LANSING, July 7, 2009 – The six-hour ride to Lansing was definitely worth it.
That was the sentiment of 12 lucky women from the town of Newberry, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, who picked up their $12.7 million Classic Lotto 47 prize today.
The Island Dreamers, as they named their club, have been playing the Lottery together for just six months. Although some of the members purchase tickets on their own here and there, this is the club’s first big win.
Debra Cummings was the first to realize their good fortune. The morning after the July 1 drawing, she went to the Holiday Market in Newberry where the clerk informed her that the store had sold the winning ticket.
“I don’t remember anything after checking the first two numbers,” Cummings said.
The Island Dreamers, who range in age from 25 to 58, are a close bunch in many ways. All of them work at the Island Grill, a Newberry restaurant owned by Janet Linck, one of the winners. Included in the group are a mom and her two daughters, a mother-in-law/daughter-in-law combination, another mom and her daughter, and some cousins.
And who was manning the restaurant while the winners traveled to Lansing?
“It’s closed!” they all yelled, adding that they hung a sign in the window that read “Lansing or bust.”
Newberry, with a population of just over 2,500 people, embraced the news of the Classic Lotto 47 win and the Island Grill soon filled with well-wishers.
“It spread like wildfire,” Linck said, noting it took “about 5 minutes” for the word to travel through town.
Support from the community was evident: The club traveled to Lansing in style in a stretch Hummer limousine, courtesy of Newberry Motors and Rahilly Motors in Newberry. Two men will also share the prize but they didn’t make the trip from Newberry.
Although they just won the prize days ago, the women knew what they wanted to buy. Among the 12, five have already purchased vehicles and a sixth, Chlorissa Patterson, bought two. One is for herself and the other for her boyfriend, who works at Holiday Market on 7502 State Highway S M 123 in Newberry. He sold group the lucky winning ticket.
Holiday Market will receive a $5,000 bonus for selling the ticket.
Kate Warren is buying her husband a truck, but “he’s not getting it until he finishes putting the fence up!” Barb Palmer is paying her son and daughter-in-law’s student loans. A few of the women said they were buying headstones for family members’ graves.
Chlorissa’s mother, Joy, and her sister, Paula, were among the winners. Joy intends to pay off her son’s home and buy a truck for another son.
“This is just awesome that I can help my family,” she said, wiping away a tear.
Over 95 cents of every dollar spent on Lottery tickets is returned to the state in the form of contributions to the state School Aid Fund, prizes to players and commissions to retailers. In fiscal year 2008, the contribution to schools was $740.7 million. Since its inception in 1972, the Lottery has contributed more than $15 billion to education in Michigan.
For additional information, please visit the Lottery’s Web site at https://www.michiganlottery.com.
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