Outside the Circle


In the wake of many medium-city newspapers moving away from seven-day-a-week printing, many in Cleveland have become worried that The Plain Dealer is soon to follow.

Sarah Groft, National News Reporter

The Plain Dealer Fights Back

Advance Publications is the owner of multiple newspapers nationwide. In light of the recent decisions that have forced many of its papers to change from publishing seven days a week to three, The Plain Dealer is launching a preemptive strike.

Although Advance Publications has not said whether the publication schedule or the staff at The Plain Dealer will change, it does not want to take any chances.

In an email, John Mangels, a The Plain Dealer science writer, said, “The multimedia campaign will begin Sunday with a half-page ad in The Plain Dealer, to be followed by bus and billboard ads throughout the city.” He continued, talking about advertisements that will soon appear on the television and radio.

In addition, The Plain Dealer plans to contact political and business leaders, as well as elected officials and other influential individuals. A Facebook page and Twitter feed will soon be launched.

According to The New York Times, Plain Dealer management has not said much about the potential actions of Advance Publications, but Mangels did say, “The only detail we’ve been told by our bosses here is that major changes are coming, layoffs in some number are coming.”

Current United States Representative and former The Plain Dealer copy editor Dennis Kucinich explained his feelings to a WKYC reporter, saying, “If you don’t want to have a seven-day-a-week newspaper in Cleveland, then sell the newspaper to somebody who will publish seven days a week.”

Other newspapers, such as The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., and Post-Standard in Syracuse, N.Y., have already been reduced to three days a week.

“We’re facing the same conditions everywhere,” said Advance.net chairman, Steven Newhouse.

“We’re looking at every market and trying to figure out what the right model is. We have local teams doing it…but our goal everywhere is to come up with a formula where we can see a long-term future.”

The Plain Dealer has a no-layoff pledge until Jan. 2013. The New York Times reported that the pledge was created in 2009 and was made in exchange for a 12-percent pay cut in response to 50 newsroom positions being removed.

Harlan Spector, the chairman of The Plain Dealer’s Newspaper Guild, said “if the company doesn’t renew the agreement past 2013 and starts layoffs, the pay for remaining employees will return to its previous level.”


Alzheimer’s Advancements Are Made

Alzheimer’s research has shown that the brain deteriorates many years before signs of dementia begin. Continuing advancements have found that indications of the disease are present earlier than originally thought.

This research is possible thanks to a Colombian extended family with over 5000 members who are predisposed to a genetically linked form of Alzheimer’s. This specific form affects nearly one-third of the family.

Researchers saw changes in the brains of some of the family’s members as early as ages 18 to 26. On average, the family has been shown to develop mild cognitive impairment at age 45 and dementia at 53. This indicates that Alzheimer’s can be predicted up to 20 years in advance.

Traditionally, Alzheimer’s is diagnosed by looking at the first signs of plaque created from a protein called beta amyloid (a-beta).

The young, 18 to 26-year-old, members that were expected to develop the disease demonstrated high levels of amyloid in their spinal fluid. This indicates that the memory-encoding parts of their brains were working harder than those of a normal brain, even at such a young age.

Research has also shown that the brain areas known to be affected by Alzheimer’s appear to be smaller in those who were predisposed to get it. Dr. Kaj Blennow, a professor of clinical neurochemistry at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, was impressed with the discovery.

When talking about this discovery, he described it as “one of the most important pieces of direct evidence that individual persons have the disease and all the pathology years before.”

Another researcher outside the Colombian family project, Dr. Eric Reiman, from the Banner Alzheimer’s institute in Phoenix, along with Dr. Francisco Lopera, a neurologist at the University of Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia, recently received a grant from the National Institute of Health.

This grant allows them to conduct a clinical trial of a drug on family members before symptoms are evident. The results will hopefully show that the changes in the brain can be stopped or at least slowed down.

“Some people think that may be scary, that you can see it so many years before,” commented Reiman.

“But it seems to me that that provides potential opportunities for the development of future therapies.”


New Evidence May Release a Convict

Floyd Perkins has been serving a life sentence for murder in Michigan for almost two decades. In 1993, Perkins left a park with two other men. One of the men, Rodney Henderson, was found later on a trail in the woods. He had been killed and found with a stab wound to the head.

The second man, Damarr Jones, testified in court that Perkins was guilty of committing the murder. Since that trial, Perkins has been behind bars, slowly collecting evidence to prove his innocence.

In 1997, Perkins’ sister, Ronda Hudson, told him that she had heard through another person that Jones had bragged about killing Henderson. She then described the way he had taken his bloody clothes to the dry cleaner.

In 1999, Demond Louis, an acquaintance of Jones, said that he had heard Jones confess to killing Henderson and that he had accompanied Jones to the dry cleaner the day following the murder in order to drop off a pair of bloody orange pants.

In 2002, Linda Fleming, an employee at the dry cleaning store in question, said that a man who looked similar to Jones had dropped off a pair of bloody orange pants. Based on these three pieces of information, Perkins asked a federal court to overturn his conviction in 2008. However, Magistrate Judge Timothy P. Greeley recommended that the request be denied. The evidence Perkins had gathered was not taken seriously, and his request was ultimately denied.

However, the United States Court of Appeals in Cincinnati reversed the ruling, and demanded that the new evidence be taken into consideration, even though the deadline to file a petition request should have been in 2003, a year after the last piece of evidence had been found. The evidence is expected to be reviewed in February.