Missouri couple claims half of Powerball jackpot; Pennsylvania urges winner to come forward

Friday, July 11th 2003, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A Missouri couple has claimed half of the $261.3 million Powerball lottery jackpot, but as for who held the other winning ticket, sold in Pennsylvania _ that remained a mystery.

William and Claudia Walkenbach of Hermann, Mo., were decidedly modest in how they plan to spend their newfound fortune.

William Walkenbach, a production supervisor, said he wants to ``finally get me a tractor with brakes.'' Claudia Walkenbach, a substitute teacher, said she'd buy a new refrigerator to replace the couple's 30-year-old model.

Neither purchase will make a dent the forms of payment from which the Walkenbachs can choose: $130.6 million in 30 annual installments of $4.3 million, or a lump sum payment of $73.6 million. Both figures are before taxes.

The couple bought their winning ticket Wednesday at the Hermann Fuel Mart in Hermann, a town of about 2,600 on the Missouri River.

The other winning ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Cranberry Township, Pa., about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh.

The payout was the largest in Pennsylvania Lottery history, said state lottery director Edward Mahlman, who had some advice for the winner.

``We would like them to sign that ticket immediately _ to then call a trusted financial adviser and lastly, to contact the Pennsylvania Lottery.''

The store owner, Jim Lash, will get $400,000 for selling the ticket. Vendors are given one half of 1 percent of the ticket's worth, with a cap of $400,000.

The numbers in Wednesday night's drawing were 19-21-26-31-51 and Powerball 40. The Walkenbachs won using numbers selected by the computer.

The jackpot has surpassed $200 million four times since Powerball began in 1992. The largest jackpot was the Christmas 2002 prize of $314.9 million, won by a West Virginia contractor.

Powerball, the nation's largest lottery game, is sold in 24 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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