News Around the Nation

NEW JERSEY

The sole winner of the world’s 10th largest lottery jackpot moved last year to New Jersey and works as a production manager at food-service manufacturer, state lottery officials announced.

Richard Wahl, 47, of Vernon Township, N.J., bought his Mega Millions ticket, worth $533 million, the day before the March 30 drawing at a convenience store located on a route to work. He opted to take $324 million in cash now rather than the full value in installments over 30 years.

“We’re a humble family, and we’re going to keep our roots,” Wahl said Friday as lottery officials presented his oversized check. “We are not the type to run out and spend all the money and have a great time and party it up.”

Ameer Krass, who identified Wahl earlier by looking at video surveillance footage around the time officials said the winning ticket was sold, called Wahl a regular at his gas station mini-mart but kept mum on the winner’s name.

Wahl moved to New Jersey in July from Michigan and works at AAK Foodservice. He said he and his family had not made a decision about moving, but his decision for the cash prize means he will collect about $175 million after federal, state, and local taxes.

At first, Wahl said he looked at the ticket, his gateway to the fourth largest Mega Millions jackpot, and thought he had won $1 million.

“I was excited, life-changing money,” he said. He became emotional when recounting the moment he realized he had won the grand prize.

“It didn’t sink in. It was truly amazing.” Wahl said he walked upstairs and told his wife they were going on vacation. “We hit it,” he told her.

Then they reviewed the numbers about 15 times more just to be sure, put the valuable ticket in a fireproof safe and didn’t leave the house all weekend, he said.  He claimed the prize two weeks later.

Wahl would like to rebuild a 1964 Corvette and said he hopes to do charity work with the winnings. He already has consulted a team of financial experts, who were present at the lottery’s news conference.

“For us, we believe God has a plan,” Wahl said. “It’s not only life-changing money for me, we want it to be life-changing money for others — family, friends, people in need.”

His mother has been on a reduced income in recent times, he said. Now he will be able to help her.

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NEBRASKA

Nebraska Lottery officials say a Powerball ticket worth $1 million was sold to a couple from Bennington.

Brad and Kim Brunk claimed their prize from a ticket they bought the ticket at a Cubby’s convenience store in Bennington. Their ticket matched the first five numbers in the Powerball drawing but missed on the Powerball number.

Nebraska winners

The Brunks told Nebraska Lottery officials they used the jersey numbers of her favorite Chicago Cubs baseball players for their ticket numbers. They said they’ll use the money to pay bills, set up college funds for their children and grandchildren and save for retirement.

MISSOURI

It’s not every day that Kennet “Kenny” McGuire of Clarksville purchases a Missouri Lottery Powerball ticket. In fact, it’s more like every once in a while.

“I just buy one whenever I’m at the gas station and I think about it. I’ve bought maybe five tickets so far this year,” said McGuire.

On April 4, while getting sodas at Abel’s Quik Shop, 602 S. Third St. in Louisiana, the Lottery caught McGuire’s eye.

“I bought one Quick Pick Powerball ticket and stuck it in my wallet,” recalled McGuire.

It wasn’t until the Clarksville resident and his wife, Brandi, returned to Abel’s Quik Shop 10 days later that they had the ticket checked for prizes.

“I handed the ticket to the clerk. He scanned it, and he told me that he couldn’t cash the ticket,” explained McGuire, who previously worked Abel’s Quik Shop and knows the clerk.

“I told him, ‘Well, if you can’t cash it, throw it away.’ He said, ‘No! You’re going to have to go to the Lottery office to cash this. I can’t cash it,’” recalled McGuire.

McGuire’s Powerball ticket matched four of the five white-ball numbers and the Powerball number drawn in the April 4 drawing, resulting in a $50,000 prize.

After convincing his wife that the ticket was real, the McGuires traveled to the Lottery’s St. Louis office on April 16 to claim the prize.

“She keeps joking with me, saying things like, ‘You had $50,000 in your wallet for 10 days and didn’t tell me? How selfish are you?’” laughed McGuire.

With the $50,000 prize, the McGuires are looking forward to paying off their debt and treating their growing family with a trip to Six Flags St. Louis. McGuire also plans to share a small portion of the prize with the clerk who sold him the ticket.

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