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Batavia VA Unveils New 10,000 Building to Meet Female Veterans' PTSD Treatment Needs

With women comprising 15 percent of the military now, services are expanding to meet their increasing individualized needs.

Here in Batavia, the VA facility held a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning on its new 10,000 square-foot building to treat and support female veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

It’s called the Center for H.O.P.E.: Healing Opportunities for Peace and Empowerment. The expansion will double its residency size from six beds to 12 meaning more veterans can be treated.

Dr. Laurette Lascu, the PTSD program manager in the residential program, says the Batavia VA is meeting an important need and draws residents from all over the country.

“We do see the need is growing, in part, because the word is getting out that these services are available,” Dr. Lascu saud. “And women are recognizing that they are deserving of these services.”

It makes Batavia on of 8 dedicated women’s residential PTSD programs in the national VA system.

Donna LiPuma, a social worker with the Batavia VA and a combat veteran who served a tour in Iraq, went through the program in 2008. She’s been an employee since mid-2012 and says it’s the staff and people available to those suffering from PTSD that make the Batavia VA residency program so valuable.

“When I’m able to say to a person, ‘I know what it’s like to go into combat and be one person and then come back and not have all of you with you,’ I think it gives a reference point, it gives an element of, ‘You know what? I think I can believe her because she knows what she’s talking about.’ You always hear veterans say, ‘Well, they don’t get it.’ Well, guess what? I get it.”

The center treats women from their mid-20s all the way to their 60s. Residents stay anywhere from a couple weeks to months.

The center has been serving female veterans since 2006. 

Volunteer Fire Departments Not Subject to ObamaCare Regulations

After looking for answers for months, Congressman Chris Collins says the IRS will not force volunteer fire departments to comply with ObamaCare’s expensive employer mandate.

In a story first reported by our news partner The Batavian, the Department of Treasury sent a letter to Congressman Collins clarifying its policy.

The IRS and the Obama administration had yet to answer if volunteer fire departments would be subject to the new healthcare regulations, as volunteers are considered employees by the IRS for tax purposes.

Collins said:

“Today I am glad to share that our nation’s volunteer fire departments will not be crippled by unnecessary costs brought on by ObamaCare, so they can focus on the important work of protecting our communities.”

In November 2013, Collins had written a letter to the acting commissioner of the IRS seeking a specific exemption for volunteer responders.

Cuomo Proposes Tax Cuts in State of the State Address

At the annual state of the state address this week, at the top of Governor Cuomo’s agenda was lowering taxes. Particularly, he proposed a 2-year property tax freeze.

But there’s more than just that, which could mean good news for New York agriculture. 

Governor Cuomo presented plans to also eradicate some other taxes as part of his 2-billion dollar tax cut proposal.

That includes a tax on manufacturers and possibly expediting the elimination of the energy tax.

Elba native and NY Farm Bureau President Dean Norton says there are components that are particularly important to farmers.

“The state tax increased the exemption to $5.3 million and we are very supportive of that,” said. Norton. “It would help a lot of farms keep it in the family and transition to the family.” 

The governor will soon present a budget which needs to be approved by the end of March.


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