The West Baton Rouge Healthy Community Coalition recently received a $625,000 grant award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that will be used over the next five years to implement the Drug-Free Communities program.

The grant’s purpose is to enhance community collaboration to reduce substance abuse among youth under the age of 18. Capital Area Human Services will oversee the fiscal management and provide administrative support for the grant-funded program.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to bring resources to (the parish) to build on our coalition’s previous success and strengthen the collaboration to support the efforts of our community working together to prevent substance use among our youth,” Parish President Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot said in a news release.

CAHS’s Executive Director Jan Kasofsky added, “This is an important partnership with the WBR Healthy Community Coalition to address the problem of youth substance use that robs young lives, strains the healthcare system, harms family life and risks public safety.”

The coalition will launch activities through the West Baton Rouge Healthy Community that will include public forums, workshops and a media campaign to provide more information about upcoming plans and entice community participation.

Wine and Wild Land

The West Baton Rouge Museum on Wednesday will host “Wine and Wild Land,” an evening of Louisiana landscape painting with renowned local artist Anita LeJeune from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Attendees will get to enjoy a glass of wine while they create their own masterpieces under expert guidance of one of the community artists recognized by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.

The workshop is being held in conjunction with the museum’s exhibit, “Wild Land: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Landscape Painting” which opened Saturday.

The event is free, but seating is limited. To register, call (225) 336-2422, ext. 15.

Plaquemine Christmas fest

The city of Plaquemine’s Main Street Program is celebrating Christmas a little early this year by sponsoring its annual Christmas Festival from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park.

Craft vendors and artists are invited to display and sell their wares.

A full slate of activities are planned for children such as a magic show, balloon twister, strolling magician, cupcake decorating and live music by local artists.

A nonmotorized children’s parade is among the special attractions this year. Children under the age of 12 are welcome to participate, either walking or being pulled in wagons by an adult.

Christmas decorations on the wagons and costumes are encouraged.

For vendor information and parade entry, contact Plaquemine Main Street Manager Kristine Hebert at (225) 687-3116 or visit www.plaquemine.org.

Submit news to Terry Jones by phone, (225) 326-6627; fax, (225) 344-0099; or email, tjones@theadvocate.com.