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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Mohawk Valley Health System

The Mohawk Valley Health System unveiled the site plan for its new hospital in Utica Thursday. The design calls for a nine-story, 670,000 square foot facility with space for 373 beds and an adjacent parking garage. It would be located on 25 acres of land in the city’s downtown, which presents both opportunities and challenges.

Mohawk Valley Health waited two years to secure the state funding it needed to begin the design process. It’s still only halfway complete, but architect Kim Way says that’s a good thing because it allows his firm to continue implementing public input.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

The federal government is now offering funding and resources to upstate counties devastated by the flooding along Lake Ontario this year, after President Trump declared parts of the region a federal disaster area earlier this week.

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

Watertown's local fire union endorsed two candidates for city council this year, neither were the incumbents who have been on the council for the past three years while the city and union battled over a new contract. 

The Campbell Conversations / WRVO News File Photo

Democrats in Onondaga County are assessing their losses in this year's election. They flipped only one seat in the Onondaga County Legislature, and were beaten by an independent candidate in the Syracuse mayoral race. But issues remain for the Onondaga County Republican Party as well, largely because of feuds between some of its leaders.

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

Watertown will no longer pay overtime costs in the city's fire department that are caused by sick leave, the latest development in the bitter feud between the union and city government.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Staff at the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County powered down the facility last weekend in response to an internal leak.

FitzPatrick spokesperson Tammy Holden says they recently discovered a defect in a few of the plant's more than 30,000 fuel rods - long, thin metal tubes that contain uranium. They're located within the reactor's core and help produce power. The issue was higher than normal radioactive contamination in the water that the fuel rods heat to produce steam.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse independent mayoral candidate Ben Walsh won big Tuesday night and will be the first mayor of the city not affiliated with a political party. Walsh won with a mix of support from Democrats, Republicans and independent voters.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

The deadly shooting at a Texas church Sunday has renewed calls for stricter gun control laws in the United States. But Rep. John katko (R-Camillus) says this tragedy shouldn't simply bring calls for gun control. 

Katko says it's clear that there were mental health issues with the shooter in Sunday's attack. 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley received a "bad conduct discharge" from the Air Force in 2014, and was courtmartialed for assaulting his wife and child. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Several seats on Watertown's city council are up for grabs this election, but the outcome of the vote could have more of an impact on the city's mayor.

City council candidate Ryan Henry-Wilkinson says after years of legal battles between the city and its firefighter union, he's campaigning on restoring public trust in city government. Henry-Wilkinson hopes to help accomplish that by changing Watertown's form of government to a strong mayor system replacing the city manager by making the mayor a full-time position.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The Utica Common Council voted to extend term limits for some city offices more than a month ago, but the issue is far from settled. The matter is now entangled in this year's local elections.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Some Utica residents are trying to resurrect the city's now defunct human relations commission. They say it's needed now at a time when divisiveness and incidences of hate crimes are on the rise.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When voters in Utica's first ward head to the polls on November 7, they will see a unique addition to their ballots. Next to Utica Common Council candidate Lou Poccia's name are the words "NOHOSPITAL DWNTN."

"We wanted to demonstrate in a very vivid way that the people of this city are opposed to this downtown hospital," Poccia said. "It is being forced down our throats by the elites of our community."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Last year an arranged meeting in the Oswego County village of Phoenix to purchase a pair of sneakers went horribly wrong. The village resident was conned by the people who agreed to sell him the shoes. They robbed and shot him.

Hamilton College

Tonight, Hamilton College is welcoming Karl Rove and David Axelrod to campus for a discussion about the nation's current political landscape. The two strategists served in the campaigns and administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama respectively.

WRVO's Payne Horning spoke with the moderator of the event , USA Today's White House correspondent Susan Page, about what the audience can expect.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Central New York and the Mohawk Valley are joining the race to win the coveted second headquarters of Amazon. The online retailer giant plans to invest as much as $4 billion to build their new campus and expects to create as many as 50,000 jobs.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) got an earful from an angry crowd in Seneca County over the weekend. He tried to keep things calm at the Romulus Central School town hall on Saturday, but tempers frequently boiled over.

Many of those who attended the event excoriated the Republican for voting for a House budget resolution that would make major cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, while at the same time lower taxes for the wealthy.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A group of protesters recently gathered outside of Mohawk Valley Congresswoman Claudia Tenney's (R-New Hartford) office in New Hartford. They were upset with the Republican representative's vote for a budget resolution that they say would gut services for many New Yorkers who are in need of assistance.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oneida County is submitting its mandated consolidation plan to the state. The objective is to realize tax savings, but both those in favor and against the plan say it does not go far enough.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

At a special state hearing in Oswego County Tuesday, government officials admitted that there's effectively no way to prevent Lake Ontario from once again reaching the record high levels seen this year. In fact, they said it's bound to happen again. But, they think there may be ways to reduce the amount of damage the flooding caused along the shoreline.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Once again, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is proposing a budget that does not raise property taxes, but it still calls for investments in several new initiatives.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Another SuperDIRT Week is in the books at the Oswego Speedway. The track has played host to the annual racing event for the past two years after construction stalled at the Central New York Raceway Park in Hastings. And now that the dust has settled, Oswego officials hope it will return - this time for good.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The city of Cortland has won first place in central New York prize for the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) competition. The award comes with $10 million to fund projects aimed at developing the city's downtown region. That will include investments in a new gathering space for community activities, additional housing and re-imagining the city's infrastructure for the 21st century.

Mayor Brian Tobin says it builds on work already underway with the Cortland Downtown Partnership that was initially formed a decade ago.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Several projects that are underway in Watertown to transform the city's downtown are getting a major boost. The city has won New York's top prize in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) competition for the North Country, and the $10 million that comes with it.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Finger Lakes Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) says passing tighter gun control laws is not the way to respond to the Las Vegas shooting Sunday that left 59 people dead and hundreds injured. Some lawmakers are advocating for new measures after police revealed that the alleged shooter in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history had scores of weapons, but Reed says that approach only offers false security.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Watertown City Council adopted a resolution Monday night opposing several wind farms that are under development near Fort Drum. Mayor Joseph Butler says the wind turbines would interfere with military base's radar system, impeding its training operations.

“We’re in a position where we don’t want to weaken the strength of the mission readiness at the base, we want to enhance it,” Butler said. “So we’re just making a statement to express our support that we’re not anti-wind, we’re priority Fort Drum.”

New York State Corrections Officer and Police Benevolent Association

Picketers recently gathered outside the Auburn Correctional Facility hoping to bring attention to the risks that some officers face inside. Joe Miano with the New York State Corrections Officer and Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA), a prison guard union, says it can be treacherous.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Homeowners who sustained damage from this year's flooding along Lake Ontario have until 5 p.m. Friday to apply for financial aid from the state. New York leaders appropriated millions of dollars this year to help residents recover from historically high water levels, but there may not be enough to go around.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The city of Oswego is offering new small business loans, funded by outstanding loans that were awarded 20 years ago.

Mayor Billy Barlow says the city received $1 million in the 1990s to establish a commercial loan program. Officials doled out that funding, but several of the loans were never paid back.

“Whether the community development office never followed up or – you know, I’m not sure what happened, but we had 19 outstanding loans in January 1 of 2016,” Barlow said.

Development Authority of North Country

Lawmakers and an advocacy group representing Fort Drum are warning about several proposed wind farm projects that are under development in the north country. They say the wind turbines could threaten operations at the military base. That's welcome news to some residents in Jefferson County, who have been fighting one of the developments since it was proposed a decade ago.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego is offering up to $400,000 to individuals, business owners and or organizations that can help the city combat poverty. It's part of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI), which aims to help 16 cities improve the lives of their lower-income residents.

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