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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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Bishop Curry helps local church celebrate anniversary of its founding

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Martinson arrested last week after court ordered a new trial in son's death

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In 1969, La Crosse State brought in John Alexander from the University of Missouri to succeed Ralph Wahl as director of the Marching Chiefs band.  "Dr. A" got to campus in time to prepare the musicians for a major trip, to march in the 1970 Rose Parade in Pasadena.  During his long career with the university, the band's name changed from Marching Chiefs to Screaming Eagles.  Alexander led the band to a number of other parades and NFL halftime shows.

Weekend dinners were a bargain at places like Von Ruden's Bar in Melvina, near Sparta.  A Friday fish fry at Von Ruden's cost $1.35.  For a nickel more, you could get fried chicken on Saturday nights. 

In the days of sit-ins, and the TV show "Laugh-In," the Holiday Sports Center advertised a "look-in" for 1969, for some of its popular items like outboard motors.

At the Tony Awards on Broadway, "1776" was named the best musical.  Some of the actors winning Tonys that year would become household names...like Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach, James Earl Jones, and Al Pacino.  Stars of the stage 49 years ago, 1969, yesterday in La Crosse.

 

In early 1953, the La Crosse Common Council appealed to Wisconsin's two Senators...Alexander Wiley and Joe McCarthy...to vote against a nearly three million dollar cut in the Weather Bureau budget, which could lead to the closing of 150 weather stations around the country.  An 800-thousand dollar spending cut was about to take effect at the La Crosse office.  The city's first government weather station opened in 1873.  
 
A La Crosse bank teller was caught embezzling, but he received probation.  The 24-year-old teller pled guilty to taking more than $1700 while he was working at the State Bank.  He reportedly used the money to pay daily living expenses.  
 
Meanwhile, an American couple went to the electric chair that June for a much more serious crime.  Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for giving secrets, including atom bomb technology, to the Soviet Union.  Julius Rosenberg said he was framed, and the couple's sons have argued that their mother should not have been convicted of spying.
 
And Prairie du Chien put on a celebration in the spring for the grand opening of the Villa Louis mansion as a Wisconsin historic site.  The house had just been acquired by the State Historical Society from the family of fur trading millionaire Hercules Dousman.  The Villa welcomed visitors 65 years ago, 1953...yesterday in La Crosse.
 

 

 
In early 1966, John Howard Griffin spoke in La Crosse about his experiences posing as a black man in the South, as described in his book "Black Like Me."  While in the city, Griffin was served with a subpoena by the La Crosse Sheriff's Department, ordering him to appear locally in court as part of a lawsuit.  A La Crescent family claimed that their 13-year-old boy was emotionally damaged by reading "Black Like Me," which some people considered obscene.  Legal wrangling went on for weeks over whether Griffin would have to return to La Crosse to testify at a trial.
 
Afternoon TV in June of '66, on La Crosse's Channel 8, included soap operas such as "The Edge of Night" and "General Hospital."  There were reruns of "The Mickey Mouse Club" from the 50's and "Dobie Gillis" from the early 60's.  For game shows, you had "To Tell the Truth," "Password," and La Crosse's version of "TV Bingo," where viewers played on free cards distributed by IGA stores and Mobil gas stations.  "TV Bingo" ended a five-month run on July 1st, when the state banned games of chance on local television, arguing that they gave the businesses handing out the cards an unfair competitive advantage.  It was time for Bingo to go in 1966, 52 years ago, yesterday in La Crosse.  
 

 

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