News Around The Nation

 NEW JERSEY

NJ Lottery Logo

New Jersey Lottery officials say a single ticket sold at a New Jersey grocery store won the Powerball jackpot worth an estimated $315.3 million on May 19, 2018.

The Lottery says the winning ticket for Saturday night’s drawing was sold at a Shoprite in Hackensack, Bergen County. The ticket matched all five white balls and the Powerball to win the jackpot, which has a $183.2 million cash value.

Acting New Jersey Lottery Executive Director John White says officials encourage the winner to sign the back of the winning ticket, make a copy of both sides and put it in a safe place, and then contact Lottery headquarters.

As of press time, the winner had not come forward to claim their prize.

MISSOURI

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In a serendipitous turn of events, a Bonne Terre, Missouri couple had some trouble sleeping after discovering their fourth Powerball ticket, that they almost didn’t purchase, was worth $1 million.

On the evening of May 5, Gerald and Norma Rokan were on their way home from church when they stopped at Chuck and BJ’s, 919 Benham St., in Bonne Terre. While there, Gerald Rokan picked some Powerball tickets using Quick Pick.

“I had money in my billfold. I had a five and one single that I saw. And as she was starting to get me my tickets, I said, ‘Well, go ahead and give me another one because I found two more dollars,’” said Gerald Rokan. “And my comment to her was, ‘This might be an indicator.’”

And when Gerald Rokan looked through his tickets, it was that fourth ticket he bought with the extra $2 he found that matched all five white-ball numbers, making his winning ticket worth $1 million. But he didn’t realize the extent of his win at first.

“At that time I thought, ‘I better try these other glasses,’” said Gerald Rokan, as his wife laughed. “I just kept comparing it, but I had no idea what I had won. I mean, it shows on that printout, but it still wasn’t registering.”

Once his wife came home, Gerald Rokan asked her to sit down because he had something good to tell her. He held up the ticket in his hand, but she didn’t believe him. It wasn’t until his son pointed out that it (winning numbers breakdown) showed one $1 million ticket had been sold in Missouri that both Gerald and Norma Rokan realized this might be real.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing!” said Gerald Rokan.

CALIFORNIA

Group of 22 Las Vegas Co-Workers Come Forward to Claim Nearly $2 Million Powerball Prize!

Las Vegas Group 400

They have been trying. Boy, oh boy, have they been trying. We’re talking years of never giving up. It just goes to show faith and determination can indeed pay off – literally!

A group of 22 workers from a Las Vegas construction company have been pooling their money every month for more than a decade to play Powerball and Mega Millions. Their loyalty finally paid off when they won a staggering $1,999,845 Powerball prize!

These lucky 22 friends work together at Las Vegas Paving Corp. They split nearly $2 million after matching five of the six numbers from the January 31 Powerball draw. The group’s winning numbers were 4-7-14-46 and 59.

Ironically, they missed the red Powerball number 22, which is the number of coworkers who pool their money! The group would have won the estimated $128 million jackpot that night, but alas, they had red Powerball number 13. But nobody is complaining!

“For some people, this is a life-changer,” said Kris Ann Molitor, who works in the company’s maintenance division. “To even get (and split) this amount of money, it’s a life-changer for all of us!”

This same group of 22 has been trying to hit it big for more than a decade. Tom Hampton faithfully collects all the money from his colleagues and, with his wife, makes the roughly 45-mile monthly pilgrimage to the Primm Valley Lotto store in Nipton, California (I-15 and Stateline). They purchase four weeks’ worth of Powerball and Mega Millions Advance Play tickets.

So how did Hampton find out his group of 22 won nearly $2 million? “I woke up to a text from a co-worker (Kirk Molitor),” Hampton recalled. “I thought it was a joke at first. But then I went to work and started telling everyone who didn’t already know (that we were millionaires)!”

“I think for a lot of us, once we saw that money in our bank accounts, we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s real. It’s really happened.’ Like I said, for a lot of us, it’s a game-changer,” Molitor said.

The group rented a private bus to claim their lucky ticket at the California Lottery’s Inland Empire District Office in San Bernardino, CA. And get this: “As a matter of fact, on the bus ride (from Las Vegas to San Bernardino) we stopped in Barstow (California) and a lot of us bought [Scratchers] tickets!”

As for the winners who split the nearly $2 million prize (before federal taxes): “Some people are taking vacations, some are investing in their kids’ college funds,” explained Molitor, who is acting as spokesperson for her co-workers. “My husband Kirk and I were able to pay our house off with the winnings and are now debt-free!”

The big question now – is the group of 22 still interested in playing the California Lottery, and making that nearly one-hour monthly drive to Stateline? “Of course! Why stop now?” Hampton said. “I already have everyone’s money for the next draws!”

VIRGINIA

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Monica Powers had a strange feeling before the May 2 Powerball drawing. She had won $16 in a recent drawing and decided to use it to play Powerball.

“I just thought, ‘Roll the dice,’” the Richmond woman said.

So she bought a ticket at 3 Chopt Market, 7000 Three Chopt Road in Richmond. She used Easy pick, allowing the computer to randomly select the numbers on her ticket.

The next morning, she checked the winning numbers and couldn’t believe what she saw.

“I looked at the winning numbers again and thought, ‘Wait a minute! I think I have these numbers!’” she said.

She matched the first five numbers, missing only the Powerball number, to win $1 million.

When she showed up at the Virginia Lottery’s Richmond headquarters to claim her prize, she brought a home-made sign reading, “I love VA. Thank you for a million reasons to love it even more!!!!”

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