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

Payne Horning / WRVO News

With Lake Ontario's water levels about a foot above average, communities along its shoreline are trying to get help in preventing the flooding that devastated the area in 2017.

WRVO News (file photo)

Local government elections in New York state are several months away, but the membership of the Oswego County Legislature is already changing.

At least six of the 25 members of the Oswego County Legislature have announced that they are not running for re-election. The reasons for their departures are seemingly unrelated. Two legislators are leaving to run for another office, three are choosing to retire, and one is leaving to focus on family and business.

Carol / Flickr

Another plot of land on the site of the former Nestle plant in Fulton has been sold.

Fulton officials have been working overtime in recent years to get the 24 acres of land where the Nestle factory once stood back on the tax rolls. The city took another step toward that goal this month when its Common Council approved a resolution to sell a 9,000-square-foot parcel to Construction Design and Management, Inc., a Cicero-based business.

Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward says Construction Design and Management plans to lease the building to Charter Communications.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

At a forum in East Syracuse this weekend, central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) heard a variety of opinions about why the state should either replace or rebuild the aging I-81 viaduct in Syracuse. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

For the first time in nearly 20 years, Oswego County has a new sheriff. Don Hilton, a former detective and SWAT team supervisor with the Syracuse Police Department, was elected to fill the job last year after longtime Sheriff Reuel Todd retired.  

Hilton took over at the start of the year. It's a new job for him, but in familiar territory. He started his career in law enforcement as a corrections officer at the Oswego County's Sheriff's Office about 30 years ago.

"I'm actually back home," Hilton said. "It feels great to be here. It's rewarding."

WRVO News (file photo)

Watertown Mayor Joe Butler calls it a blueprint for the city. The comprehensive plan would develop a list of goals and how to accomplish them like reducing drug use in the city to improve public safety, addressing city blight by renovating zombie homes, and improving quality of life by adding more recreational activities for city residents and offering better customer service at city hall.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials arrived in the Village of Whitesboro to help evacuate homes and mitigate the damage caused by ice jam flooding. The CSX railroad bridge that sits low over the Sauquoit Creek was clogged with large chunks of ice and other debris, which sent water over its banks.

Jimmy Emerson, DMV / Flickr

The stalemate in Washington, D.C., that has created the nation's longest federal government shutdown has shuttered national parks across the country, including several in upstate New York.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

It was only a little more than a decade ago when the Sunoco ethanol plant sat vacant. But thanks to more than $200 million worth of investments, it was transformed into facility that now processes corn into more than 85 million gallons of ethanol every year. Attis Industries, a company involved in renewable energy and healthcare technologies, is now acquiring the plant and the adjacent 1886 Malt House for $20 million.

Company CEO Jeff Cosman says once that sale is finalized, the plant will become the centerpiece of a grand design.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego residents could soon see a $200 decrease in their annual sewer and water bill. The proposed rollback was announced during Mayor Billy Barlow's State of the City address last week.

It was almost three years ago that the council raised those rates as a way to pay for a federally mandated sewer and water separation project. Council President Rob Corradino, who took office with Barlow after those rates were increased, remembers the public outrage at his first meeting.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

This weekend’s snowstorm did not stop hundreds of people from participating in Syracuse Women’s March Saturday. The diverse group walked from the Everson Museum of Art in downtown to the University United Methodist Church, carrying signs that were critical of President Donald Trump's admiminstration.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow took office, city residents had seen four consecutive tax increases and then a major spike in their sewer and water rates to help pay for a federally mandated sewer and water separation project. And things were about to get worse as a contract that provided Oswego with $1 million in revenue each year was coming to an end.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Now that Democrats control the New York State Senate and Assembly, party leaders and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo have promised to push forward a progressive agenda. And the progressive groups that helped elect that majority say they are going to ensure that promise was more than just campaign rhetoric.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Many communities in central New York are reaping the benefits of the region's top-place prize at the state's annual regional economic development awards. That includes Oswego and Fulton where plans that have been in the works for years are finally receiving state funding.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) says there are no clean hands in the fight that has caused the federal government to shut down.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is investing $3.5 million to help Utica further its efforts to reduce lead hazards in the city.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

Thirty-three village and town executives in Onondaga County wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials last week urging them to keep high-speed access along the I-81 corridor in Syracuse. The local officials say rebuilding the viaduct or replacing it with a tunnel are both better options than the community grid for which many in Syracuse are advocating.

City of Oswego

After two years of research and field testing, the Oswego Police Department is ready to implement body cameras into its operation.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says it was a priority he set out when he assumed office in 2016 after hearing several national stories about police aggression and brutality. Although Barlow says there have been no incidents during his tenure where the absence of these body cameras has presented an issue, he says it's important to have this technology to keep both police officers and city residents who encounter them safe.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

While the Democrats took control of the state senate, central New York’s 50th State Senate seat will most likely be staying in Republican hands. Bob Antonacci has about a 3,000 vote lead over Democrat John Mannion in the race for the seat left vacant by longtime State Sen. John DeFransisco, who is retiring. But Mannion has yet to concede as he waits for absentee ballots to be counted. 

Antonocci admits it would have been easier to be a freshman lawmaker had his party retained control of the Senate.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

24th District Republican Congressman John Katko wasn’t knocked over by the “blue wave” that saw Democrats take control of the House in yesterday’s election. But his re-election does mean he will be in the minority when he returns to Washington.

Katko says it will be a "new adventure," but promised to deal with the partisanship in Washington in a bipartisan way.

"I am putting up with all this crap in Washington because I’m trying to say there is a way to get along with the other side,” Katko said. “And I’m going to keep working on that as long as I’m in Congress.”

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego Common Council passed its first tax cut in 20 years last night. The 2019 budget reduces property taxes by 2.4 percent without dipping into the city’s fund balance.

Council President Robert Corradino said it is the result of fiscal responsibility on the part of the council and Mayor Billy Barlow. But he said an increase in sales tax revenue from new businesses and more visitors to Oswego is also playing a part.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

On a listening tour through central New York this weekend, Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) says he heard from his constituents about a range of local issues, and about the drama unfolding in Washington. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) held an expensive fundraiser with President Donald Trump in Utica last week, her Democratic opponent Anthony Brindisi threw a rival fundraiser across town. But his goal was more about message than money.

John O’Brien

The death of Gary Thibodeau, the man convicted of kidnapping Heidi Allen from a New Haven convenience store in 1994, means the end of his attempts to get a new trial in the case, but his passing is not providing closure to either side.

Thibodeau's attorney, Federal Public Defender Lisa Peebles, says while she loves most of the clients she represents, she had a special relationship with Gary.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

After signing the National Defense Authorization Act into law at the Fort Drum Military Base in Watertown Monday, President Donald Trump visited Utica - the first sitting president to do so in 70 years. He was there to headline a fundraiser for Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford). 

Trump supporters chanted his name and waved American flags as his motorcade arrived at the Hotel Utica. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is presenting his administration's first proposed tax cut tonight to the city's common council. Barlow says if passed, it would be the first tax cut for the city's residents in 20 years. 

Brindisi/Tenney campaigns

The rising cost of health care has become a major point of contention in this year's race for the 22nd Congressional District, including how the candidates have voted on the issue in the past.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

After U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry came to Oswego County last week to praise the state's support of nuclear power plants, several environmental groups and New York politicians sent a letter to state leaders saying the opposite.

Jason Smith / WRVO News (file photo)

In addition to tax cuts, the recently passed federal tax overhaul includes a measure to encourage the private industry to invest in low-wealth areas. The program offers tax discounts and other incentives for people to put their profits from stocks and other holdings to work in so-called Opportunity Zones. Those resources can then be invested in businesses and other economic development projects in rural and urban districts that are plagued by high levels of poverty.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Trump administration's plans to provide direct support to dairy farms as part of a $12 billion package to offset the impacts of its trade policies is welcome news to many in New York, which is the third-highest milk producing state in the country. But with no end in sight to sustained low milk prices and oversupply in the industry, some are worried about the long-term impact to rural regions like the North Country.

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