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News of the Weird

Thursday June 20, 2002

Elephant goes to college 

MENOMONIE, Wis. — An elephant made an early exit from a circus performance and headed down Main Street, walking about two miles through the city before being corralled. 

“All of a sudden the elephant doing a performance went over the ring and right through the center ring,” said Shirley Kistner, who was attending the circus Monday with her 6-year-old granddaughter, Kaitlyn. 

“People in the stands and everybody kind of scattered, and out the door it went.” 

After Mary the elephant broke loose at the Dunn County Recreation Park, the fire department responded with lights and sirens, prompting the 6-year-old elephant and her mother, 21-year-old Tory, to begin running in opposite directions, officials said. 

Tory was quickly recaptured, but Mary wandered through the business district of Menomonie and the University of Wisconsin-Stout campus until authorities managed to block her way, Police Chief Dennis Beety said. 

“People were just dumbfounded,” firefighter Tim Koleski said. “It was amazing.” 

Elephant trainer Billy Morris used Tory to calm Mary and got both elephants loaded onto a semitrailer truck to take them back to the circus. 


Book Mouse a cousin to Mickey  

FLINT, Mich. — Walt Disney Co. officials have until July 30 to decide whether to challenge the Genesee District Library’s mascot for an alleged similarity to Mickey Mouse. 

Last summer, the library submitted a trademark registry request with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office for “Book Mouse,” a blue, large-eared rodent wearing red-rimmed glasses and a backpack. Book Mouse appears on bumper stickers and in coloring books, and even marches in local parades. 

In April, Disney got a 90-day extension to consider challenging the Book Mouse trademark. 

“I can’t imagine it’s deceptively similar to any Disney character we’re aware of,” Library attorney Patric Parker told The Flint Journal for a Tuesday story. 

Parker said he’s confident that Disney will manage to survive the Book Mouse controversy. 

“I don’t think we cut into their movie profits this last year,” he said.