News from around the Mountain State

Red Dawson to be grand marshal of Marshall homecoming parade

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Former Marshall assistant football coach Red Dawson will be the grand marshal in Marshall University’s homecoming parade this month.

The parade will be held Oct. 13 in downtown Huntington.

Dawson was an assistant coach in 1970 when a plane crash carrying Marshall’s football team, coaches and supporters crashed near the Huntington airport while returning from a game at East Carolina.

Seventy-five people died in the worst sports disaster in U.S. history. Dawson was driving on a recruiting trip and was not on the flight.

In a statement released by Marshall, Dawson says he’s excited about being the grand marshal and was surprised when asked by university President Jerome Gilbert.

Dawson was portrayed by Matthew Fox in the 2006 film “We Are Marshall.”

Man wearing clown mask chases kids with baseball bat

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — A Fairmont man has been accused wearing a clown mask while chasing children with a baseball bat.

The Times West Virginian reports Marion County sheriff’s deputies arrested 34-year-old Gary A. Valentine on Saturday on an assault charge.

Deputies responded to the Millersville area after receiving a call about the incident.

Police records show Valentine told deputies that he chased some children while wearing a clown mask and carrying a baseball bat. The four children ranged in age from 6 to 11 years old.

Deputies say there had been an altercation between Valentine and a parent that ended with threats but no injuries.

The arrest comes after recent reports of clowns popping up in different states and scaring residents.

Deadline looms for volunteer fire department in Roane County

NEWTON, W.Va. (AP) — A volunteer fire department in Roane County has six months to fix its problems before the State Fire Marshal’s Office closes it.

WCHS-TV reports state fire officials have given the Newton Volunteer Fire Department 180 days to get the department up to par with state guidelines, or they’ll have to shut down.

A recent evaluation found several deficiencies in the department’s equipment.

Newton VFD Fire Chief Christopher Underwood says they’re about $150,000 in the hole, and they need about 16 sets of new gear for firefighters.

Their fire trucks and equipment on them also need to be updated.

Underwood said issues have been building at the department for years. In January, former fire chief Sean Mccarty was charged with embezzling $130,000 from the department. He’s still awaiting trial.

Wheeling considers raising fines for parking violations

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — The Wheeling City Council’s Finance Committee will consider raising fines for downtown parking meter violations.

The Intelligencer reports that the potential fee increase is being considered in order to promote accessible street parking and push drivers toward off-street garages.

The fee increase was recommended by former Mayor Andy McKenzie’s ad hoc parking committee after many downtown business owners claimed that the current $3 tickets were not enough to deter drivers from obstructing metered spaces.

Vice Mayor Chad Thalman says an exact fee hasn’t yet been determined. He says the last time the city increased meter fines was in 1996.

The finance committee will discuss the matter on Tuesday prior to the council’s meeting.