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Yesterday in La Crosse

Move Traffic Now was a local slogan, 40 years ago

Brad Williams



In early 1979, La Crosse residents were about to vote on a referendum to prevent the widening of West Avenue for two years.  But a citizen group called MTN wanted the north-south street to be widened by about 20 feet between King and Adams Streets.  Both that group and the NPA, the Neighborhood Preservation Association, had filed complaints with District Attorney Michael Mulroy about the amount of campaign spending and voter education being done before the referendum.  About 68 per cent of the voters chose to limit the avenue to 42 feet wide.   

On West Avenue, the A & P store was about to close. The grocery chain was shutting down 174 stores.  The local A & P later became a Super Valu, and is now the site of a Walgreen’s.  

An accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania caused many Americans to worry about the possibility of a meltdown within the facility.  The Three Mile Island incident occurred just days after the opening of the movie ‘The China Syndrome,’ about a cover-up of problems at a fictional nuclear plant.  ‘China Syndrome’ barely made the top 25 box office hits of 1979.  Movies you could see in theaters that fall included ‘Apocalypse Now,’ ‘Rocky 2,’ and ‘Meatballs’ with Bill Murray, 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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