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Yesterday in La Crosse

A political march by college students, 40 years ago

Brad Williams



In November of 1979, about 75 people took part in a march on the UW-L campus, protesting against the hostage crisis in Iran.  The demonstration was inspired by President Carter’s order to stop imports of oil from Iran.  There was some hope in Washington for getting the hostages out of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.  Iran’s government was offering proposals for ending the standoff that had begun on November 4th.  But the militants who took the hostages said no to any compromise.  The takeover reportedly was in retaliation for the U.S. admitting the deposed Shah of Iran for medical treatment.  In mid-November of ’79, there were still anywhere from 60 to 98 hostages being held.  That number dropped to 52 by the time the hostage drama ended, in 1981.   

Construction of the new Radisson Hotel in La Crosse was symbolically completed by hoisting a Christmas tree to the hotel roof.  The Radisson was scheduled to open for business the following July in the Harborview complex, which would also become home to the La Crosse Center and the Heileman brewery offices.

A touring production of “The Taming of the Shrew” was presented at the Viterbo Fine Arts Center. The Milwaukee Rep version set Shakespeare’s comedy during World War II, with Petruchio as an American GI taking Kate as his Italian war bride. The cast from Milwaukee included actor Larry Shue, who later became famous as a playwright known for his comedies “The Foreigner” and “The Nerd.”  The Shrew was tamed in 1979, 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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