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Cedar Rapids Woman Wins $300,000 Lottery Prize

Michele Lutenske Claims Top Prize in 'Colossal Crossword' Scratch Game

Michele Lutenske

CLIVE, Iowa — A Cedar Rapids woman who won a $300,000 lottery prize said it was finally starting to sink in.

"Right now, I'm pretty calm and just happy," Michele Lutenske told officials on Monday as she claimed her prize at lottery headquarters in Clive. "But this morning when I scratched that ticket? It was craziness. Shaking. Scared. Crying. All kinds of emotions."

Lutenske, 62, won the 13th top prize in the Iowa Lottery's "Colossal Crossword" scratch game. She bought her winning ticket at Hy-Vee Gas, 3935 Blairs Ferry Road NE in Cedar Rapids, and scratched the ticket in her friend's truck.

"I started scratching it and I'm like, 'Oh, this is a winner. Look at all these words!'" Lutenske said. "I kept scratching and I kept looking, thinking, 'Yeah, I have that letter.'"

After she finished scratching it, Lutenske counted up her completed words and realized she'd reached the game's top prize level. She verified her win by scanning it with the Iowa Lottery mobile app.

"It was overwhelming and it's a moment I'll never forget, I'll tell you that," she said. "I'll never forget scratching that ticket and seeing that $300,000, those numbers, all those zeroes."

Lutenske said she and her husband plan to use part of the winnings to buy a couple of vehicles and pay some bills.

Colossal Crossword is a $30 scratch game that features 19 top prizes of $300,000, 56 prizes of $10,000 and overall odds of 1 in 2.29. For more information about this game, and the number of prizes still available, visit

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