WELLSBURG - Efforts to address feral cats in Wellsburg and cuts to a program aimed at putting youth to work during the summer were discussed Tuesday by the Brooke County Commission.
Commission President Marty Bartz said the commission met with Wellsburg officials to discuss how they may work together to address a feral cat problem on the city's north end.
Wellsburg Council recently heard from Barbara Parrish, a resident of 22nd Street who complained of the wild felines defecating in her yard and under her porch.
Concerns voiced earlier about the cats led Webark Estates Animal Shelter of Moundsville to assist local residents in trapping and having the cats spayed or neutered and vaccinated against rabies at that group's expense.
The felines were re-released into the same area, with the idea being the colony eventually would die out. Residents were encouraged to use citrus spray or powder to deter the cats, but Parrish believes some residents are encouraging the cats to gather in the area by feeding them.
The commissioners acknowledged preventing the cats from reproducing doesn't stop them from creating a nuisance.
"If they don't have a home or owner, they shouldn't be brought back," said county Commissioner Norma Tarr.
Bartz said Wellsburg officials have suggested they might rent traps to residents if the county dog warden and animal shelter will handle them afterwards.
Asked what will be done with the cats after they are trapped, Donna DeJaro, the shelter's director, said feral cats can't be domesticated so they normally are euthanized.
Tarr asked about the cost involved, and DeJaro said she will have to investigate that.
Chuck Shreve, the county's dog warden, said he would be willing to collect the traps. But the commissioners said they need to work out the details.
The commissioners said if they proceed with such plans, they should advise residents to put the cages away from the hot sun and to avoid contact with the cats, which may carry diseases.
In other business, Rosemary Guida, executive director of the Northern Panhandle Workforce Investment Board, said federal funding for the summer youth work program has been cut but the board is working with Youth Services Systems Inc. of Wheeling to conduct a scaled-down version of it.
Guida said she hopes to place 70 to 80 teens and young adults, ages 14-24, at work sites with government entities in six Northern Panhandle counties between July 9 and Aug. 9.
She said in previous years the program put about 300 teens to work painting, cleaning and doing general maintenance work at government buildings and parks.
She said the agency continues to offer the Individual Training Account program, through which eligible adults, ages 19-21, may receive up to $4,750 per year to undergo training for in-demand occupations; and the Training 4 Our Future program, which trains residents with disabilities, ages 14-24, in computer and other work-related skills.
Those who successfully complete the latter course receive a laptop computer.
For information about those programs and other services, call (304) 231-1170.
The commission also:
Heard from Ruby Greathouse, volunteer curator of the Brooke County Museum, who said the museum board and many volunteers continue to work to transfer materials from the museum to its new site at the former G.C. Murphy building on Charles Street.
Greathouse said the board is working to complete its collection of graduating class photos from local high schools and is missing Wellsburg High School's Class of 1968.
The framed photos once were displayed at their respective schools, and the museum has acquired many over the years.
Janet Buxton, a member of the Wellsburg High School Alumni Association, said the group is attempting to recreate the photo using yearbook photos of the class members.
Greathouse said that approach has been taken for other class photos at the museum.
Anyone with information about the missing photo should call Greathouse at (304) 737-0506.
In related business, the commission reappointed Greathouse, Phil Greathouse, Tammy Withers, Leonard Ginier and Frank Agosh to the museum board.
Approved an application for a $5,000 grant from the West Virginia Development Office by Brooke Hills Park to purchase a tractor.
Reviewed proposed designs for a logo for the animal shelter submitted by Karyn DeBrasky, a State College, Pa., artist, but took no action.
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