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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Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Lawmakers from the Mohawk Valley are criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not visiting or even mentioning their area this week during his six State of the State addresses. They believe the snub comes at an especially tumultuous time for the region, where the economic recovery has been slower than in other areas of the state.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

More than a century ago, Fulton was formed when the villages of Oswego Falls and Fulton, which were separated by the Oswego River, merged. Oswego County Legislator Frank Castiglia says now, it's time for the city to split into two again.

Castiglia says the cost of maintaining a police and fire department for the city of 11,000 is ballooning beyond what Fulton residents can afford.

"We don’t have the people, the population or the industry in this city to support the costs for those public safety departments," Castiglia said. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

As Oswego city lawmakers prepare for the second year of their term, a power struggle seems to be emerging between the common council and the mayor.

In a close vote this week, the Oswego Common Council removed the president and vice president of the council from their leadership roles. Those positions are now filled by councilors who went to battle with Mayor Billy Barlow and City Attorney Kevin Caraccioli last month over a sewer contract with the town of Oswego.

Newly installed council President Eric VanBuren says that fight was a catalyst for the change in leadership. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

One of the goals of the Onondaga County Legislature in 2017 will be updating of the county’s comprehensive plan that guides planning and economic development. Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon will be appointing a special committee that will look through all the comprehensive development plans that have been drafted by various groups and governments in recent years across central New York. McMahon says the idea is to review these plans and the options they present, then move on legislation to deal with future development.

-JvL- / Flickr

New York lawmakers are returning to Albany this week to begin their work for 2017. This year's agenda includes proposals to modernize the state's voting rules, address government corruption and permit the ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft to expand upstate.

Other prominent proposals include legislation to allow the terminally ill to request life-ending medication from a physician and a bill to end the state's practice of prosecuting 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A new book from a central New York author details the legacy of a group called the the Oswego County Pioneers, the first organized volunteer search and rescue team created in the state.

Volunteer search and rescue teams may be ubiquitous today, but local historian Jim Farfaglia says that wasn't the case in New York 50 years ago. He says the effort to find missing persons was chaotic.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Rep.-elect Claudia Tenney from the 22nd Congressional District says she is going to keep an open mind as the administration of incoming president Donald Trump takes shape. Tenney supported Trump during the election, but the Republican has some doubts about some of his decisions thus far.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego Common Council President Shawn Walker calls 2016 the most productive year for the city he's seen in his nine years on the council. The city's leaders tackled several issues in the past year that had previously been kicked down the road.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The next representative from the 22nd Congressional District, Claudia Tenney, is supportive of president-elect Donald Trump's approach on foreign policy matters thus far. And as his inauguration day approaches, she says more Americans need to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The first female representative from the 22nd Congressional District is preparing to assume office. Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) was elected last month to serve the eight counties in the district that stretches from the eastern half of Oswego County to the Mohawk Valley to the Southern Tier. 

LtGovHochulNY / Flickr

Officials in the Mohawk Valley are scrambling to find a replacement tenant for a semiconductor chip fabrication plant in Marcy after its main corporate partner dropped out. But officials say they are still optimistic about the future of the project.

Desiree / via Flickr

Many New Yorkers will celebrate the holidays this season in homes covered with decorative lights, but those holiday lights come at a cost to the state's electricity grid.

Dave Flanagan with the New York State Independent System Operator (NYISO) says all together, the electricity needed to power those lights begin to add up.

"I'd say it's more than a blip," Flanagan said. "It's about 4 percent of our average hourly demand for electricity in New York state and that 750-800 megawatts is equal to powering 800,000 homes."

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

A bill that would have helped elevate Fort Ontario and the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum in Oswego to National Park status has died in the U.S. Senate. 

WRVO News File Photo

Oswego Common Councilors decided to not override Mayor Billy Barlow's first veto last night. The issue concerned a sewer contract that had implications for an off-campus private student housing complex.

The Common Council voted last week to rescind a contract with the town of Oswego to handle its sewage. several councilors had claimed they were not aware that sewer contract would include a private housing complex for SUNY Oswego students that's still in development.

Oswego Health

Oswego Health is beginning the search for a new CEO, marking the second time in two years that the healthcare company has gone through a change in leadership.

Oswego Health encompasses about 1,250 employees in its hospital, nursing home, independent retirement community and other services in Oswego County. Chuck Gijanto has served as the organization's president and CEO since September 2015. Oswego Health Board of Directors President Adam Gagas says he was initially brought in to help with the company's first leadership change.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The proposed nanotechnology center in Marcy is losing its main investor after the project has become entangled in the state corruption scandal involving the governor’s upstate development programs.

The Austrian company AMS, AG has pulled out of the 450-acre Nanocenter, a chip fabrication project at the campus of SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County passed its 2017 budget last night, with no increase in the tax rate. The legislature also voted to increase the salary for several county administrators.

The 14 percent raises for the county clerk, treasurer and sheriff will be phased in over a four-year period. Many legislators agreed that the raises were overdue, but the Democrats wanted the four raises to kick in after each election rather than all at once. That amendment was defeated along party lines.

Majority leader Shane Broadwell says the raises make up for years of delayed increases.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council and mayor are fighting over a proposed housing complex for students at SUNY Oswego that may now be in jeopardy. The council voted Monday to rescind a sewer agreement with the town of Oswego that would have affected the project. But now the mayor has vetoed the council's move, adding to what is already a contentious battle.

Office of Assemblyman Brindisi / File Photo

Officials with the Utica City School District's office reportedly were denied access to a meeting with the governor's office last week. Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) said they were headed to a regular annual meeting in Albany to discuss budget priorities with other school districts when something irregular occurred.

"They were told on the morning of the meeting that the governor's office would not meet with the Utica City School District delegation, but they would meet with the other school districts."

Entergy

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the sale of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant from Entergy to Exelon. The deal to keep the plant open is now one step closer to completion.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

In Oswego, a massive, rust-covered container ship glided across Lake Ontario Wednesday morning. It eased toward the Port of Oswego and abruptly came to rest after bumping against the dock.

The 24-foot-tall ship was carrying equipment from Germany that will head to a brewery in Rochester. The port is expecting another shipment of similar equipment next year for a brewery in Fulton. Port director Zelko Kirincich wants to see more container ships visit the port because he says it's more cost efficient for businesses that are importing and exporting by ship. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

In the basement of Penfield Library at SUNY Oswego, there's a room where the shelves are not filled with books.

"We've got pastas, and we've got popcorn, Jell-O, beans, cereals, jelly -- a lot of jelly," said SUNY Oswego Student Government Association President Emily Nassir as she surveyed the recently created food pantry. Just a few months ago, this was an empty space. Now it's covered in a plethora of canned and boxed foods and toiletries. And there's even a mini clothing store and adjacent fitting room.  

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego residents had their first chance to provide input on the city's downtown revitalization project last week. Dozens of residents and community leaders came out to the city's first public meeting last week to help shape the direction of the project.

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The New York state attorney general's office is bringing charges against a village judge in Jefferson County over claims that he used his position to elicit sexual favors from a defendant.

Village of West Carthage Justice Delmar House is facing two felony charges for allegedly reducing a fine for a defendant who appeared before him in exchange for sexual favors. In a statement, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the 49-year-old also paid a portion of the defendant's fines for additional sexual services. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The Oswego Common Council has approved amendments to its taxi cab laws that lawmakers say will improve public safety.

The new resolution adopted Monday night establishes a "good moral character" clause to help city officials determine who can get a license to drive a cab in the city. It spells out what crimes could preclude someone from obtaining a license, such as murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, child pornography and others.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego City School District is still feeling the pain from the $5 million budget gap earlier this year when the district cut 50 positions. Next school year isn't looking much easier as the district faces a $4 million deficit. But, school officials are beginning to make some headway with avoiding a repeat of those layoffs. 

Courtesy: Safe Haven Museum

Ruth Gruber died last week at 105. She was an accomplished journalist and humanitarian. But in Oswego she is remembered and celebrated for the role she played when the United States offered safe harbor to 986 European refugees during World War II.

Gruber worked for the department of the interior when she was chosen to escort the mostly Jewish refugees on their voyage to America. They were housed at Fort Ontario in Oswego for the remainder of the war. Eventually, Gruber championed the refugees' fight to gain American citizenship.

Office of the Utica Mayor

At a time when many communities across the country are wrestling with how to improve the relationship between the police and residents they serve after horrific events like a police shooting, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri says his city is taking a proactive approach.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is preparing to replace the city's fire department chief after a contentious year between the two that included battles over layoffs and overtime expenses. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

For the fourth year in a row, the Oneida County Board of Legislators has passed a budget without an increase in the property tax levy. County officials say they are pleased about saving residents money, but they are also concerned about what the frugal approach could mean for Oneida County's financial future.

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