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Long Island

20 LIers win tickets to Obama inauguration

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave as they walk down Pennsylvania Ave. on their way to the White House in Washington, after taking the presidential oath. (Jan. 20, 2009) Photo Credit: AP

Twenty Long Island residents have been randomly selected to attend President Barack Obama's second inauguration next month in Washington.

The lottery winners were among 225 chosen across New York State and each will receive two tickets for the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 21 outside the Capitol.

Winners included Ashley Falzone, Dwana Taylor and Vinnette Bennet, all of Bay Shore; Heather Rogers of Bohemia; Gillian Gossow of Dix Hills; and Mary McPartland of East Hampton.

Others selected were Danielle Liverman of North Babylon; Walter Zurawsky of Northport; Linda Besserman of Central Islip; Orlando Bautista of St. James; and Garry Nelson of Baldwin.

Frann Skolnik of Bellmore; Laureen Newell of Elmont; Christopher Yao of Jericho; Evie Smith of Oceanside; Jeff Kobrinsky of Port Washington and Anitra Mahadeo of Valley Stream rounded out the list. Three of the winners did not wish to be identified. The office of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, received the tickets, but made them available to the public for the second swearing-in in a row.

Sharon Kobrinsky of Port Washington said her family -- her, her husband and two children -- must decide which two members will attend.

"We will have our own lottery," she said.

Dwana Taylor, 43, of Bay Shore, said, "I didn't think we were going to get there." Now, she said, her husband has to find a way to get the family there.

Because of the limited number of tickets, Schumer said Sunday, a random selection was the only fair way to distribute them.

In 2008, about 140,000 New Yorkers applied for inauguration tickets, while between 70,000 and 80,000 residents did so this year, he said.

"I wanted to make sure the average citizen had a chance to go," Schumer said.

Lottery winners represent almost every county in the state, the senator said.

"I'm proud to go," said Mary McPartland of East Hampton.

The theme for the 57th inaugural is "Faith in America's Future," Schumer said.

Winners won't be allowed to transfer tickets because some of those chosen to attend Obama's first inauguration sold their tickets, he said.

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