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Year in review: Ripon’s best story in 2021 is … | News

ByRandall B. Phelps

Jan 1, 2022





Teams are working to remove a tree from power lines following a violent weather event that devastated the city in late July. City cleanup efforts continue.




the Ripon Commonwealth Press tallied Ripon’s 10 best stories from 2021 over the past nine days, culminating with the best story today (Friday, December 31).

Here is the top story of 2021.

Storm brought out the best of the community

Mother Nature gave Ripon a black eye, but the city has recovered. A violent weather event devastated Ripon in late July, knocking down many trees and power lines, and causing a power outage throughout the city.

The roofs of buildings have been ripped off and windows blown up, roads have been closed and, in some cases, residents have seen trees falling into their homes. Ripon experienced straight line winds and not a tornado, with wind speeds estimated at around 110mph, with wind speeds of 80-90mph at ground level.

The day after the storm, the city issued a press release advising residents to stay indoors due to the severe weather event. As the storm swept through town, the Ripon Police Department, Ripon Area Fire District (RAFD) and Ripon Guardian Ambulance Service responded to the event and established an Incident Command Center.

The storm did not cause injuries or deaths within the city limits of Ripon, but a man from Fond du Lac died outside the city in a car crash related to the storm. Bad weather caused extensive property damage, with police and firefighters receiving more than 25 calls for broken power lines, officials said at a press conference.

In the aftermath of the storm, many members of the Ripon community went out of their way to look after each other. People came out of their homes to examine each other and see what they could do to support each other.

For example, when Alexandria Games’ lead glass panes were blown in a storm, eight community members helped sweep the sidewalk in front of the store and keep people from being injured by the shattered glass.

“That’s what Ripon is: neighbors looking out for each other; people help each other ”, Ald. Jolene Schatzinger spoke about the community’s response to the situation. “They embodied love for your neighbor.”

Last week at around 1 a.m. on Thursday, Alexandria Games co-owners Patrick and Lauren McConnell received a horrific phone call.

FAQ: Did a tornado touch down near Ripon and Brandon last week?

After a violent weather event ravaged the Ripon and Brandon areas on July 28 and 29, there was a lot of speculation on social media as to the source of the property damage suffered.

FAQ: Why didn't the Fond du Lac County tornado sirens sound during last week's storm?

Why didn’t the Fond du Lac County tornado sirens sound during last week’s storm?

Follow-up: Storm clean-up leaves Ripon with a long, costly road ahead

The town of Ripon continues to feel the aftermath of last month’s severe weather event that ravaged the region when it came to cleanup and costs associated with the storm.

Follow-up: Ripon continues its storm clean-up efforts;  storm highlights need for new trees

The town of Ripon continues to work on felling trees following a severe weather event earlier this summer.