Chamber Announces Operation 2012 “Finish Fiske Theatre Restoration”


New seats located now in Idaho, looking to be moved to Oak Grove

OAK GROVE, La.— The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce has announced the formation of its Operation 2012 Committee which is charged with raising $30,000 to complete the restoration of the Fiske Theatre which began in 2007.

Goals of the project are to replace the seating on the main floor of the theatre, repair and paint the auditorium ceiling, and replace the front doors to the theatre.

“This is an ambitious project,” Operation 2012 Chairman Robyn Creech said. “But it is a project that is attainable and will be an asset to our community not just Oak Grove, and West Carroll Parish but all of Northeast Louisiana.”

The Fiske Theatre was built in 1950 and at the time was one of the nicest theatres in the nation with a seating capacity of 700. However in 62 years’ time buildings begin to show their age. Since 2007 the Chamber, under the guidance of the Fiske Theatre Committee has made approximately $100,000 in improvements to the building using primarily theatre income, with some financial and in-kind donations from local businessmen and donations of equipment from larger theatre chains across the nation.

“In 1988, my father, Donald B. Fiske Sr., and our family donated the theatre to the West Carroll Chamber to provide a place to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Northeast Louisiana,” Honorary Committee Chairman Ronald C. Fiske said. “We knew that the chamber would maintain this facility that meant so much to our family and this community, and would keep it from going the same way as so many of these downtown theatres across the nation have gone throughout the years. They should be commended for their work and I am honored to be asked to help them finish their goal of bringing Dad’s theatre back to her glory.”

The number one complaint that patrons have when coming to the Fiske Theatre is its seating. In 1950 people were a lot smaller, plus the architectural trend of the time was not comfort, but to fit as many seats into the room as possible. The chamber has located 500 used, but vibrant, seats in Idaho that can be purchased for a reasonable price. These seats are about 5 inches wider than the existing seats and have cup holders attached. When the seats are replaced 13 inches of leg room will be added between rows. While the seats are out of the auditorium it is also the time to repair and paint the ceiling that suffered significant damage from roof leaks during the 1980’s. These enhancements, along with replacing the front doors to the theatre that can’t be locked due to an outdated manufactures’ style will cost approximately $30,000.

The Operation 2012 Committee is currently in contact with numerous potential donors and has set-up an account at Regions Bank of Oak Grove, La. for anyone who would like to make an anonymous donation. For a $100 donation or more your name will be placed on a plaque in the theatre lobby and you will be invited to an exclusive red-carpet screening when the project is complete. Also with any donation of $50 or more you may have one of the existing seats for your nostalgia purposes once the project begins.

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment LLC. All donations to the Operation 2012 fund will be administered by the chamber and none of the funds will be used for general theatre operation. The books for the project will be made available to the public by request.

If you have questions or would like to speak to someone in regards to making a donation, contact Robyn Creech at 318-282-9996 or call the theatre at 318-428-8289.

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35 mm Era Ends and Digital Begins at Fiske

OAK GROVE, La. — Friday November 18 at 4 p.m. a century old era officially came to an end and a new era began as the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La. became the first Independent Theatre in North Louisiana to become 100% digital.

The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce, owners of the Fiske Theatre and Holland Entertainment LLC, operators, announce the transition of the Fiske Theatre to Digital Cinema Presentation in time for the beginning of its Christmas Season.The first film to be shown in this new format was “Twlight: Breaking Dawn.”

“We are proud of the commitment the Holland family has made to the theatre,” W.C. Chamber President Brenda Hagan said. “The sizable investment they are making to make this transition shows their dedication to providing quality family entertainment in our historic theatre for years to come.”

The motion picture industry in the United States have been transitioning away from 35 mm film over the past few years and this transition has picked up pace within the last few months, experts say that by January 2013, 35 mm prints will no longer be available for exhibition in the USA.

“In one since this transition is like losing and old friend,” Adam Holland, President, Holland Entertainment said. “35 mm has been the bread and butter of our industry since the days of Thomas Edison, but the quality and versatility that this 21st Century technology will allow us to provide our patrons brings with it much excitement and possibilities, this will be the biggest advancement in the West Carroll Parish cinema going experience since movies learned to talk with the “Jazz Singer” in 1928.”

Digital projection will provide movie goers top quality presentation each time a movie plays, and will also allow the theatre the capabilities of providing alternative content such as Broadway Plays, Metropolitan Opera, Rock Concerts, Classic Movies and live sporting events.

Throughout the history of the Fiske Theatre, it has always been on the cutting edge of technology.  In 1951 the year after the new theatre opened Mr. Fiske was awarded Exhibitor and Theatre Catalog’s Merit Award as being the most modern and well-appointed theatre in the nation.

“Since we returned the theatre to operations as a motion picture house it has always been our goal to bring the theatre back to her glory as one of the most advanced theatres in the region,” Holland said. “Being the first independent to make this move shows that we are once again one of the leaders in our industry.”

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove, La.

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McDonald’s Donation Renovates Theatre Marquee

Tony Gilley, President of Gilley Enterprises of West Monroe, La. recently donated $5,000 to the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce Fiske Theatre Account to be used for renovations to the theatre’s marquee lighting.

“We extend the utmost appreciation to Mr. Gilley and his staff.” Chamber Director Adam Holland said. “We have come along way with our renovation of the theatre and this donation allowed us to check off one more of our needs list to get the theatre back to pristine condition.”

The theatre wasted no time in putting the money to work, theatre staff along with David Stauffer of S&S Electrical and inmates from the West Carroll Sheriff’s office replaced the 81 light fixtures in just three days having the marquee back in operation by the weekend’s showing of Madea’s Big Happy Family.

“This donation from Mr. Gilley shows how his organization is dedicated to the communities they are apart of, we look forward to working with him even more when the restaurant opens this fall,” Holland said.

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The Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center, or LA BEOC, an annex to the State Emergency Operations Center, is now activated to prepare for Mississippi River flooding and related impacts.

Louisiana’s businesses are strongly encouraged to register with the LA BEOC portal –- — so that they can participate in the process and have a voice in the state’s preparedness, response and recovery efforts.

The LA BEOC provides timely and official information of importance to registered businesses before, during and after a major event. This includes notification of state and local decisions pertinent to business recovery and employee safety. Registered businesses, in turn, can provide on-the-ground intelligence related to the status of their business. By reporting problems directly to the LA BEOC, businesses can help public sector officials prioritize recovery operations.

Participation by state businesses of all sizes and from all sectors helps government officials make informed decisions and speeds up the economic recovery process. The LA BEOC also uses Louisiana businesses to fill resource requests from the affected areas. A business must be registered on the portal to communicate its ability to provide goods and services through emergency disaster contracting mechanisms. While the LA BEOC connects Louisiana companies to the state’s emergency contracting processes, no governmental agency can guarantee the utilization of any business during an activation of the LA BEOC.

The LA BEOC represents the collaboration of Louisiana Economic Development, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies Institute, and LSU’s Stephenson Disaster Management Institute. During a disaster in Louisiana, the LA BEOC supports the coordination of activities and resources for businesses and volunteer organizations in Louisiana and across the nation. LA BEOC support of the private sector will improve response and self-sufficiency and will reduce reliance on FEMA and other federal assistance.

Partners driving progress,

The NELEA team

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Levee Board President Minsky to Meet With Citizens Monday at Fiske Theatre

Levee Board President Minsky To Speak at Fiske Theatre Monday 6 p.m.

OAK GROVE, La. — The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce will host Louisiana Fifth District Levee Board President Reynold Miskey and other community leaders for a public meeting at the Fiske Theatre, Monday at 6 p.m. to update the citizens of East/West Carroll Parishes on the 2011 Mississippi River flooding. The panel will be available for questions following their presentation.

This meeting is subject to cancelation due to the ever changing circumstances concerning the river, and in the event it is canceled the public will be notified by all available media outlets and the Fiske Theatre Movieline at 318-428-8289.

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Grace Card Plays Easter Weekend At Fiske

OAK GROVE — The Historic Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La. has slated Samuel Goldwyn Film’s latest religious feature film THE GRACE CARD for Easter Weekend movie and expanded its schedule to include Thursday night.

Show times for the film will be Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Easter Sunday at 4 p.m. to allow for time with the family.  Group seating for churches and other groups is available by calling 318-282-6938 to make a reservation.

“It is always our goal to play inspirational films when they are available and are of good quality.” Theatre Director Adam Holland said. “From all accounts THE GRACE CARD meets our standards of excellence in both story line and cinematography.”

THE GRACE CARD portrays life as it really is, and the struggles we have with wrongs done to us in the past, and the profound moments of letting go, of grace and reconciliation and forgiveness.

Although we see God working through the hearts, actions, and circumstances of people, it is not one of those films that portrays this in a triumphal, miraculous, or unrealistic way.

It’s the story of a Memphis cop, Bill “Mac” McDonald, who, 17 years prior, lost his 5-year-old son who was an innocent bystander when police were conducting a drug bust on their street. “Mac” turns inward and becomes very bitter, a racist and a perfectionist, straining relations with his wife and other son, and has an attitude problem which keeps him from getting promoted as a cop.

Seventeen years later, still deeply embittered and racist, Mac looses out on a promotion that goes to an African-American cop Sam Wright.

Sam has struggles of his own. He is a preacher in a small, somewhat declining Church of the Nazarene congregation that seems to be growing stagnant. Sam had hoped that God would bless his ministry and be able to commit full time to it, but in order to support his family, must remain on the Police force. He’s a pretty good preacher, but God seems to be using him in even more effective ways on the Police force.

Sam Wright and Bill “Mac” McDonald (the racist, embittered cop) are temporarily placed together as partners on the police force.

Despite being emotionally with it, even Sam is deeply hurt by Mac’s non-acceptance, unfriendliness, hurtful remarks and scowling hatred merely because Sam is a black man. As a result it hurts his ministry which wants him to preach forgiveness and reconciliation.

Without giving away too much, it is Sam’s grandfather (played by Louis Gossett Jr.) who helps Sam deal with his feelings, and produces a short letter from his grandfather the 1880s that becomes the miraculous premise for helping Sam overcome his hurt.

A NEW tragedy in Mac McDonald’s family brings Sam and Mac closer together in Mac’s hour of desperate, prayer-fraught need.

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Ronald McDonald to Visit Oak Grove for Festival

Ronald McDonald Will Perform at Downtown Couryard at 1 p.m. Saturday


. — The World Famous Ronald McDonald is set to be one of the big highlights of the Inaugural North Louisiana Sweet Potato Festival taking place in Oak Grove, La. courtesy of Gilley Enterprises of West Monroe, La. 

“This is huge for the Town of Oak Grove and our festival,” W.C. Chamber Director Adam Holland said. “There are only 11 people in the United States who play Ronald McDonald and for our children to get to see him live will be a treat.” 

Ronald is set to put on his free performance at 1 p.m. in the Downtown Courtyard next to the Drug Store on Main Street in Oak Grove, then he will cap off what is set to be the largest parade to roll through Oak Grove at 3 p.m. 

Other events of the weekend include an Arts and Crafts Show featuring over 35 vendors, a Carnival by Miller Spectacular Shows, an Antique Tractor Pull, Cooking Contest, an Antique Car Show, a Friday night Street Dance with the Cadillac Kings of Monroe and much more. 

For a complete schedule of events visit

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Sweet Potato Festival Next Weekend

OAK GROVE — The Inaugural North Louisiana Sweet Potato Festival, presented by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce is set to take place next weekend March 31-April 2 in Oak Grove, La.

 The event kicks off Thursday night March 31 at 6 p.m. with Miller Spectacular Shows lighting up Downtown Oak Grove with one of the finest carnivals to grace the Court House Square.  The carnival will repeat Friday from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. and then run from 10 a.m. until on Saturday.

Approximately 30 Arts/Crafts and food vendors from all across the state will open on the Courthouse Square and down Main Street Friday from 10 a.m. until five, repeating Saturday, along with specials at all the downtown merchants through out the day and Bluegrass Jamming at the Downtown Courtyard from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

At 7 p.m. on Friday night one of North Louisiana’s finest Southern Rock Bands, the Cadillac Kings, from Monroe will take to the stage next to the Little Freezer in a free Street Dance/Concert.

Saturday to compliment the Carnival and Arts and Crafts Show the West Monroe Antique Car Club will be hosting a free Antique Car Show on the parking lot of the First Church of God from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Also on Saturday there will be a Sweet Potato Cooking Contest at 10:30 (Contact Dianne Sowell, 318-428-2926 or Ruth Horton, 318-282-1492 for more information) where cash prizes will be awarded, Ronald McDonald will also perform at the Courtyard at 1 p.m.

On the grounds of the Lingo Center The Rusty Tractor Club will host an Antique Tractor Pull from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The day full of events wraps up at 3 p.m. with one of the largest parades to travel Main Street Oak Grove in years.  The Sweet Potato Parade will feature over 15 floats, 30 antique cars and tractors, two marching bands, Ronald McDonald and much more.

For more information about the festival visit or call Festival Chairman Doug Ainsworth at 318-428-4683.

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Sweet Potato Cooking Contest Rules

Sweet Potato Cooking Contest Rules


  1. Dessert
  2. Casserole
  3. Bread
  4. Commercial


Contest Rules

 1. Each recipe must have at least one cup of sweet potatoes in the dish either fresh or canned.

2. Bring on ice or in a cooler with ice.

3. Have recipe typed or neatly written on an index card

4. Judging will be at 10:30 a.m., You must have the dish at the Downtown Courtyard by 10 a.m. on April 2, 2011

Division Winners Will Receive

1st place $25.00

2nd place $15.00

 1st place winners from each division will be judged for an overall prize of $50.00

 To register contact

Dianne Sowell 318-428-2926

Ruth Mulkey 318-282-1492

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McDonalds Breaks Ground in Oak Grove

OAK GROVE, La. — Approximately 50 people braved the inclement weather Friday to celebrate the ceremonial beginning of construction of the new McDonalds to be located on Constitution Avenue across from Wal Mart in Oak Grove, La.

“We are excited about this opportunity to located one of our McDonalds in Oak Grove.” Tony Gilley, Gilley Enterprises said. “The chamber and people of Oak Grove have been the most gracious in the beginning stages of this project and we look forward to being part of this community.”

McDonalds of Oak Grove will be owned and operated by Gilley Enterprises of West Monroe, La., which operates 20 McDonalds franchises in Northeast Louisiana and Arkansas.

To show his appreciation to the area Gilley handed out red gift bags with the Golden Arch and Oak Grove, La. embroidered onto them. 

Gilley reported to the well wishers in attendance that once the final plans are approved by the Louisiana Fire Marshall’s office it will take approximately 120 days for construction to be completed and the store in operation.

“This is a tremendous development for Oak Grove and West Carroll Parish.” Chamber Director Adam Holland said. “With McDonalds choosing to located here this opens the door for other fast food and restaurant chains to see the benefit in being part of our community.” 

McDonalds will employ around 60 people initially with the possibility of more depending on demand.

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