Short takes on issues
Legal gesture • An obscene hand gesture may provoke a response in most of us, but police officers can't issue tickets to retaliate. That's the lesson in First Amendment rights provided to Orem cops by a man who threatened to sue the department after he was pulled over for "flipping off" an officer in 2010. The ACLU, representing the man, argued motorists have a constitutional right to the gesture without fear of being cited for "impolite behavior." The city has agreed to pay the man $2,500, reimburse the ACLU another $2,500 for legal costs and give officers training in what expressions are protected under the Constitution. But, while it's legal to flip off an officer, it doesn't come under the heading of civility, something we could all use more of.
Winter markets • Many Salt Lake City downtown residents grew accustomed to shopping for fresh vegetables, fruit, eggs and even meat products at the Downtown Farmers Market at Pioneer Park. But now they won't have to suffer withdrawal after the market's closing in October. Three new winter markets have opened to take the place of the summertime array of vendors in the park. The Downtown Alliance is sponsoring the "pop up" market once a month at various locations around the city. The Fairpark Saturday market will offer locally grown produce on the first and third Saturdays of each month through March 16 at the Utah Fairpark, and the Wheeler Farm Sunday market will be open on the first Sunday of each month at Wheeler Farm in Murray. They are all welcome additions.
Expanded festival • The Utah Shakespeare Festival, one of the state's biggest events and tourist draws, is getting even bigger. A $5 million donation from the Engelstad Family Foundation of Las Vegas has put organizers of the award-winning festival closer to their goal of $26.5 million for a new Shakespearean theater. Construction of the theater, a model of the outdoor theaters of Shakespeare's day, is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2013 and be completed in early 2015. It will be located two blocks east of the Adams Shakespearean Theatre on 200 West between Center Street and College Avenue in Cedar City. The festival, 51 years old, has been recognized as one of the premier Shakespeare festivals in the country. It has received both Tony and Emmy awards and is a favorite venue for travelers from throughout Utah and the West. Students at Southern Utah University, which hosts the festival, gain experience working with professional actors. The expansion will be a boon to the state.