News Minute: Here is the latest Montana news from The Associated - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

News Minute: Here is the latest Montana news from The Associated Press at 11:40 a.m. MDT

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Former student athletes at a Montana high school say the school's former athletic trainer sexually abused them and dozens of others over decades under the guise of boosting their athletic performance. They claim James E. "Doc" Jensen of Miles City performed nude massages and sexual acts on the boys as part of what he called "The Program" to enhance their strength and testosterone levels. Jensen did not return a phone message seeking comment.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - U.S. officials are recommending approval of a plan to block new mining claims for 20 years on public lands in the mountains of Montana north of Yellowstone National Park. The U.S. Forest Service on Friday endorsed the plan to withdraw 30,000 acres from new claims for gold, silver, platinum and other minerals. The move follows concerns that mining projects proposed in the Paradise Valley north of Yellowstone could damage waterways and hurt tourism.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Montana plans to use most of a $3 million federal grant to upgrade the hardware and software used in the state's voter registration system. Secretary of State Corey Stapleton says his office is working with counties to choose a replacement system that could be in place by the end of 2019. The work is funded through the Help America Vote Act.

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - The University of Montana aims to bring down roughly half of its $10 million budget shortfall this fiscal year. Vice President of Administration and Finance Rosi Keller says the school's financial shortfall is due to a decline in enrollment, but she says it is making progress on closing that budget gap over the next four years. The Missoulian reports the university plans to accomplish that with the recent voluntary staff and faculty buyouts and other savings.

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