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BC-MT--Montana News Digest, MT

March 12, 2019

Montana at 1:05 p.m.

The desk and can be reached at 800-332-6917 or 303-825-0123. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.

TOP STORIES:

TRUMP-NATIONAL MONUMENTS

SALT LAKE CITY _ As Democrats in Congress prepare to scrutinize President Donald Trump’s review of 27 national monuments, most of the recommendations made by ex-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke remain unfinished. By Brady McCombs and Matthew Brown. Upcoming.

MONTANA SCHOOL-SEX ABUSE

MISSOULA _ A former Montana athletic trainer accused of sexual abusing students is set to appear in court to plead guilty to a federal charge of coercion and enticement. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: will be updated from 1:30 p.m. hearing.

TRUMP-PUBLIC LANDS

WASHINGTON _ President Donald Trump has signed a wide-ranging public lands bill that creates five new national monuments and expands several national parks. The new law also withdraws 370,000 acres in Montana and Washington state from mineral development. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 300 words by 4 p.m.

ELECTION 2020-IOWA SENATE

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa _ A month ago, Eric Giddens was just a member of the Cedar Falls school board thinking about maybe, someday, running for higher office. Today, he feels like the most popular Democrat in Iowa. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a possible presidential contender, had a beer with him at a bar on the University of Northern Iowa’s campus while telling students to get out and vote. By Alexandra Jaffe. SENT: 940 words, photo on national lines.

AK-47 BANDIT

LINCOLN, Neb. _ A Montana man dubbed the AK-47 bandit for the assault rifle he’s accused of using to hold up banks in several states has pleaded guilty to robbing a bank in Nebraska. Richard Gathercole, 40, could face up to 35 years in prison after admitting Monday in federal court that he used an AK-47 assault rifle to steal more than $90,000 from a Nebraska City bank in 2014. He also pleaded guilty to a 2017 carjacking that led to his arrest. SENT: 260 words. AP Photos.

IN BRIEF:

UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA-ASBESTOS _ The University of Montana has reopened McGill Hall after officials detected “unacceptable levels” of asbestos in dust inside the building.

MONTANA STUDENTS-AUTISM _ Montana public education officials are holding a public hearing on proposed changes to the criteria for identifying students with autism.

ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGES _ Montana authorities have charged a 75-year-old Cascade County woman with leaving six horses outdoors without care during subzero temperatures last November, leading to the deaths of two of the animals.

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