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

WGRZ

Niagara County has its first resident to test positive for COVID-19 as health officials express concern about their lack of testing capacity.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Erie County has its first evidence of community spread of COVID-19, meaning the new coronavirus is officially being transmitted between county residents and officials can longer be certain how residents were exposed.

 

 

Center for Elder Law and Justice

Older adults are considered at greater risk to suffer serious complications from the new coronavirus. Now a Buffalo nonprofit legal agency is offering them free advice on topics like health insurance and paid leave.

WBFO file photo

Erie County will suspend many of its older adult programs, including congregate dining at senior centers, to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.

 

Darren McGee, Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York state is mandating nursing homes not allow visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday afternoon that the state’s approximately 620 nursing homes can only allow “medically necessary” visits, given that older adults are at high risk of suffering serious complications from the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19.

SHAPECHARGE / GETTY IMAGES

Nursing homes across New York state have been restricting visitation in light of the coronavirus outbreak, cutting visiting hours and screening visitors for flu-like symptoms. Now the head of a statewide nursing home trade group says many of them will soon outright prohibit almost all visitation. 


US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The vast state and city university systems in New York are switching to long-distance learning March 19, and most students will be going home due to worries about the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.


WBFO file photo

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo expects it will eventually have to suspend the sharing of a common cup during Holy Communion due to the new coronavirus outbreak.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Staying isolated in your bedroom. Using a bathroom that’s only used by you. Texting your temperature to health officials.

 

That’s life for the approximately 116 Erie County residents under 14-day voluntary quarantine due to the new coronavirus. Those quarantined don’t necessarily have the virus — no one in Erie County has tested positive thus far — but they are being monitored due to recent travel history or because they’ve been in contact with someone who does have the virus, as per U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

 


Erie County

Erie County announced last month it will finally begin fining nursing homes for not complying with Ruthie's Law after months of scrutiny over a lack of enforcement. That caused local nursing homes to file a lawsuit, arguing Ruthie’s Law conflicts with state law and is therefore illegal. WBFO explored what happens when a local law potentially conflicts with state law.

 


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

While the two Erie County families who recently traveled to Italy have tested negative for the new coronavirus, county officials warn the local fight against the outbreak, and the testing of more county residents, is far from over.

 


WBFO file photo

The Burchfield Penney Art Center has received gifts totaling $1.22 million that center officials say will help them better bring arts education to diverse families and school children. 

 

Nick Lippa / WBFO

The Buffalo Teachers Federation is expecting to meet the Buffalo Public Schools in court two weeks from today. The BTF says the BPS is not meeting state requirements for music education. Amidst the conflict, two Hutch Tech High School music teachers could be facing a position cut after speaking out about the issue. Retired Hutch Tech music teacher Ben Boyar and two alumni spoke about some of the challenges they faced as part of the band program.

File Photo

The Buffalo Catholic Diocese has announced the formal filing for Chapter 11 reorganization in federal court, under the U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Code.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

A Niagara Falls City School District employee is accused of setting the district’s maintenance garage on fire just hours after being told he was being moved to a lower-paying job.


Google Street View

The Erie County administration announced last week it will finally begin fining nursing homes for not complying with Ruthie’s Law. Now nursing homes are fighting back.

Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island has provided its final roller coaster ride and wild west show to Western New York and Canadian families.

 

The longstanding Grand Island amusement park announced Wednesday afternoon it is permanently closed after nearly 60 years in business, citing financial difficulties. 


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

The head of Erie County’s Department of Senior Services says he will fine nursing homes that don’t comply with Ruthie’s Law by the end of the month, seemingly ending months of criticism and scrutiny over a lack of fines.

 


MIKE GROLL/OFFICE OF GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will meet with President Donald Trump Thursday to discuss their feud over the Green Light Law and the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP).  


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

WBFO reported in October that most Erie County nursing homes aren’t complying with Ruthie’s Law, yet none have been fined by the county’s Department of Senior Services. Last week, Senior Services officials invited WBFO to come along as they conducted unannounced visits on three of the noncompliant nursing homes. But some feel the county still isn’t doing enough to enforce the law. 

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

What happens when police pull over a driver, and the driver can’t hear them? What happens when a deaf person needs to report a crime? Those are questions the Town of Amherst Police Department hopes will soon be easier to answer. 

 

Officers will start using video remote sign language interpreters next week to better communicate with the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. 

 


WBFO file photo

Roughly half of Erie County nursing homes are still not complying with Ruthie’s Law.

 

The county’s Department of Senior Services released the newest compliance data Tuesday, showing that only 18 of the county’s 35 nursing homes compiled with the law during the most recent reporting period.

 


 

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Most homeowners opening their tax bills this season probably think the bill is too high. For Erie County homeowners, they may be right.

 

A budgeting error has caused thousands of residents to be overcharged a total of $4.4 million on their recent property tax bills. The nearly 200,000 incorrect bills were sent to the county's cities and larger suburbs like Amherst and Tonawanda. Impacted residents were overcharged $6.79 per $100,000 dollars of assessed value. 

 


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

For the last few years, retired West Seneca teachers have helped fill backpacks with items like cereal bars and cans of tuna fish for the Food Bank of Western New York. The Food Bank program helps tide over about 3,500 disadvantaged kids during the weekends they’re without free school lunch and breakfast.

 

The teachers now do this under the name of FeedMore Western New York, after the Food Bank merged with Meals on Wheels for Western New York.

 


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

It’s been more than two years since Erie County passed Ruthie’s Law, yet none of the nursing homes that have failed to comply during that time have been penalized.

 

On Thursday, the Erie County Legislature finally got to directly ask the county’s Department of Senior Services why that is.

 


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.

 

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