State Journal editor to step down July 1

Dan Liebman, Katheran Wasson announce resignations; longtime Spectrum and sports editor Phil Case will take over top post

By Kevin Wheatley, Published:

Two of The State Journal’s top editors have announced their resignations, with Editor Dan Liebman stepping down days after News Editor Katheran Wasson announced she was leaving the paper.

State Journal Publisher Ann Dix Maenza announced Liebman’s departure and his successor — Phil Case, editor of the newspaper’s sports and Spectrum sections — in a staff meeting Wednesday.

Liebman, 55, is scheduled to remain on The State Journal’s staff until July 1, Maenza said, noting she intends to fill the vacant editorships in the paper’s news, sports and Spectrum divisions.

Liebman, owner of Staxx BBQ, said he plans to open a new restaurant after buying the vacant property next to his barbecue eatery, though he declined to specify what type of restaurant would fill the former Capitol Pizza Co.

He had debated resigning his position in recent months, he said, and Wasson’s decision to leave the newspaper for a marketing writer’s job with Big Ass Fans in Lexington cemented his thinking. Liebman said he would have likely stepped down later this summer had Wasson, 30, elected to stay with The State Journal. She announced her resignation Friday, and Liebman filed his notice Sunday.

“When Katheran made her decision, I really thought in fairness to Ann it’s best for me to go ahead and decide now so she could deal with it all at once,” Liebman said in his office Wednesday. “… I really had kind of in my mind, I think, made the decision.”

‘A great career’

Liebman, a Frankfort native who had previously worked as editor of The Blood-Horse magazine until his departure in 2010, said he appreciated the opportunity to serve as editor at the newspaper where he began his journalism career. 

Among his accomplishments during his 18-month tenure with The State Journal, Liebman listed redesigning the newspaper and hiring “good people” to its staff, although he was “a little surprised at the amount of hiring I had to do in the time I was here.” He also dealt with a press failure that caused the newspaper to print off-site at Gannett in Louisville since late November.

He plans to continue freelancing as a guest columnist for the Thoroughbred Daily News, for which he has authored four opinion pieces since March 27, as his schedule with the restaurants allows.

“Hopefully I’ll still find the time to do a little bit of that, but it’s possible,” Liebman said when asked if July 1 could mark the end of his journalism career. “If the restaurants do well and I need to focus there, then yeah, it wouldn’t leave a lot of time to do anything in journalism. If it is, it’s been a great career.”

Maenza said she respected Liebman’s decision to dedicate his time to two family-owned businesses. He offered to help with the transition, and she said the outgoing editor is leaving on good terms with the newspaper.

“I believe what happened is that his business grew,” Maenza said. “He didn’t expect the degree of growth, and the growth of his business continued to take more of his time, so it reached the point where he saw he couldn’t do both jobs justice. One would start to suffer, and he doesn’t want to see either suffer.” 

Familiar face, new role

In Case, Maenza found a longtime staffer who worked his way up since joining The State Journal as a sports writer in 1977 under her father, the late Albert Dix. Case developed the newspaper’s Spectrum section, once known as the society section, in 1978 and took the reins of the paper’s sports section in 1981.

Case, 66, has lived in Frankfort since 1969, giving him an intimate knowledge of the community, she said. Case and his wife — Susan, a pharmacist at Frankfort Regional Medical Center — raised their two children, Lexington attorney and Buster’s Billiards and Backroom owner Clark Case and Franklin County deputy court clerk Megan Curnutte, in Frankfort.

“Phil’s going to do a good job,” Maenza said. “Phil knows the staff. Phil knows Frankfort. Phil and Dan and Carl (West, The State Journal’s former editor who maintains an office at the paper) know each other, get along, communicate. That transition will be very smooth.”

Case complimented both Maenza and Liebman, whom he called a long-time friend and appreciated his leadership as the newspaper’s editor. He said he looks forward to engaging the newspaper’s readers, welcoming emails to pcase@state-journal.com for suggestions and highlighting The State Journal’s role as “Your Hometown Newspaper.”

Followers of his popular “Planting by the Signs” column in Sunday’s Spectrum needn’t fret, as Case said he plans to continue writing the weekly piece as well as other features in the newspaper.

“I’m gratified,” Case said when asked about his promotion to the top editorial position at the paper. “I’m honored that Ann Maenza has the trust in me to do this.” 

A new chapter

Wasson, who began as The State Journal’s education reporter in 2009 before being named news editor in 2012, will leave the paper to start a new chapter in her life. A steadier schedule will allow her time to explore other interests, such as working on her newly purchased home, and spending time with her family, which includes her boyfriend, Lee Burkett, and his 4-year-old son, Carter.

While she will soon start promoting Lexington’s Big Ass Fans as a marketing writer, she said there’s a certain adrenaline rush that comes with producing a daily newspaper.

“I’m going to miss when we get a really good scoop on something,” Wasson said, noting she hopes to continue freelance writing assignments. “I’m going to miss when we have breaking news and you kind of have to think on the fly and figure out a plan. I’m going to miss all of the inner workings of what’s going on with the coverage and that sort of thing.”

While the names of the newspaper’s top editors will change, Maenza said State Journal readers should not expect a shift from the paper’s dedication to covering the daily happenings of Kentucky’s capital city.

“I think we continue on course,” she said. “The goal is to continue covering local news. That’s our primary concern, local news, and that won’t change.”

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.

  • CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE MORTALITY IN KENTUCKY 
     Kentucky ranks 8th in cardiovascular disease death rates for 2009, behind Mississippi, Alabama, 
    Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Tennessee. 
     Cardiovascular disease accounted for 30% (12,547) of all deaths in Kentucky in 2009. 
     The age-adjusted death rate for cardiovascular disease was 271.8 per 100,000 in 2009. 
     African Americans have higher rates of cardiovascular disease mortality than whites. 
     Both African American and White men have higher mortality rates than women of either race. 

    CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE COSTS IN KENTUCKY 
     The cost of cardiovascular disease in the United States was projected to be $444 billion in 2010, 
     including health care expenditures and lost productivity from death and disability. 
     In 2010, Kentucky inpatient hospitalizations for all cardiovascular-related diagnoses totaled over 
     $3.2 billion. 

    Have another soda capitalcitizen...in fact, give them to your children...they are our future ya' know.

     

  • pitchforkedtongue: "We can see it now. "You disagree with me.. Oh you must be one of those privilaged White residents here in Frankfort/Franklin County?""

    I always welcome a fact-filled respectful debate...something that is very rare on this web site...very rare indeed.  Gayle Woods is one of the few on here that brings that to the table every time.  There are those who never bring that to the table. I don't have to name monikers here, as it is obvious who they are. 

  • @capitalcitizen:

    Why do you continue to post here? You keep saying that I and BrunoUno are lying but you will not say what lies I am telling. This just shows others that you have no substance. Something I have known from reading your very first post. Bruno continually puts facts and figures in front of you but for some strange reason you ignore them. For instance you stated that Bruno's "repeated insistence that drugs are not harmful". That is an outright lie, he has not said that, which leads me to believe that you are suffering from a reading comprehension disorder. 

    As far as starting my own newspaper, at this late stage of my life I don't think that would be very productive. I would like to have an outlet of local media that is trustworthy and fair in reporting. I know for a fact that statements given to certain reporters in the past has not even come close to what was printed. When that happens I feel a duty to contradict the report with the truth. I don't know about you but I don't think that truth in reporting is too much to ask.

  • capitalcitizen: "Secondly, I am fairly certain you could not stand up to me in a live debate.  I would love to challenge these theories you have on how alcohol and tobacco are worse than heroin and cocaine."

     I have another one for you there cap, not only are the number 1 and 3 leading causes of preventable death, tobacco and alcohol, worse than herion adn cocaine, but so is SUGAR!  According to research, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that "Epidemiologic studies have suggested that higher intake of added sugar is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. These findings were largely consistent across age group, sex, race/ethnicity (except among non-Hispanic blacks), educational attainment, physical activity, health eating index, and body mass index. We observed a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for CVD mortality."

     

    Sugar not only makes you fat, it may be killing you.

    Consuming too much added sugar — in regular soda, cakes, cookies and candy — increases your risk of death from heart disease, according to a new study, the largest of its type.

    "The risk of cardiovascular disease death increases exponentially as you increase your consumption of added sugar," says the study's lead author, Quanhe Yang, a senior scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    On average, adults in the USA in 2010 consumed about 15% of their daily calories — about 300 calories a day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet — from added sugars. That's far more than the American Heart Association's recommendation that women consume no more than 100 calories a day from added sugars, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar; and men consume no more than 150 calories a day, or about 9 teaspoons. The World Health Organization recommends consuming less than 10% of calories from added sugars.

    One can of regular soda contains about 140 calories of added sugar. That's about 7% of the daily calories of someone eating 2,000 calories a day, Yang says.

    Added sugars include table sugar, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, molasses and other caloric sweeteners in prepared and processed foods and beverages. It does not include sugars that occur naturally in fruits, fruit juice, and milk and dairy products.

    Major sources of added sugars in Americans' diets are sugar-sweetened beverages, desserts, fruit drinks, dairy desserts (ice cream) and candy, Yang says.

    Other research has tied a high intake of added sugars, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, to many poor health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Most of those studies focused on sugar-sweetened beverages and not total intake of sugar, Yang says. "Ours is the first study using a nationally representative sample to look at the total amount of added sugar and the association to cardiovascular disease death."

  • capitalcitizen, May 23, 2014 11:44AM

    "BrunoUno:

    What one thing have you posted that I see as incorrect?  How about the repeated insistence that drugs are not harmful and that these people arrested are only keeping a large quantity for personal use."

    Wow, you really did it!  I take it all back...only one small problem.  I have NEVER said anything like that, ever.  Please post a quote of mine that says ANYTHING even remotely similar...PLEASE!  "That is a delusional, repeated assumption."

    You pulled that right out of our nether regions.  You don't read so good...try reading up on the health impacts of alcohol and tobacco before you make such ludicrous statements.  They aren't the 1st and 3rd leading causes of preventable death for nothing!  Do you even understand what that means?

    In a live debate the judges would call it before the first inning utilizing the mercy rule.  YOU have never posted any facts to back up your "delusional, repeated assumptions'.  Ever.  Now you certainly are entitled to those opinions of yours (which are prefectly suited to TOPIX), but you are not entitled to your own "facts" based on those opinions.  BTW, you will never ever see me post on TOPIX.

    PS- Do you have any idea who "Gayle" is?

  • And, yes, I agree that Bruno and Gayle should stick to Topix, because their idea of news is more along the lines of the old Weekly World News and isn't fit to print in a storied and reputable newspaper.

  • BrunoUno:

    What one thing have you posted that I see as incorrect?  How about the repeated insistence that drugs are not harmful and that these people arrested are only keeping a large quantity for personal use.

    That is a delusional, repeated assumption.  I am wondering why you think that drug dealers and drug use are not harmful to this community?  You have yet to answer me or anyone else who asks why you think that these people who are hardened junkies aren't committing more than a fair number of crimes in this community and why it's acceptable to just excuise that behavior, as well.

    Secondly, I am fairly certain you could not stand up to me in a live debate.  I would love to challenge these theories you have on how alcohol and tobacco are worse than heroin and cocaine.

  • capitalcitizen: "Tell me what you suggest to replace the front page stories of arrests & drug rings in Frankfort?"

    How about really important news that is a lot more serious than possessing a substance for personal consumption and having it trumped up to "trafficking".  People ingest lots of things that may or may not be good for them, but they don't arrest them and publicly pillory them on the front page.  Some of the offenses that only get a single line mention in the News of Record section that should be front page news with color photos are as follows:

    News of record

    Published: May 23, 2014 9:31AM
    Franklin County District Court
    The following are among recent actions taken in Franklin District Court.
    May 6
    >Jacqueline A. Burgess, 25, second-degree disorderly conduct, criminal summons issued
    >Hannah R. Croddy, 30, theft by unlawful taking under $500, bench warrant issued
    >Amy Franklin, 28, public intoxication, bench warrant issued
    >Ryan M. Harris, 18, contempt of court, credit for time served, theft by unlawful taking/shoplifting, 10 days suspended two years with conditions
    >Timothy L. Wilburn, 40, two counts of violation of Kentucky EPO/DVO, bench warrant issued
    >Ashford G. Baksh, 38, leaving the scene of accident/failure to render aid or assistance, failure of owner to maintain required insurance/security, failure to register transfer of motor vehicle, residents not to use license of other states, dismissed, alcohol intoxication in a public place, credit for time served
    >Sarah J. Cummins, 22, fourth-degree assault minor injury, 30 days suspended 12 months with conditions
    >Jay A. Gabbard, 53, second-degree disorderly conduct, attempted third-degree assault on a police officer, menacing, resisting arrest, 14 days with credit for time served, 46 days suspended 24 months concurrent with conditions
    >Melanie D. Hellard, 42, fourth-degree assault minor injury, 30 days suspended 12 months with conditions
    >Kanaya E. Robinson, 27, attempted tampering with physical evidence, dismissed, theft by unlawful taking/shoplifting

  • I cast my vote for BrunoUno to replace Dan Liebman

    I just spit my coffee all over my screen. This is the best joke so far this morning. We can see it now. "You disagree with me.. Oh you must be one of those privilaged White residents here in Frankfort/Franklin County?"

    I am honored!  I can tell you one thing for certain, I would definitley make some changes down there.  For one, we would bring back investigative reporting to the State Journal. 

    Here we go..Already thinking you're Lois Lane or Bob Woodward when in reality you're a  Alexander Knox bawwhaaa...The police blotter is all you can come up with? What about reporting exactly what happened for Sias to "resign", or how the drug cartles are over taking Frankfort since all that you see getting busted are the penny anty drug dealers? Or do you just have a hardon for Melton and the sheriffs office. And what about the plant board ugh? Charging outrageous rates for crappy services, what are you planning on doing about that? What about black on black crime, black on white crime? We already know your views and beliefs on the privilaged white people (what ever the he!! that is) in Frankfort/Franklin County.

    Would you actually report FACTS on things happening in D.C. including your messiah? I don't believe you could ever be objective as an editor. You're a bit racist and biased to be an honest editor. You might be better suited being the editor of Topix! That's more in your wheel house than a daily paper.

  • With the loss of its institutional memory in first, Todd Duvall, and then Carl West, the State Journal is a mere shell of the paper that it used to be. They have replaced such notables as SC Van Curon with kids.  

    capitalcitizen, May 23, 2014 6:16AM

    "Bruno & Gayle: why don't the two of you start up your own newspaper since you "know" so much about investigative reporting. The problem in that lies your own obsessive vendettas against certain law enforcement officials."

    Who are the "certain law enforcement officials" that you speak of?  

    I think that in your blind allegiance to "certain law enforcement officials" that you are "cornfusing" our calling out of waste, corruption, unethical behavior and shabby management practices within his office with a "vendetta", which is a prolonged bitter quarrel with or campaign against someone. This "cornfusion" may be just a product of your limited critical analysis skills or it may be an intentional misdirection tactic for our fair readers. My bet is on the former judging from your previous posts, but hey, who can really tell?

    My recitation of facts and the logical deductions contained herein are not personal, but rather have to do with failures in the performance of the duties of the office.  It is also not prolonged since I voted for Melton the first time and during his first term he violated that trust over and over. I can put up with some corruption of political office holders but not when it comes to law enforcement...they must have impeccable character and be beyond reproach. 

    Tell me capitalcitizen, why do you openly support corruption in our law enforcement?  And please tell us just one thing that I have posted that is incorrect?  You seem completely ignorant about any of the facts of whatever you comment upon, which I guess is why you just stand in the background flinging boogers at us, hoping that something in your generalized ad hominem attacks will stick.

  • YES! Bruno and Gayle! What a team. (but I do love Phil Case)

    capitalcitizen you are wasting your time here.

  • Bruno & Gayle: why don't the two of you start up your own newspaper since you "know" so much about investigative reporting. The problem in that lies your own obsessive vendettas against certain law enforcement officials. Tell me what you suggest to replace the front page stories of arrests & drug rings in Frankfort? Gardening? Prom pictures? Your delusional theories on politics & law enforcement? Maybe you could use this thereotical newspaper to posts your resumes because you obviously have too much time on your hands & need something to keep you both busy. Better yet, why don't both of you run for office since you find such wrong with how our county's leadership. Gayle: you can run for that sheriff's office you despise so much & you can return it to a process server agency. Bruno: you might need a law degree for the post I propose for you: you can run for district or circuit judge & just set the rest of the drug dealers free that Judge Shepherd overlooked.

  • I think we must not forget much credit deservingly belongs to Ann Maenza for her leadership in runningthe State Journal.  As publisher, she has forged it into the splendid newspaper that it has become in large measure by hiring all of the eminently qualified staff - Wasson, Liebman, Case, Kay Harrod, and Carl West - just to name a few, and moving it into the new headquarters several years ago into its modern office facility on Wilkinson Blvd.  The most noteworthy accomplishment is that the SJ has made a very wise decision to focus on reporting local news events and not attempt to "compete" so much against the chain papers on statewide events.  Still SJ is second to none in the reporting of state government news especially about the legislature and governnors office and it is positively informative about what goes on over at the courthouse and city hall.  I have always been a big fan of the State Journal and remember the days when SC Van Curon and Mark Marracini were major contributors to the forever evolving journalistic achievement that chronicles the publication record of Frankfort's great local paper.  Finally, the paper is keeping up with technology by having its blog page to which I enjoy making "contributions" to once in a while.  Anyway, I just wanted to say at this time that Mrs. Maenza has done a fabulous job at the helm and while Ms. Wasson and Mr. Liebman are going to be hard to replace, I agree that Phil Case is up to the job and I will continue to enjoy reading my SJ every day after coming home from work.  I also give annual subscriptions to friends and family members for a Christmas present each year.

  • gayle_woods, May 22, 2014 4:16PM

    "I cast my vote for BrunoUno to replace Dan Liebman."

    I am honored!  I can tell you one thing for certain, I would definitley make some changes down there.  For one, we would bring back investigative reporting to the State Journal.  No longer would merely copying the police blotter be acceptable as news. Our reporters would be able to think on their feet and ask follow-up questions...a lost art at this newspaper.  And we would ask follow-up questions until things made sense, regardless of who we were asking.  Reporting yarns that don't make sense is not serving the public interest.

    Who was the last investigative reporter at the State Journal?  Dave Baker?

  • commonsense61, May 22, 2014 11:59AM

    "BRUNOnonothing.....what a sad comment.  Those articles NEED to be front page news!! You are so wrong and a no nothing kind of person. I guess you want to keep the "bad news under cover"."

    It is enough to make you "sad", but apparently not enough to make you think.  Tell, us, why do "those articles NEED to be on the front page news"? I mean really.  The constant bombardment of the news of these arrest make even rational people lose perspective of the actual threat. The data indicates the increase in drug arrests are indicative of the police's more recent zero toloerance policies rather than an actual increase in use.

    Illicit drug use has always been going on around here for nearly 3 generations (not counting alcohol) and the rates have actually gone down in the last 40 years. We have been subjected by the government to these periodic 'red alert" type threats since the late 1960's...and NONE of them have ever come to fruition.  This has not been because of law enforcement, but in spite of it.

    For those of you who like commonsense61 and Sheriff Melton, still think that our country has a serious drug problem, the facts tell us something quite differently.

    Approximately 22 million Americans age 12 and older, or only 7% of the U.S. population, even use illegal drugs upon occasion, according to the government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

    The overall rate of drug use is only slightly higher than the 2009 study and only a percentage point above the 2008 survey, so it is holding very steady.

    Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants and some prescription drugs used for non-medical purposes were counted in the survey. Marijuana was the most commonly used drug, with more than 17 million users (or 77% of all users) in 2010.

    In 2010, only 7 million out of our 320,000,000 people (2.2% of US pop.) used psychotherapeutic drugs (including stimulants, tranquilizers, painkillers and sedatives) for non-medical purposes, and 1.2 million people used hallucinogens, according to the study.  The numbers are similar to the past few years.
    Only 1.5 million people even used cocaine (0.473%), similar to recent years' study results but a drop of nearly 1 million from 2006.  Methamphetamine use dropped by more than half between 2006 and 2010, to only a 1/10th of 1% of the population, according to the survey. So much for the coke and meth problem!

    So, with just 7% of the US population and holding using illicit drugs, and 17% of those using marijuana, which is becoming completely legalized in some states and decriminalized in 20 others, and approximately 1% (at worst) of those who are using are possibly addicts (if you call an addict someone who uses a drug once a week!), I am still looking for the BIG THREAT that must be there or why would Sheriff Melton be spending the vast majority of his $1.8 MILLION budget (and our tax dollars) on this non-problem that effects such a tiny % of our population.

    No I don't wanna keep "bad news under cover"...but to report the news with a proper sense of perspective, without all of the hype.  It is the Editor's responsibility to avoid over-reporting of the sensational news just to sell papers, although the allure is apparently too much for some.  This county is awash in psychoactive drugs but the vast majority of the people use tobacco and alcohol...the number 1 and 3 causes of preventable death.  Anyone can see that these are the real threats to human health around here, but folks like commonsense61 are can't see the forest for the trees. Unfortunately, neither could Dan Liebman.

       

  • I cast my vote for Dan Liebman to replace Mary Sias.

  • I cast my vote for BrunoUno to replace Dan Liebman.

  • No offense, but I know for certain that Phil Case knows more about news than Liebman whose main claim to fame was working for a horse magazine. Liebman is probably a nice guy as many people say but the editor of a newspaper really should have many years of experience at a newspaper. Phil has been the editor of a lifestyle section which focuses on topics such as gardening and community events. However, he's been at the newspaper and in Frankfort long enough that he definitely knows who is who and how the games are played, so I predict that he will do an excellent job. Read the paper in July before you leap to judgment.

  • An editor who believes in gardening by the signs. Great.

  • Sorry to see Dan leave. I was hoping he would turn this newspaper around, which had been getting better since he came. When he left The Blood-Horse, it went down hill fast. Unless the State Journal can get an unbiased younger person, and not some old codger who is in half of Frankfort's pocket already, it will never be a quality newspaper. JMHO!

  • BRUNOnonothing.....what a sad comment.  Those articles NEED to be front page news!! You are so wrong and a no nothing kind of person. I guess you want to keep the "bad news under cover".

  • OH NO not Phil Case as editor????  I am disappointed!!

  • Oh no Mr. Liebman don't go!!!!!  I really liked your articles and commentaries.....you were the BEST ever and will be missed by many!!

  • Among Liebman's accomplishments during his 18-month tenure with The State Journal, Liebman listed redesigning the newspaper and hiring “good people” to its staff, although he was “a little surprised at the amount of hiring I had to do in the time I was here.” He also dealt with a press failure that caused the newspaper to print off-site at Gannett in Louisville since late November.

    His major accomplishments included stirring up the town's people around here with baseless innuendo so that they would turn on Dr. Sias, who is resigning soon apparently because she is just sick of it all...and who couldl blame her?  All of those empty stats based on little more than hard opinion (like percent of increase without giving the actual numbers) offers no perspective to the viewer to actually assess the problem.  This is the stuff of scare tactics.  

    His nearly daily front page articles about penny ante drug busts also helped tremendously in Sheriff Melton's quest to be the Democratic candidate in the Sheriff's race.  Regarding this iteration of the government's periodic pants-on-fire so-called "recent scourge" of heroin addiction in this country, I call bullhockey! When government and their journalistic lackeys start loosely throwing around terms like "scourge" and "epidemic" when there is no widespread incidence, it is totally irresponsible.  It is designed to create fear, and thus tolerance and apathy as we gradually slip into a police state.  The Editor's discussion on drugs and drug policies was always overly emotionally charged, with the intellectual level uniformly low.  I have otherwise intelligent friends who actually believe that there is an on-going heroin epidemic around here because with all of these stories in the paper that has blown any sense of proportion.