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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Central New York Veterans Outreach Center

New York state is helping build new housing units for homeless veterans in Utica.

Officials involved with the Central New York Veterans Outreach Center broke ground on the $3.2 million project last week. The funding will create 10 permanent and seven temporary housing units for homeless veterans in the center's headquarters, which is a former YMCA that already has older individual units in the upper portion of the building.

Payne R Horning / WRVO News

The Senate's latest attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act is getting bipartisan heat from some of New York's representatives. They are worried that the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill could disproportionately hurt the Empire State.

In Oneida County Tuesday, a group gathered outside of Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney's (R-New Hartford) town hall, holding up signs that said "HEALTH CARE, NOT TAX CUTS." They oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill that would cap health care funding for states and phase out the money that states like New York got for expanding their Medicaid program.

Payne R Horning / WRVO News

Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) was on the defensive for the majority of her first in-person town hall Tuesday night. More than 300 people attended the event that was hosted in the Oneida County town of Camden.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

After months of requests from her constituents, Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) is holding an in-person town hall tonight. It's the first such event the Republican congresswoman has hosted since she took office in January. Tenney avoided the events earlier this year, saying the decision was related to safety because threats were made against her.

Zach Hirsch / NCPR (file photo)

Congressional leaders are once again considering immigration reform, and some upstate representatives want to make sure they take farmers into consideration.

www.co.oswego.ny.us

The health of the man who was convicted of kidnapping Heidi Allen from a New Haven convenience store is deteriorating.

Medical staff at the Coxsackie Correctional Facility have given Gary Thibodeau less than six months to live. The grim diagnosis comes as he waits for yet another appeal of the case that put him behind bars 23 years ago.

Thibodeau's lawyer Lisa Peebles says her client is currently living in the prison's medical residential unit suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that restricts airflow to the lungs.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Every year, local leaders assess the value of a municipality's property. The goal is to assess them at fair market value so all property owners are paying their share of county and school district taxes.

New York state has upheld Scriba's assessment every year since 2002. But this year, the state said the Oswego County town was undervaluing its worth, giving it a rating of 86 percent on a 100 scale. As a result, Scriba town attorney Kevin Caraccioli estimates that a house worth $100,000 will pay about $300 more in school taxes this year.

Ed and Eddie / Flickr

As schools across New York welcome students back for another year, they continue to grapple with the ongoing teacher shortage. The inability to find qualified applicants for certain subjects has left many districts without certified teachers.

That doesn't mean no one is teaching those subjects. Paul Heiser, a senior research analyst with NYSSBA, says it just means that the school district had to hire a teacher for that class who isn't certified in the subject.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

 

Hurricanes in the southern U.S. have captured the nation's attention, and the federal funding used to help communities recover. That's concerning some in New York, where state lawmakers are still seeking federal aid for the months-long flooding along Lake Ontario.

Payne R Horning / WRVO News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) toured the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum in Oswego last week, trying to renew interest and support for making the historic site part of the National Park Service (NPS).

Payne R Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Several members of New York's Congressional delegation are expressing concern over comments from the nation's treasury secretary about the proposed Harriet Tubman $20 bill.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO File Photo

Members of the New York State Inspector General's office searched the Port of Oswego's administrative offices for several hours Wednesday. Terrence Hammill, the port board of directors chairman, says the state seized the director's business cellphone and computer, but he says he's in the dark about why they were there.

"We’re a little bit mystified," Hammill said. "There’s nothing going on that would come across our mind as an issue for the inspector general’s office."

Fort Drum & 10th Mountain Division / Flickr

President Donald Trump is committing more troops to Afghanistan, and that could include some soldiers from Fort Drum.

Brian Ashley with the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization says Fort Drum has been a fixture in Afghanistan since the beginning of what has become America's longest war.

"The 10th Mountain Division was essentially the first unit on the ground into Afghanistan back in 2001 and we were among the last elements - in terms of combat - to leave Afghanistan," Ashley said.

WRVO News File Photo

New York Reps. John Katko (R-Camillus) and Tom Reed (R-Corning) expect that Congress will support a financial aid package for the victims of Hurricane Harvey when they return to Washington, D.C. next month. 

Oswego County Health Department / Google Maps

The Oswego County Health Department says the aerial spraying this week to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases was successful in reducing the insect's population, but officials warn that the threat is still out there.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council passed its 2018 budget proposal Monday, raising property taxes 3.48 percent. Officials blamed the increase on salaries, fringe benefits and health care costs for city employees, which is why they cut city hall staff by 7.5 positions.

Payne Horning; Google Images

Earlier this year, Watertown opted to go on a road diet. The city adopted a complete streets policy to make its roads more accommodating for all users. That means adding new lanes for bicyclists and expanding pedestrian crosswalks.

City planner Geoff Urda says there’s been some backlash from residents because vehicles now have less room to maneuver. But Urda says that does not mean cars are being devalued.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

For the second time this month, the International Joint Commission (IJC) has lowered water discharges from Lake Ontario. Starting at midnight Saturday, the outflows to the St. Lawrence River dropped only slightly from 9,910 cubic meters per second to 9,870 cms, which is less than 1 percent.

nasa.gov

Thousands of people are planning to travel to the path of totality for Monday's eclipse. That's the roughly 70-mile wide path that the moon's shadow will cast on the U.S. when it passes between the Earth and the sun. 

WRVO News File Photo

A plant in the North Country that produces the famous Philadelphia-brand cream cheese has triggered a mandatory water conservation order in the Village of Lowville, and the issue may have been a result of a misunderstanding between village leaders and the owner of the plant.

When Kraft-Heinz announced in 2015 that the company would make a $100 million expansion of its Lowville plant, the village's mayor Donna Smith says they were aware that it would require more water. But Smith says there was a discrepancy on how much they would choose to use in a given period of time.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

For the second year in a row, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is looking to reduce the city's payroll as a way to keep taxes down. His proposed budget would eliminate 7.5 positions, saving an estimated $500,000. That's a loss of about 1/5 of city hall staff, but Barlow says there are some efficiencies that can be realized.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

The decision to lower outflows from Lake Ontario is being criticized by shoreline residents who are suffering from flooding, but some are defending the move, saying safety of those on the St. Lawrence Seaway was on the line.

The International Joint Commission (IJC) reduced discharges from Lake Ontario by only 4 percent last week. Still, that was enough to make a major difference according to those on both sides of the Moses-Saunders Dam.

Payne R Horning / WRVO News

An Oswego landlord is accused of asking his tenants for sexual favors in exchange for reduced rent. The sexual harassment allegations against Doug Waterbury are part of a lawsuit filed by a Syracuse fair housing organization. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Now that the Mohawk Valley Health System has secured the necessary state funding, designs are underway for its new hospital in downtown Utica. Officials working on the project say the hospital will breathe new life into downtown and make the surrounding area more attractive. But that could come at the expense of dozens of businesses that are already operating in the proposed footprint.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

This year's flooding along Lake Ontario has taken a toll on municipalities, exhausting their resources and threatening their infrastructure. That's the case in Oswego where the city recently took an inventory of the destruction caused by the unprecedented water levels.

ceedub13 / Flickr, Creative Commons

The government body that regulates water levels on Lake Ontario is reducing the outflows to the St. Lawrence River. The International Joint Commission (IJC) says water levels have dropped rapidly, down 12 inches since the peak in late May. That's drawing some criticism from shoreline residents who say the move is premature.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Every summer, 60,000-90,000 people from all over the country come to a sprawling forest in Oswego County for a unique medieval-style experience every summer. The Sterling Renaissance Festival, set in the 16th century town of Warwick, England, gives visitors a chance to experience life as it was then.

WRVO's Payne Horning visited the renowned festival and sent this audio post card.

The Sterling Renaissance Festival runs through August 13.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Inside SUNY Oswego's Advanced Wireless Systems Research Center, there's a giant lab where the walls, floor and ceiling are completely covered in foam cones.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A project that could reduce the amount of toxins in Oswasco Lake, a primary source of drinking water for about a dozen communities in Cayuga County, is stalled.

The goal of the Owasco Flats Wetland Restoration Project is to build the floodplain around Oswasco Lake with plants and basins that can naturally filter out the toxins in the water from the surrounding tributaries. Phase one of the project was approved for $700,000 in state funding back in 2011. Its designer Bruce Natale says they've been securing permits and contractors ever since.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

President Donald Trump says upstate New York is not working and people are "getting very badly hurt." The president made the comments during a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, suggesting people leave the area in search of better work elsewhere.

Trump's remarks were made while he was talking about Foxconn, a Chinese manufacturer, that he says will open a LCD flat-screen manufacturing plant in Wisconsin.

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