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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Katarina Rothhorn
Katarina Rothhorn
Features Writer

The first message I ever sent from my Northern Michigan University sanctioned email was to the editor-in-chief of the North Wind asking if there was any way I could join the staff. Classes hadn't even...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Monthly presentation series Northern Now welcomes permafrost expert

PERMAFROST EXPERT — Join Fritz Nelson, a former wildcat, for a presentation of the struggles of building on permafrost. Specifically, the struggle of building the Alcan highway, a historical road built back in 1942. Photo Credit: “permafrost” by edwardpalmquist is licensed with CC BY 2.0.

This Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m., NMU will welcome Fritz Nelson, a former member of the NMU Alumni Association Board as well as a recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award, who will speak about permafrost. Specifically, about permafrost and how it complicated the Alcan project, a highway between Alaska and Canada built in 1942.

The presentation by Nelson will be held via a livestream. According to NMU’s event page, he will “discuss the 1,400-mile Alaska-Canada (“Alcan”) Highway that was developed through nearly uncharted wilderness over a period of only seven months in 1942.” This was monumental for the times, but as the event aims to explain, this was a “pioneer” road. It was not exactly ready for the type of ground it was built on: permafrost.

The talk will explain how the U.S. Army came to adopt their initial building techniques and then lead into the huge problems that arose from building on the permafrost. The event will also go over how the road was saved, and what the large role African-Americans played in the construction. The U.S.-Soviet relationships will be outlined too and how they played a part in the construction.

Following the presentation by Nelson, Suzy Ziegler, professor and department head of earth, environmental and geographical sciences and associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, will be available for a live Q&A session.
Come learn about this monumental construction project and gain insight to the past on the evening of Nov. 11. Registration is required for the event, and a confirmation with a link to the stream will be provided once you register on the sign-up page. This presentation is part of a digital event series by the Northern Michigan University Alumni Association called Northern Now.

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