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Otter Creek first-grader lauded by Special Olympics
By Kerry Lester | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 12/18/2009 12:00 AM

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A 6-year-old Otter Creek student is being celebrated as Special Olympics Illinois' athlete of the month.

Sarah Ford, of Elgin, was born with Down syndrome and endured several heart surgeries and eye surgeries as a baby.

Today, she's an active participant in the Special Olympics Young Athletes program for participants under eight.

Over the summer, Sarah took part in the Special Olympics Summer Games in Normal, competing in the 50-meter run and the ball throw.

Laura Mooberry, one of her teachers at Otter Creek, said that officials "met Sarah and just fell in love with her last summer."

District officials have spent recent days spreading the good news to teachers and classmates of Sarah's.

Sarah's story is featured on Special Olympics Illinois web site,

Congrats, Sarah and family!

Moody's upgrades ECC: Moody's Investors Services has upgraded Elgin Community College's bond rating to AA1, the highest rating possible. According to a news release, ECC joins Harper and the College of DuPage as the only three community colleges in the states to earn the rating.

The college has seen six consecutive operating surpluses in recent years, along with operating liquitidy, and manageable debt portfolio. ECC, according to the investors service, should remain in a financially stable position in the near future. The new, improved ratings also come with perks. Now, when issuing bonds, ECC will be able to capitalize on lower interest rates.

"Unfunded mandate?" A surplus of unfunded education mandates is a source complaint for many local school districts. As a tongue-in-cheek way of supporting its recent decision to ask the state for waivers to a number of mandates.

Elgin Area School District U-46 has started a "unfunded mandate of the week" page on its Web site,, to explain the various unfunded educational rules and restrictions it is bound by.

The U-46 board recently approved several requests to ask the state for waivers mandates, including the class size cap for students learning English, a request virtually unheard of by state officials. Legislators will vote on the district's requests this spring.