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Offbeat News: Man takes citizenship oath, wins lottery


Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
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DES MOINES, Iowa - A man who immigrated from Kenya to the United States found prosperity beyond his expectations on the day he became a U.S. citizen.

Shortly after Moses Bittok, of West Des Moines, took the oath of citizenship on Friday, he discovered he had a $1.89 million winning ticket from the Iowa Lottery's Hot Lotto game.

"It's almost like you adopted a country and then they netted you $1.8 million," Bittok said yesterday as he cashed in his ticket. "It doesn't happen anywhere - I guess only in America."

Bittok said he took the citizenship oath at the federal building in Des Moines Friday then went shopping with his family. They stopped at a gas station to check his lottery ticket from the Sept. 21 drawing.

"For some reason, I'm calm," he said.

His wife, Leonida, screamed.

Bittok, 40, an officer at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women in Mitchellville, said he doesn't know exactly what he will do with his winnings, but a college fund for the couple's 4-year-old daughter, Mindy, is top priority.

Bittok chose to receive his winnings in 25 annual payments of about $52,920 after taxes.

He came to the U.S. to attend college in Minnesota, then moved to Iowa to take the job at the women's prison.

He had purchased the winning ticket at a West Des Moines grocery store, where he once worked part time.

Hot Lotto tickets are sold in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota and West Virginia.

Online poker site offers

to put name on town

MORGANTOWN, Ky. - An online poker Web site wasn't bluffing when it offered $100,000 to have its name stamped on a community.

Officials at PokerShare.com are offering that sum if the western Kentucky hamlet of Sharer - which has no city council, no grocery and no post office - changes its name to PokerShare.com.

The proposition has Butler County Judge-Executive Hugh Evans scratching his head, but he's not keen on the idea.

"I can't speak for everybody, but certainly speaking for myself, this isn't going to happen," Evans said Thursday. "When you talk about poker and gambling, we're not for that in our county. It's very conservative."

First dibs went to Sharer because of the similarity of its name to PokerShare.com, said Darren Shuster, a public relations agent working for the poker site.

He found Sharer by doing a MapQuest search on the Yahoo search engine.

Sharer, established on Feb. 15, 1900, was named for Postmaster Moses J. Sharer or his family, according to the book "Kentucky Place Names." The post office closed in the early 1980s.



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