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Jay Tokasz

Jay Tokasz, who covers higher education for The Buffalo News, has spent 24 years in newspapers, writing on a wide range of subjects, from evidence-tampering cops to papal elections. He previously worked for the Ithaca Journal and the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.


Construction and Growth

Local historic preservationists are stepping up efforts to derail the state's current plan for a new downtown train station. The state Department of Transportation wants to build a new $25 million train station by 2020 at the same location as the current Exchange Street station. But some preservationists said the state's plan misses a golden opportunity to build a be…

Buffalo

A Diocese of Buffalo priest accused of having sexual contact with a teenage girl in the mid-1980s has been put on administrative leave. Bishop Richard J. Malone will reopen an investigation into allegations that the Rev. Fabian J. Maryanski had sexual contact with a female parishioner of St. Patrick Church in Barker starting when the girl was 15. "This has been one o…

Buffalo

Diocese of Buffalo officials assigned the Rev. Fabian J. Maryanski to work in parishes for more than a decade after he was accused of having sexual contact with a teenage girl in a church rectory. The priest started his sexual advances on the girl when she was a 15-year-old parishioner at St. Patrick Church in Barker, according to a 1995 letter sent by her lawyer to dio…

Buffalo

The University at Buffalo will try to raise $650 million in a campaign that would be the largest in the history of UB and of the State University of New York system. UB President Satish K. Tripathi announced the goal Monday. The university already has secured $451 million in gifts through a quiet phase of the campaign. University officials are calling the effort "Bol…

Buffalo

Members of Most Precious Blood Church in Angola were as stunned as any Catholics – and maybe more so – when the Diocese of Buffalo in March publicly named 42 priests who had been accused of child sex abuse. The list released by Bishop Richard J. Malone included not just one priest who served in the village parish, but four. Parishioners had no idea. "The sticker shoc…

Buffalo

Two Buffalo-area priests were put on leave this past weekend as the Diocese of Buffalo investigates complaints of childhood sexual abuse. Bishop Richard J. Malone suspended the Rev. Samuel J. Venne and the Rev. Arthur S. Smith from ministry due to allegations that the priests behaved inappropriately with minors. Venne, who is retired, regularly celebrated Masses at S…

Local News

The unseasonably wintry weather this past week was a problem even for waterfowl passing through Western New York. Thousands of migrating loons, grebes and mergansers descended upon area waterways throughout the week – apparently grounded by ice, snow and blustery conditions. One local wildlife expert and bird watcher described the massive flocking as unprecedented. …

Firefighters in the Village of Williamsville extinguished a small blaze Friday evening in a vacant house on South  Long Street. The Williamsville Fire Department responded shortly after 6:30 p.m. to a report of a working fire at 96 South Long St. Firefighters encountered heavy smoke in the ranch-style home and used extinguishers to knock down the bulk of the fire. Th…

Uncategorized

Genesee County sheriff's deputies added a litany of new charges – including vehicular assault and reckless driving - against an Oakfield man already accused of driving while intoxicated in connection with a three-vehicle crash Wednesday in Corfu. The crash sent four people to the hospital. Jacob J. Szumigala, 24, was driving a Hyundai Sonata westbound on Route 33 aro…

Buffalo

Bishop Richard J. Malone mentioned in March that no Catholic Diocese of Buffalo properties would be off-limits from the possibility of being sold to help compensate childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse. The sell-off started on Tuesday, with Malone's sudden announcement that he will put on the market his own residence, a palatial mansion on one of Buffalo's most excl…

Buffalo

Canisius College and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center are each getting $2 million from local benefactor Patrick P. Lee. The gift to Canisius will establish the Lee Foundation Scholarship Program to support students in finance, computer science, mathematics and statistics, and physics. Two scholarships of $10,000 each will be awarded annually to freshmen with dem…

Buffalo

Bishop Richard J. Malone assures donors that no gifts to Catholic Charities will be used to settle clergy sexual abuse claims. But area Catholics – one way or another – are paying. To compensate sex abuse victims, Malone said the diocese will rely on insurance coverage, investment reserves and the possible sale of property, all of which trace back to the wallets and …

Buffalo

A final state budget deal went forward on Friday without including the Child Victims Act, legislation that would have expanded the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases and created a "look back" period for victims to file lawsuits in cases of abuse from years ago. "The best I can say is its disappointing and not surprising," said Thomas Travers, a Buffalo m…

Local News

The pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Dunkirk was placed on leave Monday after the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo received a complaint of alleged abuse. Bishop Richard J. Malone wrote an open letter to parishioners stating that the Rev. Dennis G. Riter was placed on "administrative leave" pending an investigation into the complaint. "Please note that this leav…

Buffalo

Eight priests from the Diocese of Buffalo accused of sexually abusing children live within a short walk of area elementary and middle schools. Beyond naming the priests, the diocese has declined to disclose addresses or any other information about the 42 priests it said on Tuesday had credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors brought against them. Se…