The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

August 25, 2013

Daughters spend summer delving into democracy

From ditch hearings to the U.S. Supreme Court

MANKATO — Abdi Sabrie's five daughters had a summer-long look at all levels of American government this year.

They met state lawmakers at a small town parade. They visited Washington, D.C. They chatted with U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken. They toured the Supreme Court. They experienced a preliminary hearing on Blue Earth County Ditch 34 and then got a bonus preliminary ditch hearing on County Ditch 28.

That Blue Earth County Board meeting on June 11, with its heavy emphasis on agricultural drainage, kicked off the summer of government. But neither ditch hearing made the highlights list of the Sabrie girls.

"The Supreme Court," said Wardah, 17, of her personal favorite. "They explained how the justice system works."

Sumia, 9, likes the head-start she'll have as she studies government and science in school in the years ahead.

"We got to go to the museums and learn about stuff, so that when we grow up we'll already know," said Sumia, who also enjoyed the breakfast served by Franken to Minnesotans visiting his office.

Samira, 8, was impressed by the digs of Minnesota's senior U.S. senator.

"I saw her office," Samira said of Klobuchar. "It was soooo cool."

So, what about the county board meeting? With the ditch hearings? And the drainage inspector's reports? And the May financial status update?

No, that level of government didn't match Washington, D.C., for thrills, but it offered exceptional hospitality. The board's clerk gave the girls a box of cookies that had gone uneaten due to sparse attendance at the meeting, and the commissioners invited the four Sabries on hand that day to their post-meeting lunch at Uncle Albert's Cafe in Eagle Lake for burgers and conversation. A couple of the commissioners in particular gave them tips on what to visit in Washington and asked them to give their regards to certain members of Congress.

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