Huntington, West Virginia, has not been immune to the opioid crisis that rages throughout Appalachia — but the response of its mayor has earned national recognition.

When we last visited St. Paul, Virginia, town leaders were intent on transforming one of its historic downtown buildings. Their persistence paid off with the recent opening of the Western Front Hotel.

More than a decade ago, city officials in Pikeville, Kentucky, envisioned a future beyond strip mining. Leaders took a risk on a huge investment that paid off — an industrial park that was filled within 10 months.

In search of the town’s most marketable claim to fame, residents of Jonesborough, Tennessee, sought out the help of a consultant. In the end, the answer was obvious: positioning the town as the “Storytelling Capital of the World.”

In Williamson, West Virginia, popularly known as the “Heart of the Billion Dollar Coalfield,” town leaders are investing in life after coal.

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