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Yesterday in La Crosse

I can find the medallion from two clues, 52 years ago

Brad Williams



Oktoberfest Medallion hunters in 1968 were told that a well-known person in La Crosse was carrying the prize, and to win the contest, you had to ask the right person the secret words: “Are you carrying the Oktoberfest Maple Leaf?” Teenage siblings John and Karen Petruccelli figured out after the second clue that downtown store owner Harry Wiggert had the medallion with him. That clue mentioned ‘Jay-walking,’ which Karen and John decided was a reference to a business on Jay Street…and the Wiggert Brothers store was at 4th and Jay. Clue number one referred to a governor…and Wiggert had attended Washburn School, named after former Wisconsin Governor Cadwallader Washburn. John and Karen won the grand prize of $35.

A Supreme Court nominee was under fire. Justice Abe Fortas had been nominated by President Johnson to become Chief Justice, but Republican Senators were trying to defeat Fortas. The nomination was in trouble, because Fortas was accused of accepting a $15,000 fee to conduct a law seminar at American University. That and other ethics problems kept Fortas from becoming Chief Justice, and led him to resign from the court the next year.

The new fall TV series of 1968 included “The Mod Squad,” “Julia,” with Diahann Carroll, “Land of the Giants,” “The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show,” and “Hawaii Five-O.” Aloha.

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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