Glen Lyn’s one-of-a-kind mayor, Howard Spencer, says, “I’m either the biggest crook that’s ever been in this county, or I’m trying to do things the right way.” 

In the latest episode of Save Our Towns, Spencer shares some of the extreme moments from his 40-year career trying almost anything to ensure the town’s fiscal health. (One of them involves a snake.)

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Viewers will also discover Marion, Virginia, which won the title “America’s Coolest Hometown.” Will it keep that designation? Economic development chief Ken Heath declares that the Marion “magic” will continue and its successes will become a model for other towns.

In the segment called Small Town, Big Number, Ann Brown presents efforts to save the Eastern hellbender. Bill Hopkins, professor of wildlife in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, describes these salamanders as a national treasure. After the segment was recorded, the National Science Foundation awarded a $738,817 grant to a Virginia Tech research team to study the hellbender’s parenting skills.

Save Our Towns, produced by Outreach and International Affairs, is entering its fifth season. It 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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