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Yesterday in La Crosse

A La Farge dam seemed like a good idea at the time, 50 years ago

Brad Williams

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In the summer of 1971, about 500 people attended the ground-breaking for a new Kickapoo River dam project near La Farge.  Just one protester spoke out at the ceremony.  The plan to prevent flooding in the Kickapoo Valley had been proposed as early as 1937, and got Congressional approval in 1962.  The $29 million dam was scheduled to be finished in 1977…but construction shut down in ’75, as a result of rising costs and growing environmental concerns.  The project never was completed.  

La Crosse’s city council was busy with a few summertime issues.  The council voted down a plan to resume mosquito control in La Crosse, which used to require sending a fogging machine down the streets on summer nights.  Council members also stopped a plan that would prevent outdoor charcoal grilling within 20 feet of a neighbor’s house.    

Some long-running TV shows were ending their runs in ’71…including “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Green Acres,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” and the western “The High Chapparal.”  But that year also saw the debut of “All in the Family,” “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour,” “McMillan and Wife,” and “Columbo”…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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