FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.qns.com THE COURIER SUN • DECEMBER 29, 2016 3 2016 YEAR IN REVIEW JANUARY THE BLIZZARD OF 2016 Powerball fever The tragedy of Sierra Shields The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,000,000, but those astronomical odds didn’t stop Queens residents from shelling out dollars for a dream of becoming a billionaire. In January, the Powerball jackpot, which hadn’t been hit in weeks, reached world records of $950 million and then $1.5 billion. Along the way, two Ridgewood residents managed to purchase second-place winning tickets, earning a quick $1 million each. Alas, the dream of megawealth ended on Jan. 13, when winning tickets were sold in California, Tennessee and Florida. Child slaves in Flushing On a quiet, almost heavenly street in Flushing, two young children from Korea lived in hell. That’s because Sook Yeong Park, 42, allegedly held them hostage as slaves after seizing their passports since January 2010. Cutting them off from any contact with their parents, Park forced the youngsters to do her bidding, performing chores and even working to earn money outside the home, then pocketing their salaries. The devilish scheme came to an end on Jan. 9, when Park was arraigned on labor trafficking, assault and child endangerment charges. She faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. What had been a mild winter across the borough was interrupted harshly the weekend of Jan. 22-24, when the Blizzard of 2016 dumped up to 30 inches of snow across much of Queens. Lessons from previous snowstorms in Queens were apparently ignored by the city, as many side streets weren’t plowed for two days after the last flake fell. Residents and elected officials railed at City Hall and the Sanitation Department, but the rage subsided about as quickly as the snow melted-- because mild weather returned, and most of the white stuff melted in a couple of weeks. On Jan. 14, a day after quitting her job as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines, Sierra Shields went missing. The 30-year-old woman from Astoria was last seen in the area of La Guardia Airport. According to family members, she sounded “distressed” when she informed them that she had quit her job, then they never heard from her again. Amid the frantic search to find her, members of Connection Church, where she was a member, organized to print fliers and help inform the public of her disappearance. Sadly, the search came to a grim end in September, when her remains were found washed up on the shore of Rikers Island.
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