Payne Horning

Reporter, Oswego

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.

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Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

During a hearing on Capitol Hill, Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) urged his colleagues to designate Oswego's Fort Ontario and Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum to National Park status. The Republican congressman is sponsoring a bill that would trigger a study to determine if the historical sites are worthy of becoming part of the National Park system.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Novelis, the aluminum manufacturing plant in Oswego County, unveiled a new $120 million addition to its operation Monday. The "automotive finishing line" takes strips of aluminum through furnaces, coolers and chemicals to strengthen the metal. It was designed specifically for the 2017 Ford Super Duty truck.

Kevin Schutt, the Novelis plant manager in Oswego, said with more aluminum, trucks can increase their payload and towing capacity. It's part of an industry-wide shift toward more lightweight vehicles for superior fuel efficiency. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

City officials and area leaders in Oswego are putting together an application for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's downtown revitalization initiative competition that will award $10 million to 10 New York communities.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

At a forum hosted by the Greater Syracuse Labor Council, AFL-CIO in Syracuse Wednesday, the three candidates running in the Democratic primary for New York's 24th Congressional District said the strength of labor unions have been decimated in recent decades and argued for tougher federal legislation to protect them and other domestic jobs.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Officials working on a project to revitalize the 3.8 miles of State Route 104 that runs through the city of Oswego say improving the road's safety is a chief concern among residents. The 104 streetscape project was intended to enhance the aesthetics of the road and its surrounding sidewalks and businesses, but feedback from locals is mostly centered around safety.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When five Oswego County legislators failed to file their oath of office cards on time earlier this year, they lost the seats they were elected to last November. The county legislature then appointed them to fill those vacancies, but state law still requires that they run again in a special election this fall. A bill in the New York state legislature would waive that requirement.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Vice President Joe Biden was the guest of honor Friday at the Syracuse University Law School graduation ceremony, but the focus of the event centered on his late son Beau Biden. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

For the second time in a week, Oswego police and fire services responded to a bomb scare Thursday at one of the city's schools.

Notes were left at the Oswego High School on May 10 and at the middle school Thursday morning, both warning of a bomb. In both instances, the school buildings were evacuated and the threats were determined to be not credible.

The Oswego City Police Department says it has identified a female student at the middle school as a possible suspect. They are still investigating the threat made to the high school.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The race in New York's 22nd Congressional District is considered by the Cook Political Report to be one of the most competitive in the nation. At least five candidates are seeking the seat that three-term Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) is vacating at the end of the year. The district stretches from the eastern part of Oswego County to the Mohawk valley to the Southern Tier and includes all or part of eight counties.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The impending closure of the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County is already financially impacting the nearby Mexico School District. School district officials are planning for the loss of $2.8 million this year alone.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council passed a law that requires second-hand stores, like pawn shops, to keep a detailed record of any items they buy and who sells it to them so police can track down stolen material. And, the stores would also have to keep any items they buy on the shelves for at least a week. It's modeled after similar anti-burglary laws in Syracuse, Onondaga county and Fulton.

Jason Braun, owner of the Wise Guyz pawn shop in Fulton, said the change will mean fewer thieves will be able to exploit unregulated Oswego pawn shops.

Kevin Withus

Friday marks the last day of classes for SUNY Oswego students for the year, which means the return of the annual bar crawl, Bridge Street Run (BSR). While BSR is considered a long-time college tradition, SUNY Oswego is hoping to build its own tradition as an alternative.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego school officials hope a public hearing on its budget crisis Tuesday will alert state lawmakers to what they call a broken funding formula. The school district is wrestling with declining tax revenues and reserve funds, which has resulted in a proposed budget that cuts more than 50 jobs.

"This is an era of financial difficulty for our district that we have to weather over the next three years after this year," said Oswego City School District Superintendent Dean Goewey, the architect of the controversial budget that slashes more than $5 million.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The New York State Legislature has set aside $30 million in its new budget for communities devastated by closing power plants that result in at least a 20 percent reduction in the local property tax collections. It's intended to help offset the loss in places like Oswego County where the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant is slated to be shutdown in January.

The campaigns of Claudia Tenney and Steve Wells

Two Republican candidates running for the open seat in New York's 22nd Congressional District are feuding over past campaign donations. New Hartford Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney is criticizing her main rival, Cazenovia businessman Steve Wells, for donations he and his company have made in the past to Democrats.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Melissa Ives was recovering from a brutal motorcycle accident, the opioid medication she was prescribed helped mask the pain. But eventually, those pills ran out so she turned to a cheaper alternative - heroin.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton won resoundingly in New York's primary Tuesday, including in Onondaga County. But a look at the numbers shows that the county's results stand out in central New York.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego City School Board approved a $79.5 million budget Tuesday, despite opposition from several students and parents who criticized its cuts to athletic programs.

The district is facing a $5 million shortfall because of falling tax revenues, mainly due to a declining tax agreement with the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Facility, and a depleted fund balance, which is so low that state officials have asked the district not to dip into it for this year's budget.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

At a rally in Watertown Saturday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump touched on his familiar campaign promises to secure the borders and boost military funding.

Trump told an enthusiastic crowd that the flow of heroin and other illegal drugs into the country would end with his proposed wall along the Mexican border. Under his administration, Trump said Watertown will get jobs back and heroin out.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego County Legislature approved a five-year tax agreement plan Thursday with the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant. Under the deal, FitzPatrick will pay the county, the Mexico School District and the town of Scriba $27.5 million through 2020 in lieu of traditional property taxes.

Michael Mroziak / WBFO News

During his speech in Rome Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took aim at the GOP and the way some of its state organizations award their delegates. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to a packed crowd in an airplane hangar at Griffiss International Airport in Rome on Tuesday. Trump hit hard on New York’s economy and the political system.

Trump started by pulling no punches as he listed statistics about the loss of manufacturing jobs in the Utica-Rome area and the median household income in the state. 

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

New York Republican Committee Chairman Ed Cox said because the campaigns in both the Republican and Democratic races are so close, New York could play a pivotal role. He calls it the state's New Hampshire moment.

"It’s the first time in the history of the Republican presidential primaries in New York state that the primary really could make a crucial difference in who our nominee would be and who the next president of the United States would be," Cox said.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Update:

The Oswego Classroom Teachers Association released the following revised statement Thursday morning.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Despite several attempts to secure financial assistance for the struggling FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant, no funding was included for it in New York state's next budget.

Assemblyman Will Barclay and state Sen. Patty Ritchie have both authored bills that would give Fitzpatrick's owner a $60 million tax credit, but neither were included in the budget, nor was a $100 million financial aid package to help pay for the cost of refueling the plant, which would need to be done this year.

State Sen. Patty Ritchie said the recently passed New York state budget includes a record amount of funding for rabies prevention and treatment. State lawmakers allocated more than $600,000 for prevention and research efforts, such as funding Cornell University's program that distributes rabies vaccines to wild animals with low-flying planes and low-cost rabies clinics for pets. There is also 150,000 dollars to help local governments pay for treatment once someone is bitten by an infected animal, which Ritchie said is expensive.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will come to Albany Monday to meet with Assembly and Senate Democrats.

Constellation Energy Group

Exelon Corporation says its Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station in Scriba is losing money and it is hoping for financial assistance from New York state in the near future.

Exelon's Executive Vice President for Governmental Affairs Joseph Dominguez said the nuclear plant is not making enough money to break even because of falling energy prices, a similar situation for the company's Ginna plant nearby Rochester and for Entergy's Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant, which is slated for closure next year.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Ahead of the Empire State's April 19 primary, Donald Trump supporters in central New York are organizing to gain support for the presidential candidate.

In Utica's historic train station, a group of Mohawk Valley citizens gathered to say they think the country is off track and Trump is the only candidate who can help.

"We've been going in the wrong direction for too long, in particular the last eight years," Perry Onderdonk said. "He's achieved personal greatness and I think he can apply his business acumen to fixing what's wrong with our country today."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council narrowly approved the creation of an ethics board Monday. The three councilors who voted against it said they supported the initiative, but disagree with the resolution's language that gives the mayor sole power to select all three of its members. Mayor Billy Barlow said that's consistent with his right to appoint people to other city committees under Oswego's charter, yet several residents like Tom Ciappa argued that this committee should be unique.

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