Brad Williams

Brad Williams

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from U-W-La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area.  Brad writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse.  He's been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.  

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The La Crosse city council took up a public consumption ordinance in 1975.  The ordinance would prohibit drinking on the streets of the city, or the sidewalks.  Aldermen admitted the purpose of the ordinance was to control drinking during events like Oktoberfest.  One council member, Dennis Kaufmann, wanted open drinking to be allowed if paper or plastic cups were used.  Tavern owners would have some responsibility, to warn customers that they couldn't leave a bar with a beer or other drink in hand.  A sign saying so had to be posted at the exit.  Alderman Dick Arneson asked to have those signs posted at every exit of a bar.

On this night in 1975, Simon and Garfunkel re-united five years after their break-up to perform together on "NBC's Saturday Night"...the show now known as "Saturday Night Live."  Paul Simon was hosting the second episode of the series, after George Carlin hosted the debut.  The different title was used to avoid confusion with a new ABC prime-time series called "Saturday Night Live," a Ed Sullivan-type variety show hosted by Howard Cosell.  Other hosts in the first few weeks of NBC's "SNL" included Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin, Robert Klein, and the first two-time host, Candice Bergen.  Live from New York 42 years ago, 1975, yesterday in La Crosse.


In the fall of 1992, the La Crosse County Republican Party had a meeting shortly after the election in which President George Bush had been defeated by Democrat Bill Clinton.  Speaker Steve Knudson promoted a television channel called 'National Empowerment TV,' which was being organized to 'bypass' perceived liberal bias in the national media.  A video viewers of the channel could get 'unvarnished truth' that would not be 'filtered' through the regular media, and it could help college students cope with 'radical professors.'  There was talk among the local Republicans of replacing some of the 'deadwood' on the La Crosse city council in the 1993 election, when 9 seats would be on the ballot.  
The La Crosse Center had been open for only 12 years, but it was considering expansion plans.  There were proposals of building a larger arena, possibly by 1997 or 2007, along with more space for conventions and meetings.  Board members talked of expanding the center to the south or the east, but definitely not west into Riverside Park...which is an option being reviewed by the La Crosse Center now.
TV watchers in '92 were checking out new fall shows such as 'The Ben Stiller Show'...'Mad About You'...'Bob,' with Bob Newhart playing a cartoonist...and 'The Golden Palace,' which was 'The Golden Girls' minus Bea Arthur.  Twenty-five years ago, 1992, yesterday in La Crosse.

In 1966, a 'La Crosse Citizens Committee Against Fluoridation' bought a newspaper ad claiming that a 'propaganda' piece in the West Salem newspaper led voters there to vote for fluoride in the tap water...because the voters didn't get to hear the other side. The committee was being re-activated and expanded to include six counties, in hopes of preventing other communities from saying yes to what the group called 'mass medication.' La Crosse had voted down fluoridation once in the 50's. There would be referendums again in the city in 1968 and '69...and both were defeated.
The next presidential election was two years away, and Wisconsin leaders were debating whether to have an early primary again. Wisconsin was traditionally the second primary state, after New Hampshire, with a presidential vote in early April. But a bi-partisan committee suggested moving the state primary to May, when it would have less influence on the nominating process. The '68 primary remained in April.
And a popular series of TV commercials featured the Ajax White Knight.  The knight on a horse pointed a lance at people with dirty clothes, and magically their clothes became clean.  Ajax laundry detergent ran a sweepstakes, asking customers to vote on a name for the knight...Lancelot, Bayard, Roland, or Galahad...with the winning name to be announced on 'The Dean Martin Show.'  But the Ajax website today doesn't have a record of what name won the contest.  Stronger than dirt in 1966, yesterday in La Crosse.




In November of 1981, La Crosse tried an experiment to keep shoppers coming downtown, after the opening of the Valley View Mall.  The city council considered a one-year suspension of nearly 700 curbside parking meters, and later reduced that to a three-month trial.  Eventually, all the city-owned meters were removed, and were kept in storage until a recent sale.  When bags were placed on the meters to allow two-hour free parking, some drivers thought parking was banned in those spaces, and they tried to park somewhere else.  City Hall estimated that it would lose tens of thousands of dollars without those meters.

The Mary E. Sawyer Auditorium was empty and unused, a year after being replaced by the La Crosse Center.  But the center board voted to rent the Sawyer to the Blue Stars drum and bugle corps for $5000 a year. 

Gas prices in La Crosse averaged $1.29 a gallon around Thanksgiving of '81.  Some of the lowest prices for regular gasoline could be found at Frank-Len on N. 3rd St., the Clark gas station on Lang Drive, and the Citgo Quick Mart on West Avenue near campus.  Cheap gas in 1981, yesterday in La Crosse.


Council also approved CCA rezoning and $1.8 for boat harbor 


About $1.4 million would be paid back to city through slip fees 


Groundbreaking could be this fall with facility opening in May 


Thursday - October 12, 2017 9:05 am

A new City Hall in the works, 49 years ago

In 1968, the La Crosse City Council was on its second round of bids for a new building to replace the city hall at 6th and State, now part of the Post Office parking lot.  City Hall had been on that spot more than 70 years.  The new building along La Crosse Street would open in 1970, putting it several years ahead of plans for the new post office.  In order to cut costs, planners decided to eliminate an underground heated parking garage from the design of the new City Hall. 

The La Crosse Community Theatre hired a new director from Canada named John Brown, succeeding Michael Thompson, who was leaving to do plays in New York.  Besides doing stage work, Brown had made documentary films for the classroom.  He only spent one season at LCT.

During October of 1968, the Beatles appeared on American TV in new videos of "Hey Jude" and "Revolution," which aired on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour."  "Hey Jude" spent 9 weeks at #1 in 1968, yesterday in La Crosse.


In 1973, the organizers of Oktoberfest made a scheduling move to cut down on the public drunkenness and crowds on 3rd Street of previous years.  The fest had been Tuesday through Sunday in '72, but under the new schedule, the celebration opened with the Maple Leaf Parade on Sunday, October 7th and wound up with the Torchlight Parade on Thursday the 11th.  However, there were still dozens of downtown arrests on the two nights before Oktoberfest began.  
For the first time in almost a decade, the U.S. was without a vice president that October, when Spiro Agnew resigned over a financial scandal in Maryland that took place before he was VP.  Agnew was only nine months into his second term...and under the fairly new 25th Amendment, President Richard Nixon could appoint a new vice president instead of leaving the job vacant.  Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Nelson Rockefeller were mentioned as possible choices, but Nixon nominated House Republican leader Gerald Ford two days after Agnew quit.

Elvis Presley was granted a divorce from his wife Priscilla after six years of marriage.  She would get $1 million in the settlement.  During Oktoberfest, Tex Shell was playing the organ and piano at the Cavalier bar, and the Jack Hefti orchestra was at Walt's Restaurant.  Forty-four years ago, 1973, Yesterday in La Crosse.

 Alleged highway accident happened in September, while trial will be during December


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