Editor's note: Columnist Philip Potempa is reporting from Indianapolis while on assignment this week.
After some on-air absence, Hoosier Lottery live ball drawings will soon be back on the air throughout the state and a local face from Northwest Indiana has 1 in 5 odds to be connected with the soon-to-be famous hands displaying the lucky lottery ball drawn numbers. The Hoosier Lottery and FOX59 television network in Indianapolis have been conducting a statewide talent search this month to cast on-air draw talent.
Robin La'Toya of Gary was announced last week as one of 20 semi-finalists entries from around the state selected for the public to vote online at hoosierlottery.com or FOX59.com for their favorite "Hometown Host" as part of the promotion.
"I auditioned to be the next 'Hometown Host' because I'm always being told that my smile lights up a room, very bubbly, inviting, and it should be presented to the world," said La'Toya, who is from the Miller area and works as a freelance photographer.
"Being the Hoosier Lottery Host is my dream job. I need a job that requires me to smile all day. I've always considered doing TV commercials. This would be a fantastic opportunity for me to introduce myself to the industry."
Besides La'Toya, the other 20 semi-finalists ranged from men and women from Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Kokomo, Mooresville, Zionsville, Fishers and other communities scattered from around the state. Voting ended Friday, Aug. 9 at midnight and our own La'Toya is now among the top five finalists invited to audition live in front of an audience at the Indiana State Fair before a panel of local celebrity judges 5 p.m. EST Friday in the Farm Bureau Building at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
I'm told by Stephanie McFarland of the Hoosier Lottery the new "Hometown Host" winner will be expected to step into the role when Daily 3 and the Daily 4 live ball drawings begin airing statewide early this fall. Currently, Powerball drawings air Wednesday and Saturday nights at 10:59 p.m. Mega Millions drawings air Tuesday and Friday nights at 11 p.m. Both air on FOX59 in central Indiana, but will begin airing throughout the state in the next few weeks.
More details and official contest rules are available at hoosierlottery.com and FOX59.com.
I'm reminded by McFarland that Hoosier Lottery distributions benefit every county throughout Indiana. Each fiscal year, the Hoosier Lottery contributes $30 million to police and firefighters' pensions, and $30 million to the Teacher's Retirement Fund. The remainder of Lottery income is contributed to the State and helps reduce excise taxes by 50 percent for every Hoosier vehicle owner.
Day to remember
Yesterday, Aug. 13, marked the two-year anniversary of the tragedy at the Grandstand concert arena at the Indiana State Fairgrounds area following wind and storms while the band Sugarland performed as headliners. This year, the Grandstand is vacant. But a large plaque memorial is in place marking the day of the disaster and includes the seven names of those killed in the stage collapse, including Tammy J. VanDam, 42 of Wanatah. The memorial reads: "May the Hoosier Spirit continue to reside in all of us."