Huge lottery wins come with a side of envy

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Ellis Henican Newsday columnist Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and ...

Don't you hate those people in Missouri and Arizona?

Every time someone else wins a giant lottery, a certain resentment wells up in the rest of us. This is easy since there are so few of them and so many of us.

What did they do to deserve their lucky fortune? What makes them any better than you and me? Why does fate keep flying past my house?

These days, it takes a supersized Powerball to spark winner envy. No one even bothers to feel left out of a $25- or $50 million pot. But last week's $588 million mega-jackpot clearly crossed the ever-rising jealousy threshold.

Cindy and Mark Hill, a laid-off office manager and a meatpacking mechanic from Dearborn, Mo., were introduced to the world on Friday. They bought their winning ticket, a quick-pick, at a Dearborn Trex Mart. Try saying that five times fast.

The Hills will share the mammoth prize with a lucky ticket-holder, not yet identified, from the 4 Sons Food Store in Fountain Hills near Phoenix. Soon enough, they'll all be dividing the resentment among themselves.

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The Hills seem like nice, hardworking people, down-to-earth regular folks -- if they weren't suddenly deep-pocketed enough to buy their own meatpacking plant or take over the office that laid off Cindy and fire her old boss immediately.

Now that's something even a nonwinner could enjoy.

REPLAYED

1. A dollar and a sigh.

2. Gotta be in it to lose it.

@Newsday

3. Hey, sometimes you do know, and the news isn't good.

4. Raising billions to educate? Well, at least a few.

5. If I had a million dollars, I wouldn't need to play your stinkin' game.

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: How many LIPA board members does it take to screw in a power grid? Chairman Howard Steinberg's just the latest plug pull at the Sandy-battered utility . . . New policy on campus? Hofstra basketball players can't just take anything they want? . . . What made former Greenport Trustee Bill Swiskey snap at Mayor David Nyce: "Good luck with your clown act, Mr. Mayor"? Did things turn a little tense after Nyce tried to hide a list of donors to the Memorial Day Tall Ships Challenge? . . . Should a power outage disconnect a state senator's social media for five days? Smithtown-area state Sen. John Flanagan (and Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick) are now trying to explain the silence . . . What keeps Ida Zipkis young? Can it really be "I eat a lot of ice cream," as she claimed at the Bristal Assisted Living community during her 104th birthday bash? . . . Did you enjoy your extra 3 percent? That's what LI per capita income supposedly grew last year, up $2,111 to $67,776 in Nassau and up $1,640 to $52,350 in Suffolk . . . What absentee rate should LI schools expect during Presidents Week? Pre-Sandy, lots of families planned nonrefundable vacations on what are now official class days . . . When Bolt Bus says LI-NYC "as low as $1," how many will actually ride for a buck after the Dec. 10-17 bargain intro? Shouldn't they advertise the highest price too? . . . If the Suffolk County Board of Health succeeds in yanking energy drinks from the hands of under-19-year-olds, when will coffee houses start checking IDs? Don't those grande coffees rival Jolt's and Red Bull's caffeine?

THE NEWS IN SONG: Even better than the Lotto ad: Barenaked Ladies, "If I Had a Million Dollars," tinyurl.com/dawinnas

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LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: COMPLETE STREETERS

Yes, streets carry cars and trucks. But why should private motor vehicles have a monopoly of such an important public resource? That's the fundamental question behind Suffolk County's Complete Streets policy, which demands that planners also consider the needs of walkers, bikers, public- transit riders and other potential street users. It's a longtime goal of groups such as the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Vision Long Island and AARP. Suffolk County Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue) is helping guide the policy's adoption. He says get ready for the 21st century road.

Email ellis@henican.com

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