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

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The grassroots movement in Oswego to redevelop the city's neighborhoods with microloans for home improvement projects has now spread to Fulton. 

Linda Egan started the Fulton Block Builders organization after hearing about the success of the Oswego Renaissance Association. She's found a similar fervor for that kind of change in Fulton. In just two years, Block Builders has raised more than $300,000, helping about 350 homeowners pay for their exterior house work.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

After two years of unsuccessful bids, Joe Fiumara, executive director of Fulton's Community Development Agency, says their 2018 application for New York's Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) competition is the golden ticket.

"We’re trying to give the governor a reason to come back into Oswego County with another $10 million," Fiumara said. "I think we’ve done it this year."

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Watertown city councilors worked for weeks to whittle down an 8.7 percent tax increase included in former city manager Sharon Addison's proposed budget, going through departmental requests line by line. And on Monday night, they succeeded in their goal of getting it below the state mandated tax cap - passing a budget with a 1.5 percent tax increase.

"This was bare-knuckle budgeting," said Councilor Mark Walczyk. "We really dug in and we were responsible and we forced accountability to the taxpayers."

Circular enerG / WRVO News File Photo

A controversial trash incinerator project in the Finger Lakes is headed to court. The company trying to build the $365 million facility, Rochester-based Circular enerG, is asking a judge to void a decision by the town of Romulus' zoning board that would stop its construction.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The nation's new tax law places a cap on the amount of state and local taxes that someone can deduct from their taxable federal income. That caused panic in high-tax states like New York. So the state's lawmakers amended their tax system to mitigate the increased costs for New Yorkers - changes the federal government may soon attempt to nullify.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego City School District students returned to class after the Memorial Day weekend with a police escort. The precautionary measure was taken after a threatening picture of a student with a toy gun was posted on social media. It was later determined to be non-credible.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

During Oswego's Memorial Day parade, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow marched through a downtown that is about to undergo a major transformation. This summer will mark the beginning of construction on Oswego's downtown revitalization plan, part of a $10 million award the city won from the state to fund 12 projects.

Sarah Harris / File Photo

Sharon Addison is no longer Watertown's city manager. She's departing city hall to work at the Fort Drum Military Base one month before her contract officially expires. The Watertown City Council opted not to renew her contract earlier this year over disagreements about how she's handled a years-long legal battle with the local firefighter union.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The 50-mile drone corridor that the state is building in central New York will not be part of a new federal pilot program meant to accelerate drone integration into national airspace.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Watertown lawmakers have been engrossed in budget sessions for the past couple of weeks, pouring over the $45 million budget line by line looking for potential savings. The goal is to get the tax increase below the state-mandated tax cap, which is about 2.4 percent.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

Remington Arms, a firearms manufacturer that employs roughly 900 people in the Mohawk Valley, has emerged from bankruptcy proceedings.

The company announced Thursday that it has successfully implemented a plan of reorganization that converts $775 million of debt into equity and establishes a new board of directors.

“It is morning in Remington country,” said Anthony Acitelli, Chief Executive Officer of Remington in a statement. “We are excited about the future – producing quality products, serving our customers, and providing good jobs for our employees.”

Sen. Pam Helming

A group of Finger Lakes residents took a bus to Albany Tuesday to continue their fight against a proposed 48-acre trash incinerator facility that would burn solid municipal waste brought in by truck and or rail.

New York State Assembly

Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R-Macedon), who has represented Wayne County and parts of Cayuga and Oswego counties for 26 years, is retiring, and the vacancy is attracting familiar candidates.

Oaks was first elected to the Assembly in 1992 and rose through the ranks of the GOP, eventually becoming the ranking minority member of the Assembly's Ways and Means Committee that oversees fiscal policy. In a statement, the Republican said he wants to spend more time with his grandchildren and pass on the torch.

Friends of Mark Walczyk

Watertown City Councilor Mark Walczyk is running to challenge long-time Assemblywoman Addie Jenne (D-Theresa) in the 116th Assembly District, which is located in the North Country.

Republican Mark Walczyk was elected to the Watertown City Council back in 2015. But the 32-year-old has plenty of government experience, having served as a legislative director and most recently district director for State Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton), who represents Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing lawmakers to approve a ban on the plastic bags that are ubiquitous in grocery stores and the state's landfills. The goal is to remove the bags from the waste stream because of their damaging environmental effects and the expense to get rid of them. It's a policy Madison County lawmakers tried and failed to pass last year.

Jamie Henderson / Flickr

A year ago, Lake Ontario began an unprecedented climb that resulted in record water levels and catastrophic flooding for those on its shoreline. The lake's levels are currently 16 inches below where they were in May of 2017, but still eight inches above the long-term average.

Don McCullough / via Flickr

Oswego County's airport will become part of the 50-mile drone corridor project that developers are building in central New York to test the unmanned aerial vehicles.

Durrie Bouscaren / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse-area State Sen. John DeFrancisco does not plan to seek reelection this year, even if his bid for governor is unsuccessful. The Republican, who represents most of Onondaga County and parts of Cayuga County, has served in the senate for 25 years.

New York State Court of Appeals

The attorney for the man convicted of kidnapping Heidi Allen from a New Haven convenience store in 1994 argued before New York state's highest court Thursday about why he deserves a new trial.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) announced Wednesday that he will no longer actively campaign for governor. The announcement came after an increasing number of Republican county chairs in New York endorsed Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

New York state's highest court will hear arguments today about whether the man convicted of kidnapping Heidi Allen from a New Haven convenience store in 1994 should get a new trial. It could be the last shot Gary Thibodeau has to overturn his 25 years-to-life sentence.

Griffiss Institute

Members of New York's Congressional delegation are trying to secure funding to build a fence around the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome. Without the proper security, they fear the "Rome Lab" is potentially vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

NYSenate.gov

Updated at 3:40 p.m. Tuesday

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The New York state Senate will remain in Republican hands - for now.

A key Democratic state senator who has sided with Republicans said Tuesday that he will stay put - even if Democrats win two special elections Tuesday and win a numeric Senate majority.

Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder has long sat with Senate Republicans, to the frustration of members of his own party. Democratic leaders had hoped Felder might return if they win Tuesday's elections in Westchester County and the Bronx.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Watertown is applying for a federal grant to help pay for new firefighters, but officials are divided on whether it will ultimately save the city money.

Watertown Fire Chief Dale Herman will file the application on behalf of the city, hoping to bring on four new firefighters with the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. It would be the first time the fire department has hired since 2012.

Mohawk Valley Health System

Officials with the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) say they are on schedule to break ground in downtown Utica next year for their new $480 million hospital. MVHS has gotten approval from the state to complete the hospital designs, and now has a pathway to use eminent domain so it can clear the way for the facility.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

New York's new budget sets aside money to combat harmful algal blooms that have closed some of the state's lakes and threatened the municipalities that use them for drinking water. The funding would be a welcome relief for several communities in central New York that have been battling the blooms for years.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The response to arming teachers as a way to combat school shootings sounds like any other debate about guns. Proponents say it's a practical way to stop shooters, while opponents argue that it will actually increase the risk of danger. But among some educators, the debate doesn't fall along those same lines.

Payne R Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The federal government is filing a lawsuit against an Oswego landlord accusing him of severe, pervasive and unwanted sexual harassment against female tenants and potential tenants. It's the second such suit that the property owner is facing.

The justice department lawsuit alleges a longstanding pattern and practice of sexual harassment from landlord Doug Waterbury, who owns about 50 rental properties in Oswego County and the Sterling Renaissance Festival, Sylvan Beach Amusement Park and Santa's Workshop in North Pole.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A member of the Oswego County Legislature was arraigned in court Wednesday on several charges of sexually abusing a minor. Legislator Shawn Doyle denies the charges and continues to serve in office, and he may be able to hold onto that seat regardless of the outcome of the trial.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The North Country will experience additional helicopter traffic over the next week. It's part of a first-of-its kind training exercise that Fort Drum says will better prepare their soldiers for the fight of the future. But Fort Drum and those who represent it in Albany hope the exercise will also demonstrate how important it is to preserve the area that surrounds the base.

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