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Community Action decides to downsize its 'CATS' bus program due to low use and high costs

By Press Release

Press release:

For many years, Community Action of Orleans and Genesee has been a resource supporting reliable and affordable transportation services to community members in our two counties via the Community Action Transportation System, better known CATS.

But the current system of providing bus transportation has become exceedingly expensive for Community Action. Over recent years, many of our bus trips contain only one or two riders. Using buses to transport a single rider is extremely expensive and the costs have continued to rise with increases in insurance, bus maintenance, fuel and wages.

It is with a heavy heart that Community Action has made the decision to downsize the CATS Bus transportation system. With costs exceeding revenue, it is deemed necessary to protect our ability to provide the many unique and essential services we bring to our customers. This will be difficult and this process will take time.

“Fuel and bus maintenance is costly, while ridership is low due to COVID and new conveniences such as remote work, grocery delivery, and telehealth,” said Community Action Executive Director Renee Hungerford.

The CATS program has been providing to residents, bus transportation service for established routes and for “on-demand” rides year-round, five days per week.  Destinations included community health centers, doctor and hospital visits, treatment centers, clinics, dialysis, and retail store shopping.

The caring and courageous staff continued services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic despite a drastic reduction in riders along with the added effort of sanitizing buses between trips. 

Community Action services have been able to support clients who are elderly or disabled and who remain independent in their homes but do not own/drive a vehicle. 

CATS bus transportation services have evolved where experienced and professional staff have dedicated themselves not only to ensuring maintained vehicles but have also provided very caring door-to-door and door-through-door service for some of our clients.

Today however, our friends at Rochester Transportation Services (RTS) and others are helping to fulfill this need. 

Community Action will work with partners to do everything possible to ensure transportation needs are met by offering other transportation options to our Community Action clients. We will continue to provide busing for our Head Start program.

As we go through this process, we will research the possibility to evolve our community transportation support to vans and energy efficient vehicles that meet the special needs of valued customers.

Cat missing on Ross Street, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens


From Marybeth Stefani:

I recently moved to Ross Street. My cat Mittens was always an indoor cat, but since moving to the new place she was eager to get outside, so we let her. She was only going as far as the neighbor's and would show up periodically throughout the day. We have been here for a month and a half. Well last Monday is the last I’ve seen of her

She is a female cat who is about 14 years old. She has a scar on her lower side (from a cat fight from before I adopted her). When she went missing, she was wearing a purple flea collar on which I had written her name and address. She is friendly but hides from people she doesn't know.

She could be hiding under a porch or even a garage, so I am asking people to keep their eyes out for her.  She is a family cat and we are missing her terribly! I can be contacted by phone 585-297-7418.

Council told of strategy for dealing with stray cats in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

A small platoon of volunteers could deal with the army of stray cats in Batavia, the City Council was told during a long discussion of the issue Monday night.

Three representatives of the pro bono animal program at the SUNY Buffalo Law School recommend a trap, neuter, vaccinate and return program that they say has been successful elsewhere, even in small towns in Western New York.

West Seneca provides an example, said Joseph Smith, a law student working with the pro bono program. That community instituted TNVR and it made a huge difference.

"You can have as fast as a year turnaround," Smith said. "You can get direct results and significant results within a year."

The results include fewer nuisances from cats and fewer stray cats.

Problem cats fall into two categories -- community cats, which are cats who were once domesticated, but somehow became ownerless, and feral cats, which are cats born to a homeless cat and never domesticated.

Smith, along with fellow student Nicole Komin and Vice Dean Kim Diana Connolly, outlined the program's benefits, especially when compared to alternatives.

Stray cats will always be with you, both Smith and Komin emphasized. If you try to capture them and keep them, they'll overwhelm any such system. If you try to kill them, other strays will just move into the territory.

Cats tend to go where they can get food and shelter, be it a cat lover who feeds them, scraps from a restaurant or plentiful prey. If all the cats are removed from an area of food and shelter, other cats will just take their place.

TNVR solves that problem by returning non-breeding cats to those their former haunts.

Once fixed, cats fight less, howl less and spray less, making them much less of a neighborhood nuisance.

And if you can eliminate the breeders, there are fewer feral cats and eventually fewer community cats. They never disappear from a community, but over time, their numbers are greatly reduced.

The life expectancy of a homeless cat is seven or eight years.

Assistant City Manager Gretchen DiFante invited Smith, Komin and Connolly to speak with the council because she's been tasked with coming up with a program to deal with stray and feral cats.

Council members expressed an interest in learning more and supporting a task force to study the proposal further. 

Such a program could be implemented at no cost to the city because there are volunteer and community groups that can be tapped to help set up the program and take care of the task of trapping cats and getting them neutered and vaccinated before they're returned to the location where they're trapped.

Cats who have been through the program get a notched ear so they're identifiable as neutered, and once released, they've learned about the trap and will never allow themselves to be captured that way again, Smith said.

Elba Central School Drama Club presents "CATS"

By Michelle Case

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Based on "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" by T.S. Eliot

February 20th & 21st, 2015


Elba Central School Auditorium

57 South Main St., Elba


$6 students/seniors

$8 adults

Available in the District Office during school hours or at the door on show nights

Information: (585) 757-9967

Event Date and Time

Anti-Rabies Immunization Clinic at the Pembroke Highway Department

By David Whitcroft

Genesee County Health Department is offering an anti-rabies immunization clinic on Thursday April 3, 2014 from 4pm until 7pm at the Pembroke Highway Department located on the NE corner of Route 77 and Route 5; at 1145 Main Road (Route 5), Pembroke, NY. Vaccination will be offered to dogs, cats and ferrets. There is no charge for the residents of Genesee County; out of county pet owners will be asked for a $5.00 donation. Please bring your pets with proper restraints; on leashes, in cages etc. Be prepared to supply pet owner information; name, address, telephone contact info, etc.

Event Date and Time


By David Whitcroft

Genesee County Health Department is offering an anti-rabies immunization clinic on Thursday April 18, 2013 from 4pm til 7pm at the Pembroke Highway Garage located at 1145 Main Road; the NE corner of Route 77 and Route 5, in the Town of Pembroke. Vaccination will be offered to dogs, cats and ferrets. There is no charge for the residents of Genesee County, out of county pet owners will be asked for a $5.00 donation. Please bring your pets with the proper restraints; on leashes, in cages etc. Be prepared to supply pet owner information; name, address, telephone contact info, etc.

Event Date and Time

Genesee County Health Department is Offering an Anti-Rabies Immunization Clinic

By David Whitcroft

Genesee County Health Department is offering an anti-rabies immunization clinic on Thursday October 18, 2012 from 4pm til 7pm at the Le Roy Village Highway Garage located at 58 North Street in the Village of Le Roy. Vaccination will be offered to dogs, cats and ferrets. There is no charge for the residents of Genesee County, out of county pet owners will be asked for a $5.00 donation. Please bring your pets with the proper restraints; on leashes, in cages etc. Be prepared to supply pet owner information; name, address, telephone contact info, etc.

Event Date and Time

Genesee County Health Department is offering an anti-rabies immunization clinic April 12

By David Whitcroft

Genesee County Health Department is offering an anti-rabies immunization clinic on Thursday April 12, 2012 from 4pm til 7pm at the Pembroke Highway Department located at 1145 Main Road (Route 5) in the Town of Pembroke. Vaccination will be offered to dogs, cats and ferrets. There is no charge for the residents of Genesee County, out of county pet owners will be asked for a $5.00 donation. Please bring your pets with the proper restraints; on leashes, in cages etc. Be prepared to supply pet owner information; name, address, telephone contact info, etc.

Event Date and Time

Help Volunteers for Animals Win the Shelter+ Challenge - VOTE!

By Elizabeth Downie


This information. and much more, can be found at The Animal Rescue Site.

To vote for Volunteers for Animals, please click HERE!


Hi!  I'm writing to tell you about The Animal Rescue Site $300,000 Shelter+ Challenge of 2012 - together with Petfinder.  The Animal Rescue Site is awarding $300,000 in grants to eligible member rescue organizations to help animals.  The grand prize in each voting round is a $5,000 grant, and there are many other prizes!  Visit The Animal Rescue Site to vote every day and learn more.  You don't have to register, and voting is FREE!  Support your favorite shelter and vote today! 

How long is the Challenge, and how can we increase our chances?
This voting round begins on January 9, 2012, and ends at midnight (PT) on March 18, 2012. There will be other voting rounds throughout the year - more chances for your organization to win! The more friends you can rally to vote for your favorite rescue organization, the better its chances of winning. Every vote, every day counts - shelters can pull ahead even during the last few days with enough support. Get people involved! Your favorite rescue organization is counting on you!

What kind of grant could my shelter win?
Seventy (70) grants will be awarded for a total of $75,000 to eligible members during the very first voting round of the 2012 Challenge. The grand prize will go to the eligible organization with the highest accumulative votes for the duration of the Challenge as specified in the rules.

The Prizes Are:
Grand Prize:  One $5,000 grant!
Dark Horse Grand Prize:  One $2,000 grant!
Dark Horse Runners Up:  Five $1,000 grants.
State Winners:  Fifty-one $1,000 state grants
  (50 U.S. states and Washington D.C.)
Canadian Winners:  One $1,000 grant will be awarded.
International Winner:  One $1,000 grant will be awarded.
Weekly Winners:  Ten $1,000 grants will be awarded, one for each week of this voting round of the Shelter+ Challenge.

Office for the Aging offers two new transportation services for county seniors

By Billie Owens

The Genesee County Office for the Aging has announced two new transportation services for Genesee County residents, age 60 and over. The Community Action of Orleans & Genesee CATS Assisted Transportation service now includes weekly rural service for shopping trips to Batavia and medical trips to Buffalo and Rochester.

According to Coutney Iburi, specialist for Aging Services, “The purpose of the rural shopping service is to ensure that all seniors in Genesee County have access to transportation services for their grocery, pharmacy or other personal shopping needs.”

The CATS service helps people who need assistance getting out of their homes and onto the bus or need help getting their groceries loaded onto the bus and into their home.

Iburi noted that seniors wishing to use the CATS medical transportation are urged to schedule their Buffalo area appointments on Tuesday afternoons and their Rochester area appointments on Friday mornings.

The Transportation Coordination Program assists seniors and their caregivers in understanding available transportation options. The program is made possible by the Rochester Area Community Foundation’s Muriel H. Marshall Fund for the Aging.

Prior registration for use of the CATS services is necessary. Contact the Office for the Aging to register or for more information at 343-1611.

Summer Youth Theater production is the 'CATS pajamas'

By Gretel Kauffman

WHAT: Batavia Players Summer Youth Theater production of CATS

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18-20th at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Batavia High School auditorium, 260 State St., Batavia

For most musical theater productions, the actors prepare by learning their lines, listening to show tunes, and practicing choreography. However, this year's Batavia Players Summer Youth Theater production of CATS required some slightly unorthodox preparation: the 64 young people who make up the cast got into character by watching their pets.

"Since I have three cats at home, it was easy to observe their movements and their habits and to draw from that to create my character," said Maryssa Peirick, who has the role of Victoria. This is not Peirick's first time playing a feline on stage: "I played the Cat in the Hat in "Seussical the Musical," though he's a very different kind of cat, and the Cheshire Cat in "Alice in Wonderland," who actually does have catlike mannerisms."

Those cast members who live in cat-less homes, such as Batavia High senior Melzie Case, were forced to draw their inspiration from "cat lessons" and multiple viewings of the 1998 movie.

"It was rather challenging at first to act like a cat," said Case, who portrays "motherly" cat Jellyrolum. "The arm and leg movements are obviously much more different than those of humans. You also have to crawl on the ground instead of simply walking, and it's also good to scratch your 'fleas' every now and then." 

CATS, which opens tonight, is an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that is based on T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats." The show first opened in the West End in 1981 and then on Broadway in 1982. Its 18-year run made it the second-longest running show in Broadway history, and it has won numerous awards, including the Laurence Olivier Award and the Tony Award for Best Musical.

Peirick, a recent Batavia High grad who is headed to Fredonia in the fall to major in vocal performance, said she was not immediately thrilled when she heard CATS had been chosen as the summer show despite its popularity.

"Initially I was completely repelled by it, but as auditions neared and I watched more, I became slowly interested in the characters, who seem to have quite extensive back stories -- even if not all of them are known," she said. "Though it is seriously lacking in plot, it makes up for it in creativity and visual entertainment, so there really is no such thing as a boring moment."

Director Pat Burk said he chose the show because of its uniqueness.

"It is a dream show that needs to be done correctly in order to be effective on stage," he explained. "It also allows for a large cast and you can do a tremendous amount with dance and music because it is an all-dance, all-music show. It is more like a modern opera."

The extensive dancing could easily have been a problem, but the young actors handled it like pros.

"It's so different from conventional theater, and because we're a community theater youth production, we simply don't have professional dancers to fill up the stage," Peirick said. "However, long hours of intense dance rehearsals have caused everyone to really come together and make the choreography come to life. I'm constantly impressed with my fellow cast members' progress."

Burk says he has been very impressed with the young actors' hard work and character interpretations, and is confident that the production will be a success.

"Judging from pre-sale tickets, which are more than double of last year's show, it will be well-received. The dress rehearsal went extremely well and it is quite a magical show."

The only downside to the experience?

"Now that we've been acting like cats for so long, we're starting to act like cats in real life!" Case said.

Tickets for CATS can be purchased online at or by calling 1-866-967-8167.

Cats find basement living just purrrrrfect

By Howard B. Owens

There are five cats that have the basement of the old Carr's building pretty much to themselves.

The cats wound up in the basement after owner Ken Mistler sold his pet store on East Main Street and the new owners wanted to get out of the cat sale business. Mistler's wife, Andrea, set up the cozy basement apartment and she ensures all of their needs are met.

They have plenty of places to climb and lounge. There's even a ramp to a cat gate that allows them outdoor time in a fenced-off area behind the Carr's building.

Andrea takes care of the cats and besides feeding them and keeping the litter boxes clean, she gives them plenty of affection.

For the cats, the living arrangement is probably more like a penthouse than a basement.

Attica prison cats in peril

By Billie Owens

Milk and cats go together like dogs and bones. So it's no surprise that prison dairy farms, such as the one at Wyoming Correctional Facility in Attica, is a magnet for felines.

But Governor Paterson's cost-cutting decision to eliminate farm operations at correctional facilities has put prisoners' "pets" in peril.

A tipster at Attica let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. He said inmates were told to quit feeding the cats, some of which are "orphans" from Genesee County.

But starvation and neglect tactics would be unlawful, a misdemeanor for "failure to provide sustenance" under Agriculture and Markets regulations.

The correctional authorities claimed no knowlege of the situation when Sue Davila inquired about it last week. She's a state licensed animal cruelty investigator with the Wyoming County SPCA.

Up to 100 cats are believed to be living at the facility, which Davila got permission to visit last week. She and SPCA board member Janice Stenman, aided by guards and inmates managed to round up 14 cats and kittens. Live traps were put out Monday to catch more.

The animals confiscated Friday were tested for disease and given immunizations. They were treated as needed for fleas, worms, ear mites and given antiobiotics. One very pregnant female had a gaping abcess on her neck. One had a respiratory infection, one was brain damaged and a male was neutured and declawed.

"Part of the problem is local -- people show up at night and dump their cats at the prison," Stenman said. "It's not entirely the prison's fault that (the cats) are there."

The problem is not new.

Stenman said a guard told her that four years ago an order was given to get rid of the cats. They were corraled into a shed and a truck driver backed up to the shed and gassed the cats with exhaust fumes. They were purportedly then dumped into a mass grave and their killer got a bounty of $8 per cat. No one wants to talk about it publicly, Stenman said, because they fear reprisals.

The dairy farm cats are indoors only -- use to being fed and thus unsuited to suddenly fending for themselves. Perhaps some may become adoptable once they are quarantined and evaluated.

Speaking of which, the folks at the donation-dependant SBCA are feeling kind of desparate.

"This situation has put horrible pressure on us," Stenman said, adding that money for food and medication plus a barn to use as a temporary quarantine site are the most immediate needs.

Wyoming County SPCA is a no-kill facility which can accommodate 200 cats, not 300. It also accepts animals from facilities in several other counties.

Lollipop Farm in Monroe County is also a no-kill facility that works with SPCAs and volunteers to care for homeless pets.

In Genesee County, the government animal shelter in Batavia can handle caging for 25 to 35 cats at a time, but by law only those from Genesee County residents.

Local animal control officer Aggie Jaroszewski said 578 cats were adopted or found foster homes through the Genesee shelter last year.

Those were the lucky ones. Many cats are euthanized. If feral populations in particular are allowed to grow unfettered, the incidence of sickness and disease increases. Last year, a cat tested positive for rabies in the Village of Leroy, Jaroszewski said.

Feral or nearly feral cat populations are not uncommon in mobile home parks and apartments, places where property owners often ban pets, Jaroszewski said.

Check out our special cats and dogs from the Genesee County Animal Shelter on YouTube!

By Wendy Castleman






Maxine, Bruno & Scooter

TAKE A CHANCE ON ME! Socks the Cat


I WANT TO BE LOVED BY YOU...  Missie the Cat




Genesee County Animal Shelter

By Wendy Castleman

What a wonderful surprise to see the videos of our animals on The Batavian. And then to read what The Batavian is all about. Thanks for helping to promote the shelter animals available for adoption. We have some wonderful animals looking for good homes.

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