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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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Wednesday - March 21, 2018 8:44 am

A bombing scare in the Midwest, 34 years ago

People in La Crosse were nervous in late May of 1984, when pipe bombs were being found throughout the city.  At least six of the devices were found by La Crosse police in just two days.  One was accidentally set off by a power company employee outside St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral, while Aquinas High School was holding its graduation mass inside.  Somebody claimed credit for the bombs in the name of "The North Central Gay Strike Force Against Public Oppression.'  A few days later, a Minnesota man, Earl Karr, was arrested when his rental car blew up in Iowa.  Karr was sentenced to 10 years in prison for planting about two dozen pipe bombs in four states.
A flame that people in La Crosse wanted to see in '84 was the Olympic torch, being carried across the U.S. on the way to the summer games in Los Angeles.  Deak Swanson of La Crosse was chosen to run 1K of the 19,000K torch relay.  Deak would run on behalf of the La Crosse Boys and Girls Club. 
Some of the songs topping the record charts in early 1984 were "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins..."Against All Odds," by Phil Collins...and Boy George and Culture Club singing "Karma Chameleon."  In 1984, yesterday in La Crosse.

A new team competition started up in La Crosse in 1991, a Corporate Spelling Bee.  A local literacy council recruited three-person teams from companies throughout the area to see which employers had the best spellers.  The corporate bee was held in early September at Valley View Mall, and the tradition continued for several years afterward.

Twenty years before Obamacare, Milwaukee area Congressman Jim Moody told an audience at La Crosse's Baus Haus that he thought people would accept a Canadian-style system of health care.  Moody claimed the American Medical Association had fought Medicare until just a few years earlier.  He said more than 30 million Americans, including 12 million children, had little or no health insurance.

On TV in 1991, the most popular network shows included "60 Minutes," "Cheers," "Home Improvement," "Roseanne," and "Murphy Brown."  After all these years, "60 Minutes" is still around, and both "Roseanne" and "Murphy Brown" are coming back with new episodes in 2018...but they were hits 27 years ago, Yesterday in La Crosse.


In the summer of 1992, a park near the Omni Center in Onalaska was named after former Mayor Shirleigh Van Riper.  But objecting to the decision was the new mayor, George Osterhout, who had just replaced Mr. Van Riper.  Osterhout complained that the Onalaska park board exceeded its authority by naming the park after Van Riper without first bringing suggestions to the city council.  Van Riper had helped create Onalaska's park and rec department.

A long-time downtown store in La Crosse would close its doors in '92.  The Woolworth store on Main Street had operated at that location since the 1930's.  The building now houses the Crossfire center for young people.

The La Crosse Catbirds won their second CBA title in three years that spring, under head coach Flip Saunders.  The Catbirds needed all seven games of the championship series to take the trophy over the Rapid City Thrillers.

And for much of February and March, the "Wayne's World" movie, based on the SNL sketches with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, was #1 in America.  Party on, Wayne...1992, yesterday in La Crosse.



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