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 - December 14, 2017 8:24 am

An awful ice storm 95 years ago

A storm in February of 1922 brought up to four inches of ice to central Wisconsin, and 2 inches to La Crosse over a 3-day period. About 20-thousand telephone poles fell under the weight of the ice, and several trains went off their tracks. There was heavy damage to trees as well, but only two people died from the Wisconsin storm.

That happened about a month after a blizzard dumped 28 inches of snow on Washington, D.C,, in what became known as the Knickerbocker Storm. That's because the roof of Washington's Knickerbocker Theater caved in one night during a silent movie. The roof apparently fell straight down in one large piece, blowing many people out of the building. Nearly 100 people died. The design of the fairly new theater was blamed for the disaster, and two of the architects eventually committed suicide years later.

Silent movie comedian Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle was on trial that winter. Prosecutors claimed he raped a woman, and caused her death by internal injuries because he was so heavy. The trial ended with a hung jury, and Arbuckle was eventually acquitted, but his acting career was ruined...95 years ago, 1922, yesterday in La Crosse.


La Crosse is already ahead of the curve in efforts to avoid drug overdoses on college campuses.

The Wisconsin justice department made a deal with a drug company to provide opioid antidote Narcan to all of the University of Wisconsin schools. More than 600 people in Wisconsin died from opioid overdoses in 2015.

Nearly two years ago, freshman Connor Glynn passed out in his dorm room at the UW-La Crosse. Glynn later died from an apparent accidental drug overdose.

It was around that time, UW-L police began keeping supplies of the drug antidote Narcan in its squad cars.

"Epipen pens for allergic reactions and narcan were issued at the same time," UW-L police chief Scott McCullough said. "It was just an initiative we had been looking at for awhile."

Since that practice started, no overdoses have been reported on campus, according to UW-L police chief Scott McCullough.

UW System president Ray Cross said Narcan works so well, "Why wouldn't we do this?"


Wednesday - December 13, 2017 8:43 am

One decade wasn't enough for Mayor Pat, 33 years ago

Around Christmastime of 1984, La Crosse Mayor Pat Zielke launched another re-election campaign.  Zielke was finishing up 10 years in the 6th floor office at City Hall, and sought a new four-year term.  He said he wanted to be remembered for unifying La Crosse, and he was hoping to get a new hotel built place of the old Sawyer Auditorium on Vine Street.  
Also at City Hall, municipal judge John Perlich was interested in moving next door to the courthouse, as a circuit judge.  La Crosse County was expanding its courts to include a 4th circuit.  Perlich won the April election.
Folks in La Crosse couldn't do their Christmas shopping at Doerflinger's any more.  The department store at 4th and Main closed its doors in May of '84 after 103 years in business.  The Doerflinger's building is still around, and now has a new life as the local home of Duluth Trading Company.  
Viterbo hosted a Christmas show featuring popular ventriloquist Shari Lewis and her best-known puppet, Lamb Chop.  And high on the record charts that holiday season was Wham!...with "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go," 1984, yesterday in La Crosse.



It was on December 8th in 1980 when John Lennon was shot and killed outside his New York apartment building by an obsessed fan who had gotten Lennon's autograph earlier in the day.  The former Beatle was 40 years old, and had a new hit single and album on the charts after a five-year hiatus from the music business.  Many Americans heard the news while watching "Monday Night Football" on TV.  In La Crosse, the Racquet newspaper at UW-L called Lennon "the first cultural hero to be assassinated"...unlike other popular celebrities such as Buddy Holly or Jimi Hendrix who may have been killed in accidents or died from substance abuse.
Another pop culture icon to die that December...the real Colonel Sanders, the founder of and commercial pitchman for Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Harland Sanders had just turned 90.  La Crosse's first KFC outlet stood for many years on Losey Boulevard, across from the Village.  Around the time of the Colonel's passing, the south-side restaurant moved to its current location, along Mormon Coulee Road.  
The Christmas edition of the Racquet featured ads for the People's Food Co-op at 6th and Adams...the Office Lounge...Lang Drive Liquor...and Clothes 'n Counter at Menard Plaza.  Places for holiday shopping in 1980, yesterday in La Crosse.

Thursday - December 7, 2017 8:47 am

Taking a leap, 42 years ago

In the summer of 1975, hang gliding was becoming a fad in the Midwest, with the bluffs along the Mississippi used as jumping-off spots.  A group called the La Crosse Sky Surfers had spent several months trying to persuade the city to let them take off from Grandad Bluff.  The park board was taking its time studying the idea, with one board member suggesting that hang-gliders pay a fee of at least $5 to run off the bluff top.  The money would be spent to improve the bluff.

A UW law graduate was opening a La Crosse law office.  Milwaukee native Roger LeGrand had spent three years in India with the Peace Corps.  LeGrand has been in La Crosse ever since '75, serving in many elected offices including district attorney, and presiding as a circuit judge.

The Pizza Wagon on the UW-L campus offered an individual cheese pizza for just $1.30.  For the 16-inch Wagon Special, you'd have to pay just over $5...the price for your slice 42 years ago, yesterday in La Crosse.


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