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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U.S. Census Bureau / Empire Center for Public Policy

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that New York's statewide population fell for the first time in a decade, largely a result of upstate population losses outpacing the gains made downstate.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

New York officials are split over the Republican's proposed replacement to the Affordable Care Act and how it will impact the state. As the House of Representatives prepares for the scheduled vote on the legislation, state and federal leaders are fighting to sway the public to their side.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The number of students who are choosing to enter the education profession is declining. SUNY, which trains 25 percent of the New York’s educators, is trying to address the issue because the state's school districts are now seeing a shortage of qualified teachers. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

A nomination to make part of Lake Ontario a national marine sanctuary is moving forward. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is accepting the application for further consideration. 

Oswego, Jefferson, Wayne and Cayuga counties put together the application after NOAA decided to add to its current list of 14 marine sanctuaries. It could help preserve dozens of known and unknown historic shipwrecks in 1,700 square miles of the southeastern portion of the lake for further study.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The joint effort between New York state and officials in Oneida County to recover from this week's massive snowstorm continue, but some lawmakers say the recovery was hampered by an inaccurate weather forecast that wasted precious time and resources.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Officials from the Thompson Park Zoo in Watertown are asking the city and Jefferson County for more financial support. They say it may be necessary just to keep the zoo open.

Former zoo board member Peter Schmidt says the past ten years have not been easy. The zoo has operated at a loss eight of those years and cycled through six executive directors. That has put needed upgrades and projects on the back burner. Now, Schmidt says, the zoo is at a crossroads.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Central New York lawmakers and leaders are applauding the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's approval of the sale of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant as the final step needed to ensure its continued operation, but there's still some work to be done.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Watertown leaders are pressing forward with their goal to transform the city's downtown area despite losing out on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) competition last year. Plattsburgh ultimately captured the $10 million grant in the North Country region. But Watertown officials say that's not stalling the city's momentum.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A hostile crowd in Ithaca lambasted Finger Lakes Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) this weekend over his support for legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act. The Republican said his party’s proposal was just the first step in a long process to reform the country’s healthcare system, but the participant’s in Saturday’s town hall said congress is heading in the wrong direction.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Students at SUNY Oswego are trying to start a food recycling program that would donate leftovers from the college's dining halls to a nearby food pantry, but they're getting some pushback from the business that operates campus dining. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Despite continued downsizing at Fort Drum, the base's impact on the local economy actually increased in 2016.

The northern New York army base spent nearly $1.2 billion dollars last year. That's down by about $300 million from 2015 with most of those cuts from payroll. That influx of money indirectly supported about $400 million in economic activity across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce is becoming an integrated affiliate of CenterState CEO, central New York's principal economic development organization. Those involved in the partnership say it will help Oswego county share in the growth of the region.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Some Mohawk Valley lawmakers are trying to form a bipartisan alliance to more effectively advocate for their region in the state legislature.

Utica Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi says he already talks with his Republican Mohawk Valley colleague, Sen. Joe Griffo, on a daily basis. Now he wants to expand those powwows to other representatives from counties like Oneida and Herkimer. He says this informal Mohawk Valley coalition would model itself after other regional alliances.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow has hired a new chief for the city's fire department. The change in leadership comes at a tumultuous time for the Oswego Fire Department.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Utica city officials have begun crafting their budget for the next year and the mayor's proposed version includes no tax increases. 

Mayor Robert Palmieri says it's evidence that the city's financial recovery continues to make great strides. Back in 2012, the city faced an $8 million budget gap and depleted fund reserves. Today, Palmieri's $69-million budget would not raise taxes nor would it draw from Utica's fund reserves, which have swelled to more than $5 million.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) is back from a visit with American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. She says the trip answered a lot of her questions about the United State's involvement in the Middle Eastern countries. But some of the representative's constituents are upset that she hasn't been in the district answering their questions.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego officials are putting the final touches on their plan to transform the city's downtown with a $10 million state grant. It includes a mix of commercial, residential and aesthetic additions that city officials think will make downtown Oswego a destination place for residents and tourists.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County is embarking on its first comprehensive economic study in decades. The county legislature and Oswego County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) will split the cost of hiring a Saratoga Springs-based consultant to develop a plan for advancing the local economy. The goal is to identify impediments to economic growth and untapped development opportunities.

Michael Treadwell is the CEO of the Oswego County IDA. He says the study will also offer a fresh perspective on what existing assets the county can use to spur economic growth.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

A proposal from Madison County is among a group of six finalists in New York state's municipal consolidation competition. County officials are looking at combining the highway department garages of three villages into one new facility. The state will pay for the study exploring how it can be accomplished.

Madison County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Becker says it is just one consolidation project that local officials are pursuing.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

A nationwide protest movement applying pressure on lawmakers to resist President Donald Trump's agenda has reached central and northern New York. The coordinated campaigns are starting to target local members of congress by pressuring them to hold town hall meetings.

Housing and Homeless Coalition

Results from an annual survey show little change in the number of people who are homeless in central New York. The Point In Time study records in a single day how many people are utilizing emergency and transitional shelters and those who are sleeping out on the streets. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Included in the governor's proposed budget is money to build a new hospital in downtown Utica. After years of planning, Mohawk Valley Health System officials are optimistic that progress will finally be made on their project this year. But some residents are still trying to change the hospital's proposed location before construction begins.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is leading an effort to update the city's zoning code. He says the current system is antiquated and redundant. So Barlow is asking the council to spend $105,000 for a Syracuse-based law firm to rewrite the code, making it more business friendly.

Oswego Common Council President Eric VanBuren says this overhaul has been on his to do list for awhile and now is the perfect time to get it done.

Claudia Tenney for Congress / claudiatenney.com

Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) says she has faced some obstacles during her first month in office. In addition to trying to adjust to a new job on Capitol Hill, the freshman congresswoman has been struggling to open offices and telephone lines in her district. 

Tenney currently only has one office, which is located in New Hartford. It just got a permanent telephone line. That has angered some of Tenney's constituents, including one who voiced concern at a Utica legislative forum in January.

The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees / Facebook

Officials with the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees say their philanthropic work has been interrupted by President Donald Trump's attempts to temporarily halt refugees from entering the country, and that's taking a human toll on families who were ready to start a new life in the U.S.

New York State Public Service Commission

When people in the 315-area code region pick up their phones to place local calls, they will soon have to start dialing all 10 digits. It's part of New York state's effort to deal with a declining number of available phone numbers in the area with the addition of a new area code.

Bret Jaspers / WSKG News File Photo

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) dismisses the outrage over President Donald Trump's executive actions as hysteria. The president temporarily halted all refugees from entering the country and anyone from seven Muslim-majority countries. It also put in place an indefinite ban for all refugees from the war-torn country Syria. The ban is now on hold because of a court order.

Alliance for Quality Education

The Alliance for Quality Education says Gov. Andrew Cuomo is misleading the public in a debate about school funding. The school advocacy group has published a new report that criticizes the governor's proposed education spending plan and his attempts to defend it. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The del Lago Casino in Seneca County has opened its doors. The  $440 million facility is one of several casinos opening in upstate after after New Yorkers approved a referendum in 2013 that allows for the creation of four non-Indian casinos upstate.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Inside a factory near Oneida, a roll of flat, shiny steel slowly inches into a machine that cuts, imprints and bends the metal, spitting out two shells on the other end. Sherrill Manufacturing CEO Matt Roberts says the way this machine fuses those two halves to form the handle of a knife,  through a process called brazing, is one of a kind. But this machine is not the only unique thing about this factory.

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