November 5, 2013
Vol. 20, No. 5
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M-Making a D-Difference

D Phi E
Delta Phi Epsilon with Aspen the wonder dog, the only warm one.

Thirty-six degrees with wind gusts of 30 mph, but at least there was no snow. Yet. The miserable weather didn't stop this year’s Make a Difference Day. Some 400 students in 35 groups took part. They even had a few projects right in my neighborhood, so I pulled on the chook and gloves and took off.

Delta Zeta was out in full force, raking at the Hancock Central High School. In this wind, I wondered, how do you rake?

Pretty well, I guess. They already had several bags full by the time I got there.

It was a tradition for the DZs, according to Suki Miftah, a third-year materials science and engineering major from Baltimore.

“Last year, we raked on Agate Street, we did the Chassell cemetery and the playground at Daniell Heights the year before that,” she said.

They all planned on attending the Northern hockey name that night, and some had been in Marquette the night before. “We played well,” Miftah said. “It was fun.”

Nearby, at a senior citizen’s house, the Alpha Honors Society was doing yard work. A few students were cleaning up a drainage ditch in front while pine needles were being raked up in the back.

Dakota Oparka, a second-year ME from Frankenmuth told me that the Alpha Society was twenty years old at Tech. They’ve worked with Habitat for Humanity, did help sessions for first-year engineering students, and walked dogs for the Human Society, too.

A couple of flurries were sticking to the windshield of the car I dashed back into.

Finally, at Barkell Elementary, Delta Phi Epsilon sisters were attempting to rake. It was even windier up there, as they were at the top of the hill.

Rose Greene, a graduating senior in chem engg, was bundled up against the chill. She’s got a job lined up in Marysville, Michigan, with a polymer processing plant.

They do Make a Difference Day every year, she said. “And last year, it was snowing, too.” She said it had just started with flurries when they got to the school.

“Stay warm,” I shouted as I ran to my car (and my gloves).

From the several groups of students around the large grounds, she shouted back, “We’re trying!”

Dennis '92 '09

P. S. Watch for the new TechAlum coming soon!

At Tech

Michigan Tech Scientists Verify Nanodiamond Discovery

Diamonds, usually forged in overwhelming heat and pressure miles deep in the Earth’s mantle, have now been made at atmospheric pressure and 100 degrees Celsius—the boiling point of water. No one will be wearing these diamonds on their ring finger, however. They are nanodiamonds, just two or three nanometers across, invisible to all but electron microscopes. More

Blacksmithing: a Problem-Solving Art

Mention blacksmithing, and what comes to mind is hammering metal into swords, armor and horseshoes on large anvils. However, sometimes blacksmithing is more than that. A Michigan Technological University student who has shared his interest in the art with a campus organization calls blacksmithing “the art of shaping iron.” More

Amping Up Solar in the Snowy North

Solar farms are a no-brainer in warm and sunny places, but what about in northern climes where snow can cover and even shut down the panels? Michigan Technological University’s Keweenaw Research Center (KRC) is now part of a two-year study that will help answer that question. The aims are to gauge how snow affects solar panels’ power generation and determine the best ways to overcome any losses. More

Alumni Around the World

Making a Difference across the Nation

Dallas-Ft. Worth
On Saturday, October 26, alumni and friends across the country gave back to their communities by participating in Make a Difference Day.

In Seattle, volunteers helped to restore habitat in an urban forest; in Minneapolis, volunteers partnered with the Hammer Organization for fall clean-up at residences; in the Keweenaw, volunteers dug out invasive knapweed on the shores of Lake Superior.

A big thank you goes out to our volunteers and project leaders- thanks for making a difference in your community!

Austin, Texas Ironman

Jeff Cunningham ‘ 01 EE competed in a IRONMAN 70.3 race in Austin, TX on October 27th  proudly wearing a Michigan Tech cycling jersey compliments of the Alumni Association! The event started with a 1.2-mile, one-loop swim, followed by a scenic one-loop, 56-mile bike ride and concluding with a three-loop half marathon.

Jeff sent us photos with this comment, “Thank you so much for the Jersey, it was nice flashing the Michigan Tech logo around, and surprisingly it generated a lot conversation on the bike ride.”

Chicago Volleyball Gathering

On Saturday, October 26 alumni and friends from the Chicago Alumni Chapter cheered on the Volleyball Huskies as they competed in the sixth annual GLIAC/GLVC Crossover Tournament.

Tournament Recap

Notre Dame Hockey Event

Notre Dame Hockey

On Sunday, October 20, Michigan Tech fans from Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana traveled to the University of Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Indiana to enjoy a tailgate before heading over to the arena to see the Hockey Huskies take on the Fighting Irish. A great job of organizing by  volunteers Bob Cunningham ’78 and Jeff Arnold ‘78/’80 and a special thank you to Chicago Chapter leader Marie Cleveland ’82 for helping with the registration and tickets.

Notre Dame Hockey

Fill in the Blanks

Van Orden's Hill
Halloween 2006 featured a swing dance.

Recognize anyone?

It's clickable.

Email me.


The Old Union

2006 running group

Does anyone remember taking these stairs?

Where did they go?

Love the car!

Email me.




View more sports >

Tech Sports

Huskies Suffer Second One-Goal Loss at Michigan

No. 4 Michigan grabbed a two-goal lead in the third period and held off a late charge from Michigan Tech in a 2-1 final at Yost Ice Arena tonight. Dennis Rix pulled the Huskies within 2-1 with 12 minutes to play, and the Huskies had several good scoring chances in the closing minutes. More

Soccer Wins Finale; Hosts GLIAC Quarterfinal Game Today

The Michigan Tech soccer team secured the No. 2 seed in the GLIAC Tournament with a 3-1 win over Walsh on Sunday (Nov. 3) afternoon to wrap up the regular season. The Huskies scored two goals in the first 11 minutes and added a third before halftime. Tech will host No. 7 seeded Saginaw Valley State today (Nov. 5) at 2 p.m. at Sherman Field after finishing 12-4-1 overall and 9-2-1 in the GLIAC. More

Football Falls to No. 23 SVSU 55-35

Michigan Tech stood toe-to-toe with No. 23-ranked Saginaw Valley State through 30 minutes, but the Cardinals outscored the Huskies 34-14 after intermission to earn a 55-35 victory at Sherman Field today. SVSU, the GLIAC North Division leaders, improved to 8-1 overall and 8-0 in league play while Tech fell to 4-4 (both overall and in league). More

Around the Keweenaw

Daily Mining Gazette | WLUC TV-6 | Marquette Mining Journal

From the Email Bag

We've Found the 1974 Honda and its Owner!

Mr. Honda’s commencement address was delivered via his interpreter. As you might imagine, the attention span of a 22 year old was not always what it should have been. My attention did perk up when it was announced that one graduate was to be the lucky winner of a Honda motorcycle. A name was drawn from the hat. The first name “Michael” was announced and I figured there had to be quite a few of those. However, when the middle name “Joseph” was announced I figured the odds were getting better (didn’t require an engineering degree to come up with that conclusion!). Of course the last name matched mine and I was the lucky recipient of a Honda 350. The bike is still in the family and road worthy. The photo below shows the bike as it resides today in my brother’s garage. Never knew that President Smith enjoyed the inaugural ride.

and, about his life after Tech:

Returned to Traverse City to work in the family construction business, Comstock Construction Company. We are celebrating 90 years as the business was established in 1923 by my grandfather. Work with three brothers and one sister.


Mike Comstock 1974
Traverse City, MI

2006 Runners Identified

2006 running group
2006 Running Group - the girl in the white t-shirt is Bridget (Zimny) Shore - ChemE. '07

Michele Brinkert


That would be 4 members of the track and field team. You have Tom Arttus, Erin Ballun (that's me, now Erin Hansel), Bridget Zimney (now Bridget Shore), and Sam ???

We were sprinters doing some tempo runs on the trails meaning we would jog easy then someone would lead us at a faster pace until they decided it was time to jog easy again. I remember Sam was a strong mid distance runner (400, 800) so she would torture us with really long fast sections. I on the other hand was a jumper (high and long) and led some fast, but fairly wimpy endurance-wise, sections. We really enjoyed running on the trails in the fall... except for the time in 2005 when I got lost as a freshmen and Tom had to come find me and point me towards campus (running was not one of my strong talents!)

Thanks for the cool find!

Erin Hansel



I coached that group. They were all sprinters and jumpers for the varsity track team. I was coaching them that year and they were probably on the Tech Trails sprinting short hill repeats that I made them do. :)

From left: Tom Arttus, Erin Ballun, Bridget Zimny (now Shore), and Samantha ??? (can’t remember her last name for sure, little help?)


Ryan Towles ‘99

More IDs on Make a Difference Day 2005 or 2006?

2005 Make a Difference Day
Hi, My friend just sent me a link to the 2006 Make a Difference day photo from the Tech newsletter. The photo was taken after an event I coordinated through Circle K. We did a cleanup of the parking area and hiking trails around Hungarian Falls. There were several truck loads of trash that we hauled out that day. The only other person I know from the photo would be Mike Marantis, who is in the grey Michigan Tech hoodie behind and left of the person with the tire. I am wearing the grey hat on the far left in the front row.

It's so good to see this photo again! Those were great times and we did a lot of good things on Make a Difference day. Sorry I took so long to get back to you, it was my birthday and I was camping in a fire lookout tower up in the coastal range of Southern Oregon. Not exactly internet territory.

Let me know if there is anything else you want to know!


Jess Barden
MSE, 2007

Thanks, Jess. It is still clickable.


I must of missed the last newsletter and your request asking for identifying people in the Make a Difference Day photo. So here goes:
Second from left (red shirt): Jess Barden
Fourth (yellow shirt): Jennifer
Fifth (blue hoodie): EJ Meyer (one of my old residents when I RA'd in DHH)
Six (Black Husky hoodie): Mike Marantis

I recognize a couple other faces but the names escape me.

~Lauren (Bendes) Warren '07


In the 2005 Make A Difference Day Picture, the front row, far left (red shirt, gray hat) is Jess Barden.

Christopher Gibbs

The Culinary UP


Here’s an interesting item for any Gourmets out there:

John R. Baker, ‘71
Irvine, CA

Thanks, John

Oilfield Dodge 1920

Some of those muddy roads remind me of the farm roads east of Lake Linden in the spring.

Try going through those roads in today's cars even with AWD

Holey Moley - a rugged auto for sure - gotta see it in action . . . THEY SURE DON'T MAKE 'EM LIKE THEY USED TO…!

More to the point, thank goodness they don't make roads like that anymore . . .

Oilfield Dodge 1920

The Bar and the Boat

Loved seeing the S. S. South American docked in the old Board of Trade photo!

All the best,
Ellen Kehoe


Hey Dennis:

Just received my latest email edition of Alum News and read with great interest the comments of the old BOT! These brought back great memories!!

I was fortunate enough to know Jon Davis who bought the BOT - I also worked for Jon and helped transform the BOT into the original Library Bar. Many hours were spent between classes and tending bar back in the good old days!! Many great memories - the bands that played upstairs on weekends [ I wish I could remember the name of the local fellow that had a great band that played many times at the Library], all of the Tech "TOOTS' that were always in the bar, the Vets holding their "meetings" at the Library, the Houghton police car "accidentally" rolling down the hill to Cohodas when the police responded to a call at the Library, taking out Jon's pontoon boat on the canal after closing the bar and watching the sun rise - I could go on and on with the memories. I even recall Linda Ronstadt coming to pick up food after her Winter Carnival appearance [or was it Homecoming?] downstairs at the take out window! I wish I could remember some of my classes at Tech as well as I remember my days at the Library!!!!!

Just thought I would share some of my greatest memories of da Tech!

Roy Hiir
1970 something!!

Roy: We all miss Jon. We had great times at his place and on the Frisbee field. He is buried in Eagle Harbor with his wife, Marcia.


hi dennis,
your board of trade picture shows the north american docked at the foot of the street. was always an event (maybe weekly, maybe one week the north american and another week the south american. both were out of detroit). they would announce on the radio WMPL? the approximate arrival time about half an hour before it arrived. lots of people, vendors, toots looking for girls, etc. would turn out.

the article regarding mitch's misfit's brought to mind the road games of the late 50's and early 60's. the band would always travel to michigan state for the friday and saturday games. both games were essentially home games for tech as hockey was not looked upon as a major sport by state or u. of m. for that matter. the stadium was full on friday night and overflowing on saturday night with tech fans. the alumni association had an alumni reunion on saturday night at some large hall after the game. it was a homecoming game for tech involving the downstate alumni. after i graduated and worked in chicago i always went over to east lansing for the game and to meet up with fellow graduates. amo bessone, the michigan state couch (rumor has it) was always infuriated by the situation. the same thing happened at the u.of m. games but not on such a large scale. i don't think the band went every year to u of m. and there was a smaller alumni reunion party.
i do remember the rivalry between lou angotti (tech) and red berenson (u.of m.). lou was a speedy forward and great stick handler while red was a stellar my memory lou usually ultimately prevailed and would score at least once while red was on the ice. both made their marks in the nhl. red berenson is now still the coach at u.of m.

kent a. werger
class of '61

Thanks, Kent. So is this the North American or the South American?

Hobo Parade and Van Orden's Hill

Van Orden's Hill
A few thoughts on two pictures ………
The “hobo” parade evolved from the old crepe paper floats after (at least) two years in a row with rain and relatively high winds that pretty much destroyed the floats before the parade even started. I remember there was also at least one float that got caught by the winds going across the bridge and was thrown into the guardrails..

Van Orden’s hill ……. Construction was during ’77 give or take. For a few months, it was the best local 4X4 trail around (after working hours, of course). It was great fun to run the ruts from the big earthmovers. Unfortunately, the old hill had taken several lives before this change happened, including one of my friend’s dads.

Luke A. Reini


Hi Dennis,
We used to live at the top of Van Orden's Hill. There were bad accidents there every year ... so good thing they closed it. One of the accidents was me hitting the guard rail trying to take the corner (much) too fast!

My parents and brother were watching TV at home at the time and heard the bang; amazing some of us lived through our teenage years!

The secret to making it up this hill in the winter was getting a nice head start and not giving it too much gas; if you spun the tires you were done! I had an old Rambler Classic that was my winter car ... it didn't have enough power to spin the tires ... so I rarely had a problem unless someone in front lost traction and I couldn't get around them. I remember seeing lots of cars slid over to the sides of the road in bad weather. Anyone trying to make it up this hill in a Mustang or something like that was doomed.

Take Care,
Gene Chamberlain


I remember taking Van Orden's in h.s. as my Dad didn't want me driving on the steep hills... And that was before the change! I think I had graduated Tech and living in WI when the change was made.

Ann Seyfert


Hi Dennis,
I was working at Pamida ( pictured halfway up the hill ) in 1979, and I remember the new road being built. I think this picture might be from the fall of 1979. Notice the sea plane flying through?

Rand Hruska

Rand: I didn't notice the plane (middle of photo). Nice catch!

More on Funkenbusch, Vichich, and Stipe

Enjoyed the email section of this newsletter. I had both Funkenbusch and Vichich when i was a student at Tech. Didn't know Art Wildblood though we were both class of 59, but appreciated his comments. Tom Vichich was a true gentleman and treated all his students with respect, unlike some of the professors at the time. Tom's son, Mike, is the pastor of the Catholic Church in Spalding, my home town. A number of years back, he used to spend time visiting his son in the rectory. One summer when i was home visiting my Mother, i called him and he walked over and spent an hour or so visiting with us. It was nice to have the opportunity to tell him what a great teacher he was and how much i appreciated the way he treated his students. He died a year or two after that.

Glenn Jamar '59


I enjoyed the responses to questions about Prof. Funkenbusch. Being new to Tech & still adjusting to the idiosyncrasies of the various lecture styles, Prof. Funkenbusch was quite an experience. His look behind the door set the tone drawing smiles from his audience. His writing/erasing technique resulted in many short cuts for note takers along with a large dose of frustration. One of the unique experiences at Tech.

The BOT brings back one stellar memory for me. Every visit produced a laugh for at age 23 the BOT was the only bar in Houghton that asked me for ID. Being Canadian, I didn't have any ID with a photo, so it was major arm twisting time to enter. Another unique experience & lasting memory.

Bill Gobert '69



Your last email bag reminded me of my experience with Dr. Stipe and calculus.

I had Dr. Stipe for the second term of calculus and was ready for his first exam due to the stories from classmates. I whipped thru that exam in 25 minutes and handed it in, but a “Mr. Potter” stopped me in my tracks and I was handed a second exam and was told I’d get the lower of the two grades. It was the only time I received two A’s in one hour in my Tech experience. But, I never finished another exam early in Dr. Stipe’s class. As a professor for 40 years, I did start off my classes with a short “quickie” over the previous night’s homework, an effective teaching method I learned in his class.

Merle Potter, M.E., ‘58

The Old Rex Bar

I believe the old Rex Bar was on the last block of Sheldon Ave just before the bridge. A couple buildings to the west was Weber's Clothing store, run by the brother of Weber's sporting Goods.

A fire in Weber's was extinguished in the front, but no one remembered the second floor hall to the Rex, formerly allowing customers to visit the ladies without going through the bar. When the fire in the hall broke out, the west end of the block went, except for the bar and beauty shop at the west end. Real testimony to a volunteer fire department. I understand by then the ladies had been moved to the first two story house in South Range.

Myron H Berry


Dennis: I believe the Rex (which burned down) was where the Gazette is now. Great bar! The Hillside (which later became the Lakeview) was on the next block.

I’m still trying to figure out ‘plate glass'?

Interesting mail bag this week.

Dick (Storm) Tuisku

Thanks, Dick.

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