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Thursday - February 22, 2018 8:47 am

Why did the zoo's bear have to die? The question 30 years ago

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In April of 1988, a popular animal at the Myrick Park Zoo, a bear named Roscoe, was put to sleep.  Roscoe was a 12-year-old black bear, weighing 500 pounds.  Animal keepers had decided Roscoe was not suitable for breeding.  News of the bear's death angered supporters of the zoo who had just raised money to build a new open-air pen for Roscoe.

Hintgen Elementary in La Crosse was saying goodbye to the only principal it had ever known.  Elmer Grassman had been in charge of Hintgen since the far south-side school opened 20 years later.  Grassman also had been principal at three other La Crosse schools, all of which have closed over the years...Roosevelt, Washburn, and Webster. 

And the Mary E. Sawyer Auditorium came down in 1988, to make way for a county juvenile center and health building.  The Sawyer was dedicated in 1955, but became obsolete when the La Crosse Center opened in 1980.  The Sawyer is where Elvis performed in 1956, and where scheduled concerts by Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel were cancelled because they didn't sell enough tickets.  The Sawyer was demolished 30 years ago, 1988, yesterday in La Crosse.


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Brad Williams

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from U-W-La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area.  Brad 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.  He's been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.  

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