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Forest Hills woman to join Lotto team

Yolanda Vega's incandescent smile and enthusiastic reading of the daily Lottery numbers has made her New York's favorite fortune teller, and as of last week she has some new helpers — one a Forest Hills native.

The New York Lottery announced the names of the three winners of its first online talent search, which drew more than 1,000 submissions from as far away as Michigan, to become additions to the lottery draw team.

Makita Bond of Forest Hills, who most recently worked as a host for a cable access music video show, was a winner. The other two winners are Gretchen Dizer of Buffalo, N.Y., who has just returned to the United States from Ireland, where she earned her master's degree in cultural anthropology, and Jina Matthews, a promotions coordinator from Baltimore.

"The Web-only search produced exactly the kind of mega-response we expected," Vega said. "It's very energizing to see so many bright and talented young men and women interested in being part of the uniquely New York tradition that is the New York Lottery draw team."

More than 1,000 resumés and accompanying photos were submitted online to a dedicated e-mailbox located on the Lottery Web site. The Lottery contacted more than 100 applicants by phone to gauge their interest in the civil service job, then chose 50 to audition in person at the Lottery's drawing studio in Schenectady, N.Y.

In the end, the Lottery offered the job to Bond, Dizer and Matthews, who had "the right mix of experience, enthusiasm and on-camera presence to make them immediate and valuable assets" to the state agency, said Lottery Director Gordon Medenica.

Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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