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News Roundup -- Storm darkens island Christmas/Make some mochi for the new year/Applications for art fund available

Storm darkens island Christmas

Dozens of island trees and power lines fell under 36-mph winds Christmas day, darkening the holiday for Winslow area residents.

“We’ve had a lot harder storms,” said city public Works crew chief Guy Richards. “But this one seems to have hit us hard and fast in a short period of time.”

City crews began responding to wind-damaged trees and power lines at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, and ended work at 4:30 p.m. They removed 18 fallen trees and barricaded eight downed power lines.

Power outages spotted parts of the island and kept much of downtown Winslow black for most of Christmas. Public Works and Puget Sound Energy could not give an estimate of how many homes were affected, but a total of 8,100 homes lost power in Kitsap County, according to PSE.

Power lines fell on Lynwood Center Road, Pleasant Beach Drive, Hidden Cove Road, Torvanger Road, Skogen Lane and West Port Madison Road. Public Works crews deployed 27 barricades until trees could be removed and PSE could respond to downed lines.

Make some mochi for the new year

For over a millennium, making and eating the sweet rice treat mochi has been a celebrated New Year’s tradition in Japan, with generations of families and communities coming together to wish each other good health and prosperity for the new year.

As one of the few public mochitsuki – pronounced “moe-chee-zu-key” – events in the nation, the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community welcomes everyone to the 17th annual community celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 8 at IslandWood. Staff and volunteers will offer tours of the school in the woods.

The event is free, and donations for the mochi are welcome.

Highlights will include a performance from the acclaimed Seattle taiko drum group Kokon Taiko; a scale model portraying the proposed national Japanese-American memorial “Nidoto Nai Yoni – Let It Not Happen Again,” along with the award-winning exhibit “Kodomo No Tameni – For the sake of the children.”

Mochi-making 101: BIJAC members will prepare batches of mochi using the centuries-old method of first steaming sweet rice over an open fire, then placing the cooked rice into a warm stone or concrete bowl called an usu.

Using large wooden mallets, two people rhythmically pound the rice in the usu, while a third person swiftly turns the mass bare-handedly between each mallet crash.

After several minutes of vigorous pounding, the rice becomes a thick, smooth dough: mochi. From manual pounding in the usu or special mochi-making appliances, the mochi is removed and children of all ages dust their hands with rice flour and shape the steaming-hot mochi into small palm-size cakes, filling some of them with a sweet bean paste called ahn.

While arguably mochi is best eaten hot and fresh, many enjoy roasting it in the oven, then dipping the puffy and crisp mochi cakes into a combination of sugar and soy sauce.

Applications for art fund available

The 2006 Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Fund application and guidelines for projects that begin between March 1, 2006 and Feb. 28, 2007, are available at the BIAHC office and at www.artshum.org.

Completed applications are due at the council office by 5 p.m. March 1, 2006.

A free, council-sponsored workshop, “Developing Successful Proposals,” will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 28 at the Bainbridge library.

Changes in this year’s application, required budget information, the selection criteria and successful proposal strategies will be discussed. Call BIAHC at 842-7901 to RSVP.

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