that we could afford to go out to eat on occasion. He lived at home so the only way we could eat together was Saturday night for pizza at his house or go out to eat. I miss those days.

Stacey E. Morrison, MSCS


I had my first ever bowl of French Onion soup there and was hooked for life. This was back in the early 80’s.

It is kind of goofy but, that was a very fond memory of mine, having lunch with my much older cousin at the time.

What a great memory, thanks for the reminder.

Mark A. Korkko
Forestry Class of 1989


Still the best sandwiches I ever had - even though it's been over 30 years!

John P Travis
'82 CET


One of our Lambda Chi brothers, Ray Giroux, worked there in the kitchen. I remember the food being good, but in particular I went there for the seafood chimichanga, which was incredible.

Jeff Roof


Really enjoyed consumer advocate – my wife and I were frequently there in times from ~1981 to 1985.

It was a shame to see it was no longer there.




The Pizzarena and Consumer Advocate - was that the place that burned down in the fall of 1978 and someone put up a sign that said "Disco Inferno Burn Baby Burn"?

Gail Monds, Class of 1984

Gail: Now that's a question for the alums!

Summer Youth Program

I was indirectly involved with the very first SYP. My memory suggests that it was 1973. My future wife, Mary Weber, worked for Dr. Gale that summer coordinating the Bicycling Biology and Ecology session. We spent an entire day traveling the Keweenaw scouting potential sights for educational stops and making note of what was there. A forestry student friend of ours accompanied us on that trip. So the biology major and forester had the real work to do. I pretty much just drove. By the way, the forester, Glenn Mroz.

Greg Switek

South Dakota Alum Checks in

Hi Dennis,
Today in SD we are very tropical , it is all that Missouri River Water and all the corn growing, at 7am this morning the temp is 77 not rare, but the dew point was 73-75. And we had the wind come up and the fog roll in which is very strange. What happened to all those prairie drought years, the potholes are now back! I was at a meeting and some archive and other conferences last month in Crooskton MN and in Ferdnand IN and so good to see real trees and forest again, however my memory and recall of southern hardwoods is pretty poor and lacking until I heard the someone say it. We just don't have trees period out on the plains much, and certainly not funny hickory, sassafras, tulip trees and beech and all weird oak trees etc in the UP either. I am not that far gone though yet, I did remember seeing them and learning them from all those cards and dendro specimens! At least now in a few clicks I can have an answer on the internet and iPhone! We try to remember that 6 months ago on Jan1 we had a raging blizzard and 20 below!! and had to cancel our Big 50th Anniversary of Mother of God Monster celebration that day too. Take care send us some cool dry air please. You all can have the snow this winter we had enough for several.

Lynn Osika

Class of 1950?

Curious as to how many survivors are still around from the class of 1950

Dewey Bjork '50

Dewey: I got a number of 325 living, from HuskyLink's online directory. You can join it here:



Fraternity House, Continued

Fraternity House
As you can tell from the last few weeks the House at 218 Blanche St has seen a lot action - certainly one of those if 'walls could talk' places. The answer is that all of the responses are correct. The house KD's in the war years and then Delt Sigs until about the 1960 mark. Don't know exact dates - but Sigma Phi Epsilon [SigEps] moved in about 1967-68. I lived there for 4 years myself, and there is some great stories specific to the house. Story has it that before it was KD's it was used by the university as a guest house and supposedly one of the original Girls Dormitory. Not sure what year it was built, but cleaning behind a steam radiator by the front door -always used to stack mail on- one time I found (and still have somewhere) a fruit bill from 1911. Wonder if it was paid.

There is a billiard room in the back corner with the house library on the second floor above it. This was an addition in the mid 80's when some brother with skills were bored while taking summer courses. The rest of the brothers showed up in September to find two new rooms. The coal shoot is still used every 2 years to load sand into the basement for famous south seas parties. There was a large addition put on the northern lot in 2000, and every year Ike the Icicle forms at the eve between the old and new areas - eventually crashing down to sometimes ill effects.

I would bet a study into that address in the archive would yield some great history, perhaps someday when I return and have time.

AJ Lee
'04 & '05

The "Purest Air on Earth" Sign, Continued

purest sign
That sign, or a similar one, may still be seen at the Harbor Haus
Restaurant in Copper Harbor.

Last week. I was contacted by my roomie of 50 years ago, the Canadian
who "edited" the sign one night in 1961 when it was located on US-41
east of Houghton. ("Pasty," that doughty stalwart of the Houghton Police, is undoubtedly rolling over in his grave.)

Frank Shoffner '62


Frank: We were just in the Harbor for 4th of July fireworks and a meal at the Harbor Haus, but I didn't see the sign. It was night, though. Did the "editing" involve a skunk?

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Job Opportunities

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Professor of Practice, Senior Lecturer, or Lecturer in Management Information Systems (nontenure track), School of Business and Economics

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Complete Descriptions are available on the Human Resources website.

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Other employment opportunities: Check out the Linked in group exclusively for Michigan Tech Alumni.

Also, visit the Career Tools webpage for more options.