Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Cigar politics
. . . .

Cigar politics

Rick Coates - May 10th, 2010
Cigar Politics: Despite smoking ban, 15th Annual Cigar Dinner is a go
By Rick Coates
The Michigan smoking ban has been law for less than two weeks, yet a
provision in the law that allows for cigar bar exemption will be
tested this week as the Ancient Order of Hibernians play host to the
15th Annual Father Fred Foundation Cigar Dinner.
“We were given legal advice that our event qualifies for the cigar bar
exemption of the new law,” said Mike Nolan of Nolan’s Tobacco in
Traverse City. He adds that in order to qualify for the cigar bar
exemption, 10% of sales have to be cigars, something that can be
counted on at the upcoming event.

The Father Fred Foundation has become dependent on the annual cigar
dinner with 25% of their annual cash donations generated by the
“It goes beyond just the dinner,” said David Abeel, development
director, “The Ancient Order of Hibernians has been active for many
years in not only raising money for Father Fred, but helping to create
a greater awareness for our organization. This cigar dinner has spun
off numerous other fundraisers for our organization. Often, we are
unaware these fundraisers are even happening until they are done and
we receive a call from the business or organization wanting to come
over with a donation.”
Nolan concurs: “There are a lot of very influential people who
participate in the dinner; some are not even cigar smokers. This
dinner has become a great networking event for the Foundation that has
led to many doors being open to them in this community.”
The Father Fred Foundation was started in 1990 by Father Edwin
Fredrick to assist people who had “fallen through the cracks of
society and bureaucratic red tape.” Father Fred kept his mission
simple when he started assisting families and individuals in the
greater Grand Traverse region: “Listen, care and share,” he would tell
his volunteers.
“Our work is about giving people their dignity, everyone has a right
to that,” he would often say.

Father Fred passed away 10 years ago, but his work is carried on by
countless volunteers. The Bun Brady Division of the Ancient Order of
Hibernians, a Traverse City based Irish Christian organization, began
assisting the Father Fred Foundation in 1992 with the launch of the
Lucky Leprechaun fundraiser held each year during St. Patrick’s Day. A
few years later the group started the Cigar Dinner.
The first dinner attracted about 150 participants. This year’s dinner
is sold out at 350 guests and has a waiting list.
“This dinner is more than just about cigars; it is one of the great
social events of the year,” Nolan says. “Right from the start we have
brought the best chefs from the region, who each along with their team
prepare a component of the meal for the evening. It is an impressive
sight to see them all work together. In addition, we have some of the
top purveyors of wine, bourbon, scotch and other high end spirits and
beers on hand.”

The dinner is known nationally. Ashton Cigars considers the Father
Fred Dinner one of the most important and best run charity cigar
dinners in the country. Ashton Cigars donates $10,000 to the
Foundation as a result of their participation. Woodford Reserve, the
premium bourbon maker from Kentucky also sees the importance of the
event. Each year they donate an auction prize that allows for four
people to come to the distillery to blend the bourbons that will
become the following year’s Father Fred Foundation Cigar Dinner
Signature Blend. The special bottles are sold at the dinner with all
proceeds benefitting the Foundation.
The evening concludes with an impressive live and silent auction.
Nolan said that they are “unsure about getting an exemption in future
years,” but they are grateful for the opportunity to host it again
this year.
 The dinner will take place at the Williamsburg Dinner Theater, under
a large tent in a wooded area behind the kitchen facilities where
caterer Dan Kelly hosts several outdoor weddings and other receptions.
The first Father Fred Cigar dinner was held at the Park Place Dome.
Does Mike Nolan see any full-time cigar bars coming to Northern Michigan?
“No, I just do not see how anyone is in a position to pull it off. The
restrictions are tough,” said Nolan. “The American cigar smoker on
average smokes 1.6 cigars a week. Not a lot, so cigar bars would have
a tough time generating 10% of their sales from cigars. Remember that
cigar bars would not be allowed to have cigarette smokers, just cigar
smokers. So it is a very limited clientele.”
Nolan is quick to add that there is a lot of confusion about the smoking ban.
“This not a consumer law, this is a labor law,” said Nolan. ‘The law
was established to protect employees in the workplace. Not the
So does Nolan see private citizens having backyard cigar BBQs?
“I have heard some speculate about the idea,” said Nolan. “But they
have to remember they have to prepare all of the food themselves;
caterers and paid employees would not be permitted.”
Nolan is not sure about the status of the 2011 dinner. “Our focus is
on this year’s dinner; we were unsure a month ago as to whether we
were even going to have it and in just three weeks we have pulled it
all off and sold out. That is testament to the many volunteers who
make this happen.”
To date, the Ancient Order of Hibernians through the Cigar Dinner,
Lucky Leprechaun Ball and Lucky Leprechauns have raised in excess of
$1 million for the Foundation.

(Contributing editor Rick Coates along with Mike Nolan and Mike
Shirley founded the Father Fred Foundation Cigar Dinner 15 years ago.
Coates co-chaired the first two dinners before handing off the reins
to Tim Smith who along with tobacconist Mike Nolan continue to
co-chair the event.)

The 15th Annual Father Fred Foundation Cigar Dinner will take place
Thursday, May 13 at the Williamsburg Dinner Theater. The event is sold
out; however the organization is still taking donations for the silent
auction as well as cash donations. This Saturday the Father Fred
Foundation will host their annual garage sale, last year’s sale
attracted over 1,500 people and raised $25,000. To learn more contact
David Abeel at 231.947-2055 ext. 18 or visit

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5