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Yesterday in La Crosse

A bear at Myrick Park draws a crowd, 10 years ago

Brad Williams



On June 27th of 2009, a 300-pound black bear made its way into the city of La Crosse. It wound up in a tree in Myrick Park, which no longer had a zoo. Onlookers had followed the bear and tracked its movements with video cameras. A crowd gathered, and wouldn’t leave. When it looked like the bear was going to climb down from the tree, police killed the animal, saying they didn’t want it attacking the spectators. People in La Crosse argued for weeks about whether the bear had to be shot. The DNR claimed it didn’t have a tranquilizer gun handy, and besides, shooting the bear with drugs could have made the animal more dangerous.

The shooting of the bear happened the same week that two icons of the 1970’s died within hours of each other. Both singer Michael Jackson and “Charlie’s Angels” star Farrah Fawcett passed away on June 25th. Fawcett was 62, and Jackson was 50.

Rudy’s Drive-In of La Crosse added a second location that summer, at a former A & W in Sparta. The Rudy family opened its first A & W stand in La Crosse in 1937. The Rudy’s brand spread 10 years ago, 2009, yesterday in La Crosse.