Josh Moenning

More than 200 mayors representing cities in every U.S. state have signed on to Environment America Research & Policy Center’s “Mayors for Solar Energy” letter, embracing a collective vision for solar-powered communities.

Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning is one of two representing Nebraska, along with Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler.

“While our federal government is promoting 19th-century energy policies, Americans can look to local governments to lead the United States’ transition to clean energy,” said Emma Searson of Environment America. “Mayors across the country are rising to the challenge — thinking bigger, acting smarter, and tapping the sun for more power.”

The list of 216 mayors who signed the letter spans the political spectrum, including 25 Republicans, as well as a broad range of city sizes and budgets.

For example, Republican Mayor James Brainard of Carmel, Ind., said he is proud to support solar in his community and that it’s a “no-brainer” for every city to consider:

“Even as Carmel continues its substantial growth, our city is working aggressively to reduce our carbon footprint well below what it was several years ago, when we were a smaller community,” he said. “Solar plays a major role in that effort.”

Brainard said he likes to debunk a popular misconception about solar — that it’s only for consistently sunny southern cities. Vast improvements in solar panel efficiency, battery storage technology and substantial reductions in cost in recent years have all but rendered those concerns moot, he said.

The Mayors for Solar Energy letter includes dozens of signers from northern communities that experience short, cold winter days.

The number of signatures on the Mayors for Solar Energy letter has more than tripled since December 2017, and Environment America Research and Policy Center expects that number will continue to grow.

“Mayors know the needs of their townspeople better than anyone,” Searson said. “They know the existing infrastructure and how to adapt it to best allow solar and other forms of clean, renewable energy to displace the fossil fuels that pollute our communities and make our families sick. These are neighbors helping neighbors to a brighter future.”

In other news

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — It began with devastation in the New York City area, followed by a summertime crisis in the Sun Belt. Now the coronavirus outbreak is heating up fast in smaller cities in the heartland, often in conservative corners of America where anti-mask sentiment runs high.

The mural decorating the back wall of Roxi’s Elegant Bridal in downtown Norfolk is one of three that will be completed before the snow flies.

While flowers in gardens and porch pots are gasping for breath, the flowers behind Roxie’s Elegant Bridal on Norfolk Avenue are in full bloom.