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Yesterday in La Crosse

Teachers walk for just one day, 49 years ago

Brad Williams



In early 1971, La Crosse Education Association members walked off the job for a day, shutting down all 20 schools in the district.  The strike capped a year-long dispute with the school district, which the Tribune called “the biggest educational crisis in La Crosse history.”  The union and the school board had agreed on most parts of a contract, including a base salary of $7300.  But the talks broke down on the issue of contract renewal.   

Daniel Ellsberg was a leaker.  Ellsberg sent the Pentagon Papers to the media in ’71, when Senate Republican leader Hugh Scott said Democratic candidates for president were using the war as a “political football” for criticizing President Nixon for a war they had supported under Lyndon Johnson.  More than 20 years later, Ellsberg spoke at Main Hall on the U-W-L campus about his anti-war activism.  

Burger Chef on the Causeway had the “cheese-burgiest” cheeseburgers for just 27 cents.  Legion Post 52 in La Crosse was promoting a $1.50 fish fry on Friday nights, with $2 frog legs also on the menu.  

Wisconsin became the 34th state to approve a lower voting age of 18.  A handful of lawmakers opposed the change.  Only four more states were needed to make the 26th amendment a federal law, in 1971.  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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