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Yesterday in La Crosse

There was no more zoo at Myrick, but there was a bear, 11 years ago

Brad Williams

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On a Saturday morning in June 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 would have to go outside the county to get a tranquilizer gun, 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.

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” was the top movie in America that week. “Up” and the original “Hangover” movie were also hot attractions at theaters in June.

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, 2009, 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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