Mayor: Continue Salem pet parade

SALEM – Mayor John Berlin said Monday he was saddened to hear that the Fourth of July pet parade and decorated vehicle parade won’t be held this year, but he’s hoping some individual or group will step up to keep the events going.

“I don’t see any reason for this to end,” he said.

Berlin was reacting to news that the longtime organizer of the two events, former councilwoman Mary Lou Popa, was stepping away. She thanked her donors from over the years, her judges, the participants and the newspaper for its coverage.

She said she got no cooperation from the administration or city council members, but Berlin questioned that statement, saying he didn’t recall her ever calling him or city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst regarding the events. He said the city didn’t say no when she needed Broadway blocked off between Pershing and State so the parades could be held.

He said perhaps someone is out there who would be willing to meet with Popa and learn from her what’s needed. She used to solicit donations from businesses for goody bags and the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce paid for the trophies given to the winners.

Berlin said he appreciated what she did and what all the various groups in town do for the city residents.

“We hope someone would be willing to talk to her, step up to the plate and take over,” he said.

The city will hold its annual fireworks display at dusk (when it gets dark) on July 3, with Salem-Perry Township Area Crime Watch holding events during the day leading up to the fireworks, all at Waterworth Memorial Park.