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Powerball winners in Missouri make big plans

| Friday, March 28, 2014, 9:51 p.m.

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Less than a week after they won a $96.5 million Powerball prize, an eastern Missouri husband and wife have made big changes in their lives and big plans for their future.

John and Susan Brands, both 49, of St. Charles were identified on Friday by the Missouri Lottery as the winners of the jackpot in the March 22 drawing.

Susan Brands is studying Web design and plans to finish the semester, according to a news release from the Missouri Lottery. The couple plans to replace their older-model cars.

Since discovering on the morning after the drawing that his ticket matched all five numbers plus the Powerball, John Brands has quit his job as a civil engineer. The native of Portageville, Mo., is thinking of buying farmland.

“Like the line from the movie ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou': ‘You ain't no kind of man, if you ain't got land,' ” he said.

Susan Brands, a native of Wichita, Kan., said she's looking forward to traveling, including a trip to New Zealand.

Why New Zealand?

“We're nerds,” she said. “That's where ‘The Lord of the Rings' and ‘The Hobbit' were filmed.”

The couple also said they plan to explore interests for which they haven't had time, such as learning languages, going to culinary school and, for John, taking guitar lessons.

John Brands let the computer select the winning combination.

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