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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Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Watertown's mayor and city council announced that they had hired Rick Finn as the new city manager, they cited his experience as one of the reasons for his selection. Finn has been a city manager in five municipalities. But some of his experiences in those jobs are raising some concerns.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Democrats are optimistic about their chances of flipping New York's 22nd Congressional District this fall. Election analysts consider Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the nation, and her opponent is raising more money than she is. Some think the Republican's sometimes divisive rhetoric may be a determining factor in her reelection bid.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Watertown's $10 million downtown revitalization can move forward now that state officials have decided how the city can spend the prize money

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Watertown City Council has hired Rick Finn as its next city manager. The New York native has served as a city manager for five other municipalities, most recently in Bay City, Michigan. 

The SUNY Brockport graduate has ties to Watertown. His son was stationed at the Fort Drum Military Base three years ago.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Ivanka Trump, daughter and advisor to President Donald Trump, highlighted the benefits of Republicans’ tax law while in Tully Monday at the Suit-Kote paving company. Trump said six million Americans across the country have directly benefited from the tax plan through wage increases or bonuses.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Rising prescription drug costs continue to plague Americans, an issue that the Trump Administration is now trying to address. As the nation's top lawmakers discuss potential solutions, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is once again pushing her own legislation that would attempt to fix the problem by cracking down on pharmaceutical companies.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Democrat Gail Tosh has worked a variety of jobs during her lifetime - a language consultant for video games, English teacher in eastern Europe and currrently the owner of a small chicken farm in Baldwinsville. But she's never held elected office.

Now is the time for change though, she says, not only for her but for all residents of the 120th Assembly District, which covers parts of Oswego, Onondaga and Jefferson counties.

Davis Staedtler / Flickr

New York’s members of Congress disagree as to how the next Supreme Court Justice should be chosen, after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he will retire at the end of July. 

Sen. Pam Helming

In the waning days of the New York State Legislature's session, a bill meant to stop a trash incinerator from being built in the Finger Lakes sailed through the Senate and an Assembly committee with unanimous support. But when it reached the Assembly floor, it sat untouched as the session came to a close.

Helen Knowles

The announcement that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring came only a couple of days ago, but the nation is already captivated over who will replace him on the country's highest court.

For a closer look at Kennedy and his jurisprudence, WRVO spoke with SUNY Oswego Associate Professor Helen Knowles. She teaches classes in American law and politics, and is the author of the book "The Tie Goes to Freedom: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on Freedom."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Wednesday morning mass at St. Mary's Catholic church in Oswego never garners a large crowd, but this week it's particularly small. Only six are worshipping. Attendance is much better on Sundays, but it too has dwindled over the years according to Father John Hogan Jr. - just as it has at every other Catholic parish in Oswego.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego is finalizing designs for a $1.5 million street makeover in the city's downtown district.

Three blocks along State Route 104, a major highway that cuts through downtown, will get new enhanced crosswalks, curbs with ramps and audible pedestrian signals at crosswalks. The funding will also pay for new in-ground flower beds, benches and trash cans.

Mark Budosh, a senior managing engineer with Barton & Loguidice, designed the plan.

kristen_a / Flickr

Midterm election year primaries typically do not generate a lot of voter turnout, but this year could be different. Democrats will head to the polls today for several competitive primary contests featuring 12 Democratic candidates seeking their party's nominations in three central and northern New York congressional districts.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

For teens facing depression, stress and other mental health problems, suicide can seem like the only way out. It's the third-leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 10 and 24 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York educators are now trying to alleviate the problems mental health is causing their students by addressing the issue head on.

Michelle Bartholomew Green lost her son Eric to suicide in 2013. The 18-year-old was a freshman at Alfred State College in western New York when he died.

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.

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