The latest jackpot-winning Powerball ticket, worth $731.1 million, was sold in a struggling coal mining town whose biggest previous claim to fame was being the hometown of baseball Hall of Famer Lefty Grove. Someone bought it at Coney Market, a convenience store in the Allegany County town of Lonaconing, the Maryland Lottery announced on Thursday. The store will get a $100,000 bonus for selling the ticket to the fifth-largest lottery prize in US history. Just who will collect the Powerball prize may never be known: Maryland is one of the states that allow winners to remain anonymous. But keeping quiet about such a huge windfall could prove difficult if the ticket was bought by a local. Lonaconing is a town of about 300 families that's well off the beaten track, with a poverty rate of more than 22%, well above the national average.
"We’re really happy for somebody," Richard Ravenscroft, the store’s owner, tells the AP. "I can’t wait to congratulate the person. I just hope whoever has won it uses it wisely and that other people benefit from it." The lottery ticket is a big win for a town that has a long history of losses, from the iron furnace that closed in 1855 to the glassworks that were shuttered in the early 1900s, to the coal-mining jobs that virtually disappeared after World War II. Ravenscroft says there is still some strip mining in the area, although that’s winding down because of environmental concerns, and the remaining factory, a pulp and paper company, shut down recently after going through a series of buyouts. It had been more than four months since anyone won the Powerball, allowing the game's jackpot to grow so large. An even larger Mega Millions jackpot will be up for grabs Friday night.
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