Ben Cauley, Survivor Of Lake Monona Plane Crash With Otis Redding, Dies

Just across the street from where James and I live is the site of the horrific plane crash on Lake Monona in 1967 that took the life of Otis Redding.

Now another chapter in that story has ended.


Trumpeter Ben Cauley, a member of the Stax Records group the Bar-Kays and the only survivor of the plane crash that killed most of his bandmates and Stax star Otis Redding, has died in Memphis. He was 67.

While he has long been known as the sole survivor of the crash that killed Redding, Cauley was a survivor in many other ways.

He had struggled with health issues for years, including a stroke he suffered in 1989, but he persevered through all of it and continued to play his trumpet.

Lake Monona ‘No Wake’ Issue Has Residents Talking As Shore Erosion Continues

Competing interests have again butted heads over the thorny issue of Lake Monona and shoreline erosion.  No one wants to trample on the rights of boaters who add energy and zest to the lake on a warm summer day, or limit the fantastic ski show team from practicing or performing.  However,  there does need to be an answer to the continuing erosion that is taking place along the shoreline.

Years ago when walking to visit a friend on the isthmus James and I could walk along the shoreline at B. B. Clarke Beach and be on solid ground that is now eroded into the lake resulting in exposed tree roots.  In addition I hear the words, and feel the concerns of those who have homes on other parts of the lake that feel the effects of erosion, some that is caused by motor boats and crafts that create ‘wakes’.

I hate to see public spaces such as the park continually come under attack from forces that could be tempered with a more concerted effort to fortify the shorelines.  I also think landowners should not have to front the full cost for erosion control if the public use of the lake contributes to the erosion.

As I said there is no easy answer, but there are lots of concerned folks. 

(Gregory) Humphrey has urged the city to install more rock barriers to protect the shore.

Installation of “rip rap” is scheduled this fall, and similar work is being done now at James Madison Park, said Lisa Coleman, a city engineer. However, projects are often delayed because of budget problems, objections from neighbors who don’t like the rocks, and the time it takes to obtain permits, she said.

Jerry Wesner, a town of Burke resident who drives boats for the Mad-City Ski Team, says he’s been frustrated when no-wake orders have shut down club shows and practices, but he sympathizes with anyone who has seen their shoreline wash away.

“I’m sure there’s bad taste in some people’s mouths when the ski team is out there running the wake,” Wesner said, although he points out that much of the shore where the team operates around Law Park is reinforced with rock. “I just don’t know what the happy level is. I just know the water level changes drastically based on the rain that we get.”

Ducks Say Farewell To Ice

On Sunday there were some great sights as the last ice of the season departed from Lake Monona.  One of the photos I took showed the last thin slabs of ice floating, and  ducks walking upon it.