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

NVinacco / Flickr

One of the new sources of revenue included in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed executive budget is an opioid epidemic surcharge. The 2 cent tax per milligram of active opioid ingredient on pills would be levied on drug manufacturers.

suny.edu

SUNY's new chancellor Kristina Johnson delivered her first state of the university system address Monday, outlining an agenda for her time in the position. Johnson says she developed the plan after traveling to several SUNY campuses since she took office last September, but much of it is a reflection of her own diverse background.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When New York tore down the old dirt track at the state fairgrounds as part of the facility's $50 million renovation, fans were promised the Super DIRT Week races would remain in central New York. It was supposed to move to the new Central New York Raceway Park in Hastings, Oswego County.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When the parishioners at one Oswego County church gather for worship each week, many of them are armed. And it's no secret. The Lighthouse Mexico Church of God even advertises that its not a gun-free zone - a response to the frequent mass shootings in the country that's the subject of some debate.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Some Oneida County public officials are doing damage control after a trove of their emails surfaced, revealing a long-running bias on a downtown hospital project in Utica.

Oneida County

Stating a concern for public health, Oneida County officials are prohibiting the use of tobacco and related devices on its property.

The wide-reaching policy will prohibit smoking and vaping outside of Oneida County buildings, inside county owned vehicles and even in privately owned vehicles that are being used for county purposes if there is more than one person in the car. Fines for violating the new law are punishable by up to $1,000.  

Stefanik campaign

Taxes were frequently brought up during a telephone town hall Thursday hosted by North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro). 

Circular enerG

A proposed incinerator in Seneca County that could turn trash into electricity is drawing some criticism from the community.

SUNY Oswego

For the first time in its history, SUNY Oswego will embark on a campus-wide initiative later this year. Students from multiple disciplines will collaborate to present solutions for a global issue.

With Lake Ontario as the backdrop, "fresh water for all" will be the focus of SUNY Oswego's first Grand Challenges project. Leigh Wilson, director of the college's interdisciplinary programs and activities center, says individual classes will be tasked with exploring fresh water issues and developing potential solutions to those problems that draws on their specific area of study.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County is the latest New York county to file a lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors for the costs its incurred dealing with the opioid crisis.

In the lawsuit, Oswego County says it lost at least 67 residents to opioid-related overdoses between 2009 and 2014. And the number of emergency department admissions related to opioids in 2014 increased 113 percent from 2010.

It's financially strained Oswego County's government, including social services, the judicial system and law enforcement.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

As communities in upstate like Oswego continue to get pounded by the relentless snowfall, some are running out of space to put it. One controversial option for municipalities is disposing some snow into waterways.

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

The town of Orleans in the Thousand Islands hopes to begin a project this year that will bring clean drinking water to its residents after many of the homeowners there have had to stop using their tap water because of high levels of salt. Many believe the source is a state road salt barn on County Route 12. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

New state laws are taking effect this month, including an increase in the minimum wage to $10.40 an hour in upstate. That’s a $0.70 increase from the end of 2017, and the wage will continue rising to $12.50 an hour by the end of 2020.

In addition, New York's new paid family leave program is now in effect. The program will allow workers to get paid a portion of their earnings while they take time off to tend to a new child or sick relative.

Assemblyman Al Stirpe (D-Cicero) says the program will keep people in work, which helps all New Yorkers.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

SUNY Oswego put a tobacco ban policy in place three years ago. The intention was to stop staff and students from smoking on campus, but some continue to light up. The mixed results are now prompting some college officials to renew their efforts to end tobacco use on campus. 

On a recent fall morning at SUNY Oswego, students were making their way to class.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The city of Utica and its former fire department chief continue to battle in court, and in the public arena, over a dispute about his service in the aftermath of 9/11. At issue is whether Russell Brooks contracted leukemia as a result of his time on ground zero in the days that followed the terrorist attack.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The Utica Common Council is rescinding an earlier decision to extend term limits for some of the city's elected officials.

The council voted in September to allow the mayor, city comptroller and councilors to serve 12 consecutive years, up from the previous eight. But that was reversed this week in a 5-4 vote.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

One of the projects that received funding from New York state's economic development grants this week is a renovation of Oswego's city hall. City leaders say the work is long overdue because the building from 1870 is falling apart.

Mayor Billy Barlow said since he assumed office in 2016, it's become a trend for each retiring city employee to ask him to fix the building on their way out. 

"It's important to downtown Oswego and the city's history and we need to preserve it," Barlow said. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) says the tax overhaul bill he voted for is even better after it went through the conference committee with the Senate version. It retains the historic tax credit, which was used to restore the Hotel Syracuse, it no longer taxes the tuition waivers that some graduate students use to pay for school and it allows taxpayers some flexibility on whether they want to deduct their state income, sales or property taxes - capped at $10,000.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The Mohawk Valley won a top award at New York's annual regional economic development council ceremony last week, which comes with  $85.5 million.

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

A judge is upholding the city of Watertown's decision to break its contract with the local firefighter union.

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

A new study argues that New York state leaders needs to substantially ramp up their green investments to protect the climate.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo shared a tense exchange with WRVO's capitol correspondent Karen Dewitt Wednesday when she asked what the state was doing to confront sexual assault. The Democratic governor said Dewitt  did "a disservice to women" by minimizing the issue of harassment to state government.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) sent out letters to the owners of the 45 properties located within the proposed footprint for its new hospital in downtown Utica. It's one of the most contentious aspects of the project since the properties include historical buildings and existing businesses.

Several people who attended a public forum for the new hospital last week expressed their frustration over the matter to MVHS officials present, including Pastor Chris Tringali, who says it will cause his nondenominational church on Columbia Street to close.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Utica residents got to weigh in recently on how the city will go about its effort to improve the lives of lower-income residents.

People packed the gymnasium at the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School during the poverty town hall meeting, casting their votes for five projects aimed at eliminating the barriers that prevent people from moving out of poverty.

The most popular project was a 24-hour child care center. Shamika Rather says she recently had to quit a job because of a lack of child care options.

Mohawk Valley Health System

A public forum on the proposed new hospital in downtown Utica featured a very divided audience Thursday. The meeting that was intended to generate feedback about the hospital’s first design plans often devolved into arguments about whether the facility should even be built in that location.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO File Photo

The director of the Port of Oswego Authority resigned this week. The move comes as New York state's inspector general is investigating the port.

With no explanation given, the Port of Oswego's board of directors said in a statement Tuesday that it had accepted the resignation of Zelko Kirincich. Kirincich, who has served as executive director at the port since 2014, is leaving his position as the New York State Inspector General continues an investigation into the port.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

SUNY Oswego has started the formal process of revoking the honorary degree it presented to journalist Charlie Rose in 2014. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

An Oswego Common Councilor is being accused of sexual harassment, and the woman making the allegation is calling on him to resign. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

The city of Oswego is moving to change who gets its federal housing subsidies in an effort to propel more locals out of poverty. The city's common council is considering a proposal to prioritize applicants who are working, taking college classes or enrolled job training programs. Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says these changes will inspire candidates to improve their applications, and in the process combat generational poverty.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

At the Novelis Aluminum plant in Oswego County, metal is processed for automotive companies like Ford, Toyota and General Motors. Novelis uses a lot of recycled metal, but most of its primary aluminum comes from Canada. 

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