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Wednesday - January 3, 2018 8:45 am

Dueling plans for ice rinks, 40 years ago

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In January of 1978, La Crosse developer Jake Hoeschler offered a gift of $100,000 to a group hoping to build an ice arena in the city.  There was one catch...the group would only get the money if the arena was named after Hoeschler.  The area of La Crosse Street and Lang Drive was considered the most likely spot for that rink.  At the same time, plans were being made to build the La Crosse Center downtown, and some backers thought an ice rink should be included there to attract a hockey team or ice-skating shows.  At least one county board member was unhappy about building a civic center at all, suggesting only a small number of people would want to use it.  City leaders eventually decided to cut $250,000 from the La Crosse Center budget by eliminating any plans for an ice rink in the building.
The national and local media were voting on their top news stories for 1977.  The Associated Press said a severe winter and terrorism were the most important national stories of the year.  The death of Elvis Presley made the top 5.  The number 1 story in Wisconsin was Governor Patrick Lucey's appointment as ambassador to Mexico, making Martin Schreiber the acting governor.  And the La Crosse Tribune declared a tie for local story of the year between the La Crosse Center/Harborview project and an investigation of UW-L workers using campus telephones for personal calls.  Third place on the local list was the recall of five La Crosse school board members for firing a controversial junior high principal.  Talking about the big news of '77 early in 1978...40 years ago, yesterday in La Crosse.

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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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