LOOKING BACK AT 2013 (Part 1): A snowstorm and a scandal

The year began with a huge snowstorm that crippled the city and ended with a Shelton tree in Rockefeller Center being admired by millions of people.

The year also saw a mayor easily win re-election and a former municipal assistant finance director essentially admit she had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from the city.

In 2013, Shelton also thought outside the box by purchasing propane-fueled school buses and began construction of a new animal shelter. More parents began to push for a full-day kindergarten program.

“It’s been a pretty good year in Shelton if you put us side by side with other towns,” Mayor Mark Lauretti said. “Where else did they lower taxes and have growth?”

Lauretti said the city made progress on upgrading aging infrastructure and continued to expand outdoor recreational opportunities for residents.

Here is a look at two of the top stories from 2013:

February snowstorm

From two to three feet of snow fell in Shelton on Feb. 8 and 9, closing down much of the city for days. In fact, the entire state was closed down and the governor declared a state of emergency.

Winter Storm Nemo made many roads impassable for days, and caused some businesses to shut down for as long as a week.

Most residents just stayed inside their houses for the first few days, waiting for the plows to do their work. Many of those plows were being driven by private contractors due to the overwhelming situation.

Complaints grew about the lack of information being disseminated by the city, leading to a decision to hire an outside service to send out emergency messages to the public in the future.

“It was a nightmare — a half-million dollar snowstorm,” said Lauretti, looking back.

Sharon Scanlon case

In late January, former city assistant finance director Sharon Scanlon was charged with stealing $914,000 in city money over a decade.

State Police said that Scanlon “drafted fraudulent checks from the Shelton City Hall and deposited those fraudulent checks into her personal checking account via ATM at selected locations, over a 10-year period.”

Lauretti foes blamed the mayor for poor oversight, while he called the situation “very unfortunate and very disappointing.”

The legal case worked its way through the courts, with anticipation of a trial. But in October, Scanlon pleaded no contest to two felonies and should serve from three to seven years in jail.

Many residents continue to lash out at Scanlon, saying she used money stolen from taxpayers to enjoy a lifestyle they can’t afford. For her part, Scanlon has made no comment.