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In Save Our Towns season finale, Harrisonburg embraces immigrants

March 29, 2017

Rally photo from Church World Services, Harrisonburg

People gathered at rally holding welcome neighbor signs
The city commits money and other support to nonprofits that work with immigrants, and this past August the city council voted to join the "Welcoming America" network.

Harrisonburg's decadeslong effort to welcome refugees and political asylum-seekers helped create conditions for it to become one of the fastest-growing cities in Virginia, according to Mayor Deanna Reed and other city leaders.

The Save Our Towns Example of Awesome story shows how Harrisonburg, outspokenly proud of its foreign-born population, supported nonprofits that have ensured immigrants' welcome and contributed to their success.

Also in the episode, a meeting of the minds takes place in the tiny town of Cleveland. The Southwest Virginia town – the focus of month-by-month updates on Save Our Towns – now heads into the homestretch to meet deadlines to deploy $2 million in grant money.

In Maxwell’s Number, graduate student Maxwell Vandervliet of New York City, a master's student of urban and regional planning in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, employs an equine metaphor to illustrate manufacturing.

This month’s project from Virginia Cooperative Extension is more than a cattle call, as it features the work of Scott Jessee in Russell County. Also, a West Virginia University expert weighs in with a word of warning for mayors.

Save Our Towns, created and produced by Outreach and International Affairs, is a series of monthly video episodes designed for mayors in small towns and other leaders who are working to improve the economic life of their communities.

Last year, Save Our Towns won two national communications awards, including the only U.S.-based contest exclusively judged by journalists and a Best Community Affairs award from PR Daily-Ragan. Earlier this year, the program took top honors in the annual competition of CASE, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, in the region covering colleges and universities in the Southeast.

The series is scheduled to return for a fourth season in the fall.

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