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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Democrats are favored to win the two Senate seats up for grabs today, which would bring the party's total to 32. That would give Democrats enough seats to take control of the chamber from Republicans for the first time in about eight years. 

Sen. Joe Griffo (R-Rome) says that's concerning for upstate, where only three senators are Democrats.

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.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro) says she is extremely concerned about President Donald Trump's position on tariffs, expressing fears about trade war.

The U.S. has recently implemented tariffs on aluminum and steel products and is threatening to impose $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods. Stefanik says she does believe the nation's bilateral trade agreements, like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), need to be modernized. But she disagrees with the president on the tariffs because the North Country is so dependent on trading relationships.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

New York state lawmakers have included $40 million dollars in this year's budget to help property owners who are still cleaning up from last year's flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is calling on the federal government to release the funding that was included in Congress' recently passed budget to battle the opioid epidemic. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Taxes for Utica residents will increase by 6.78 percent, 2 percent more than what was included in the Utica Common Council's budget. It's a result of several last minute changes that reduced the amount of money councilors had tried to use to keep the taxes down.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Members of New York’s Congressional delegation are working to provide some financial relief to dairy farmers who continue to suffer from depressed milk prices.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The new secretary of the U.S. Army made his first visit to Fort Drum Wednesday. Mark Esper, who's  four months into his tenure, says he's making the rounds through the Army's bases to reacquaint himself with the service and develop his own assessments. He praised the 10th Mountain Division during the tour.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

Remington Arms, a firearms manufacturer that was founded in the Mohawk Valley, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, raising concerns about what will become of the company's Herkimer County plant.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The worst flu season in nearly a decade has taken a toll on the nation's hospitals. The facilities have been on the front lines, dealing with a flood of patients that in some areas has reached crisis levels. In New Jersey and Alabama, some hospitals have needed triage tents just to process the surge of patients.

That hasn't been the case in Syracuse, but the rise in flu cases has swamped some local emergency departments, causing a ripple effect.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The Utica Common Council has passed a budget that includes a 4.4 percent tax increase, a reduction of the spending plan submitted by the mayor.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

A U.S. appeals court has overturned a ruling that would have required Novelis, an Oswego County aluminum plant, to work with its employees on forming a union.

"We are very pleased with the ruling to reverse the August 2016 bargaining order of the National Labor Relations Board, which would have forced employees at the Novelis Oswego facility to accept the United Steelworkers as their bargaining representative," said plant manager Kevin Shutt in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to partner with our employees to serve our customers."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is calling on the Oswego Common Council to approve what he says will be the city's most effective code enforcement measure to date - a tool that would target vacant houses. 

The 200 block of West 7th Street in Oswego a quaint neighborhood. The streets are lined with well-kept homes, making the house at 213 stand out like a sore thumb. the vacant property's cement steps are crumbling, the siding is rotting and a bright orange sign on the front window warns neighbors that it's a dangerous building.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Town of Oswego in Oswego County is working to improve its finances after a state audit revealed mismanagement that contributed to the loss of nearly 90 percent of its reserves.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says she supports students who plan to demonstrate today against gun violence. School walkouts are planned across the nation at 10 a.m., including in New York state. It's an attempt to pressure lawmakers to act after the shooting that left 17 students dead in Parkland, Florida, last month.

Elia says school officials and teachers should work with students to make it a learning experience about civic engagement and what it means to be an active citizen in American.

Courtesy Brett Truett

This month is the deadline for property owners in downtown Utica to accept their purchase offers from the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) as the company clears the way for its new hospital. One of those buildings has been sold, but not to MVHS.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Trump administration's proposed aluminum tariff could have a major impact on a couple of central and northern New York's largest employers.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County's first social adult day care program is offering families a safe and engaging place to take their relatives who are elderly or suffer from a functional impairment like Alzheimer's. 

St. Luke's Cornerstone Club in Fulton considers itself somewhere between a senior center and a nursing home. Families can drop off their loved ones during the week when they go to work or run errands while their loved ones socialize, play games and eat lunch - all under the supervision of health care professionals.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) announced her reelection bid at the same restaurant in New Hartford where she found out in 2016 that she would be headed to Washington, D.C. She reminisced with her an enthusiastic crowd of supporters Saturday, saying that was a turning point for the entire country.

"Even here in upstate New York where the failed corrupt policies of Gov. Cuomo have destroyed our economy there is - believe it or not - a new sense of optimism," Tenney said. 

New York State Police

Oswego County Legislator Shawn Doyle (R-Pulaski) has been charged with forcible touching, sexual abuse in the third degree and endangering the welfare of a 15-year-old child. All are misdemeanors. State Trooper Jack Keller says the investigation into his actions began last September.

"Parents of a 15-year-old reported what they believed at the time was inappropriate relationship between their son and Mr. Doyle and a Mr. Maroney," Keller said. 

U.S. House of Representatives/Julio Urrutia

Democratic officials in the 24th Congressional District have endorsed Syracuse University professor Dana Balter to take on Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) this fall. Unseating the two-term congressman will be an uphill climb, according to Grant Reeher, a political science professor at SU and host of WRVO's Campbell Conversations.

Tom Magnarelli/Courtesy Bill Bass

Two Democrats running in the 24th Congressional District are dropping out after Syracuse University professor Dana Balter secured endorsements from all four of the district's county Democratic committees, but one candidate is pledging to stay in the race.

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

The tide may be turning in the long-running feud between the city of Watertown and its local firefighter union. The new city council continues to take steps toward resolving the legal battle has dragged on for nearly four years.

City of Auburn

Construction is underway on a $10 million Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn. The goal of the facility is to highlight New York's history of promoting social and equal rights.

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