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Bits and Pieces: Lotto Hit Aids Small Printer

September 2013 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
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There's good news for a printer located on North Carolina's Outer Banks, courtesy of the Powerball lottery. While she came just one number away from capturing a nine-figure jackpot, Valerie Mason won't brood about her $10,000 windfall.

Mason, a resident of Ocracoke Island who owns a commercial printing company, matched four of the five numbers—as well as the Powerball number—in the Aug. 7 drawing. There were three grand prize winners, two in New Jersey and another in Minnesota, who will divvy up $448 million. One of the New Jersey winners was a group of 16 co-workers.

Incredibly, Mason plunked down just $2 total when she bought it at Ocracoke Station. When she collected her winnings, she revealed what plans she had for her modest windfall: She will reinvest the money in her printing company.

While $10K won't get you much in terms of high-impact equipment, a payday like that can mean the world to a small print shop owner. Even if it's just a downpayment or enough to bring in tabletop gear or binding equipment, the competitive edge it provides—particularly to a small shop—is immeasurable. Congratulations, Valerie, and good luck with your investment.

Slow News Day: There's just no pleasing some folk. Prior to the Internet age, people would grouse about certain news not being included in the newspaper—a physical item with a finite amount of space.

Fast forward to today. Check out the comments section of a Yahoo! news article, and there's bound to be a gripe or two about the news value of the story. Yes, even though we have enough bandwidth to blog about our daily dietary intake, there are still some people who will become offended because they wasted their time reading a story about, say, a two-headed fish. We call these people trolls.

Yes, the beauty of the online age is that we can provide tidbits on even the most mundane of stories. Take Newsquest Publishing from the United Kingdom, which parents 15 regional newspapers spanning the southwest of England. Earlier this summer, it related the tale of a lost tortoise having wandered into Astra Printing in Cullompton.

Since the owner was nowhere to be found, employee Michelle Wells scooped up the critter and volunteered to look after it until…wait! A rogue turtle crawling into a printing shop is worth reporting? Are they nuts or something? Of course, that makes Bits and Pieces worse for passing it along.

Anyway, Michelle and her husband, Kristian, are keen on returning the tortoise to its rightful owner. As writers, we're contractually obligated to use the word "keen" in any story about British folk. Use of the word in the United States pretty much died in the 1960s.

But, we digress. The Wells have been posting flyers and posters around town in the hopes of finding Cecil Turtle's parents. Michelle has contacted local vets and a pet shop. Alas, no one has been holding candlelight vigils for the safe return of their tortoise. My guess is that this couple, which did not have a pet previously, has one now.

We will provide more details on this developing story as they become available. Or, more likely, you've read the last of this tale. Just don't leave any nasty remarks in the comments section.

Fat Chance: The gang at Hopkins Printing, of Columbus, OH, decided to turn up the heat on themselves by taking health care reform—the battle of the bulge, in particular—quite seriously. The result: employees combined to shed a whopping 136 pounds in just four weeks.

Providing a kick to the garden variety health and wellness meetings, Hopkins Printing challenged itself with a friendly "Biggest Loser" competition. Teams of three squared off using fun monikers such as Chunky Monkeys, Chocoholics and—the winning squad—Weapons of Mass Reduction. Now, that's clever!

Weekly weigh-ins, healthy eating tips and prizes helped to make the experience an enjoyable one, not to mention slimming the waist sizes of this 100 percent employee-owned commercial printer. PI


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