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SELINSGROVE — Susquehanna University ranks among the top 15 private schools in Pennsylvania offering the most scholarships to undergraduates.

Student Loan Report ranks the Selinsgrove school 14th in the state and 152nd out of 700 private colleges and universities nationwide.

Susquehanna provided $60.9 million in scholarships and grants to students in 2017-18.

“This report underscores the importance of universities dedicating themselves to helping students achieve their goals, and the role philanthropy plays to that end,” SU President Jonathan D. Green said. “Thirty-one percent of the students in this year’s incoming class are PELL-eligible, meaning that socio-economically, they come from the lowest 20 percent. We’re proud of that fact and remain committed to helping America’s most financially challenged students to access the transformational benefits of a Susquehanna education.

Schools in the study were ranked by dividing the overall scholarship money given to undergraduate students in 2015-16 by the total number of undergraduates to get the average scholarship aid.

— MARCIA MOORE

Agencies receive state awards

HARRISBURG — Two state agencies received Keep America Beautiful 2018 State Agency Partner Awards.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection were honored for their work on the Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania in 2017.

Volunteers collect trash and plant flora for the Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania campaign, said a joint press release from both agencies. This campaign is coordinated by the DEP, PennDOT and the Keep America Beautiful affiliate Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.

Keep America Beautiful is a national non-profit dedicated to encouraging people to take care of their communities and the environment, said the Keep America Beautiful website.

The press release said that more than 132,000 volunteers participated in over 7,200 local cleanup events in every county.

“DEP has supported and participated in the annual Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania program since it began in 2004,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “It reflects two of our core values — improving the environment and fostering strong community partnerships — and it succeeds.”

PennDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program also had a massive community outreach in 2017. District coordinators worked with more than 4,800 volunteer groups to adopt 10,733 miles. This saved Pennsylvania more than $5 million, said the press released.

“We are very proud of the long-running success of our Adopt-A-Highway program,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards. “The efforts of our district coordinators coupled with the enthusiasm of our volunteers results in tons of trash and debris being removed from our roadways year after year.”

— THE DAILY ITEM

Finn named Montour prison chair

DANVILLE — The Montour County Prison Board re-elected Trevor Finn as board chairman during a reorganizational meeting Monday.

Board members were unable to hold a reorganizational meeting in January because of the lack of a quorum.  

The board also re-elected Ken Holdren as vice chairman and county district attorney Angela Mattis as secretary. Board members voted to retain Laurinda Voelcker as solicitor and Bill Wilt III as warden.

Finn asked Voelcker to check with state Sen. John Gordner on the status of legislation that would eliminate eighth class counties from holding monthly prison board meetings and meeting at their prison. The proposed bill would provide for eighth class counties to hold prison board meetings on a quarterly basis.

Holdren said the commissioners will be having lunch with state Rep. Kurt Masser on Thursday and they will ask him about the bill at that time.

— KAREN BLACKLEDGE

Restrictions in place along Interstate 80

VALLEY TOWNSHIP — Drivers should prepare for a lane restriction on Interstate 80 westbound in Montour County this morning.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation official Dave Thompson said the right lane of I-80 westbound will close at 8 a.m. at mile 217.

The closure is due to a hazardous materials cleanup, he said. The cleanup is east of the Northumberland County line.

Drivers should be careful while going through the work zone.

— EMMA GINADER

Accused rapist seeks new counsel

SUNBURY — A status conference for an Allentown man accused raping a teenage girl in Northumberland in 2015 was continued on Monday due to the defendant hiring a new counsel.

Defense attorney Charles Edward Dutko Jr., of Kutztown, entered his appearance in the courtroom of Northumberland County Judge Paige Rosini for representing Joshua Arrufat, 20, who is accused of raping a 17-year-old girl at the home of Amanda Strawser, 31. In December, Matthew Ziegler withdrew as attorney.

Arrufat, who is currently free on $1 bail after a Rule 600 violation, and his attorney have not received full discovery yet, according to Northumberland County Assistant District Attorney Kurt Schmitt.

Arrufat is scheduled for a pre-trial conference at 1:15 p.m. March 1 in front of Rosini. He is listed for trial in March.

A pre-trial conference for Strawser is also scheduled for the same time on March 1.

She is accused of bringing the victim to her house without the consent of the parents in August 2015, being complicit in the rape of the girl and giving alcohol to minors.

— JUSTIN STRAWSER 

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