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.

Ways to Connect

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

When a high school student is not admitted to a college or university, they receive a rejection letter. But at SUNY Oswego, that process is changing to let some denied applicants have another shot.

The college rejected about 2,500 freshmen applicants last year, according to Dan Griffin, director of admissions at SUNY Oswego. The response to those students was the same.

"We’re sorry, we can’t help you out as a freshman," Griffin said. "If you go someplace else for a couple of semesters, maybe you should reapply and we'll do our best to accommodate you."

Ken Reppart / Flickr

Scriba town officials are considering delaying a referendum that could lead to replacing one of its elected official who was arrested for drinking and driving. Scriba's new Highway Superintendent Michael Barry was arrested last July, with a blood alcohol content level of .14, and charged with a DWI. But, town residents didn't know about the arrest until after the November election.

Tony Fischer / Flickr

An official with Entergy said that its decision to close Oswego County's James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant last October is negatively affecting the way state lawmakers view its Indian Point nuclear facility.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

The Oswego Common Council is repealing a recently enacted law that requires city employees to live within 15 miles of downtown Oswego. In a 6-1 vote Monday, the council voted to repeal the residency requirement almost a year after it was added to the charter. Mayor Billy Barlow said it's a burden to families who may have to live in another area that has the services their families need. And, he said it hinders the hiring process.

Zack Seward / WXXI

The State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) are drawing criticism from Gov. Andrew Cuomo for their administrative salaries. Some of the highest-paid employees at the publicly funded universities earn more than $400,000, at the same time that tuition is rising. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Two Democratic candidates running for New York's 24th Congressional District seat earned a joint endorsement Wednesday night from the Democratic parties in Cayuga, Oswego and Wayne counties. 

The counties are supporting Syracuse lawyer Steve Williams and Colleen Deacon, a former staffer for U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Syracuse University professor Eric Kingson, who is also running for the Democratic nomination, was not endorsed.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

In a tie vote, the Democratic parties in Oswego, Cayuga and Wayne counties decided to endorse two of the three Democratic candidates in the race for New York's 24th Congressional district. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

If campaign fundraising totals are any indication of the status of the Democratic race for New York's 24th Congressional district, it's a dead heat.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

New York lawmakers are proposing policies that they hope can save struggling upstate nuclear power facilities, including Oswego County's FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant, from closing.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

As the unprecedented crisis in Flint, Michigan brings attention to lead poisoning, one central New York group is trying to bring more attention and resources to Oneida County, which leads the state in the number of children exposed to lead.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego officials are wrestling with how to handle street parking during winter months. An unsuccessful alternate side parking plan from 2015 prevented snowplows from effectively clearing city roads, leading Oswego's new mayor to implement an overnight parking ban this year. But, the city's residents are not satisfied with the move.  

WBFO file photo

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) approved $5 billion Thursday to help fund Gov. Andrew Cuomo's ambitious clean energy campaign, despite opposition from the state Senate. The "Clean Energy Fund" will finance research, innovation and market development to help the state meet Cuomo's goal of generating 50 percent of New York's power from renewable sources, and a 40 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions, by 2030.

Office of Assemblyman Brindisi / File Photo

Congressional races for New York's 22nd and 24th Districts are beginning to take shape. 

Utica-area Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi announced Thursday that he will not run to replace retiring Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld). The Democratic Assemblyman said in a statement that he can do more for the Mohawk Valley region by staying in the New York Legislature.

Paul Downey / Flickr

New York's statewide poverty rate is 16 percent, but in upstate cities, that number doubles. In Syracuse, more than 1/3 of the residents live in poverty. Syracuse also ranks the highest nationwide for its concentration of minorities in poverty.

Greg Cotterill / Finger Lakes Public Radio

Construction is picking back up on the controversial Lago Resort and Casino in Seneca County following the New York State Gaming Commission's decision to license it in December. At a public ceremony last week, Lago officials said the casino will be a catalyst for economic growth in the region. Owner Thomas Wilmot Sr. thanked the crowd of locals for standing with the project.

WRVO News File Photo

In his response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said Obama is disconnected from Congress and reality. Despite those differences, there were some proposals the president mentioned that Katko plans to support.

Katko agrees with some items on the president's wish list, like tackling sentencing reform and rolling back some of the regulations on businesses. Obama's calls to address the heroin epidemic and reduce poverty also gained Katko's support.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego's new mayor, William Barlow, said 2016 is a new beginning for the port city.

At his inauguration ceremony, Barlow wasted no time acknowledging that the Port City faces several uphill battles tied to city's finances. Still, he said the community has faced adversity before. Others, like former Common Councilor Michael Todd, are not quite so optimistic.

"There’s so many fires to put out, people are doing triage to try and fix what few things they can fix because the problem is so great and there’s no clear solution," Todd said.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A group of distraught parents voiced their concerns about bullying cases to the Oswego school board Monday. They accused the administration at Oswego High School of not properly responding to several attacks last year, may of which were caught on tape. Theresa Gibson told the board that her nephew was one of those victims.

BaronBrian / Flickr

A resolution that would have reversed the increase in Oswego's sewer and water rates was removed from consideration Monday at the Common Council meeting. Councilor Pat McLaughlin said he withdrew his motion because he and Oswego Mayor William Barlow are looking at alternative ways to pay for the federally mandated repair of its sewer pipelines and water treatment plants.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

In his first executive action, Oswego Mayor William Barlow restored the winter parking ban on city streets and highways from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. It's a reversal from the contentious policy last year of alternate side parking, which former Mayor Thomas Gillen implemented.

The ban is effective immediately, pending approval from the Oswego Common Council's traffic committee, which Barlow said is "very, very likely."

SUNY

In response to a wave of minority student protests at universities across the country, like at Ithaca College, the State University of New York (SUNY) is enacting mandatory reforms meant to create a more inclusive and diverse environment.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced Monday at the annual State of the University Address that the system's 64 campuses will be required to appoint a chief diversity officer over the next year. In addition, staff will complete cultural competency training and each campus will be required to submit its progress annually.

kristen_a / Flickr

Not even a week into the job and officials in the town of Scriba are already trying to fire the new superintendent of highways.

Superintendent Mike Barry was arrested in July 2015, registering a blood alcohol content of .14, his second DWI charge in recent years. Then in November, Barry was elected as the town's next superintendent of highways in Scriba. Scriba town Supervisor Ken Burdick said that only happened because the town was unaware of the charge until after the election.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which regulates nuclear power plants, is allowing the public more time to weigh in on how nuclear power plants are shut down as it considers changes to how the plants close, or decommission. It's a lengthy process that can take decades as the fuel decays and funds to pay for the shut down build up. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Anger was palpable at Oswego's Common Council meeting Monday evening over an increase in sewer and water rates. 

Many in the crowd voiced their displeasure with the Council for its December vote that increased flat water rates by $212 a year and metered rates by $152 a year. Some residents feel the cost of living in the city is becoming too high.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The state of New York's energy market changed dramatically in 2015. As natural gas and renewable sources took center stage, nuclear power sources like Oswego County's FitzPatrick Nuclear Plant were squeezed.

Beit Hatfutsut Museum / Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum

When Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested recently that the U.S. should block Muslims from entering the country over fears of terrorism, he cited former President Franklin Roosevelt's infamous decision to place some Japanese citizens into internment camps following the attacks on Pearl Harbor. But, FDR also opened a different kind of camp in Oswego in spite of the anti-immigration sentiment from Congress at the time.

SUNY Oswego / Facebook

There are 615 people who count on the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County for more than just their energy; they rely on its paychecks too. A loss of those jobs could be disastrous for Oswego County, whose unemployment rate is among the highest in the state.

Shawn Doyle is one of the plant's employees. He has worked as a security guard at FitzPatrick for 28 years. Since announcing in November that it will begin shutting down the facility by early 2017, Entergy has begun telling some workers when they will be let go.

Credit Diliff / Wikimedia Commons

A study is underway that some New York officials are hoping will save Oswego County's FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant.

When Entergy notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in November that it planned to close the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in about a year, it triggered a ninety-day study. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative award to central New York signals a turning of the tide for the area. The region's economic development plan was one of three big winners in Cuomo's competition to invest $1.5 billion in upstate. At a ceremony in Syracuse Sunday to commemorate the region's success, Cuomo said this investment in upstate rights a wrong.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

As New York's unemployment rate continues to fall -- even surpassing the national average -- Oswego County is being left behind. Its latest unemployment rate was the second worst in the state.

"Like the rest of the country, you were hit pretty hard by the recession. But unlike other parts of the country that started pulling out and growing jobs after the great recession, you all flat lined and created a new normal," said Rob Krupricka, a consultant Oswego County hired to study its stagnating economy.

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