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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Tuesday - June 6, 2017 8:42 am

A different kind of "Beetle-mania" in 1964

While the band called the Beatles was conquering America in '64, Midwestern cities were trying to fight against tree-eating beetles that were spreading Dutch elm disease.  The bugs were moving west across Wisconsin toward Minnesota, but in early June of 1964, only one case of the disease had been found in La Crosse County, in West Salem.  The La Crosse Park Department had already started spraying elm trees, and the county board was also looking at ideas for protecting local elms.
 
June the 6th marked the 20th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Europe during World War Two.  But there was disagreement about how the invasion was carried out.  In a TV interview, British Field Marshal Montgomery claimed former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower didn't understand the strategy of the charge on the beaches of Normandy.  Ike was the supreme Allied commander on D-Day.  Montgomery said the British came up with the plans, but Americans have tended to take credit for the victory.
 
In honor of D-Day, the Starlite Outdoor Theater in La Crosse showed "The Longest Day," the movie drama about Normandy released just two years earlier.  That same month, the stars of "The Lawrence Welk Show" visited La Crosse's Sawyer Auditorium.  The touring Welk group included singers Larry Hooper and Dick Dale, Joann Castle playing honky-tonk piano, and the dance team of Bobby Burgess and Barbara Boylan.  A "wunnerful" show, 53 years ago, 1964, yesterday in La Crosse.
 

United Way dir. brought report to county board meeting Monday.

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It was early on the morning of June 5th, 1968, in much of America.  Senator Robert Kennedy had won the California Democratic presidential primary.  Within three minutes of finishing his victory speech at a Los Angeles hotel, Kennedy was shot and wounded while walking to a news conference.  The TV networks began special coverage throughout the day, interrupting the usual Wednesday schedule of shows such as "Lost In Space" and "The Beverly Hillbillies."  Kennedy died on the morning of June 6th, and the story continued on television throughout the weekend.  On the day of Kennedy's funeral, word came that James Earl Ray had been arrested in England.  Ray was suspected in the shooting of Martin Luther King, Jr., two months earlier. 

The Rolling Stones were recording "Sympathy for the Devil" that week.  Because of Bobby Kennedy's murder, a line originally written as "Who killed Kennedy?" (referring to President Kennedy) was changed to "Who killed the Kennedys?"  Later in 1968, Dion recorded his Top 40 hit "Abraham, Martin, and John," in which the last verse opens "Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?"  That was 1968, Yesterday in La Crosse.

 

 

Officers found heroin, cocaine and other drugs during search.

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DA says likely to get staff raises over more help.

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It was 50 years ago this week when the Beatles released their ground-breaking album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."  Besides the title track, the "Sgt. Pepper" album also featured "A Day in the Life," "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," and "When I'm Sixty-Four."  A few famous people who would have turned 64 in June of 1967 didn't live to see that birthday...including John Dillinger, George Orwell, and Lou Gehrig.

A war broke out in the Mideast that month...now known as the Six-Day War.  Israel launched the war by attacking Egypt, and captured the West Bank and the Sinai Peninsula during the conflict.  Syria and Jordan also took part in the brief war.

La Crosse's weather service announced that May of '67 was the coldest May ever in the city, with an average daily temperature of 54 degrees.  There must have been a recount, because according to current stats for La Crosse, that May doesn't even make the 10 coldest on record.

The weather was nice enough that June for a parking lot sale at Montgomery Ward in La Crosse, on the site of the current Belle Square complex.  Shoppers at Wards could get a roast beef or baked ham dinner for only $1, during that sale in 1967...oh, boy, 50 years ago, Yesterday in La Crosse.

 

 

 

 

New hotels downtown help keep them in town.

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Thursday - June 1, 2017 8:46 am

The milk marshals were on duty, 48 years ago


In June of 1969, it was against the law in La Crosse County to drink anything but milk during June Dairy Month.  We think the organizers of the dairy celebration were joking, but they did swear in 18 'milk marshals' at the Hotel Stoddard...including two local judges.  The marshals reportedly swore to 'arrest' anyone caught drinking a beverage other than milk during the month...and to bring them to milk magistrates for 'sentencing,' whatever that involved.
 
In '69, there was a plan to let college students object to protests on campus.  Congressman William Cramer of Florida proposed the Student Anti-Violence Act, which would have allowed students to complain to the Justice Department if they felt that demonstrations were preventing from getting free access to their schools.  Meanwhile, an assistant defense secretary, Robert Froehlke, told a graduating class at Stevens Point State that if the Vietnam War was still going on in 1972, Republicans wouldn't 'stand a chance' of being re-elected.  The war was still on in '72, when President Nixon won 49 states in his run for a second term.
 
And the La Crosse Community Theatre had two shows scheduled for the summer.  'A Midsummer Night's Dream' by Shakespeare...and 'Star-Spangled Girl' by Neil Simon.  Forty-eight years ago, yesterday in La Crosse.
 


In May of 1973, Crawford County Sheriff Ray Childs called for an end to the 'Ye Olde Fyre Engine Muster' held in Prairie du Chien.  The event had started just two years earlier as a fire engine race through the county.  It became a Memorial Day festival in '72, getting the attention of Charles Kuralt who did an 'On the Road' story for CBS about the engines.  But at the '73 Muster, a crash between two fire trucks cost an Illinois man both of his feet.  Sheriff Childs said the festival had become a 3-day 'drunken orgy,' which allowed 'John Q. Public' to buy an old truck and play fireman.  The Muster continued for a few more years after that.
 
Viterbo College passed its budget for the coming school year...just over two million dollars.  The Catholic college was up to an enrollment of 660 full-time students...an increase of 100 from the previous year.
 
And Shakey's Pizza was promoting its 'Bunch of Lunch' on weekdays.  Shakey's offered a buffet featuring pizza, chicken, and 'mojo potatoes.'  The restaurant was at the corner of 3rd and Jackson...now the site of Dave's Guitar Shop.  Lunch time 44 years ago, 1973, Yesterday in La Crosse.
 

Tuesday - May 30, 2017 8:43 am

Uncle Sam wanted them, 75 years ago

During the early months of America's involvement in World War II, La Crosse had two draft boards going.  One was for younger men, while the other signed up men between 45 and 65.  The draft boards were located in the old post office at 4th and State. 

In 1942, the government wanted people at home to be prepared.  An ad for the Whitebreast Coal Company said that a well-filled coal bin in a time of war was better than money in the bank.  The La Crosse Telephone Company was running short on supplies because of the war, so the company asked callers to spend no more than five minutes at a time on a party line.

The Taylor Lumber Company in La Crosse (their 1942 phone number: 6) was feeling the pinch of war-time.  Taylor was located at 2nd and Cameron, and homeowners were asked to limit home expansion so lumber would be available for the war...75 years ago, Yesterday in La Crosse.

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