- Associated Press - Monday, August 31, 2015
Education commissioner search narrowed to 2 finalists

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky Board of Education has chosen two finalists in its search for a new state education commissioner.

The board did not identify the two final candidates in the running to succeed Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, according to media reports. Holliday is retiring at the end of the month after nearly six years on the job.

The board narrowed the list of candidates from five to two after conducting a second round of interviews Friday and Saturday.

The board said it will commission in-depth background checks on the two finalists, a process likely to take several weeks.

Board Chairman Roger Marcum said he doesn’t expect the board to publicly name the two finalists. He said it’s up to those candidates if they choose to identify themselves as finalists. Marcum said he and other board members received feedback about the five named candidates that was helpful.

“We are confident we have found some good possibilities to be Kentucky’s next commissioner and to build on the work that’s been done over the past 25 years with Kentucky education reform and Senate Bill 1 legislation,” Marcum said.


New boss of Frisch’s Big Boy restaurants plans expansion

CINCINNATI (AP) - The new leader of the Frisch’s Restaurants chain wants to flex Big Boy’s brand muscle with franchise expansion, new restaurant shapes and sizes, menu and beverage additions, and doing more to court younger customers.

Atlanta-based NRD Capital has taken over after shareholder approval last week of its $175 million acquisition that ended family operation of the Cincinnati-based regional business dating to a 1939 drive-thru. NRD head and interim Frisch’s CEO Aziz Hashim calls Frisch’s “a perfect fit” for the new investment fund built around franchising.

He calls it an iconic American brand that has been profitable and has “a wonderful business infrastructure,” but can benefit from new approaches.

“It was doing just fine, but we felt ‘Wow! There’s tremendous growth potential here,’” Hashim told The Associated Press.

Hashim grew up in the Los Angeles area where the original Bob’s Big Boy began, eating the double-decker burger sandwich as a Sunday family treat. He’s very conscious of the fondness for Frisch’s through generations in its home region and the attachment to its signature tartar sauce, onion rings, hot fudge sundaes and other favorites.

“Our primary goal is to make sure our existing customer is totally taken care of,” he said. “So, no plan to alienate our current customer base; we want to actually make it better for them. At the same time, we want to make an effort to drive some new customers.”


Kentucky has more than 30,000 homeless students

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Before graduating in June, James Mouser was one of more than 30,000 homeless students in Kentucky, which has the nation’s highest rate of student homelessness, according to a review of federal education data.

Nearly 5 percent of Kentucky’s 685,167 students were classified as homeless in the 2012-13 school year, the latest year that homeless student totals are available for all 50 states, the Lexington Herald-Leader (https://bit.ly/1LDvPWohttps://bit.ly/1LDvPWo ) reported. Kentucky’s rate of homeless students was more than double that of all surrounding states but West Virginia and Missouri.

Going to school ended up saving Mouser’s life in April.

Mouser, then a senior at Northpoint Academy in Pike County, cut his hand while at school on a Friday. Unable to see a doctor because he has no car, he lanced his own hand over the weekend after it became infected. When he returned to school on Monday, his hand had ballooned.

Rick Branham, the coordinator for homeless students for Pike County Schools, saw Mouser’s hand and immediately took him to the hospital. Mouser stayed there for a week with an IV hooked to his arm, delivering high-dose antibiotics that eventually rid his body of the blood poisoning caused by his own doctoring.

“The doctors said I could have died,” said Mouser, 20.

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