DiMaggio’s Pizza and Burgers will open again after suffering a fire
By Annette Christie The DiMaggio family is facing a tragedy with the destructive fire last week that caused a total loss to their family run operation. While the Hagar Township staple may be sidelined for a while, Izzy DiMaggio says they will certainly re-open serving the same delicious food and family like atmosphere as they have always had. North Berrien Fire Rescue was called to DiMaggio’s restaurant at 6410 N. M-63 Wednesday, Feb. 13 in the early morning hours. Upon arrival, firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the south end of the building. The restaurant was not open at the time of the call and the fire was reported by a passer-by. Fire crews from North Berrien Fire Rescue, Benton Township, and Covert Fire EMS were on the scene for approximately three hours. North Berrien Fire Chief Michael Mattix said that the popular restaurant sustained heavy smoke, heat and fire damage to the interior of the building. Izzy DiMaggio confirmed that the interior of the restaurant is a total loss with the south end of the restaurant receiving the majority of the damage. As they re-model and rebuild, they will need to take it down to the studs, DiMaggio said. The official reports on the cause of the fire have not been compiled but early indications are that it was a bulb in one of the coolers. DiMaggio said they will re-open as soon as possible but that there is a lot of work that needs to be done. As of right now they are just working through the process with the insurance company and the Liquor Commission. In a letter to the editor, DiMaggio thanked the North Berrien, Covert, and Benton Charter Township Fire Departments for their work at the scene. Living not far from the restaurant, DiMaggio arrived at the incident and watched as the firefighters went into the burning, smoke-filled structure without concern for their own welfare and safety. He credits them with saving the building structure. Over the years many patrons have carved out their own memories at DiMaggio’s, the quaint family operation that served as the backdrop to many occasions. The restaurant has been in the same location for 62 years. DiMaggio’s started under the name Serpe’s Inn, owned by Frank and Mayme Serpe. In the spring of 1957, Tony and Madeline DiMaggio purchased it from Mayme Serpe (Madeline’s sister) and DiMaggio’s began. They operated it until 1972 when the family owned business was taken over by another generation of DiMaggios. In a 2016 business feature Vince DiMaggio stated that all the recipes used then were the same original Italian recipes from his father’s family. His parents had a restaurant in Chicago which used the recipes as well before they relocated it to the Coloma area. His mother Madeline was from this area and all of her family lived here, prompting the move. In 2007, DiMaggio’s celebrated 50 years of continuing home-made pizza sauce, crust, and all spaghetti sauces. The menu today is pretty much the same as it was in the beginning. “We will rebuild with the same family atmosphere that we have provided for the past 62 years,” Izzy DiMaggio stated.
LEO MEMBERS INSTALLED… Coloma Community LEO Club, newly chartered by the Lions Club, recently installed its first membership. Pictured from the installation ceremony are (from the left): Front row – Phoebe Browne, Devin Sinnett, Chloe Williams; Middle row – Wyatt Sinnett, Camryn Brown, Hannah Grenon, Morgan Gruss, Shane Kreitner; Back row – Lisa Streu (Advisor), R.J. Sinnett, Tyler Streu, Cole Current. Other new members were not available to attend the ceremony and are not pictured.
Community Soup & Salad Supper at Sr. Center Mar. 1 A Community Soup & Salad Supper will be held from 5-6 p.m. on Friday, March 1, at the North Berrien Senior Center, 6648 Ryno Road in Coloma. The menu includes soup, salad, bread, dessert and beverage. The public is invited. Cost for adults is $5; $3 for children up to 12 years of age; and free for children under three. Proceeds go to the H.O.P.E. Resources Food Pantry located at Coloma United Methodist Church. This month’s supper is hosted by Coloma Lioness Club.
Lasagna Dinner at American Legion Tuesday, March 5 American Legion Post 362 in Coloma is holding a Fat Tuesday Lasagna Dinner on March 5 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Dinner includes lasagna, salad and garlic toast. Tickets are $9.50 for adults, $4.00 for children 4 to 12 years and children under 4 are free. Dinners will be served until 8:00 p.m. or until they are sold out. Take out is available. The post is located at 351 E. St. Joseph St. in Coloma.
Friday Fish Fry during Lent at American Legion Every Friday during Lent, beginning March 8, 2019 through April 19, the Coloma American Legion Post 362 is hosting a Lenten Fish Fry from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Fish dinners include au gratin potatoes, green beans, coleslaw, bread and coffee and cost $10 each. All you can eat fish dinners are $13. Children ages 4 to 12 are $5 each and children 3 and younger eat for free.
Jollay Market closes
By Annette Christie As quick as it was to place a message out on social media, the word spread that Jollay Market, located just off of Exit 39 in Coloma, will be closing. The message posted on The Jollay Market Facebook page on Monday, February 25 at 11:02 a.m. stated: “Thank you all very much for a great 9 years. At this time, we would like to say thank you to all of our wonderful customers and dedicated staff. “A special thank you to Juliza for creating the wonderful food she prepared. At this time, we must take pause and see what life brings us. We look forward to seeing everyone at the farm this u-pick season.” The message appeared to be authored by Jay Jollay. Jollay Market was one of many businesses started by Jay and Sarah Jollay. It was the location for in-season fruit and produce as well as many fruit products. Visitors could find homemade and fresh authentic Mexican food, Sherman’s ice cream, doughnuts, pico de gallo, apple salsa, and farm fresh eggs. Specialty products include frozen apple pie in a bag, apple cider floats, hot fudge donut sundaes, and Michigan Melts a cakeball type of treat. The location also featured LavAzza, an imported Italian coffee. It was not stated in the posting what would happen to the Dinosaur Farm, a highlight for visitors to Jollay Market. In partnership with the Coloma School District, Jay and Sarah Jollay were able to obtain the creatures made by students, right here in Coloma with a silent auction bid for the whole collection. Jollay Orchards, just down Friday Road, is home to seasonal u-pick offerings as well as the Harvest Festival. Effort to obtain a comment from the Jollays was unsuccessful.
Coloma Community LEO Club officially chartered
The Coloma Community LEO Club sponsored by the Coloma Lions Club was officially granted its Charter February 14, 2019. An impressive group of students representing both Coloma Community Schools and Watervliet Junior and Senior High School were installed as members and were granted the LEO Club Charter by District Governor Fran Garbowski at the Coloma Fraternal Order of Police Post 147. The LEO Club is the tenth sponsored by a Lions Club within District I1-B-2. Their Lions Club Sponsor, Lion Lisa Streu indicated these are some of the busiest students in the schools and many could not be present at the granting of the charter due to commitments for basketball games. The students present were presented both membership pins and Certificates of Membership. The remainder of the members will receive pins and certificates at their next meeting. The Coloma Community LEO Club is presently planning the annual Saint Patrick’s Day 5K Run/Walk being held Saturday, March 16 with race direction being provided by SWMl Racers. The proceeds of the run benefit both St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the LEO Club. LEO stands for Leadership, Experience and Opportunity. Inductees are the youngest members of Lions Clubs International. Several of the members have assisted the Coloma Lions Club with this and other projects for several years, this being the fourth year sponsoring the St. Patrick’s Day run.
COMING MARCH 2019! Coloma Elementary is excited to bring the national program, One School, One Book to all of their families as a part of National Reading Month this March. One School, One Book is a program designed to create a shared reading experience across the entire school community. The school chooses a book, gives families a copy, and the family reads that book together at home. Every family and all staff at Coloma Elementary reads the same book at the same time. They maximize the shared reading experience by presenting enriching activities at school that enable children to share and experience the characters and world of the book. The school staff will implement a variety of activities throughout the month to heighten and promote interest in and discussion of the book, from daily trivia questions to exciting assemblies to school-wide projects. Students experience the story with their family and enjoy participating in the activities at school. When a school models the habit of regularly reading together as a family, they create a strong foundation for literacy in each child’s life. For more info on this national program, visit https://readtothem.org/programs/one-school-one-book/.
Van Buren County 4-H Auction Fundraiser Saturday Van Buren County 4-H Leaders’ Association will offer an innovative fundraiser again this year. Instead of selling the traditional fundraiser items, they are hosting the annual 4-H fundraising auction on March 2, 2019, at the Van Buren ISD Conference Center in Lawrence. The proceeds from the annual 4-H auction are used to sponsor youth and adults in training workshops, materials for fun learning activities, recognition and awards for projects well done, and sponsorships to attend camps and county/ statewide/ national events. The auction will be held on Saturday, March 2. The doors open at 9:00 a.m. at the Van Buren ISD Conference Center located at 490 S. Paw Paw St. in Lawrence. The auction begins at 10:00 a.m. In addition to cash and checks, Visa/ MasterCard/ Discover will be accepted; payment is expected the day of the auction. For more information on the auction contact Gary Consford at 355-0994 or Janice Zerbe at 657-8213. For a full listing of auction items, go to: www.vbc4-H.com then click on auction items. The site is updated as items
Lunch & Learn event: Keep the Change
Disability Network Southwest Michigan is hosting a Lunch & Learn event on Wednesday, March 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at their St. Joseph office, located at 2900 Lakeview Avenue. This event will feature the romantic comedy film “Keep the Change” which follows the budding relationship of two people with autism. A light lunch will be provided and participants will discuss issues from the film. “Keep the Change” casts actors with autism to play characters with autism, offering a refreshingly honest portrait of a community seldom depicted on the big screen. The film focuses on real people with intellectual disabilities while providing positive examples of how nondisabled people can create inclusive environments. This event is free and open to the public; however, pre-registration is required by contacting Miranda Grunwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (269) 345-1516 x120.