Thumbs up to the owners of Hilltop Florist, who are retiring at the end of July.

The business, started in 1880 as Windmiller Florist, has been a longtime Mankato tradition when it comes to flowers, plants and gifts for every occasion — even if the occasion was just a visit to the Madison Avenue location to soak in the glory of lush, colorful things growing. The well-known greenhouse was removed in 2015 to make way for a new apartment complex in the neighborhood, signaling a downsizing for the business.

Owners Larry and Kathy Van Tol and Noel Keane Van Tol and Gene Biewen put a lot of years into making the landmark shop a place to go for quality goods and expert help. Their care and dedication to growing their business in Mankato are appreciated. Bouquets to them and best wishes for well-deserved retirement.

Battle of the border

Thumbs up to the decision Thursday by the U.S. House to accept the Senate’s version of the border spending bill.

If politics is the art of the possible, this is art. The bipartisan nature of the Senate vote — its measure passed 84-8 — and the grudging willingness of the White House to accept the measure made that legislation viable.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued that the House bill was superior.

But it wasn’t something the Senate was going to pass, and it wasn’t something the president was going to sign. It wasn’t going to become law.

And the deplorable conditions in which unaccompanied children are being held in detention centers — conditions that sting the conscience and stain this nation — demanded that something be done.

This legislation doesn’t end the immigration debate and was never intended to do so. Its passage is still far better than continued inaction. The sooner President Donald Trump signs it, the better.

Minnesota adventurer

Thumbs up to the sense of adventure and discovery that Gerry Spiess gave to so many people back in 1979.

Spiess died this week at his Pine County home of Parkinson’s disease. He was 79.

Spiess captured world headlines when he built a 10-foot sailboat in his White Bear Lake garage and announced he would cross the Atlantic and Pacific in it.

People thought Spiess crazy but he set out from Virginia and 54 days later arrived in England, met by a crowd of 10,000 people.

Two years later, he crossed the Pacific in an updated version of the boat he called the Yankee Girl. The boat is held by the Minnesota Historical Society.

Spiess made Minnesota proud and thrilled people around the world.

Sports dome construction exciting

Thumbs up to the beginning of construction of the Minnesota State University sports dome this week.

The 110,000 square foot, $5.7 million inflatable dome will host a variety of youth and community sports groups as well as MSU teams and students.

MSU has pushed to win approval for the project for years and finally was fortunate this year in winning a student vote for funding with student fees. Borrowing from the state university system will facilitate the dooms construction.

Rental fees are expected to help cover the annual $300,000 operating cost. And kudos to Scheels All Sports foundation for its contribution of $500,000.

Mankato will now be able to match the amenities of even some smaller cities with the availability of the sports dome. It’s a good start to developing the numerous athletic and recreational facilities that are needed in the region.

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