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

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

The remaining Shoreline Apartments have been an eyesore in downtown Buffalo the last few years, but the vacant complex will soon come down to make way for new housing. 

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Vaping businesses and their advocates are preparing for another battle over the future of their industry after Gov. Andrew Cuomo reignited his push against flavored electronic cigarettes. 

 

Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hinted he would try to limit local Medicaid spending during his State of the State Address earlier this month, saying county governments were all too eager to spend more because the state was paying for any increases. On Tuesday, Cuomo revealed how he intends to deter overspending: a 3% Medicaid spending cap.

 


WNYC

Chris Collins will serve more than two years behind bars for the insider trading case that caused his fall from congressman to convicted felon.

National Public Radio

Chris Collins will learn his fate Friday afternoon in a Manhattan courtroom. 

 

Perhaps no one but U.S. District Court Judge Vernon Broderick knows what Collins’ sentence will be, but hundreds of pages of court documents filed over the last week and a half may provide some insight.

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

A program that trains Buffalo social services recipients to work in hospitals preventing infections. A manufacturing center at Niagara County Community College. Culinary classes to help replenish Southern Tier restaurants and casinos.

 

These are some of Western New York nonprofits’ wish-list items that could get a boost thanks to New York state funding.

 


WBFO file photo

Looking to address its vehicle shortage, the Buffalo Police Department plans to lease several new vehicles instead of purchasing them. 

 

WBFO file photo

Chris Collins’ friends and family repeatedly noted his strong moral compass and Boy Scouts membership in their letters asking a federal judge for leniency.

 

Prosecutors, in their own letter to the judge, say those facts mean Collins should serve longer.

 

National Public Radio

A family man who had a momentary lapse of judgment. A businessman who used public office to increase his personal wealth.

 

The approximately 170 letters filed in U.S. District Court this week paint very different pictures of disgraced former Congressman Chis Collins. 


 

Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his tenth State of the State address Wednesday in Albany. WBFO reporters took in-depth look at what the governor and others are saying about some key challenges the state faces at the start of a new decade.

WBFO file photo

Chris Collins won’t be sentenced for insider trading until next week, but his potential sentence may already have been revealed.

 

The U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System has recommended the former Congressman serve a year and a day in prison, as well as pay a $200,000 fine.

WBFO file photo

A Williamsville pain specialist, who had been accused of causing six overdose deaths, has admitted to unlawfully prescribing painkillers over the course of a decade. 

 


WBFO file photo

Issues impacting older adults — including lowering prescription drug prices, tax relief for caregivers and large Medicaid cuts — will be some of the major issues during New York state’s 2020 legislative session. 

 


Jon Rivera

Jon Rivera, an administrator in Erie County’s Department of Public Works, is now vying to become Buffalo’s Assembly member.

 

Rivera, a special assistant to the Erie County commissioner of Public Works, announced his candidacy for the 149th State Assembly District on Friday. A Democrat, he’ll look to replace fellow Democrat Sean Ryan, who is vacating the seat to run for state Senate.

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Meals on Wheels provides older adults with nutritious meals and some socialization all year around, but those services are especially crucial during the holiday season and winter months when seniors living alone may feel particularly isolated and lonely. Here WBFO gives a behind-the-scenes look at Meals on Wheels deliveries during the holidays.

Canopy of Neighbors

Thomas Hayduk wasn’t sure what he was going to do upon being released from the hospital.

 

Following a serious car accident in 2016, the 72-year-old Buffalo resident could no longer drive and was, as he puts it, in need of socialization.

 

Now a car comes right to Hayduk’s home and drives him to places like the local community center for low-impact pool exercises. He also gets taken out for coffee, lunch and movies with other older adults.

“It’s been golden,” he said. 

 

Hayduk is one of approximately 200 Buffalo seniors enrolled in Canopy of Neighbors. The nonprofit deploys volunteers to drive older adults to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store and even social outings with other adults enrolled in the program. Volunteers may even help put away groceries or fix the television.

 


The University at Buffalo Law School is documenting the struggles of local home care workers and recommending solutions. 

 

The UB Community Justice Clinic on Tuesday released a policy report titled “Homecare Industry in Crisis,” in which law students interviewed 14 people who have worked for home care agencies throughout Erie County over the last year. 

Center for Elder Law and Justice

The Center for Elder Law and Justice helps older adults navigate the legal side of elder abuse, like getting an order of protection or recovering stolen funds. Now the Buffalo nonprofit legal services agency will help elder abuse victims with their emotional, social and health needs, too.

 

Sean Kaczmarek

 

A Buffalo Public Schools teacher is planning a run for state Assembly. 

Sean Kaczmarek, an English as a new language teacher at P.S. 45 International School, is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 149th Assembly District that covers much of the city of Buffalo. He’ll look to replace Sean Ryan, a Democrat who is vacating the seat in order to run for state Senate.

 


Ben Kravitz

Fredonia made its case Wednesday for why it should be featured on a television show highlighting the crucial role between small towns and their small businesses.

 


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Anyone who’s ever watched television has probably heard this: Ask your doctor if taking this medication is right for you.

The University at Buffalo wants older adults to start asking their doctors if stopping certain medications is right for them.

 


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Erie County officials received the influenza vaccine Wednesday in an effort to encourage residents to do the same.

 

A food worker at a Taco Bell restaurant in Niagara Falls has been diagnosed with hepatitis A.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Williamsville residents say turning the Blocher Homes assisted living facility into mixed-income housing will not only displace 50 seniors, but also congest traffic, eliminate green space and decline property values. 

 


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Dr. Bruce Troen doesn’t want to just increase senior citizens’ life spans. He also wants to increase what he calls their “health spans.”

 

“It’s not about the years in your life, but it’s really the life in your years,” he said.

 

Troen and the University at Buffalo’s Center for Successful Aging will be in a better position to do just that thanks to a recent five-year, $750,000 grant from the National Institute on Aging. UB will match the funds for a total of $1.5 million.

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Maryanne Portugues, 69, knows all too well about scams targeting older adults.

 

“The first time I ever got a call was years ago telling me that my Social Security benefits were going to stop,” she told WBFO. “After I started thinking and realized what I was getting upset over, (I thought), they don’t do this.”

 

Portugues and others at the Belle Senior Center on Buffalo’s West Side received a free seminar on how to protect themselves from scams Thursday. It was part of AT&T’s “Digital You and Cyber Aware” public education campaign, in collaboration with state Sen. Tim Kennedy and the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York.

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

A new series of tax breaks will allow the Lackawanna wind turbines along Lake Erie to get some much needed repairs.

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns is asking for more than $600,000 to pay for New York state’s Green Light Law, but says he still has no plans to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

 


Tom Dinki / WBFO News

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz won re-election Tuesday, defeating challenger Lynne Dixon to win his third term in office.


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Mary Ann Basile, 72, cast her ballot at the Harlem Road Community Center in Amherst Friday afternoon, four days before Election Day. 

 

“I just thought it would be more convenient to come today than on Tuesday,” she said. “It’s too crowded on Tuesday. It’s nice to be able to come at your own convenience.”

 

Basile and other senior citizens took advantage of the convenience of New York state’s early voting more than any other age group in Erie County.

 

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