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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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Thursday - April 19, 2018 8:44 am

Earth Day didn't always have that name

Walter Cronkite called April 22nd of 1970 "a unique day in American history"...the first Earth Day, to raise awareness of environmental problems.  But not everybody called the observance "Earth Day."  La Crosse Mayor Warren Loveland issued an "Environmental Day" proclamation, in which he said the nation must find "adequate and feasible solutions" to overpopulation and air and water population.  La Crosse County's population was 80,000 in 1970.  It's now close to 120,000. 

Less than a year after Woodstock, Wisconsin had its own Rock Fest, outside of Poynette.  Five thousand tickets had been sold for the three-day outdoor concert.  The most famous band booked was the Grateful Dead, but a La Crosse band called Hope, formerly the Jesters 3, also was on the bill.  Another band at Rock Fest, from Rockford, Illinois, was called Fuse, featuring Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson...who later became famous as part of Cheap Trick.

On the radio in April of 1970..."ABC" by the Jackson 5, "Let It Be," by the recently disbanded Beatles, and the Ides of March with "Vehicle."  Forty-eight years ago, Yesterday in La Crosse.

Two shooters exchanged gunfire last April, with another man being shot in leg

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Wednesday - April 18, 2018 8:46 am

What were campaign ads like 50 years ago?

Compared to political attack ads you see now, messages that ran during the 1968 campaigns in Wisconsin might seem tame.  Congressman Vernon Thomson accused his Democratic opponent, a La Crosse area school board member, of skipping board meetings.  Thomson also claimed his challenger was falsely trying to show an interest in flood control.  Meanwhile, Gov. Warren Knowles was running for a third term, and he made drunk driving a campaign issue.  One Knowles ad showed a picture of a 9-year-old girl, and asked "Will she be dead on the highway in another nine?"

Oktoberfest was known for attracting famous entertainers in its early years.  In 1968, the fest hosted circus clown Emmett Kelly Jr.  And two popular TV actors appeared onstage as their characters at a rodeo in West Salem.  Frank Sutton performed as Sgt. Carter from the "Gomer Pyle" show, and Ken Curtis played Festus from "Gunsmoke."

Doris Day had a new TV series on CBS in 1968, the same year that she did her last movie, the family comedy "With Six You Get Eggroll."  The movie also featured Brian Keith, Barbara Hershey, Jamie Farr, Alice Ghostley, and in his first movie role, George Carlin.  Fifty years ago, 1968, yesterday in La Crosse.

 

 
On Good Friday of 1965, the studios of WKBT Television and WKBH Radio on 6th Street were gutted by an early-morning fire.  No one was hurt, but the fire damage forced broadcasters for both stations out of that building for a time.  WKBH, now WIZM, was offered a temporary studio a block away by competing radio station WLCX.  As for Channel 8, it could still air network TV shows, but local talent had to broadcast from the station transmitter in Galesville, sound only, for a few days.  Lost in the blaze were 20,000 recordings...3000 commercials...and the costume worn by Jack Martin as Bozo the Clown.  
 
The Channel 8 fire struck at the peak of the city's worst flooding on record.  The Mississippi crested in La Crosse on April 22nd, at almost 18 feet...6 feet above flood stage.  The high water shut down the Causeway for about two weeks, and the Clinton Street bridge to French Island also was closed for many days.  
 
And the old courthouse between 3rd and 4th Streets was demolished that April, after 61 years of operation.  A Montgomery Ward store would open on Courthouse Square less than a year later.  The block is now called Belle Square.  The courthouse dome came down 53 years ago, 1965, yesterday in La Crosse.
 

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SCHOOL CLOSINGS
4-19-2018
North Winneshiek

SCHOOL DELAYS
4-19-2018
Bangor 2 hr
Caledonia 2 hr - no AM pre-school, SAC is open
Christ St. John Lutheran West Salem 2 hr - no AM pre-K
DeSoto 2 hr
Eastern Allamakee 2 hr
Fillmore Central 2 hr - THURSDAY
Houston 2 hr
Ithaca 2 hr
Kickapoo 2 hr - no AM 4K
La Crescent & Hokah 2 hr - Montessori and STEM school also running 2 hr late
Lanesboro 2 hr
Mabel/Canton 2 hr
Spring Grove 2 hr
Viroqua 2 hr
Westby 2 hr - no AM 4K
Winona Cotter 2 hr
Winona Parochial 2 hr
Winona Public 2 hr