Share this article

print logo

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.


The latest wrinkle in President Bush's attempts to let federal money flow more freely to faith-based groups is drawing criticism that such efforts encourage discrimination and chip away at the separation between church and state.The president last week directed all federal agencies to keep faith-based organizations on equal ground with secular groups in awarding social ser…

A touch of symmetry and a sense of time mark the nearly completed renovations to Lancaster Presbyterian Church.There's a nod to the church's beginnings at the north end of the sanctuary, where the chancel was returned to its original position.At the south end, a wall was torn down to make room for a new balcony that will include theater seats for an expanding congregation.…

It will take a few more years, but 2-year-old Kyla Rusin someday will understand what all the fuss was about Saturday morning.Decked out in a velvet dress, patent leather shoes and a little faux pearl necklace, Kyla took the Oath of Citizenship during a special ceremony in Niagara Falls High School for children adopted from around the world.Or, more accurately, she smiled …

Gail Cronin didn't want to read about the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, and she didn't want to hear about it.She had been down that road 19 years ago as a teenager in downstate New York, when some of her male friends confided in her about their abuse by a parish priest. Cronin relayed the allegations to her devout parents, who quickly dismissed them as prepo…

On a swing through Buffalo on Sunday, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., criticized the Bush administration for not doing enough to bolster homeland defense, and she pledged to push for federal transportation funds that could aid the city's waterfront development efforts.Clinton joined other Democrats in urging the president to release $1.5 billion in federal aid for pol…

Eula Hooker credits Arthur O. Eve with helping launch her 32-year career in banking.The Democratic assemblyman from Buffalo helped establish the state's Educational Opportunity Program in 1967, during his first term in office.The program allowed Hooker to graduate with a bachelor's degree from the University at Buffalo in 1969.Recently retired as a Fleet Bank branch manage…

Doug Hasslip's face doesn't reveal his age: At 49, he looks more like a man in his mid-30s.Surrounded by flowing dreadlocks, his cheerful face also conceals another startling reality: Hasslip is HIV positive.For a long time, he had trouble accepting that fact. He argued with his doctor about the test results. He went back to the streets for drugs and alcohol. He kept the s…

Victoria Johns is only 8 years old, but she already has experienced enough of the traditional Thanksgiving celebration to seek out a twist.So instead of supper with extended family at Grandma's this year, Victoria decided to join her father, the Rev. Eric Johns, for a taste of life as a homeless person -- including a turkey-with-trimmings meal in the soup kitchen of Durham…

Child & Family Services' Haven House and the YWCA of Western New York will receive nearly $4 million in state money to build a new campus for targets of domestic violence.The campus will include an emergency shelter with room for 36 beds, as well as six temporary apartments where battered women and their children could live for up to two years.Construction could begin as e…

Sixteen years ago, John J. Fialka chronicled the increasing poverty of the country's 115,000 Catholic nuns in a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal.Fialka wrote about nuns on welfare and a $2 billion gap between the available retirement money for sisters and what it would take to meet their financial and medical needs.That gap has since expanded to about $6.4 billi…

An organization that studies homelessness in Erie County has found that 44 percent of homeless people in emergency shelters and temporary apartments are either employed or in a job-training program."They're just not getting the jobs they need" that pay a living wage, said Diane R. Bessel, research coordinator for the Erie County Commission on Homelessness.The commission to…

Already reeling from budget cuts, local nonprofit organizations heard frank -- and, in some cases, not so welcome -- advice Tuesday from the head of one of the area's largest corporate philanthropists.Robert G. Wilmers, whose M&T Bank Corp. supports a variety of charitable causes in Western New York, called on local nonprofit groups to follow the model of the private and p…

Just how generous are residents in the City of Good Neighbors anyway?At least $639 million worth over the past four years, a new study released Monday suggests.That's the amount a group of representative charitable organizations in Erie County received between 1998 and 2001 from individuals, businesses and foundations, according to a report examining giving patterns in the…

Jaymaya Auls absorbed more pain in 22 months than most people experience in a lifetime.Her tiny right arm had been twisted so hard that it fractured. She had teeth marks on her arms and legs, and scars around her neck. Her forehead was bruised, her gums bloodied and three of her ribs broken.Sadder yet, those 22 months were all of the lifetime little Jaymaya would know.A Bu…

Bracing for more negative financial fallout from last year's terrorist attacks, 150 Erie County health and human service agencies have pledged to work more closely with each other when they ask state policymakers for money.They also unveiled late last week a 29-page report for use as a blueprint in lobbying efforts.The report, "Advocating With One Voice for Children & Fami…