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January 19, 2016 • Headline News
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Lucky South Ripley bus drivers win $50,000 Powerball

15 chipped in $2 for win

Mary Mattingly

When the South Ripley bus drivers were called to meet their supervisor Thursday morning they wondered what they had done wrong. “We thought we were in trouble,” Sue Reuter, driver of bus No. 12, said. Far from it. Transportation Director Gil Landwehr announced the 15 who had pooled their money together for the record worldwide Powerball had won $50,000.

South Ripley School Bus Drivers win Powerball

Some of the winning bus drivers gathered Friday for a photo. Pictured clockwise are Rosella Elliott, Toni Diem, Jodi Schmaltz, Cyn O’Neil, Sue Reuter, Pauline Doan, Ron Buchanan, Tricia Kappes, and Julie Graham.

”What?” “Are you kidding?” “No way!” several said, amidst hoops and hollers. “I about fell out of my seat,” Tricia Kappes , driver of bus No. 8, said. Had they had all six numbers, well South Ripley might have been looking for 14 more bus drivers Thursday! (Landwehr was one of the 15 in the $30 pool).

Winning lottery ticket

The fourth row had four winning numbers for the SR bus drivers. Note the row above had No. 34 and had it been on the next line in place of the nine they would win a million dollars! They bought the ticket at Kelly’s Convenience Store in Versailles

Not all of the district’s bus drivers chipped in the $2, Seven didn’t, and probably regretted passing up the chance Thursday morning! Since the drivers had early morning duty, most of them did not stay up to watch the drawing at 11 p.m. Wednesday. Afterall, the odds of winning were 1 in 292 million.The numbers drawn were 8, 27, 34, 4, 19 and Powerball of 10, and they had 4, 8, 9, 19, 27 and 10. There were three winning Powerball tickets sold, in California, Tennessee and Florida, and several million dollar 5 ticket matches, including three in Kentucky, and a Terre Haute, Indiana resident. Batesville also had a $50,000 winner, but had not claimed the prize yet. Other $50,000 winners were reported sold in Jasper, Madison, Corydon, Seymour, Lapel, Fort Wayne (two tickets), Indianapolis, South Bend (two tickets), Richmond, Terre Haute, Danville and Hobart. There were also two $100,000 winners from Zionsville and West Lafayette.

Bus driver Ron Buchanan of Holton was the one who collected the $2 from the 15 drivers to buy the quick pick lottery ticket and bought it at Kelly’s Convenience Store in Versailles. He fell asleep before the drawing, woke up around 12:30 a.m. and saw they had the Powerball qualifier number. He went back to sleep, and woke up again around 4:30 and that’s when he saw they had four numbers. “It was a dream come true!’ he joked. He texted Landwehr “I think we won the $50,000,” He replied, “Seriously?” and Buchanan sent him a photo of the numbers. When word spread that the school bus drivers won, the local reaction was positive with many saying it couldn’t happen to a better group.

Four of the bus drivers went to Indianapolis Hoosier Lottery headquarters to collect the checks Friday. Buchanan actually had gone there Thursday and picked up the tax forms to distribute for signatures before returning Friday to get the checks. The oversized check was written out to the “Yellow Twinkies,” the name the drivers dubbed for the photo. They’ll each get $3,333, that is before taxes. Federal taxes were already taken out when they received the check, and the rest will depend on their income tax bracket and W-2 form. And, while it’s not billions or even millions, they were all tickled to win. “It’s the best $2 I ever spent!” said one of the bus drivers. And, while they knew it was more likely they’d be struck by lightning or become President of the United States, they knew they wouldn’t win a dime without playing. Buchanan added, ”I’ve spent $2 on dumber things! Shoot I used to smoke!’

He took the ticket to Kelly’s Thursday morning, but retailers don’t pay out more than $599 in lottery winnings, and they referred him to the state lottery office. He passed out their checks Friday as several gathered before the 3 p.m. bus pick-up. For having the winning ticket, Kelly’s will get 1 percent. The retailer also gets 12 cents on every ticket they sell, according to lottery officials.

While they all had big dreams had they won the $1.6 billion dollar Powerball from buying an island to a beach house or going out west to ride horses, their plans were not so complicated with this win. Several said they would pay bills. “I’m going to put mine in the bank to live off in the summer,” said Pauline Doan of Milan. Another said it would come in handy since her husband was laid off work. The lucky win also made them Powerball fans. Not regular players before this, most handed over another $2 for Saturday’s Powerball ticket. The amount was much less than the $1.6 billion, but no one would complain if they had to share $40 million! As of Monday, the lottery officials said there were no big Indiana winners and the game rolled over to $50 million.

Local Bulletin Board

Town Hall meeting with Randy Frye Saturday, Jan. 23

State Representative Randy Frye will be holding a Town Hall meeting Saturday, Jan. 23 at 9 a.m. at the Ripley County Commissioners Room in Versailles.

Park meeting cancelled

Due to the road conditions, the Friends of the Versailles State Park meeting for Tuesday has been cancelled. The meeting is now scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 5:30 p.m. at Versailles State Park Recreation Hall. A pitch-in picnic will be combined with the meeting. Bring something to eat or share. The group will be discussing activities and events for 2016 and Board elections that will occur in March.

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