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Single mom wins house in Lincoln Crossing

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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Eleven-year-old Ryan Draa always wanted a two-story house, and through an incredible stroke of luck, he will move into a brand-new, fully automated two-story house in Lincoln with his mother this weekend. The best part for his mother, Jennifer Draa, is that she won the home in a drawing that had 635,000 entries. “It’s just great,” Draa said. “Especially with the economy the way it is these days. I could plan for something like this but there’s no way I could have just gone out and bought it.” Draa said she and Ryan currently live in a condominium on San Juan Avenue in Citrus Heights. “I really look forward to the quiet,” Draa said. “We always hear the sirens and the street and the neighbors in the condo.” Though the house was a prize, the government still expects a cut to the tune of $96,000 in taxes on the total package, Draa said. Draa, a dispatcher for the California Department of Parks and Recreation working in Rancho Cordova, said she plans to take out a loan to pay the taxes. For Ryan, the thrill of the new home is enhanced by the touch-screen computer monitors throughout the house that do everything from controlling the lighting and air conditioning to playing music and Xbox games. “It’s pretty neat,” Ryan said. “It’s a ‘smart house.’ ” Ryan likes his room, he said, and looks forward to putting in his Xbox and making new friends in the neighborhood. The technology included in the home was inspired by the Innoventions Dream Home in the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. It was on a visit to Disneyland last year that Draa entered the contest at a kiosk in the Innoventions Dream Home. “I put in five entries and then I visited a sales office later and was able to put in a total of 64 entries,” Draa said. In August, Draa said, she received several calls from a number that she didn’t recognize on her Caller ID. For three days, she didn’t answer the calls and the caller never left a message. Finally, on the third day, Draa said she answered the phone, and a woman said, “You entered a contest, didn’t you?” When Draa replied that she had, the woman said, “Well, you won.” Draa said she couldn’t believe the news when she heard it. “It’s pretty amazing,” Draa said. The house, built and donated by Taylor Morrison Homes, is in the Courtyards development in Lincoln Crossing. With more than 200 communities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Texas, Taylor Morrison, Inc., offers first-time, mid-market and mid-to-upscale housing in both master-planned communities and urban infill neighborhoods, according to a press release. The homes in the development start in the high $100,000s, said Dar Ahrens, Northern California Division president for Taylor Morrison homes. The 2,000-square-foot home Draa chose sells for about $240,000. The technology package, Ahrens said, can control any electronic media device plugged into it and is “not something that is 10 or 20 years in the future. It’s something you can get right now.” Ahrens estimated the total value of the technology package at $10,000. “We would have been excited for whoever the winner was,” Ahrens said, “but we’re very excited for her. It couldn’t have gone to a nicer person.” Draa’s family members said they were shocked to hear the news that she’d won. “Honestly, it’s a miracle,” said Susan Draa, Jennifer’s mother, who lives in Rocklin. “It’s something that we wished and wished for – a change, a new start, and then it came. What a journey. It has been a very happy journey. They’ve been so great to my little girl.” Dennis Penzel, Draa’s uncle, said he was surprised there wasn’t a catch. “It’s amazing,” said Penzel, who lives in Auburn. “It’s just a house of the future.” Julie Dougherty, Draa’s friend of 20 years, accompanied Draa on a trip to Disneyland in October to pick out the furniture and options for the house. “She’s well-deserving of this,” Dougherty said. “She’s a great person. She’s a very giving person and I’m glad someone gave her something.” Dougherty said it was hard to wait the seven months it took to build the house. “It’s beautiful,” Dougherty said. “I love the innovations.” Draa could have chosen to live anywhere Taylor Morrison was building homes but said she chose Lincoln to stay close to her family and because of the easy access to nature. “I liked Lincoln the best,” Draa said. “Ryan likes to ride his bike and fish. Placer County is such a good place to live.” Taylor Morrison is currently holding its 2009 Dream Home Contest and anyone can enter online at taylormorrison.com, Ahrens said. The contest started this month and runs through June 1. “We are very excited that Taylor Morrison has decided to launch another sweepstakes, inspired by the Innoventions Dream Home at Disneyland,” said David C. Miller, director of Alliance Development for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in a press release. Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at brandond@goldcountrymedia.com.