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Couples to split lottery winnings

BOISE, Idaho - Rumors that a $2 million winning Powerball ticket sold in Salmon for the July 28 draw might be on a river float trip in a dry bag and the winner completely unaware of having the ticket turned out to be at least partially true, according to a news release from the Idaho Lottery.

Mike and Mary Rodrigue of South Jordan, Utah had their winning ticket with them on a dinner Riverboat Cruise on the Columbia River that night and were completely unaware they were holding a ticket worth $2 million. It was not until three days later when they returned to Utah and received a call from their niece, Jennifer Baldwin of Salmon, that they checked their tickets and learned they had the big winner.

"It was all the talk in Salmon. I called my aunt and asked if she had checked our tickets yet to see if they had the $2 million winner," said Baldwin. "She called me back about 20 minutes later and said ‘We're the winners. Congratulations, you just won a million dollars!'"

The couples' ticket matched all five of the first numbers, but not the Powerball, and had the Power Play feature, which turned their $1 million into a $2 million winner. The two couples have been playing Powerball together for over 10 years and always planned to split any winnings.

"I thought we'd be splitting about $100, never $2 million," said Baldwin's husband, Dennis, who owns a tow truck business in Salmon. "This is unreal."

The Rodrigues are retired, have lived in South Jordan for over four decades and recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Mike said he has very specific plans for his winnings.

"I'm going to spend it," he said. "On things I'd like. I might start with taking that Alaska Cruise."

The Baldwins were a little more judicious with their windfall plans.

"We're not going to spend it," said Dennis during the check presentation at the lottery offices in Boise. "We're going to invest it."

"We have boys and we'd like to plan for their college education," said Jennifer.

The winning ticket was sold at the Salmon River Quick Stop at 1200 Main St. in Salmon. For its part in selling the winning ticket, the store will get a $25,000 bonus from the Idaho Lottery.

The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night is now an estimated $320 million, the fourth-largest in the game's history. The Idaho Lottery is reminding everyone who plays Powerball to do so responsibly.

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