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Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008 05:51 am

CAP CITY

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DoraLee Durham

A little less o' dora

Former IT cover girl DoraLee Durham, the plus-size beauty queen who races go-karts, sews costumes, preaches and sings the gospel [see "American beauty," Feb. 22, 2007], is hanging up her tiara, sash, and evening gown for good. For a good reason, that is. She can no longer compete in the American Beauties pageant system because she is now officially too small.

Durham, formerly size 20, started dieting in February, joined Jenny Craig in April, and slimmed down to size 2. She loves the food, she loves buying new clothes, and she loves the fact that she's no longer diabetic.

"I run into people and say hi, and they don't recognize me," she says, "unless they happen to see me as I step out of my car." She still drives a NASCAR replica. Some things about Durham will never change.

HELPING FUTURE LEADERS OF SUDAN

Anita Henderlight remembers the exact date that her life changed.

It was July 4, 2005. She read, They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky, a book about Sudan's "lost boys," and needed to know more. She found and met with three "lost boys," listened to their stories about bombings and refugee camps, and decided that she needed to see for herself.

Since then the Taylorville native has been to Sudan five times and now works for the New Sudan Education Initiative, a non-profit organization with plans to build 20 secondary schools in the Yei region before 2015. NESEI opened its first school in May and now serves 76 girls.

"The future leaders need to have more than a seventh-grade education," Henderlight says, "but there are very, very few secondary schools and they've had such an interrupted education due to war."

Henderlight will return to central Illinois to talk about the New Sudan School of Health Sciences and her organization's work. She'll be at Ahh Yoga, 1051 Wabash Ave, at 7 p.m. Aug. 29.

It's free, but Henderlight hopes to buy a tractor for the school's farm laborers — who plowed and planted 17 acres by hand this spring — using any donations received.

Call Ahh Yoga at 725-2373 or visit www.ahhyoga.net for more information.

Alexi Giannoulias

Giannoulias "sold"

We have to admit that the news release we received last week titled, "Treasurer [Alexi] Giannoulias is SOLD on eBay auction," left us a little puzzled. For starters, numerous attempts to hawk our own bratty kid brother on eBay netted us only a polite reminder of the company's terms of use — and a very angry phone call from our mom. Besides, if a handsome former hoops star turned Illinois Constitutional officer has to resort to peddling his, um, goodies on the 'net, then how much hope is there for the rest of us?

As it turns out, Giannoulias just wanted to tout the success of a program his office put in place to sell stuff left behind in bank safe deposit boxes. On average, the Treasurer's office says, the eBay auctions garner 80 percent above the appraised value of the items. Springfield jeweler Carl Giganti has held the appraisal contract for the past two years. For his services, Giganti receives up to $35,000 to assess the worth of more than 60,000 odds and ends before they're posted and sold through the Web. Because the pilot program was "a complete success," the auction will become a permanent fixture of the Treasurer's operations, Giannoulias said in a statement. Asked how much our state's bachelor banker might fetch on the Web, Giganti says, "I've never met the man."

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