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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No drawings will be presented at any of four meetings.


In 1994, La Crosse leaders were considering ordinances to keep young people from loitering in Riverside Park overnight.  The 'no cruising' rule under debate called for a fine, for anyone caught driving around the park three times in a night, between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.  Park director Bob Berg heard that families were afraid to go into the park, when the cruisers intimidated others, and blasted music from their cars.

Some extra money in '94 for La Crosse School Superintendent Dick Swantz, just two years after a school board recall and threats to have him fired.  Swantz received a $5000 raise in pay and benefits, to $120,000.  His actual salary was $87,000.

A big money card tournament brought 'Mr. Kotter' to the region.  Gabe Kaplan from the 70's sitcom 'Welcome Back, Kotter' was performing stand-up at the Treasure Island casino near Red Wing.  Kaplan also had become a champion poker player, but ironically, he was asked to host a Treasure Island blackjack tournament, 23 years ago, 1994, yesterday in La Crosse.



Walker firmly against raising state gas tax.


Show, based in Boston, been on air 21 years.






In May of 1977, J-C Penney agreed to open an anchor store at the Valley View Mall being planned along Highway 16, near I-90. At the time, La Crosse's Penney's store was on 5th Avenue, next to the Hollywood Theater. Penney executives in New York would have to give final approval for the move. The addition of a Penney store helped build momentum for the $20 million mall that Dayton's was planning to open by the fall of 1979...and pretty much shut down the efforts to put a mall either on the Harborview land downtown, or on the far south side at the intersection of Mormon Coulee and Losey Boulevard.




Former President Richard Nixon was back on TV, three years after resigning because of the Watergate scandal. Nixon was featured in a highly-anticipated series of interviews with British TV host David Frost. Decades later, the Frost-Nixon interviews would inspire a stage play, and a movie directed by Ron Howard.




The original 'Star Wars' movie debuted that month...but not on May the 4th. 'Rocky' and 'Network' had just won Oscars that spring, and area theaters were showing the Barbra Streisand version of 'A Star Is Born'...'Silver Streak'...and the original 'Fun With Dick and Jane,' starring Jane Fonda. Forty years ago, 1977, yesterday in La Crosse.










Thursday - May 4, 2017 8:26 am

Long live the King...and I, 45 years ago

In the summer of 1972, 'The King and I' was a summer theatre production in La Crosse, a joint project between the La Crosse Community Theatre and Viterbo College.  The show at the Viterbo Fine Arts Center featured Lisa Brudahl, Jack Starr, Gary Wells, and Patricia Skemp.  LCT did 'King and I' again 15 years later, as the first show directed by Morrie Enders during his 18-year run at the local theatre.

Entertainment in 1972 also included go-go girls.  The Habit bar at 3rd and State Streets was having auditions for dancers.  Also featuring the go-go dancers was the Twilight Zone bar on the pike between La Crosse and La Crescent. 

Walter Schmeckpeper of La Crosse was a champion in a different form of tossing.  Walter had day jobs at the Peerless Beer factory in La Crosse, and with the city water department, and he was training for a national horse-shoe tournament.  He quoted doctors as saying horse-shoe tossing was the healthiest of all participation sports...45 years ago, yesterday in La Crosse.



Town opposes lines, which route through scenic area.






In May of 1969, a Prairie du Chien man won a federal lawsuit against a sawmill company, over an accident that cost him both of his legs. A jury ruled that faulty machinery at a sawmill in Onalaska forced Jack McPhee into the spinning saw blade in 1965. McPhee and his wife were awarded over $500,000 in damages. McPhee later ran a restaurant, and in the 70's he was elected mayor of Prairie du Chien.




A future mayor of Madison made headlines by getting arrested during a neighborhood celebration. Paul Soglin was on the Madison city council, and was described as a 'hippie alderman' after his arrest during what has become known as the Mifflin Street block party. People attending the party threw eggs and pop cans at police who tried to take down barricades in the street. Officers responded with tear gas and clubs. Hundreds of people in Madison protested the arrests the following night.




Schmidty's restaurant in La Crosse had a Friday fish special of walleye or pike for $1.25. The Circus Bar on 3rd Street offered a jumbo fish plate costing $1.35. And an American Legion chicken-que on French Island cost just $1.25. That was 48 years ago, 1969, yesterday in La Crosse.





 Central student said he didn't really plan an attack






We can still brag that Elvis Presley played at the Sawyer Auditorium on Monday, May 14th, 1956...between gigs in Minneapolis on Sunday and Memphis on Tuesday. Two shows at the Sawyer...which also featured the Jordanaires, Rick Flaim and his orchestra, and Irish tenor Frank Conners. The highest-priced ticket was $2.50. Elvis spent some time at the Hotel Stoddard while in town, and gave an interview to popular WKBH deejay Lindy Shannon.



The district attorney was asked to try to stop the second show, and one local citizen wrote to the FBI afterward, saying Presley was a security threat to the U-S. J. Edgar Hoover wrote back, saying the agency wasn't going to investigate Elvis.




For folks who preferred to stay home and watch TV that night, they could see I Love Lucy, December Bride, The Millionaire, and Truth or Consequences. Sixty-one years ago, 1956, Yesterday in La Crosse.






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