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Local Wins Lotto

Once a week, Robert Blume goes to Virpa Convenience on Carman Ave. to buy breakfast and lottery tickets. When he bought his Mega Millions and Powerball tickets on Sunday, Oct. 20, it was just like any other day. But when he went in to Virpa to check his tickets later that week, life changed forever. 


He won $7 with his Mega Millions ticket, and then ran his Powerball ticket through the ticket check. Instead of the usual reading of “Sorry You Are Not A Winner,” he saw a message that said ‘Big Winner. See Retailer.’


“I thought something was wrong with the machine so I called the two guys that own the store to come look for themselves. They said there was nothing wrong with the machine and that the store had sold a million dollar ticket,” Blume said. 


Blume says his immediate reaction was disbelief, and last week at an official winner check presentation at the new Lottery Customer Service Center in Plainview, he says it’s still surreal. 


“I was in big disbelief that I won,” Blume says. “I was happy, but it was kind of surreal. It’s nice and I’m certainly not disappointed.” 


Blume won $1 million, which he has chosen to receive in a lump sum of $661,800 after required withholdings. A project manager for a roofing company, the Westbury resident plans to use his winnings to invest in his children’s education and for other investments for the future. 


“We’re big animal people,” said Blume, who owns 10 cats and a dog. “I can see us maybe doing something nice for animals too.” 


Virpa Convenience owner Vijay Patel says the store is no stranger to winning tickets. They had a million dollar winner in 2007 and a Take 5 $19,000 winner last year. 


“You can come anytime, this is a lucky place,” Patel says with a laugh. 


Westbury High School students are teaching younger children from Park Avenue Elementary School valuable life lessons about money and business skills through the High School Heroes program.


In this program, high school students that are taking Renate Johnson’s Junior Achievement class will go into first grade classrooms to teach 45-minute lessons.


“It is a program that gives high school and younger students confidence and teaches them about business and financial literacy,” said Johnson.

The Westbury Historical Society will host Dr. Natalie Naylor, professor emerita at Hofstra University and author of Women in Long Island’s Past: Eminent Ladies and Everyday Lives at their next meeting on March 9. 


Naylor’s presentation will focus on the place of women in Long Island’s history, including several prominent women from Westbury’s past.  


Albertson resident and Kellenberg sophomore Gabby Schreib qualified for the Millrose Games in New York City. Schreib qualified as a member of the Sprint Medley Relay along with Danielle Correia, Bridget McNierney, and Jazmine Fray. 


The Kellenberg relay’s close second place finish in January’s Millrose Trials has moved them closer to defending the title they won in the same relay at last year’s Millrose Games. Schreib and her teammates time is currently second in the United States for girls track and field performances.

Congratulations to Westbury athletes Michael Esposito, Eileen Harris, Brett Harris, and Michael Going, each of whom won awards in Race # 1 of the Jonas Chiropractic Run Nassau Series co-hosted by Nassau County and the Greater Long Island Running Club.


Michael Esposito, age 15, took home the second place award in the 15-19 age group with a time of 23 minutes, 6 seconds.  Eileen Harris, age 42, earned the first place award in the women’s 40-44 age group.  She completed the race with her 45 year old husband, Brett Harris, who was the third place award winner in the men’s 45-49 age group.  Michael Going, age 41, scored third place honors in the 40-44 age group with a time of 20 minutes, 51 seconds.


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