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Yesterday in La Crosse

Poison the pigeons? It wasn’t a joke, 43 years ago

Brad Williams



A humorous song about “poisoning pigeons in the park” was talked about in real life in La Crosse, in 1976.   The idea of poisoning pigeons in La Crosse to cut down on their numbers was before the city council, but the council sent the idea back to committee.  Council members were weighing the cost of feeding poisoned corn to the birds with the alternative of just shooting them.  In recent years, the city of La Crosse has considered other methods of pigeon control, such as feeding them birth control drugs.   

Kansas City was trying to prevent the Republican Party from pulling the 1976 party convention out of Missouri, and possibly holding the convention in Miami for the third straight election.  Party leaders suggested that Kansas City had overestimated its ability to provide 16,000 rooms for candidates, delegates, and the media.  The convention stayed where it was planned, nominating Gerald Ford for president.   

A teenage swimmer named Tim Shaw won the Sullivan Award for amateur athletes early in ’76.  Shaw edged out another young man who won the Sullivan the following year, for becoming an Olympic decathlon champion–Bruce Jenner.   

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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