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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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Friday - August 17, 2018 8:44 am

A strike against Trane, 63 years ago

A walkout against the Trane Company in 1955 came after a union rejected three company offers.  About 1700 Trane employees were off the job.  They got $10 a week in benefits while walking the picket line.  One problem was the length of the contract.  The union wanted a year-long pact, but the company wanted longer.  The offer for more pay reportedly added up to a 4 cent per hour raise. 

Five men were stricken by 95-degree heat in the area.  One man died from the heat, and the city of La Crosse urged an end to lawn sprinkling during the hot weather.

The Ringling Brothers circus was coming to town, onto Ericskon Field, where the current pool and playground stand near Losey Boulevard.  The Ringlings would soon give up using the big top tent for their shows.

Households with TV sets were checking out new series in '55.  Bandleader Lawrence Welk got his own "champagne music" show.  "The Honeymooners" with Jackie Gleason became a weekly series.  And two new shows for kids began in October..."Captain Kangaroo" and "The Mickey Mouse Club" in 1955, yesterday in La Crosse.


In the spring of 1942, clocks all over the U.S. were running an hour ahead of Standard Time to save energy during World War II.  It was called "War Time," and it remained in effect year-round until the Japanese surrender in August of 1945.  WKBH Radio, now WIZM, had 15-minute programs of only war news.  One was at 7 a.m., and the other at 12:45 p.m.

Talk of victory was everywhere in '42.  Westby High School had graduation two weeks early, so young people could put in more work time on farms, with so many men fighting the war.  The Westby commencement speaker was Rexford Mitchell, president of the La Crosse Teachers College.  Mitchell's name is now on the athletic building at UW-La Crosse.

A band called the "Hawaiian Victory Band" performed at La Crosse's Trocadero Night Club, in the 100 block of N. 3rd St.  The Cavalier bar was in the same place you'd find in now, 5th Avenue North.  You could see Wisconsin native Liberace perform at the Cavalier, yesterday in La Crosse.


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