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$552M Mega Millions Winner Claims Prize In IL: 'It Still Feels Unreal'

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$552M Mega Millions Winner Claims Prize In IL: 'It Still Feels Unreal'


ILLINOIS — The Illinois winner of the $552 million Mega Millions lottery prize has come forward to claim their money, which represents the largest jackpot to be won by playing the game online in U.S. history.

“I was scrolling through my emails when I saw one from the Illinois Lottery saying to check my numbers because I won a prize,” the winner, who asked to remain anonymous, said in a lottery news release. “In the past, I’ve won $2 here or $5 there, so I assumed it would be similar.”

“You can’t imagine my shock and disbelief when I saw that I had won the jackpot amount of $552 million. I actually quit the app and then signed back in to double-check and make sure it was real. It was real alright — but it still feels unreal!”

The winner matched the June 4 jackpot numbers of 19, 37, 40, 63, 69 and 17. It was the ninth-largest Mega Millions prize in the game’s history and the second-largest won in Illinois. A July 2022 ticket bought at a Des Plaines gas station yielded a $1.337 billion jackpot, which is the biggest lottery prize ever won in the state.

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Last week’s jackpot will come out to $260.2 million in cash, according to Mega Millions.

“I was raised by a single mom and throughout my childhood, she had to work two jobs to provide for our family, to put food on the table, and for us to get an education,” the winner said in the news release.

“I am a hard worker. I’ve spent my life as a laborer and once I was making a decent living, I asked my mom to retire and let me take care of her. It was my way of thanking her for how much she sacrificed for us. I haven’t told her yet about this life-changing windfall but when that time comes, we’re all going to be shedding some happy tears.”

The lucky winner plans to retire early and enjoy life with family.



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Central Illinois prepares to honor Juneteenth days before the official observance – IPM Newsroom

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Central Illinois prepares to honor Juneteenth days before the official observance – IPM Newsroom


Although Juneteenth falls on Wednesday of next week, many central Illinois communities will celebrate the historical moment this weekend. 

Friday at 11:00 a.m., the City of Urbana will host a ceremony and raise the red, white, and blue Juneteenth flag at city hall.

Saturday from noon to 3:00 p.m., the Champaign Park district will host a Juneteenth celebration at Douglass Park with different vendors, music, and food. Illinois Soul, which is a production of Illinois Public Media, will be one of the vendors.

Sunday at 1:00 p.m., Crystal Lake Park in Urbana will host music, food, and fishing as part of honoring Black Freedom.

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Also on Sunday, The Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater in Decatur will host a Freedom Day celebration from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. Performances include African dance and drumming.

Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865.

Federal and state offices will be closed on Wednesday.

On Thursday, June 20, Illinois Soul and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts will present a Juneteenth concert featuring artist, author, and actress Syleena Johnson. The Grammy-nominated R&B singer-songwriter will take to the stage at 6:00 p.m. at Krannert’s Lobby/Stage 5/Stage 6 area. The performance is free to the public.

Reginald Hardwick contributed to this story.

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Illinois Schedule Preview, Aug. 31: Fighting Illini Faces Eastern Illinois In Saturday Showdown

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Illinois Schedule Preview, Aug. 31: Fighting Illini Faces Eastern Illinois In Saturday Showdown


The Illinois Fighting Illini kick off their season with a Saturday showdown on Aug. 31 against the Eastern Illinois Panthers.

Quarterback Luke Altmyer is starting his first opener for the Illini after transferring from Mississippi. The 21-year-old discussed the adjustment period with the team following a 116-yard, two-touchdown performance in a late-April spring game.

“That’s kind of the deal with me, being more assertive, more urgent in my game,” Altmyer said. “It comes with a lot of things. It comes with reps. It comes with being more comfortable with what I’m doing … I’m excited to move forward and looking forward to the fall and being able to showcase it.”

Eastern Illinois finished last season with a record of 8-3, one of their most notable wins was a one-point triumph over Illinois State. Despite a recent drought of NFL talent, quarterbacks including Tony Romo (retired Dallas Cowboy) and Jimmy Garoppolo (Los Angeles Rams) attended the school.

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This marks the third meeting between the schools. Illinois has dominated the series, winning 47-21 in 2008 and 42-17 in 2006. There is no reason to expect that to change because the talent gap is still evident as ever. Illinois has their sights set on making an impact in the Big Ten.

If anything, the Fighting Illini can gain some valuable experience for Altmyer and some of the newcomers. It should also provide a solid tuneup before facing Kansas the following week in Champaign for Family Weekend.

Anthony Pasciolla is a contributor for Illini Now. He can be reached at ampasciolla@gmail.com or on Instagram @anthony.pasciolla





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Judge faces inquiry after Illinois attorney was kicked out of court and handcuffed to chair

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Judge faces inquiry after Illinois attorney was kicked out of court and handcuffed to chair


CHICAGO — Cook County’s top judge has asked state regulators to review allegations that an attorney was handcuffed to a chair after a judge kicked him out of her courtroom.

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans referred misconduct allegations against Judge Kathy Flanagan to the state Judicial Inquiry Board on Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

According to a sheriff’s report and court transcripts, attorney Brad Schneiderman was arguing for his client at a May 7 hearing when Flanagan told him to stop talking and ordered the attorneys to step back. Schneiderman walked toward the gallery, muttering, then turned back to the bench, according to the sheriff’s report.

Flanagan then yelled, “That’s it. Take him,” the report said. A deputy took Schneiderman into a back hallway and handcuffed him to a chair. The deputy told the county’s judicial executive committee that he was following protocol when holding someone in custody.

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Flanagan later told deputies to let Schneiderman go. The attorney returned to the courtroom. According to a transcript, he complained that he hadn’t been given a chance to explain his client’s position. He said that in 17 years of practice he’d never had a problem with a judge before Flanagan accused him of being sexist.

Flanagan accused the lawyer of making false statements and the hearing soon ended.

Flanagan has served as a judge since 1998. She told the judicial executive committee that she didn’t hold Schneiderman in contempt and never asked that he be taken into custody.

The judicial executive committee has referred Schneiderman’s conduct to the state Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

Schneiderman declined the Sun-Times’ requests for comment and didn’t immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press on Wednesday.

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