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September 8, 2010

Columbia Woman Gets Lucky Again

Story Photo audio icon Shirley Kowalewski is a self-described Lottery player, and she has a number of large wins to prove it.  The 53-year-old Columbia resident’s latest triumph is a $3,000 prize on the new Missouri Lottery “$200,000 A Year For Life” Scratchers game.  Before that, she won $200,000 playing Powerball in 2007, and a $10,000 prize on a “4 Million Dollar Cash Bonanza” Scratchers ticket in 2008.  Kowalewski doesn’t consider herself lucky, but understands that other people may feel that way. 
   
“I would say not generally, but sometimes, I get really, really lucky,” she explained. 
     
“There’s got to be some gift from God from having had been married to me,” added her husband, Tom.  “There’s got to be some compensation,” he laughed. 
   
He continued, “There are a lot of people who do follow very closely who’s winning what on the Internet.  I know that whenever this hits, I’ll get grief about it.  Tell your wife…”
   
“Stop playing,” interjected Shirley.
   
“Some of the rest of us would like to win,” continued Tom. 
   
Shirley said she started as a regular Powerball player, but after hitting the second-level prize in 2007, she decided she better branch out. 
   
“I never played the Scratchers that much, until after I won the Powerball,” she explained.  “And then I thought, well, my odds of winning the Powerball again aren’t that great, so I better try something else.” 
   
And although that strategy has worked out for her, the luck “comes and goes.”  Shirley said she prefers the $10 and $20 tickets because she feels like she wins better prizes more often.  
   
“All the luck can’t be good, so if you have really, really good luck, then every once in a while you’re going to have some not-so-good luck,” added Tom.  He went on to say that he lets Shirley do all the scratching because “there can only be so much luck in a family.” 
   
The Kowalewskis plan to pay bills with the prize money, even though some will be “disconcerted that it’s not going to a flat-screen TV.”  But at least some of the money will be spent on Columbia Parks and Recreation. 
   
“Five hundred dollars of it will go to joining the ARC (Activity and Recreation Center) in Columbia so we can work out,” said Shirley.  The couple said they enjoy working out there and praised the city for maintaining the facility, as well as for the other great programs offered, such as the Farmers Market. 
   
It’s a safe bet that Shirley will keep playing the Lottery.  Whether or not she will win again, she said, “I don’t know.  But it’s fun trying, I guess.” 
   
“$200,000 A Year For Life” is a $20 game that officially began Aug. 28.  The top prize in the game is $200,000 a year, paid as a lump sum based on a 20-year time frame, or as an annuity paying $200,000 a year for the remainder of the winner’s life.  The game also features a prize of $50,000 a year for life.

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