ST. ALBANS — If the 1 in 292 million odds didn’t dissuade them from opening their wallets then there’s proof that hope springs eternal in Franklin County where Powerball fever continues to pump up the potential winnings.

Powerball officials say matching all the numbers with a $2 ticket in tonight’s drawing would give a sole winner a prize of $1.5 billion – the largest jackpot in the world. After federal taxes the lump sum reward of $930 million would stand at $651 million, and then there is the state tax. Vermont would take 6 percent.

Enriching the government wasn’t the top thing on the minds of those in the hunt for a bonanza locally this week, even though the better odds were that one of them would be bitten by a shark (1 in 11.1 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association).

The Messenger on its Facebook page asked local readers what they would do should they win.

Elisa DeGraff, of St. Albans, said, “I would want enough for my family and I to live on comfortably for our lives (kids college paid for and set them up). Then I’d spend the rest of my time giving the money away to friends, the community. Can’t take it with you when you die – so I would have a blast blessing as many people as possible to see their faces would be priceless!”

Kathleen Hoffman, of St. Albans, also exhibited an altruistic spirit, saying, “I would support the arts in Franklin County with a donation that could get things rolling. I would support scholarships for our Native population. I would put my daughter and my nieces through college … and I would travel!”

Michelle Labelle Goodbred, has favorite causes in mind. She said, “I would give my church 10 percent right off the top and I would give to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Amazing hospital and I have witnessed first hand what this hospital does for their preemie babies. Animal organizations would also benefit dearly from my winnings. I would start a scholarship program for people going into the nursing field primarily NICU nurses. I could go on and on with what I would do with the money. My kids would have their college paid for.”

Diane Vieta, of Franklin has dreams as well. “Take care of family, start college funds for the grandchildren, oh the things we could do. I would donate a substantial amount to the Franklin County Humane Society and I would buy land to build a modern movie theater. I have big dreams,” she said.

Ruth Cross, of St. Albans, speculated about a possible future as very rich person: “If I won. This is what I would do. Buy myself a small home out of Vermont. Have some land given to a family member for a home. Then give money to another family member battling cancer. Invest in my two darling grandchildren’s future education. Donate some also to diabetes. Last my own kids and their families.

Kevin Dolores Evelyn Nichols has in mind the idea of stopping the controversial Swanton Wind project. She said she would “buy the land that the Belisles (the project developers) want to destroy with turbines.

Jeanne Gratton Larose voiced a patriotic motivation saying she would “help as many homeless and wounded vets as possible! God bless them all!”

The jackpot for the twice-weekly game started at $40 million on Nov. 4. No one has matched all six Powerball numbers since then, so the prize kept growing.

According to the Multi-State Lottery Association (MLA), the largest jackpot prior to the one being offered today was $656 million, claimed by three winners from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland in Mega Millions drawing on March 30, 2012.

The highest the Powerball has gone was on May 18, 2013 when a single ticket in Florida took $590.5 million.

According to the MLA, there has been no Vermont winner in any of the top 10 jackpots recorded in the U.S.

There’s always the chance, though. Isn’t there?

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Some information gathered by the Associated Press was used in this article.