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

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.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Reclaim New York, a self-described nonpartisan good government group with conservative connections, has been increasingly active in local government advocacy throughout the state. It's now involved in the fight over a controversial Utica project that may have political implications.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees in Utica is getting a new home to improve and expand its services.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Watertown is forming a commission to review its city charter. The goal is to determine if the city would be better served by a different form of government.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

An election forecaster says the race for the 22nd Congressional District may be more competitive than earlier thought. The Cook Political Report has changed their prediction for the campaign between Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) and freshman Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) from "Lean Republican" to "Toss Up."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The public and private groups behind a new hospital in downtown Utica are offering additional assistance to the property owners who are located within the proposed footprint of the project. It comes amid criticism and confusion about what will happen to the affected properties.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

After staying below the 2 percent property tax cap for several years, Utica's mayor is proposing a budget that would raise taxes by 7.8 percent.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Three of the four Democratic county committees in the 24th Congressional District are throwing their support behind Dana Balter in her bid to unseat Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) this fall. Balter, a Syracuse University professor, is one of four candidates seeking the Democratic ticket.

Rep. John Katko / Facebook File Photo

Water levels in the Great Lakes basin are once again higher than normal, similar to what happened last year ahead of the historic flooding that occurred along Lake Ontario's southern shore. Federal and state officials are working to avoid a repeat, but some say it's not enough.

City of Oswego

During his state of the city address this week, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow unveiled an agenda for 2018 that he says will build on the progress accomplished in his first term, which is now halfway complete.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Mohawk Valley leaders were bullish about the region's economy at a recent legislative forum in Utica. 

Multi-million dollar developments are underway in the Mohawk Valley that lawmakers say are changing the landscape of the region and could spark further economic growth.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

An attempt by New York state to dismiss a lawsuit against its program that supports financially struggling nuclear power plants with fees collected on ratepayer's utility bills has been rejected.

A state judge will hear arguments from environmental and citizen advocacy groups that New York's public utility regulator, the Public Service Commission (PSC), and several nuclear power plants violated state law.

Office of Rep. Claudia Tenney

Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) is donating her Congressional paycheck that she received during the federal government's recent shutdown. She made donations to organizations like the Central New York Veteran's Outreach Center in Utica for each day of the shutdown, about $300 per check. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Watertown is in the early stages of crafting its budget and the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap is yet again a major part of the discussion.

City manager Sharon Addison says Watertown will exceed the cap in the next budget when they factor in the cost of giving all city employees the standard annual two percent raise. The city broke the cap last year. The announcement comes as the council prepares to take on big projects like renovating the Thompson Park pool.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Every one of Watertown's city councilors voted not to renew Sharon Addison's contract as city manager. All were elected after she was appointed to her position in 2012.

"We have different very different priorities than that of previous councils and it was a good opportunity to make that decision now," said Councilor Cody Horbacz.

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 / WRVO News File Photo

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.

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