Thumbs up to all the graduates this year who completed their studies in high school and area colleges despite the challenges of doing so during one of the biggest public health crises in years.

The pandemic certainly challenged everything — doing business, going to school, playing sports and the other things we all take for granted.

We’re always hopeful when a new crop of young people complete their studies and bring energy to a new adventure, whether that be college or employment. This year’s class can truly say they have overcome mountainous challenges and adversity.

And many will be able to celebrate their graduations with friends and family in the normal manner with maybe some minor adaptations. They have been part of making that happen by taking precautions when they were warranted.

And certainly, the lessons learned with distance learning, collaborations and self-directed education can serve as a springboard to how the modern working world will look.

Graduates have not only achieved their academic success but done so with resolve and resilience that real life required.

Cruise line masks

Thumbs down to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who signed a bill passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature that bans businesses, schools and government entities in Florida from asking anyone to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.

The legislation has created hardships for cruise lines and set up a showdown between the state and the biggest cruise line companies in the world.

Cruise ships, eager to get back carrying vacationers, have taken extraordinary steps to ensure the COVID virus does not again cause major problems for them in the near future. One of the many safety precautions they have instituted is a requirement that all crew and passengers prove they have had a COVID-19 vaccine before they can board.

The Florida bill would make that impossible for the many ships that pick up passengers in Florida. Norwegian Cruise Lines is now threatening to take its ships elsewhere.

It is ironic that a Republican legislature and governor would impose such restrictions. If a private business wants to require safety precautions that customers can either accept or else do business elsewhere, the state of Florida should stay out of it.

Gathering space

Thumbs up to a new spot in St. Peter being used as a pollinator garden and outdoor arts space.

The land at 411 S. Minnesota Ave. was donated to the Arts Center of Saint Peter by the developer Building Good Communities and is expected to be completed in June.

Supporting pollinators by landscaping with appropriate plants and at the same time offering artists a location to sell their wares outdoors is a win-win combination.

Lots of cities have discovered that showcasing the season’s plants and flowers is an easy way to make communities more aesthetically pleasing.

The arts center’s idea of teaming up nature’s art with human-made art introduces an inviting place to gather, both in pandemic times and afterward.

The curse of panic buying

Thumbs down to the unnecessary panic buying that drained gasoline pumps throughout the southeast this week.

The several-days ransomware-prompted shutdown of a pipeline system that carries some 45% of the East Coast’s gasoline shouldn’t have resulted in 70% of the gas stations in North Carolina going dry, nor about 50% in other states.

It did because the public overreacted. (The pipeline was returned to full service on Wednesday, but it will take a few days for the transportation of fuel to catch up.)

One gas buyer told the Washington Post he compared the situation to the toilet paper shortage that afflicted the nation at the start of the pandemic. “Americans panic,” he said.

That does not speak well to our ability to accept a setback.

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