In January of 1977, principal Myron McKee of Longfellow Junior High was back in the news. The La Crosse school district asked McKee to explain an incident where he saw a student holding a marijuana pipe a few blocks from the school, and then took the boy back to Longfellow where he was arrested. Because of that and other incidents, the school board voted in March not to renew McKee’s contract, which led to a summer recall election in which five board members were ousted.
Jimmy Carter became president that January. Just one year earlier, the ex-governor of Georgia was given little chance of winning the election, until he got the highest vote total among Democrats in the Iowa caucus. That helped make Iowa’s reputation as an early campaign stop. Carter campaigned in La Crosse twice before the ’76 election, appearing on a public radio show at UW-L, and then speaking at Valhalla on campus before the Wisconsin primary.
Ronald Reagan ran for the Republican nomination in ’76, after becoming a commentator heard on radio stations across the country, including WKTY in La Crosse. KTY listeners in ’77 could hear local programming from news anchors Paul Lowrey and Larry Green, along with Eric Parsons, Mike Kearns, and the Lead Balloon Show hosted by Charlie Kearns. Bill Hoel did morning news on WLCX, which had recently hired Chris Bury as a reporter. Bury went on to work for ABC-TV on ‘Nightline’ and ‘Good Morning America.’ Stars of local radio in 1977…yesterday in La Crosse.