Oswego School District Honored Murabito In March

OSWEGO, NY – More than two dozen friends and family gathered March 3 to honor a man who gave so much to the Oswego community.

Anthony J. Murabito, 96, a resident of Fruit Valley in the Town of Oswego, died Feb. 15 at St. Luke Health Services.

The media center in Oswego High School was officially dedicated in his memory.

Murabito became principal of Oswego High School in 1969. He was principal when the new school opened in 1971. He retired in 1974.

Plans were to honor Murabito in January.

“But, he told us, ‘No, you are not going to do it in January.’ And, when Tony spoke, we listened,” said Bill Foley, the MC for the ceremony. “He wanted to wait until spring. But, unfortunately, he couldn’t be with us tonight.”

Dedicating the media center in memory of the former principal was a fitting tribute, Foley noted.

“He did so much for the school, and the community, we decided that this would be the right thing to put his name on,” Foley said.

Murabito was a very active member of Rotary for more than 50 years, according to Superintendent Bill Crist.

“Tony was a small man in stature. But magnificent and brilliant in ability and vision,” Crist said of the man he called friend and mentor. His attitudes toward positive and sustained change for a better school district and community were part of were part of the unrelenting fiber of his makeup. All who knew Tony, know exactly what I’m talking about now.”

On March 2, Judge Walt Hafner ruled that the defense and prosecution were prohibited from discussing the Alan Jones murder case any further with the media.

The District Attorney’s Office had sought to muzzle defense attorney Sal Lanza.

ADA Mary Rain said in February what Lanza had provided to area media regarding the case was, in some instances, discovery material – evidence.

“I’d like the court to review evidence before it gets disseminated to the media,” she said.

It’s evidence that might or might not be used at Jones’ trial, she added.

Reached at his office, Lanza confirmed the judge’s ruling.

“Neither the defense nor prosecution can make any further comments,” he said.

Jones was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of his 11-year-old step-sister, Erin Maxwell in August 2008.

Students and staff were evacuated at Oswego Middle School March 3 following an “unusual occurrence.”

A student reportedly discovered a bomb threat note in one of the bathrooms at the school.

The student notified administrators, and the middle school staff and students were evacuated to a secure location.

Oswego police and fire personnel responded to the scene. Their investigations were negative and everyone was allowed back in the school a short time later.

“Nothing irregular was found,” according to Bill Foley, district clerk. “The students and staff returned to the building about 2:25 p.m. and sent home about a half hour behind schedule.”

The district used the School Messenger system to alert parents to the situation and keep them abreast of things as they developed.

There were no injuries reported.

“The students were tremendous. They were very cooperative and patient,” Foley said. “They listened and followed directions. The staff handled the situation in a very professional manner.”

Superintendent of school Bill Crist also commended the middle school’s staff and students for the way they handled themselves.

“We take this sort of thing very seriously,” the superintendent added. “We will continue to investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent possible.”

A small electrical fire was reported the next morning at Oswego Middle School.

Students were evacuated and the fire department put out the fire without incident, according to the superintendent.

There were no injuries reported.

The students returned to class a short time later.

The New York Lottery encouraged players who purchased a Mega Millions ticket during the most recent jackpot roll up, which culminated in the March 3 drawing for $212 million, to check those tickets closely as they may be worth up to $250,000.

“Our records show there were 26 second-prize winning Mega Millions tickets sold in New York during the Mega Millions roll up that began Jan. 16, including five from last night’s drawing alone,” said New York Lottery Director Gordon Medenica. “Each of those second-place prizes is worth $250,000 to the lucky ticket holder.”

Included on the list of retail locations where the second-prize winning tickets were sold is Garafolo Importing, Oswego.

Chances of finding out who the lucky local winner is are about the same as hitting the lottery jackpot, according to Tom Calderone, co-owner of Garafolo’s.

“We have had 10 or 12 of the big winners over the last 25 years,” he said. “We don’t know who any of them are. They choose to stay anonymous.”

Those who win such large amounts claim their prize at one of 15 Lottery Customer Service Centers statewide.

Other than two Win For Life ($1,000 a week) winners, this ticket was the largest amount a Garafolo’s customer has won.

On Feb. 27, the Oswego City Police Department released its list of Top 10 Most Wanted Criminals.

Within a week the department announced two of its Top 10 had been captured.

The fugitives were taken into custody out of state, one in North Carolina and the other in Maine and were awaiting extradition.

“We have received numerous tips regarding the individuals on our Top 10 Most Wanted list,” said Mike Dehm, police chief. “Working together, I am confident that more arrests will be forthcoming.”

He was right.

A third fugitive was captured on March 9.

She was arrested after an anonymous tip was received by Oswego Police Department’s Crime / Drug Tip Line (315-342-8131) from a caller who gave a possible location for her in Fulton.

The suspect was taken into custody and turned over to the Oswego Police Department.

By the end of the month, three more had been apprehended cutting the top 10 list by more than half.

Due to the high threat of brush fires, Oswego County Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann declared a state of emergency in Oswego County, effective at 3 p.m., on March 24, and ordered a ban on all outdoor burning and recreational outdoor fires in the county.

“Due to the lack of rainfall over the past several days, bright sunshine and moderate winds that are drying out dead grasses and winter brush, we have a very high fire danger in Oswego County,” said Leemann. “I have ordered a ban on all outdoor burning and recreational outdoor fires. Brush fires in Oswego County have over-burdened our fire service and threaten homes and lives.”

The ban didn’t include controlled cooking fires, when contained in a controlled fireplace, barbecue grill or cooking pit. However, people cooking outdoors had to have proper fire extinguisher equipment close by.

Several brush fires had been reported throughout the county, County Fire Coordinator John Hinds said. “Brush fires can jump onto a house or other structure and burn it to the ground in a matter of minutes,” he said. “People need to be aware that they’re creating a potentially dangerous situation by burning brush and grass, even in a barrel.”