Payne Horning

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.

Last year an arranged meeting in the Oswego County village of Phoenix to purchase a pair of sneakers went horribly wrong. The village resident was conned by the people who agreed to sell him the shoes. They robbed and shot him.

Central New York and the Mohawk Valley are joining the race to win the coveted second headquarters of Amazon. The online retailer giant plans to invest as much as $4 billion to build their new campus and expects to create as many as 50,000 jobs.

A group of protesters recently gathered outside of Mohawk Valley Congresswoman Claudia Tenney's (R-New Hartford) office in New Hartford. They were upset with the Republican representative's vote for a budget resolution that they say would gut services for many New Yorkers who are in need of assistance.

Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) got an earful from an angry crowd in Seneca County over the weekend. He tried to keep things calm at the Romulus Central School town hall on Saturday, but tempers frequently boiled over.


At a special state hearing in Oswego County Tuesday, government officials admitted that there's effectively no way to prevent Lake Ontario from once again reaching the record high levels seen this year. In fact, they said it's bound to happen again. But, they think there may be ways to reduce the amount of damage the flooding caused along the shoreline.

Another SuperDIRT Week is in the books at the Oswego Speedway. The track has played host to the annual racing event for the past two years after construction stalled at the Central New York Raceway Park in Hastings. And now that the dust has settled, Oswego officials hope it will return - this time for good.

Finger Lakes Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) says passing tighter gun control laws is not the way to respond to the Las Vegas shooting Sunday that left 59 people dead and hundreds injured. Some lawmakers are advocating for new measures after police revealed that the alleged shooter in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history had scores of weapons, but Reed says that approach only offers false security.

Several projects that are underway in Watertown to transform the city's downtown are getting a major boost. The city has won New York's top prize in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) competition for the North Country, and the $10 million that comes with it.

Picketers recently gathered outside the Auburn Correctional Facility hoping to bring attention to the risks that some officers face inside. Joe Miano with the New York State Corrections Officer and Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA), a prison guard union, says it can be treacherous.

Homeowners who sustained damage from this year's flooding along Lake Ontario have until 5 p.m. Friday to apply for financial aid from the state. New York leaders appropriated millions of dollars this year to help residents recover from historically high water levels, but there may not be enough to go around.

Lawmakers and an advocacy group representing Fort Drum are warning about several proposed wind farm projects that are under development in the north country. They say the wind turbines could threaten operations at the military base. That's welcome news to some residents in Jefferson County, who have been fighting one of the developments since it was proposed a decade ago.

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.

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.

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.

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

Payne Horning, Great Lake Today

(GREAT LAKES TODAY) - Hurricanes in the southern U.S. have captured the nation's attention -- and federal aid. That's a concern in New York, where lawmakers are still seeking federal funds to help residents and businesses after months of flooding along Lake Ontario. 

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.


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.

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.

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).

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.

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."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

 

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Pages