BLACKSBURG — While many Southwest Virginia towns historically have depended on the coal industry for jobs, residents of one small town fought a permit that would have allowed mining of more than 1,200 acres on nearby Ison Rock Ridge. In a new episode of Save Our Towns, former Virginia Tech alumnus Jessica Snead reports from the town of Appalachia to show how town residents made their voices heard after the tragic death of a child and how their subsequent actions may have helped preserve their town.

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This month's expert tip comes from Appalachian Voices staff member Adam Wells who offers explanations about why many granting agencies won't consider an application that lacks evidence of community involvement.

This episode also includes coverage of the annual CityWorks Expo in Roanoke and it features valuable project information from Elizabeth Gilboy of the Community Design Assistance Center in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, and Carl Zipper, an Extension specialist with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Save our Towns has generated thousands of views both on YouTube and on the resource-rich Save Our Towns website. In future episodes, the show's Examples of Awesome stories are scheduled to continue with a report from the small town of Saltville, where coal wasn't the only gem found underground, and later from Haysi, where the uniting of citizens proved powerful.