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Guard Terminated After Inmate Escape & Nightly Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX –

A prison guard at an east Texas prison has been terminated for "reckless endangerment" after an inmate escaped with a loaded pistol that had been smuggled to him.

Michelle Lyons, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, says prison guard Michael Price was terminated Thursday from the Estelle High-Security Unit near Huntsville.

Price was the guard who should have searched sex offender Arcade Joseph Comeaux Jr., as he was removed from his cell to be transferred to a Beaumont prison, she said.

Armed with a loaded pistol, Comeaux overpowered the guards while en route, taking with him three state-issued weapons from the guards. Comeaux Jr., a convicted sex offender, was captured Monday in Houston, after a week on the run.

Perry says appointees selected based on skills

Gov. Rick Perry says he chooses appointees based on their skills and background, not their political connections. Perry was responding Thursday to complaints of favoritism in the appointment process.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that his aides opposed Corpus Christi Judge Rose Vela's attempt to be appointed to the Texas Supreme Court because her husband supported Perry opponent Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Perry and Hutchison will oppose each other in the Republican primary in March.

Perry said it's "human nature" to expect loyalty from appointees but told reporters he selects people based on their abilities, background and performance.

Asarco pays $52 million for cleanup at EP smelter

Copper miner Asarco LLC has provided $52 million to help pay for environmental cleanup at its closed El Paso smelter.

The state Attorney General's Office says the funds were transferred into a trust fund Thursday as part of an agreement it negotiated with the company.

The 422-acre site near downtown El Paso and has been dormant since 1999. It produced and refined heavy metals such as lead, copper, cadmium, and zinc for more than 100 years.

Attorney General Greg Abbott's office also secured $29 million from Asarco to pay for low-level radioactive waste cleanup at the company's Superfund site near Houston.

Under a court-approved bankruptcy reorganization, Asarco's El Paso smelter is permanently closed.

Studies: Bone drugs may help prevent breast cancer

New results from a large women's health study suggest that bone-building drugs such as Fosamax and Actonel might help prevent breast cancer.

Women who already were taking these medicines when the study began were nearly one-third less likely to develop breast cancer over the next seven years. That's compared to women who were not on such pills.

The study by itself is not proof that these drugs can prevent cancer. More definitive studies should give a clearer picture in a year or two. Until then, doctors say women should only take these drugs if they have osteoporosis or other bone problems.