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Yesterday in La Crosse

Finishing the roads in time for Christmas shopping, 34 years ago

Brad Williams



On the day before Thanksgiving in 1985, a ribbon cutting was planned at the intersection of Highways 16 and 157 at Valley View Mall.  Major highway improvements were being made in the mall area.  A map of the intersection showed several of the mall-area businesses located nearby, including some no longer there, such as Hardee’s, Cub Foods, and Chi-Chi’s.   

A Tribune headline said “Trouble for Catbirds.”  The CBA basketball franchise had just moved to La Crosse, and the players were still in training camp in November.  Center Russell Cross had his right knee in a cast, and another Catbirds player left to take a job in Atlanta.  The team finished its first regular season in La Crosse with a .500 record, but still managed to reach the league finals against the Tampa Bay Thrillers.   

In Washington, a national commission recommended that presidential candidates continue making “joint appearances” in future elections.  In other words, more presidential debates.  The commission co-chaired by former Wisconsin Congressman Melvin Laird recommended the standard debate schedule we have now, of three debates between the major party nominees, and one vice presidential debate.  The panel also said there should be no “artificial shortening” of the campaign season, but it also called for more states to have early contests along with Iowa and New Hampshire.  Campaign talk in 1985, 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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