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Yesterday in La Crosse

Sixteen inches of snow in early April…would we lie to you?

Brad Williams

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On April 8th and 9th of 1973, La Crosse saw one of its biggest snowstorms on record to that time. The 16-inch total easily beat the previous record for April snow in the city, set 21 years earlier.  The total of 17 inches for the entire month remained an April record in La Crosse until 2018…and surprisingly, the forecast had called for light snow or rain.

Wisconsin voters were eager to play bingo, passing a statewide referendum to legalize the game. Some TV stations around the state had broadcast daily bingo shows in the mid-60’s for prizes, but the state shut them down because businesses offering the bingo cards had an unfair advantage in the market. Bingo actually had been outlawed in Wisconsin in 1939, and opponents of the amendment feared that organized crime, and even worse forms of gambling would follow if bingo was approved.

At its annual banquet in April, the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce continued its tradition of celebrity speakers by bringing in TV personality Kitty Carlisle. Five days a week in ’73, Carlisle could be seen as a panelist on the syndicated game show “To Tell the Truth.” In La Crosse, she spoke about her career as a singer and occasional movie star, noting that she was gaining young fans because of her role in the Marx Brothers classic “A Night at the Opera.” The real Kitty Carlisle stands up 45 years ago, 1973, yesterday in La Crosse.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also 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. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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