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Yesterday in La Crosse

Riverboat casinos were losing steam in Wisconsin, 27 years ago

Brad Williams



In the summer of 1992, Assemblyman John Medinger announced he was giving up on the idea of bringing riverboat gambling to the La Crosse area. Wisconsin Attorney General Jim Doyle ruled that Indian tribes could not run casinos on a riverboat, and the legislature passed a constitutional amendment to freeze the amount of non-Indian gaming available in the state. In the following eight years, plans for land-based casinos in La Crosse were voted down in two referendums, after public campaigns portraying gambling as immoral.

Two new elementary schools were opening in the La Crosse District, North Woods and Southern Bluffs. It was because of the need to fill those two buildings that the school board decided to assign students to schools based on socio-economic balance, which included a busing plan. Opposition to the busing led to the recall of four school board members who supported the idea.

“Ray Charles” appeared in the Catfish Days parade in Trempealeau, sort of. The Tribune ran a picture of four area kids in the parade impersonating Ray and his back-up singers, the “Uh-Huh Girls,” from a popular series of soda commercials. The caption to the photo said the group “appears a bit tense.” That could be because two of the Uh-Huh Girls were being played by young boys in dresses, 27 years ago.

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