At the end of 1975, the La Crosse Tribune ranked troubles in the La Crosse DA’s office as the top local news story of the year. Ed Nix had stirred up controversy in his first year as DA by dismissing charges against a defendant who had contributed to his 1974 campaign. Nix also had clashes with judges, police, and the media, and was denied a second term in the ’76 election, losing to Michael Mulroy.
The #2 local story was the 4th of July abduction of a couple from La Crosse’s Riverside Park, which led to the woman’s rape and the man’s murder. Jerold Hammill was convicted of the crimes, and spent the last 35 years of his life in state prison. Number 3 on the year-end list was La Crosse’s selection as the best small city in America, by a national survey.
The top Wisconsin stories for 1975, chosen by the Associated Press, were a month-long takeover of a monastery by American Indian activists, and the wreck of the “Edmund Fitzgerald” on Lake Superior.
There was no snow on the ground in La Crosse at the close of ’75, but bad weather arrived later in the winter, with an ice storm striking Wisconsin in March of ’76, yesterday in La Crosse.