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Press release

November 17, 2001

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November, 2001 | Winners Stories

Los Angeles Music Executive Receives "Hero in Education" Award


SACRAMENTO -- California Lottery's "The Big Spin®" show airs Saturday, November 17, 2001, in twelve television markets statewide. Contestants on this week's show won a total of $117,500.

Music publishing executive Tom Sturges was awarded the California Lottery's "Hero in Education" Award. Mr. Sturges is the mentor for 40 high school students at Foshay Learning Center in South Central Los Angeles. Sturges has worked with the same group of students since 1997 and has taught the students to be good productive citizens by leading them through example. Sturges was presented the award by Actor Larry Wilcox who best known for his role as Officer John Baker of the TV series CHiPs.

Sturges is Executive Vice President of Creative Affairs at Universal Music Publishing and continues to be dedicated and committed to the vision and mission of the California Mentor Initiative. The initiative establishes a partnership of public agencies and private businesses to help at-risk kids avoid drugs and alcohol, teen pregnancy, gang violence and academic failure. With his very busy schedule, Mr. Sturges has been able to find quality time to speak with the students in the classroom. He has also met with the students at three different studios to record songs written by the students under his direction and guidance. The students, under Mr. Sturges' tutelage, have performed these songs to more than 45,000 people at 20 high profile affairs and events. Mr. Sturges wholeheartedly believes that children are the future.

"Twice As Grand" contestant, Edward Leer, a data engineer from Los Banos, will progress to the final round of play for a chance to win $2,000 a week for 20 years; winning a total grand prize of over $2 million. If he wins the $2 million top prize, Leer said, "I would probably buy more computer equipment. I'm really into computers." On this week's show, six contestants competed in the second preliminary round of the game moving simulated racecars along a racetrack. Of the six, one contestant, Leer, moved on to the final round of play. Other "Twice As Grand" contestants won a combined total of $17,500 with prizes ranging from $2,500 to $5,000.

The lone contestant at the Dream Machine on this week's show was Cherie Kelly, a production worker from Fairfield who won $70,000. Kelly plans to buy a new truck and use the rest of her prize as a down payment on a house. Kelly explained, "It will have to be a big house to fit." At the Fantasy 5 Dream Machine, players have up to five chances to launch one ball at a time into one of the five bins in the pinball-type game, each bin representing a cash amount. Prizes are cumulative, but only one ball may land in each bin to claim the prize amount. Players appearing on this segment qualify by mailing an entry form to the Lottery when $5 of Fantasy 5 games are purchased on one playslip.

The sole Spin-Spin-Spin contestant on this week's show was Vilma Berrios, a student studying law enforcement from Los Angeles who won $30,000. Berrios has only bought five Lottery tickets in her life and one of those got her to "The Big Spin" Show and to the prize wheel. She plans to save for her college education and buy a car with her prize. Berrios bought a "Big Spin" Scratchers® ticket which revealed three "SPIN" symbols on one ticket, that ticket entitled her to a direct trip to the prize wheel.

The California Lottery sells its products through a network of more than 18,000 outlets statewide. The Lottery provides 52.7 percent of its revenues to players as prizes, 34.1 percent to public schools and 13.2 percent for administrative expenses, which includes 6.9 percent for retailer commissions. Since 1985, the Lottery has raised more than $13 billion for public schools. The Lottery's contribution equals approximately 2 percent of the state's total education budget. "The Big Spin®" is the longest running Lottery game show in the country, airing continuously since 1985.

Shaun Ponce Fairfield $70,000
Sandra Bogan Los Angeles $30,000
Other California Gold Contestants   $17,500
  TOTAL $117,500
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