Tom Dinki

Reporter

Tom Dinki joined WBFO in August 2019 to cover issues affecting older adults.

Tom is a Buffalo native and 2016 University at Buffalo graduate, holding a B.A. in English and journalism certificate. While at UB, he served as editor in chief of the university's independent student newspaper, The Spectrum.

After graduating from UB, Tom spent three years as a reporter for the Olean Times Herald, where he covered mostly crime and education throughout Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.

His three-part education series, "The state of New York rural schools: Left behind," won a 2018 New York Associated Press first-place Enterprise Reporting Award, second-place Investigative and Watchdog Reporting Award, and first-place Data Visualization Award.

When he’s not eating, sleeping and breathing the news, Tom likes to ride his bike and watch — and more importantly, discuss and debate — movies and television.

You can follow him on Twitter, @tomdinki.

Ways to Connect

Michael Mroziak/WBFO News

A statue of Christopher Columbus has been removed from its longtime perch at Porter Avenue and Niagara Street in Columbus Park.

 

Kevin P. Coughlin / (Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo)

A New York state report released this week found that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s controversial executive order, which placed COVID-19 hospital patients into nursing homes, was not to blame for the state’s more than 6,000 nursing home deaths. But, as WBFO’s Older Adults Reporter Tom Dinki found, many, including Republican lawmakers, watchdog groups and medical professionals, still have questions about what impact the order had.

 

 


New York state has been criticized for previously mandating that nursing homes take in COVID-19 patients from hospitals. But on Monday the state Department of Health issued a report saying the policy was not the major driver of nursing home deaths, and that it was instead nursing home workers unknowingly bringing the virus into facilities. WBFO’s Older Adults Reporter Tom Dinki spoke with Dr. Nancy Nielsen from the University at Buffalo to discuss the report and what it does — and does not — confirm about the state’s more than 6,000 nursing home deaths.

 


Joshua Ramos

A man seen on video being punched by a Buffalo police officer plans to file a lawsuit against the city.

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Members of the Buffalo Police Department covered their name tags while guarding Mayor Byron Brown’s house Wednesday evening, a dubious practice seen across the U.S. during the recent police brutality protests.

 

 


State Sen. Chris Jacob's office

Despite a higher than usual number of absentee ballots left to be counted, Republican State Sen. Chris Jacobs declared victory Tuesday night in the special election for New York’s 27th Congressional district, as well as the three-way primary for who will represent the GOP in the race for the seat this November.

 

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York state, as well as New Jersey and Connecticut, will mandate that travelers quarantine for 14 days if they’re coming in from states with high rates of COVID-19.

Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is expected to soon announce police reform proposals in the wake of the George Floyd protests and a WBFO video showing Buffalo police pushing an elderly protester. However, the Buffalo Common Council’s independent police advisory body already has an idea of what reforms it would like to see.

 


Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

A video of Buffalo Police Department officers pushing an elderly white protester has been viewed more than 80 million times on Twitter. Mayor Byron Brown appeared on MSNBC. A CNN crew was at Niagara Square. 

 

The city of Buffalo has been thrust into the national spotlight of the police brutality protests, after WBFO captured video Thursday of two officers shoving 75-year-old Martin Gugino to the ground outside City Hall, where he bled from his head.

 

Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

A week after protests began in Buffalo over the police killing of George Floyd, one of the largest crowds yet gathered in Niagara Square Saturday evening to call for concrete police reforms.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

A day after a viral video showed Buffalo police push an elderly man to the ground outside City Hall, several hundred protesters made their way around the city of Buffalo Friday evening while mostly avoiding any contact or confrontations with law enforcement. 

Nick Lippa/WBFO News

Western New York officially began Phase Two of reopening Tuesday, although the announcement was somewhat clouded by growing unrest and new curfews due to the killing of George Floyd.

WNYC

Disgraced former congressman Chris Collins is once again asking to delay his federal prison sentence given concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

 


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Older adults are most vulnerable to become seriously ill from COVID-19, so even as Western New York and other areas of the country begin to reopen, public health officials warn those over 65 should continue to limit their exposure. WBFO’s Older Adults Reporter Tom Dinki explores what local nonprofit organizations are doing to help seniors get their essentials without risking their health. 


WBFO file photo

The Erie County Legislature has joined the call for an independent investigation into how New York state has handled the COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes.


The McGuire Group

The McGuire Group announced Thursday that Harris Hill Nursing Facility in Williamsville is now exclusively taking care of residents sick with COVID-19.

 

Michael Mroziak / WBFO News

Western New York has met all of the required metrics required by the state to begin the first phase of reopening from the shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced late Monday morning.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Employees of Center Health Care’s two Buffalo nursing homes protested over a lack of hazard pay Thursday, saying they are putting themselves and their families at risk without being fairly compensated.

 

 


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed death and dying to the forefront of many Americans’ lives, but for almost a decade thousands across the world have met to talk about death at what’s known as a Death Cafe. Before the pandemic shut down large gatherings, WBFO’s Tom Dinki attended the most recent Buffalo Death Cafe, and heard why some are longing to openly discuss their own mortality. 

Catholic Health

New York state reports that Father Baker Manor has had more residents die of COVID-19 than any nursing home in Western New York. Those who operate Father Baker Manor say there’s a reason why: They’re actually testing their residents for COVID-19, while many other nursing homes are not.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News file photo

Western New York has seen at least 150 nursing home residents across more than 20 facilities die of COVID-19, according to the latest data from New York state, but the death toll could be even higher.

Mike Groll, Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

At least 2,900 New York state nursing home residents have died of COVID-19, including at least 70 in Western New York. Now the state will investigate whether facilities have done everything possible to prevent those deaths.

 

Renee Zureck

Most Americans are struggling to adapt to stay-at-home orders, business shutdowns and social distancing guidelines under COVID-19, but such radical changes can be especially difficult for families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, who rely heavily on routine. WBFO’s Older Adults Reporter Tom Dinki takes a look at their struggles — and what resources are available to help.

 

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Health care workers at Safire Rehabilitation of Northtowns protested on Friday, saying they haven’t been given adequate personal protective equipment or safety training despite the fact both they and residents are sick with COVID-19.

 

Erie County

While data released by New York state Monday indicated nearly half of Erie County’s COVID-19 deaths were nursing home residents, County Executive Mark Poloncarz says nursing homes residents likely account for closer to one third of the county’s total deaths.

Google Maps

Nearly half of Western New Yorkers dead of COVID-19 are nursing home residents, according to data released by the New York State Department of Health Monday.


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Advocates are calling on New York state nursing homes to suspend involuntary discharges and transfers during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it puts residents at increased risk of exposure and hurts their due process rights. 


Catholic Health

Catholic Health announced Monday there are more than 60 cases of COVID-19 at Father Baker Manor, in what is believed to be the first major outbreak at a Western New York nursing home.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt to many court proceedings, including Erie County and nursing homes’ legal feud over Ruthie’s Law.

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

The Elderwood nursing home in Amherst will soon take in COVID-19 patients from hospitals, creating what’s believed to be Western New York’s first post-acute care unit for those with the novel coronavirus but also causing concerns for residents’ families.

 

 

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