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 file photo

New York lawmakers are looking to pass sweeping nursing home reforms this legislative session in light of COVID-19. One piece of legislation that predates the pandemic is a safe staffing bill, which would mandate nursing homes meet minimum staffing-to-patio ratios. 


Erie County

Erie County’s COVID-19 infection and hospital rates continue to decline, but a more dangerous variant of the virus has now been confirmed in the county. 

 

Southern Administrative Services

The Green House Project, a national network of small nursing homes, has received plenty of attention for its low rates of COVID-19 during the pandemic. A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study recently called it a “promising model” for the reinvention of nursing homes in a post-pandemic world.

 

But just how replicable is it? Providers and advocates say there are still plenty of financial hurdles to cross before more nursing homes look like Green House homes. 

 

  

Thomas O'Neil-White/WBFO file photo

Martin Gugino, the elderly protester who was pushed by Buffalo police in an incident seen around the world last year, is now suing the City of Buffalo.


Beth Adams/WXXI News

COVID-19 has killed over 13,000 nursing home residents in New York state alone, and about a third of all U.S. COVID deaths have been linked to skilled nursing facilities. But a group of small nursing homes, including a facility near Rochester, have fared better against the virus than their larger, more traditional counterparts. 

 

 


WBFO file photo

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn is warning about elder fraud cases after two defendants pleaded guilty Tuesday to defrauding vulnerable people they were supposed to protect.

 


Darren McGree/Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent most of his COVID-19 briefing Monday defending his administration’s handling of nursing homes, but, amid growing scrutiny over his own actions, he also for the first time endorsed limiting how much nursing homes can profit over resident care.

 


New York State Senate Republicans

Republicans in the New York State Legislature, in their effort to investigate Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes, are turning to a somewhat unlikely ally: President Joe Biden.

 


FBI

Pete Harding, the Cheektowaga man charged in last month’s U.S. Capitol riot, made a brief virtual appearance in federal court on Tuesday. Meanwhile, recently disclosed court documents accuse Harding of discussing his riot participation on social media. 

 

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO file photo

The New York State Attorney General’s Office report released Thursday, which found the state Department of Health may have underreported nursing home COVID-19 deaths by 50%, makes plenty of mentions about Western New York nursing homes’ struggle to provide personal protective equipment and follow infection protocols during the pandemic.

 

  

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center is celebrating the discharge of a COVID-19 patient after 67 days, although it continues to battle against the second wave of the pandemic. 

 

  

Nick Lippa/WBFO News

Pete Harding, the Cheektowaga man charged in the storming of the U.S. Capitol, will be subject to electronic monitoring and a curfew after federal prosecutors accused him of refusing to tell the FBI where he was.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site is now active on the University at Buffalo’s South Campus, one of three New York state-run sites to open on Tuesday. However, questions remain about how many doses and appointments the site can handle, as the state struggles to meet vaccine demand with a declining supply of doses from the federal government.


WBFO file photo

Perhaps no sector has been hurt more by the COVID-19 pandemic than the arts. During the second in a series of State of the State addresses, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new initiative that could bring back outdoor performances, and perhaps even indoor performances. WBFO’s Tom Dinki got reaction from those in the Buffalo arts scene.

  

Darren McGee (Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will give the second in a series of State of the State addresses Tuesday at 11: 30 a.m. Watch it live here.

State Sen. George Borrello's office

Republican state lawmakers on Tuesday denounced Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to close the Gowanda Correctional Facility early next year, saying it will hurt both the prison’s workers and surrounding communities.

 

 


Gareth Rhodes/New York State Department of Financial Services

Nursing home residents and staff account for nearly 40% of the United States’ COVID-19 deaths. That’s why they’re among the first Americans to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. WBFO’s Tom Dinki spoke with New York state nursing home residents, operators and advocates about vaccination, which began this week.


Steve Felano

Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard at times has said publicly he won’t enforce edicts from Albany he doesn’t agree with, like the SAFE Act gun control legislation and, more recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 10-person limit on Thanksgiving gatherings.

But to hear Steve Felano tell it, Howard hasn’t gone far enough.

An investigative report released earlier this year by the Gow School, a southern Erie County boarding school for students with dyslexia, found accusations of sexual abuse there in the 1990s, but no evidence of failure to act by the school’s administrators. Three lawsuits, however, allege the school failed to protect its students.

 

Center for Community Alternatives

Progressive activists and lawmakers held a virtual rally across New York state on Tuesday, calling on Democrats to pass sweeping criminal justice reform next year now that the party has a supermajority in the state Senate.

C-Span

Hospice facilities are less regulated than nursing homes and hospitals, and government investigations have shown many are mistreating the terminally ill patients they’re tasked with comforting. A new bill passed by the House of Representatives could help change that.

Gage Skidmore

President-elect Joe Biden recently celebrated his 78th birthday. He’ll be the oldest-ever American president when he’s sworn into office in January. But what will his administration actually do for older adults? Biden has a fairly favorable agenda for older adults, but some worry whether the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession will hamper those efforts.


Mike Groll/Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on the federal government to make sure COVID-19 vaccines get to Black, Brown and Asian communities, as well as protect the information of undocumented immigrants who get vaccinated.

Flickr user The Javorac

Polypharmacy in older adults has been increasing, as about four in 10 Americans 65 and older take at least five medications, according to a 2015 study from Harvard University. Now research from the University at Buffalo has discovered that all this overprescribing is leading to more hospitalizations and out-of-pocket costs.


Tom Dinki/WBFO file photo

The Erie County Department of the Health has begun notifying the county Legislature about COVID-19 outbreaks in local nursing homes, but it is still not notifying the general public.


City of Detriot/Flickr

With COVID-19 cases rising across the country, health officials are warning of a compounding flu season and urging Americans to get their flu vaccination. So while you may not need another reason to get your shot this year, some new research has found it may also lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. 

 


 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

It’s been a difficult school year for students, with many unable to attend classes in person or play sports due to COVID-19. Another experience many are missing out on is field trips. That’s why a new partnership is trying to help Buffalo and Niagara Falls students visit local educational, art and cultural centers virtually. 

 


 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

The Erie County Legislature on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution demanding the county Department of Health be more transparent about COVID-19 outbreaks at local nursing homes. 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Republican Congressman Chris Jacobs, who won a special election for New York’s 27th Congressional District less than five months ago, declared he had won a full term Tuesday night, saying he was confident absentee ballots would not change the outcome of the race.


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Older adults historically turn out to the polls at high rates. That appears to be the case again this year both locally and nationally, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

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