Author: wfrahm

Broomball: A Tech Tradition

With three dedicated rinks, scoreboards, and live webcams, broomball has become one of Tech’s top traditions. According to this site, broomball began on campus in the early 1990s. Do you still have your broom? Comment below about your broomball experience.

Itching to get back in the game?
The 11th annual Alumni-Student Broomball Tournament is scheduled for Winter Carnival (February 7-8). Register here by January 16.

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The Snow Scoop – Ingenuity Born of Necessity

This story originally appeared in the February 1993 issue of Peninsula People, a regional publication printed for distribution in Hancock

Dave Walli’s varied career path has taken him in many directions but one job- barbering- prepared him for his current business as a snow scoop manufacturer and designer of copper art.


Dave Walli

“The clipper and the comb are in the same position as the brazing rod and the torch,” says former barber Dave Walli. “I was practicing brazing for all those years and didn’t know it.”

Walli and his wife, Gloria, both Copper Country natives, are the owners of Copper Art on Fifth Street in Calumet. They began their business in 1976, working out of their home in Laurium and moved the business to their current location in 1982. The building also houses the couple’s “sideline” business – Silver Bear Products – so named because the snow scoops they manufacture are made of steel and work like a bear. “Copper is our thing,” said Dave, “but the snow scoops fill the gap in the off season.”

According to Dave, he’s produced 10,000 snow scoops with an all-time high of 2,200 “one year when we had a lot of snow.” What year that was he- couldn’t recall, but most Copper Country winters have accumulations of at least 150 inches.

The scoops, which retail for $28.25 to $34.75 are available in three sizes and feature one-inch or three-quarter inch diameter handles with a built-in height adjustment.  Dave wholesales the scoops to Kmart, Holiday and Pamida stores in the Upper Peninsula. He’s also shipped snow scoops to a ski resort in Montana and fills orders from former U.P. residents who know the value of a snow scoop.

The workhorse portion of the snow scoop forms a still life when stacked in the basement at Dave Walli’s workshop.

And though snow scoops have been around since the 1920’s, Dave claims he has built “the better mouse trap.” “Our scoop features a kick bar/plate on the back.  It always has, otherwise it would have been just another snow scoop,” says Dave. The scoop, which also has a 16-gauge front edge, is designed for snow removal “not firewood retrieval,” Dave notes. “You can always tell when someone’s been improvising with their scoop. They’ll bring it into the shop for a repair and it has all kinds of dings and dents in it. That’s a sure sign of someone hauling wood or using it as a sled, which it is not.”

At this point, Dave took us outside for a demonstration. “You see, it’s really very simple. You push the scoop into the snow, and lift from the…”  We thought the sight of a shop owner scooping snow on the sidewalk was so interesting, we missed the instructions. Needless to say, when I got home that night and it was my turn to clean the driveway, I wondered if l was maneuvering the lightweight Silver Bear scoop in the proper manner.  Actually, Dave says even if you are a bit awkward with the scoop, it still does the job. “It’s not the back breaker that shoveling snow is and it doesn’t require any oil, gas or additional attachments,” says Dave. Good point.

“We did consider putting one ounce of oatmeal in a package and attach it with a ribbon to the handle and advertise it as a one-time starter on the scoop,” laughs Dave. “I still think it would be a good idea.”

Obviously, the Walli’s enjoy their business, rather businesses, because their copper art is an integral part of the family’s livelihood.

“We could make any number of scoops but the copper keeps us busy from May until October and then we’re making scoops all the time,” says Dave. “To make copper art you need skill, patience and desire because our copper art is not mass produced.”

Dave Walli, left, his son, Eric, and Walli’s wife, Gloria, are three people who persist in their dream to offer quality products which are both practical and beautiful.

During a tour of the Walli’s production area, Dave points out several dies he has made including one for thimbleberries surrounded by leaves. Sheets of 16, 22, and 24-gauge steel are stacked along one wall. Various pieces of machinery, including a Pittsburgh Lock Machine for shaping sheets of metal, occupy the back room and the basement of the Walli’s shop. “I’ve picked my equipment up piece by piece,” says Dave. “If I had to go out and buy it all at one time I’d really feel the bite, but going to auctions and word of mouth was how I obtained most of it.”

 Through the years, Dave says he and his family have come to realize that it is best to have fun while working. “I didn’t want a job that I dreaded going into. I wanted to feel good and have our customers feel good too,” said Dave. “We had demonstrations here last year in the shop, and the people just really enjoyed that. I think we’ll do more of that because it gets us involved with the customers and they get an understanding of what goes into the creation of copper art.”

One of the examples of copper art available at the shop owned by Dave and Gloria Walli. Snow scoops, a Copper Country necessity, are manufactured in the same building.

 Though the Walli’s produce a variety of copper art, they also handle commission work. One of Dave’s most recent projects was copper countertops for his daughter’s pastry shop. Though the most popular copper art at the Walli’s shop are angels and hummingbirds, a large variety of flowers, birds, buildings, jewelry, books, and photographs are on display as well. 

Copper Art is located at 111 Fifth Street in Calumet, home of the nation’s newest national park! The shop is open year-round and Dave will be glad to show you how to operate a snow scoop. Gloria, who is a bit shy, is always on hand to help with your copper gift selections.

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LeaderShape Enters 25th Year

Since 1996, LeaderShape has provided a highly-interactive leadership development experience for 1,118 Michigan Tech students. This intensive, week-long institute continues to offer a unique opportunity to explore core ethical and personal values, develop and enrich relationships, and most importantly, believe in a healthy disregard for the impossible.

LeaderShape participants have gone on to achieve impressive goals as surgeons, researchers, engineers, military officers, inventors, entrepreneurs, teachers, Peace Corps volunteers, writers, missionaries, and more. The list is long. 

How did your LeaderShape experience impact you? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Help current students become young leaders who “lead with integrity.”  Make a gift to the LeaderShape fund today.

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Football Stadium Named for Kearly Family

The first family of Michigan Tech football now has its name on the Huskies’ home football facility. At a dedication prior to the Sept. 28 Homecoming game, Tech renamed the gridiron “Sherman Field at Kearly Stadium” in honor of Ted and Tom Kearly.

Pictured (l-r): Athletic Director Suzanne Sanregret, Patty Kearly, Helen Kearly (seated), Tom Kearly, Ted Kearly, President Rick Koubek.

The father and son are arguably the two most-successful coaches in program history. Ted served as Tech’s football coach from 1969-72 and held a 29-7 record. Tom was at Tech from 2000-16 including the last 11 years as head coach, where he put together a 70-44 mark.

Sherman Field has been the home for Michigan Tech football since 1981. Ted Kearly was Michigan Tech’s Athletic Director when it was opened. And over the last two decades, the Kearlys have been instrumental in the facility’s upgrades. Ted Kearly gave the lead gift that allowed for the installation of synthetic turf in 2007. Both men have been played a huge role in new stadium seating that was installed in 2017 and plans for additional seating and a new press box coming soon.

The renaming of Sherman Field made us curious as to the history of Michigan Tech’s football field.

According to records, the Huskies played at the original Sherman Field which was on lower campus next to Sherman Gym (now the location of the Rozsa Center). In the late 1970s, Hubbell Field (just west of the Student Ice Arena) served as the home gridiron.

This 1977 map of campus shows the location of the original Sherman Field and Hubbell Field, both of which were used prior to the move to the current location in 1981.

 

 

 

 

 

Share your memories of where you watched the Huskies play.

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Tomorrow Needs Tech: A Podcast with President Koubek

Welcome to Tomorrow Needs Tech, a series of podcasts with President Koubek and prominent Michigan Tech alumni, discussing topics like computing, leadership, industry, and diversity.

Listen below, or you can also find Tomorrow Needs Tech on the following platforms: SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

 


 

Podcast 1: Tomorrow Needs Computing

Michigan Tech President Rick Koubek sits down with alumnus Dave House ’65 to talk about Michigan Tech’s future as a leader in computing and technology.

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Remembering Professor David Chimino

Former physics professor and Michigan Tech alumnus, David Chimino, passed away on July 5, 2019. Professor Chimino graduated from Michigan Tech in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics and served as faculty in the Department of Physics for 42 years, teaching physics and astronomy.

During his tenure, Dave received the Distinguished Teaching Award and was appointed the rank of Presidential Professor for his outstanding teaching. As stated by former college dean and provost, Max Seel, “Dave’s endearing claim to fame was that he could draw perfect circles on the chalkboard in physics class. Everyone who went through his introductory physics lectures remembers.”

Sue Hill had an undergraduate class with him and said, “Dave was friends with his students. He always had time to talk to us.”

Professor Chimino built a private optical observatory in Atlantic Mine, named Amjoch after his parents. He was active in community outreach sharing his Cosmic Journey science lectures and after retiring as faculty, mentored Michigan Tech students pursuing their high school teaching certification in science and math. Dave will be remembered for his spirit of generosity and kindness.

What memories do you have of Professor Chimino?

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A Brief History of the Tech Trails

Map of Michigan Tech campus

Depending on when you were on campus, your memories of the Tech Trails may be much different than what they are today. Michigan Tech’s 540+ acres of forest just up the hill from the main campus mall has seen many different uses and iterations over the years.

Currently, the Tech Trails are one of the nation’s top Nordic skiing facilities. It has hosted numerous U.S. Ski Association (USSA) Cross Country National Championships in addition to regional college races in both skiing and cross country running.

Aerial view of Michigan Tech campusIn its past, we’ve heard stories about the Trails being used for dirt bikes, snowmobiles, camping, ROTC exercises, and even hunting.

Mike Abbott has a long history at Michigan Tech and was part of the group that developed the Trails. “When I started working here, the Trails were just a path in the woods. We used an old box spring pulled by a one-lung snow machine to groom snow for skiing.”

Michigan Tech Trails mapNow, the facility boasts nearly 40 kilometers of groomed trails (7K of lighted ski trails for early morning or evening skiing in the winter). In the winter, uses include skiing, snowshoeing, snow (fat tire) biking, and skijoring (skiing while being pulled by a dog). Running, biking and dog walking are popular uses in the summer. The use of the Trails for mountain biking continues to grow with two flow trails and a pump track available along with the 40K of regular trail. Other portions of the Tech Trails acreage are used for paintball in addition to the Tech Outdoor Adventure Program’s high ropes course.

A big reason why the Tech Trails have evolved into an outdoor recreation wonderland is former president Glenn Mroz.

Michigan Tech skierIn 2001, Mroz and several others devised a plan to develop the trails as a way to secure funding for the Michigan Tech varsity Nordic skiing program. The vision for the project also included the creation of a facility that would be a differentiator for the University and attract outdoor-loving students.

Mroz, who was then dean of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, proposed that revenue could be generated from timber harvesting to support the team and upgrade the Trails. Since 2002, the facility has gone through numerous upgrades: enlarging the stadium area and widening trails to host races, building bridges and stopping erosion issues, adding buildings to house equipment and provide space for ski waxing, and installing signage throughout the trail system.

So how did you use the Tech Trails? Leave your comment below.

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Snow Totals from 2018-19; Contest Winner Announced

Snowfall Contest Winner

Congrats to Kailee K. on winning our snowfall contest for 2018-19.

Every Husky has a story about snow, and every year our snowfall contests give people a chance to put their extensive knowledge of snow to the test. This year, Kailee K., a class of 2020 medical lab sciences major, took home the prize in the annual contest with her guess of 192.25 inches. The snowfall measured at the KRC is our standard for the contests; their measurement for 2018-19 was 192.38 inches.

To get in on our monthly and annual snow contests in 2019-20, check out our snow page next fall.

 

 

 

 

 

Snowfall Totals

According to FunInTheUP.com, the Houghton County snow record of 354.1 inches from the winter of 1978-79 has been surpassed. With 4.0 inches on April 30, the winter of 2018-19 made it to 357.2 inches. The new record was totaled by Steve Jurmu at Calumet (Tamarack location).

Late season snowfall—April 28, 29, and 30 and May 1, 8, 9, and 19—raised the total to 362.8 (we hope it’s a final total).

The top five snowfall amounts ever recorded in the Upper Peninsula according to FunIntheUP.com:
390.4” – 1978/79 – Keweenaw county (near Delaware)
384.0” – 1996/97 – Herman
367.4” – 1995/96 – Keweenaw county (near Delaware)
362.8” – 2018/19 – Tamarack location (near Calumet)
354.1” – 1978/79 – Houghton county airport

Snowfall measurement at Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center located next to Houghton County Airport for 2018-19 was 192.38 inches, although their website gives a disclaimer that their measurements aren’t accurate on days with wind because the snow gets blown off their board.

No matter how it was measured, 2018-19 was very snowy, especially February through May.

What are your snow memories? Comment below.

 

 

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April Is for Fools!

By Emily Riippa | University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections

Michigan Tech students drove a Jeep into Douglass Houghton Hall in 1951.

April brings with it April Fool’s Day pranks, but Michigan Tech students have been known to get up to some mischief all year round. In June 1951, the men of Douglass Houghton Hall drove resident Guenther Frankenstein’s Jeep up the stairs of their dormitory and into the hallway. Although the guys thought the prank was a riot, Frankenstein recalled that the college administration wasn’t laughing and wanted to expel him. They eventually settled for probation.

The next year, fourteen Tech students–also residents of DHH–spent the night in jail for a risque joke that maybe wouldn’t fall into the category of “crazy smart”: along with more than fifty of their peers, they besieged the student dormitory at the St. Joseph School of Nursing in Hancock, hoping to come away with lingerie. Standing outside the school’s Ryan Hall, they shouted their demands for underwear to the young women residing within. Some even wandered into the furnace room before police arrived and arrested members of the group for their disorderly conduct. Eventually, a judge ordered that all charges against the men be dropped.

A set of computer punch cards.

We’ve heard rumors about other pranks that have taken place on Tech’s campus over the years, including some involving tweaks to computer programs on punch cards, but the files of the archives are remarkably bare. Do these tales bring back memories of your own college escapades, whether they took place five years ago or fifty? We’d love to hear your stories!

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