In an opinion-packed episode of Save Our Towns, a North Carolina town tells why its ambitious energy-saving blueprint is doable, an expert lists three towns gathering steam in terms of economic prosperity, and four Appalachian writers pinpoint what the news media often get wrong about small towns.

The episode travels to Boone, North Carolina, in the Example of Awesome story, to detail the university town’s headline-generating plan to wean itself off fossil fuels by 2050.

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Also in the episode, Billy Schumann, of Appalachian State University, defines three promising trends toward economic prosperity in small towns. In the full interview transcript posted on the Save Our Towns website, viewers can learn why he gives shoutouts to not only Boone but also Abingdon, Virginia, and Whitesburg, Kentucky. Schumann heads the Center for Appalachian Studies. You can read Schumann’s Q&A by clicking on the Connect With Experts tab.

What will be the fate of the Appalachian Regional Commission? In the Maxwell’s Number feature, Maxwell Vandervliet, of New York City, a Virginia Tech master's student of urban and regional planning in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, covers the commission’s poverty-fighting track record.

In three other segments, the episode:

Award-winning Save Our Towns, produced by Outreach and International Affairs, has been recognized in communications and higher-education competitions, including a "grand award" from CASE, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. The series speaks to small-town mayors and town managers throughout Appalachia with a mission to guide and inspire those who are working to build strong communities.

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