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Yesterday in La Crosse

Rice, or Coffey? Wisconsin voters were offered the choice in the 70’s

Brad Williams

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In October of 1977, Judge James Rice of Monroe County launched a bid for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Rice said the main issue of his campaign was to promote judicial efficiency, to tackle problems of delays in the state court system.  The judge was running for a seat being vacated by retiring Justice Leo Hanley.  Rice lost the 1978 election to Milwaukee Judge John Coffey.   

City and school leaders in La Crosse broke ground in October for the new north-side high school, which would be the new Logan High.  The site near Swanson Field had been chosen three years earlier.  It was budgeted at $7 million, including a new indoor swimming pool.  That same week, ground was broken for Valley View Mall along Highway 16.  Logan would open a full year before the mall.  The Valley View ceremony was delayed for two hours, because officials from the mall management company and the Dayton-Hudson department stores were flying to La Crosse, and were slowed down by fog.  

One of the many airplane disasters in music history happened on October 20th, 1977 in Mississippi, when three members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd were among six people killed in a Mississippi crash.  Twenty others on the plane were injured.  The accident happened only three days after the release of the band’s new album ‘Street Survivors’ in 1977, 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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