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When Urbana University of Ohio opens its men's basketball season Nov. 15 against the Screaming Eagles of Southern Indiana, Andrew Vactor may or may not be in the starting lineup. But he has been nothing if not conscientious about getting himself into game shape. Take the day last month when he just couldn't wait to go to practice. So much so, in fact, that he was willing to pay $150 for the privilege.
Vactor, you see, had been fined that amount for violating the city of Urbana's noise ordinance back in July. A policeman stopped him for playing rap music at an earsplitting volume on the stereo speakers in his car. Guilty as charged, Municipal Court Judge Susan Fornof-Lippencott ruled.
But as she sometimes does when such cases come before her, she offered the young defendant an opportunity to learn a lesson from the experience at minimal expense. After all, the offense was a simple misdemeanor, not a felony. So she told Vactor she'd reduce his penalty to just $35 if he'd listen to 20 more hours of music. Only this time she'd choose it, and it would have to be symphonic. Specifically, by Frédéric Chopin, Ludwig van Beethoven, Claude Debussy, and other classical composers. The probation department would set him up with the necessary facilities.
He took the deal ... but lasted only about 15 minutes. Not because of the high-brow sounds, though, he insisted. No, it was simply because basketball practice beckoned. "I didn't have time to deal with that," he told reporters afterward. "I just decided to pay the [full] fine."