'St. Michael Nine' share $2 million Powerball prize

Mar. 16—ST. MICHAEL, Pa. — Nine friends will share the proceeds from a $2 million Powerball ticket sold last month at Forest Hills Pharmacy.

Pennsylvania Lottery officials visited the pharmacy on Thursday morning to present a commemorative check to the "St. Michael Nine," as they call themselves.

"We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate this group of friends," said Victoria Holman, lottery regional sales manager, "who call themselves the St. Michael Nine because there are nine of them who pool their money to play the lottery. They get together at the St. Michael American Legion."

The nine winners are Charles Banks, Robert Blanchetti, Dennis Cobaugh, Joseph Daniels, James Endler, Gary Keiper, Bob MacTavish, Richard Martyak and Marjorie Shingle.

Each of the nine players will receive about $162,000 after taxes, lottery officials say. Forest Hills Pharmacy, 552 Locust St., St. Michael, got a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

MacTavish, a retired construction worker, is designated to buy the tickets for the group. He served as the group spokesman for Thursday's presentation.

"There's not really a lot to tell," MacTavish said. "We always play twice a week, either the Powerball or the Mega Millions, and I always play the Power Play or the Mega Ball. After about 20 years of doing this, we finally made it."

The number of players in the group has fluctuated over the years, he said, with as many as 16 in the pool at one time.

The winning ticket matched all five white balls drawn, 11-19-39-44-65, but not the red Powerball — 7.

The Power Play multiplier was 2. If MacTavish hadn't added the $1 Power Play for the winning ticket, the prize would have been $1 million, Holman pointed out.

"Adding the Power Play feature can multiply non-jackpot prizes," she said.

Since it was launched in 1972, the Pennsylvania Lottery has provided $33.8 billion for services benefiting older Pennsylvanians. Programs supported include property tax and rent rebates, transportation, care services, prescription assistance and senior centers.