This badass GOP mayor switched his Texas city to renewable energy because of ‘the facts.’

Georgetown, a Texas a city about 30 miles out of Austin, with a population of around 67,000, is a red city with a mayor who proudly attended Donald Trump's inauguration. In a state dominated by big oil, it’s the last place you’d expect to find a city that’s ran on 100% renewable energy … but it is.

The only other city to run on 100% renewables is in liberal Vermont.

When asked why a red city in a red state is one of the first cities in the U.S. to be powered 100% by renewable energy, his answer is simple: “In Georgetown, we make our decisions based on the facts.”


In an interview with the CBC, he had harsh words for president Trump, who’s been a huge supporter of coal.

“I couldn't disagree with him more on environmental or energy policy,” he said. “He says it's clean coal. There is no such animal as clean coal. If he would invite me to the White House, I could show him the art of the deal when it comes to energy.”

Halifax International Security Forum/Flickr

When Georgetown’s power contract was up in 2012, the city looked at its options and renewable energy was complete no-brainer over oil and gas which prices fluctuate by the day.

“Wind and solar would give us fixed-rate pricing for 25 years. With natural gas, it's only seven years,” Ross said. “So we know, all the way through 2041, what we are going to pay for our electricity, which gives us cost certainty, which minimizes and mitigates volatility in the short-term market.”

“In Texas, it's $2.50 per gallon of gasoline,” he continued. “If I made you an offer that for 25 years I can guarantee you $2.50, would you take it? I would lock in, for sure.”

Georgetown gets its solar power from the 154 megawatt Buckthorn solar plant in West Texas and draws wind power from a farm near Amarillo and two in west Texas.

Ross and his city’s decision to put policy and science before party is refreshing in an era marked by political divisions. “In Georgetown,” he said, “we put silly national partisan politics to the side and we just do what's good for the voters and citizens that put us into office.”

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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