Pictured (L to R): Front Row: Brad Hawkins, Eric Collins and Robbie Middleton Back Row: Dave Goad, NMA Post 7 President, Joey Sykes, Frankie Moore, Adam Phillips and Randy Moore, Virginia Energy Director of Coal Programs. Courtesy of Virginia Energy.
Front row (from left): Brad Hawkins, Brian Keith, Eric Collins. Back row (from left): NMA Post 7 President Dave Goad, Robbie Middleton, Joey Sykes, Frankie Moore, Adam Phillips and Randy Moore, Virginia Energy's director of coal programs. Photo courtesy of Virginia Energy.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to news@cardinalnews.org.

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Paramont Contura takes top award at Overmountain Mine Rescue Competition

Paramont Contura took the top award at the inaugural Overmountain Mine Rescue Competition, co-hosted by National Mine Rescue Association Post 7 and the Virginia Department of Energy.

Eight teams demonstrated skills specific to responding to an emergency in an underground mine. The competition was held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon.

The event was named for the Overmountain Men, volunteers from Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee who mustered in Abingdon in 1780 and eventually fought and won the Revolutionary War battle of Kings Mountain. In a similar spirit, this contest brought contestants from across Appalachia who also volunteer to serve as first responders to their fellow miners.

Paramont Contura, Coronado Coal, Virginia Small Operators Mine Rescue and Wellmore Coal Co. were the Virginia companies represented in the mine rescue competition. From West Virginia, Southern Pocahontas’ Apache team and Affinity Mine Rescue took the field. Iron Senergy’s Cumberland Mine team came to compete from Pennsylvania.

A full list of winners is online.

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State opens application window for cooling assistance program

The Virginia Department of Social Services is accepting applications through Aug. 15 for the Virginia Energy Assistance Program, which will provide cooling assistance to qualifying households.

To qualify, a household must include a child younger than age 6, an adult 60 years or older or someone living with a disability. Income requirements, which are based on a household’s gross monthly income (before taxes), can be found here (available in English and Spanish).

Anyone who needs cooling assistance is encouraged to apply even if they are unsure of their eligibility status.   

Assistance is available to pay electric bills, repair central air conditioning systems and heat pumps, and buy whole-house fans, ceiling fans, attic fans and window air conditioners.

Households who received a one-time benefit of $600 for payment of electric bills to operate cooling equipment in June aren’t eligible to receive additional payments for this type of assistance in 2023.

Applications (available in English and Spanish) can be submitted to a local department of social services, online via CommonHelp or by calling 855-635-4370. Eligibility is determined by the local department of social services. 

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Mountain Gateway CC’s Shofstahl honored by national organization

David Shofstahl, who serves as a workforce coach and apprenticeship coordinator in the Workforce Solutions and Community Education Division at Mountain Gateway Community College, has been selected as a recipient of the 2023 NISOD Excellence Award.

David Shofstahl (right) received a 2023 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award. Making the presentation during a ceremony in Austin, Texas, was Edward Leach, executive director of NISOD. Photo courtesy of Mountain Gateway Community College.

NISOD, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, is a membership organization that promotes excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges. Shofstahl was one of many college staff members nationwide recognized for doing extraordinary work on their respective campuses, according to a news release announcing the award.

Shofstahl has been employed at Mountain Gateway since 2017. He is the workforce coach for the Appalachian Hardwood Training Initiative, coordinates the college’s apprenticeship program and manages the skilled trades classes for the noncredit program, the release said.

Shofstahl earned associate degrees in science, business administration and education at Mountain Gateway; a bachelor of science degree in engineering technology from Old Dominion University; and a master’s degree in human resource education from Louisiana State University. He is expected to complete his doctorate in education in occupational and technical studies at ODU in the fall. Shofstahl worked 25 years in construction before joining the staff at Mountain Gateway.