Friday the 13th lucky for lottery winner

FORT JOHNSON-A Tribes Hill woman is planning to retire after winning $1 million from the New York state Lottery on a day generally known for bad luck.

Julie Hemstreet of Tribes Hill received a $1 million ceremonial check in the Stewart’s Shop in the village Wednesday thanks to her lucky purchase of a Cash Blowout scratch-off game ticket on Friday, Sept. 13.

The 64-year-old Tribes Hill resident said she was on her way to work at Liberty ARC when she stopped for gas at the store. At the checkout counter, she noticed the ticket.

“It just sort of caught my eye,” she said.

Hemstreet bought the ticket that caught her eye, and one from one register.

Kim Pelosi, an employee at Stewart’s who sold the ticket to Hemstreet, said she had winners before, but generally only for $500 or $2,500.

“Never a million,” Pelosi said.

Hemstreet said while scratching the ticket off as she made breakfast at work, she had to blink and reread the card to make sure she wasn’t misunderstanding the result.

“It seemed surreal,” Hemstreet said.

Hemstreet then took the day off, going to claim her ticket.

The New York state Lottery’s Yolanda Vega said Hemstreet took her money in one lump sum payment, totalling to roughly $549,000 dollars after taxes.

Hemstreet said her main goal now is to retire and enjoy herself.

“I’d like to have a good time with it,” she said.

According to Hemstreet, she has worked split shifts six days a week at Liberty for more than 24 years.

Hemstreet said she and her husband, Robert, plan on taking a vacation in South Carolina, and plan to pay some bills.

“It is going to be wonderful,” Hemstreet said.

Hemstreet even bought her husband a new truck soon after they learned they had won, saying it was time her husband got to enjoy life.

Lawrence Michalski, a salesman at Herba Nissan, said they had come in and told him something had happened, and they needed a new truck. Michalski said he instantly thought it was a car accident or something bad.

“They said ‘No, it was good,'” Michalski said, who then saw a copy of the ticket.