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A year of TV abstinence is ending today


Leila Shirvan, 8, a second-grader at Worthington Elementary School, will finish her year of abstinence from television today.

"She was the kind of kid who would wake up and turn on the television without even thinking," said her mother, Shannon Shirvan. So when Leila, having heard from her older sister, Sara, 13, about a boy who made a deal with his parents to refrain from watching television for a year in exchange for a sum of money, she proposed a similar deal - and her parents agreed to deposit $1,000 in her bank account at the end of a year of no TV.

"The first two weeks were difficult," her mother said. "I think she called me once or twice - 'If I stop now, can I get part of the money?' I said, 'No honey, it's all or nothing.' "

Exceptions were made for two slumber parties - one at a friend's house and the other, Leila's birthday party, when a video was allowed. But otherwise, Leila read and played outdoors. "She's a voracious reader," her mother said.

A little of the money will be spent, with permission from Leila's parents; the rest remains in the bank with money from birthday checks and a small parent contribution that Leila has put away for college.

"We were just very proud of her and we wanted people to know that this could be done," Shannon Shirvan said.

- Fay Lande

Ellicott City Idol auditions are scheduled at library

Auditions for the second Ellicott City Idol contest will be held at the Miller branch library.

Youngsters ages 11 to 18 can try out for the grand prize of studio time at Sheffield Audio Video Productions. Auditions for middle-schoolers will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 28; high school auditions are scheduled for June 29. The finals will be held June 30.

A grand winner and runners-up in each age group will be announced. Runners-up also receive prizes.

Registration is to begin June 14 at the Miller branch, 9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City.

Information: 410-313-1950.

Around Town

Conversation club:

The Miller branch library, 9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, offers an English Conversation Club from 7:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Mondays. The club is intended for adults and teenagers who speak English as a second or third language and who want to practice in a group setting. Registration is requested. 410-313-1950.

Gardening advice:

The Miller branch library, 9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, is offering drop-in question-and-answer sessions with master gardeners from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mondays and 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays to Sept. 30. 410-313-1950.

Moms to meet:

The Ellicott City South chapter of the MOMS Club will meet at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Glen Mar United Methodist Church, 8430 Glenmar Road, Ellicott City. 410-465-2174.

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