MI Little Theatre $1 Costume Sale - Sat Sep 1

The Fabulous Mayne Island Little Theatre Costume collection is moving to a new smaller home but we can't take everything. What we can't take we offer to you at the show stopping price of a dollar a bag.

Are you thinking about Halloween? Do you need to replenish your vintage wardrobe? Are you a devotee of Altered Couture and up-cycled fashion?

Come to the Farmers Market this Saturday.  We are on stage! Bring a plastic (or paper) grocery bag to fill for a dollar!

The money we raise will help support our community little theatre.

For further information please contact Brenda Webster (250) 539-3574 passagalia@gmail.com

The Bills are Back! - Sat Sep 8

The Bills are back!  New CD Release tour performance presented by the Mayne Island Music Society.

8:00 pm at the Ag Hall - doors open at 7:00.

Tickets $20 (adults); $10 (students) at Home Hardware, Farmgate Store, Happy Tides and at the door.

Info: www.mayneislandmusic.ca and www.thebills.ca or contact Carol Munro carolonmayne@shaw.ca

Mayne Isle Movie Night: Spoil: A Documentary - Tue Aug 28

Tuesday, August 28, 7:30 PM at the Agricultural Hall

A powerful and visually stunning documentary on the Great Bear Rainforest by EP Films.

The 14-day expedition to the Great Bear Rainforest called upon 7 world-renowned photographers and 3 videographers to thoroughly document the region’s landscapes, wildlife, and culture of an area under potential environmental threat from the proposed Enbridge pipeline.

They created a documentary that tells the story of the threats facing the Great Bear Rainforest and the continued efforts of the First Nations communities and conservation groups to protect this wild landscape.

Best Environmental Film, Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival
Nominated for the Telluride Mountainfilm 2011 Moving Mountains Award
Best Long Film Award at the Coastal Film Festival judged by First Nation Youth
Merit Award for Musical Selection, Best of Craft, Best Photography, Best Environmental Film (Category Winner)at CINE 2011
Best Human Interest award, Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival 2011

2 short films will be shown before the feature with a discussion at the end.

Admission by donation.

Organized by concerned citizens of the Salish Sea

For further information please contact Helen O'Brian, heleno@rogers.com

Food Preservation Workshop - Sun Aug 19

On August 19th 2012 from 2pm to 4pm the Mayne Island Conservancy will be hosting a workshop on food preservation techniques.

Food preservation is essential for making our locally produced seasonal foods available year round. Participants at the workshop will rotate though five demonstration stations focusing on methods for different preservation techniques.

Topics covered will include: Principles of Dehydration, Herbs and Herb Drying, Pickling, Principles of Canning, and The Use of Root Cellars. Each station will be led by a different community volunteer and will take about 15 minutes.

Be sure to bring a pencil and paper to take notes with.

If you are interested in joining us for this workshop please preregister with Rob Underhill by sending him an email at stewardship@conservancyonmayne.com or giving him a call at (250) 893-7110. Space is limited so please sign up soon!

Intermittent Shaw Internet Outages: What is going on?

by Chris Roehrig

As many folks on Mayne Island know, Shaw internet has been frustratingly intermittent for the last week. Last Tuesday (July 31), Shaw's undersea fibre optic link between Pender and Mayne Island was severed which cut off cable TV and internet service to Mayne and also to Galiano (which is fed via another undersea fibre cable from Mayne).

Service was partially restored the following day using a temporary link, but it has been flaky, with intermittent 2-5 minute outages, sometimes several times per hour which makes it frustrating if not almost impossible to do some internet activities.

I had heard that this temporary link was a microwave radio link, but that turns out not to be the case.

I spoke to Greg Pultz, the VP of Operations of Shaw to find out what is taking so long to get reliable service restored. He is very aware of the situation (and was actually in Victoria when the cut happened) and was quite forthcoming with information.

Greg told me that they sent divers down right away, but the cable was completely severed and they could only find one half of the cable. If they had found the other end, they could have spliced it and normal service would have resumed quickly. As it is, they will lay another fibre optic cable which requires governmental approval from the Dept. of Fisheries and other agencies. That is mainly what is responsible for the delay in restoring the main cable.

The current temporary link is actually another old undersea fibre optic cable that was damaged in an earlier incident.  The cable wasn't completely severed and they found that there were still two optical strands that were intact, and that's what is currently providing connectivity. However, the strands are degraded and that is what's contributing to the intermittent outages.

There will shortly (in the next few days, probably early next week) be a microwave link set up between Pender and Mayne. They already have the necessary permits, cooperative landowners on both sides, and are now just waiting for the arrival of hardware. This link should resolve the intermittent problems we are currently having, and will be a permanent backup link for Mayne once the new fibre cable is laid (and provide increased capacity if necessary).

In the meantime, they are still tracking down the cause of the intermittent outages which they believe is caused by some noise getting into the system.

The distribution network on Mayne and Galiano (the "plant" as they call it) is a hybrid fibre-coaxial network. The cable coming to your modem is a copper coaxial cable, but the main trunk cables are optical fibre. The transitions between optical and copper happen at "nodes" (there are 3 or 4 different nodes on each island) and happens entirely in the analog domain (which was news to me), which means that any signal loss from the degraded optical strand is carried through right to the modem. When the signal drops below a certain threshold, the modem goes offline. Modems that go offline and come back online due to marginal signal strength (as we are currently seeing) is called "flapping" which is a term you may hear when you phone in to Shaw technical support. (Modems can also go offline if the signal strength is too strong for the receiver; attenuators can be used at your modem to reduce the signal strength to a suitable level).

There are a lot of potential causes for noise and loss of signal strength and they are cumulative. For example, the Shaw tech that came to my place a few days ago replaced corroded cable ends on the poles – there were no rubber grommets to protect them from the weather and moisture seeps in and slowly corrodes the core of the copper coax cable resulting in a loss of signal strength. When the previous owners rolled out cable internet on Mayne, they did it on a shoestring budget, and there are a lot of legacy situations that Shaw is improving as they go along. (I'm so thankful that Shaw bought Pender Cable and now has the resources to make these improvements. I think they are doing an amazing job considering how marginally profitable it can be to do business on the Gulf Islands.)

While replacing my cable ends improved my signal strength by a few dB, it didn't have any noticeable effect on the intermittent outages. I've been comparing notes with some other people on the opposite end of the island from me and noticing that their modem "flapping" is occurring at exactly the same time mine is, so I'd guess that the main source of noise is those damaged strands and that there may not be much that can be done about it until the link is replaced.

I expect that when the microwave link is up and running next week, the intermittent outages will be resolved, though we many still have reduced capacity (i.e. download/upload speeds) until the new undersea fibre is in service.

One thing Greg did say is that they were not aware that the intermittent problem was so widespread since they had not gotten many calls about it. If you are having problems with the internet, call Shaw tech support so they can track how widespread the issue is.

I'll post more information as I get it.

UPDATE Tuesday, Aug 14: I spoke to the Shaw Regional Manager for Vancouver Island today. He said they isolated Mayne and Galiano onto separate fibres over the weekend and had crews there over the last couple days tracking down the noise issues (which seem to have gotten much better).
Since they are getting the noise issues resolved, they have backed off of the urgency of the microwave link (which will still be set up as a backup link).

UPDATE Sunday, Aug 19: Here's an update I got from one of the senior techs working on the intermittent noise issue. He makes an interesting point that if you have an unterminated cable (say a disconnected TV), it can act as an antenna and can feed back into the entire system.

"[T]he intermittent flapping is caused by some noise seemingly originating in the Bennett Bay Area. Due to the very intermittent nature of the noise, it’s incredibly challenging to be at the right place at the right time to actually spot the noise and then attempt to further isolate it to various roads, houses etc...It would be far easier if it just stopped working , that way we could then easily track it back to its source. The reason this is now impacting all Mayne Island customers is because we had to combine Mayne Islands 3 fibre nodes onto 1 fibre rather than its usual 3 fibres. When each fiber node has its own fiber, if there is noise in Bennett Bay for example, it’ll only affect Bennett Bay, not Mariners Way, and vice versa. By combining 3 nodes, temporarily, we’ve increased the noise floor, so a small noise issue that may never even had shown up in all of our regular maintenance, now becomes far more critical. We have been over every day this week, hardening the plant and hoping by some fluke that we get to see the noise while we are standing in front of a piece of equipment. To make matters even more complicated, coincidence can also play a part in tracking down such a sporadic issue. Without going into too much detail, it’s virtually a needle in the haystack type of scenario. We will find the issue, we just ask for a bit of patience.

"At this point the 'noise' could be coming from anywhere, a customers drop, a broken mainline cable, we're just not sure. We think we may have narrowed it down to the Bennett Bay area, but due to the nature of the noise, even this assumption may have been made from sheer coincidence.

"Customers could make sure that all cable ends are screwed on tight to their DCT's VCR's, TV's and Cable Modems. If there are broken ends, cables that have been cut or chewed, they should call us and we'll do a service call to make sure this isn't impacting the entire Mayne Internet service. 1 cable in a customer's home that is open and grounding out on something that can act like an antenna could in theory sink the whole ship."

UPDATE Monday August 27: Service has improved quite a bit over the last few days, but I'm still seeing occasional 5 minute outages a few times a day.

It turns out the issue wasn't noise entering the plant after all:

"We did make some changes late last week that have lessened frequency of the internet issues but we knew it would just be another step in the restoration of services. The interference that is affecting your service is called optical beat interference and is being caused by us having to combine the returns from 4 nodes - Galiano (1 node) and Mayne (3) - together on the fibre path back to the hubsite on Pender. What we did last week was to separate the nodes into pairs to lessen the amount of transmit power on the fibre. We will be moving to what will be our final configuration of our plant on Mayne and Galiano that will allow us to separate all the returns by using tuned transmitters at all the nodes that will put each node at a different optical frequency and that will eliminate the OBI issues we have been seeing.

"We are building a microwave system but it will only be a backup to the fibre we have in place now. The microwave has less bandwidth available on it than the fibre but makes a great failover path in the event of a failure of the fibre we are using now. A new submarine cable will be placed but with all the regulatory requirements we need to meet before proceeding it will be some time before that project is complete. We have been putting a lot of effort into trying to improve the service (and I know it does not always seem like it) but I hope by this time next week I can hear from you that service is as it should be. Thanks to all for their patience."

UPDATE Tuesday September 5: I haven't seen any intermittent outages at all since Friday, so that problem looks solved now.

"So we have put a new solution in place overnight (Friday Aug 31).

"We installed 4 new state of the art fiber nodes on Mayne and Galiano. What this allows us to do is to utilize specially ordered tuneable transmitters. The 3 Mayne nodes now transmit at different wavelengths, and then recombine in the Pender Headend. No more phasing and colliding with each other.

"These are not parts that we just have lying around and had to be ordered specifically for this application, this is why the solution took as long as it did. We also had to prove out that we had no other choice. Once a permanent solution is put in place with the delivery method, we will reclaim the transmitters as they are extremely expensive and overkill. Your Ping Plotter looks pretty good since the work was completed. Now, any issues will just be regular noise which we can usually track down."

Josh Garrels Film Premier & Concert to Thank Mayne - Fri Aug 31

Mason Jar Music and Josh Garrels are excited to share "The Sea In Between" (a film we shot on Mayne Island last summer) with all of the folks on Mayne Island.

This film represents a labor of love for us. Together with the intrepid Josh Garrels, his wife and toddlers in tow, we filmed and recorded a dozen live performances in less than a week and have woven them together with documentary vignettes exploring Josh’s hand-built career, the process of collaborating on Mayne Island, and the challenges and rewards of being an artist in the 21st century.

We hope it gives the audience an opportunity to be a part of the process, to get to know Josh and the MJM team, and to feel included and invested in the futures of Josh and Mason Jar Music. Above all, we hope that this film will encourage casual consumers to follow and support the work and development of artists they believe in as they build careers in the face of this shifting landscape.

Please join us for a concert and viewing of the film at the Agricultural Hall on August 31, 2012 at 7 pm. See you there!

For further information please contact Georgia Johnson, georgiajohnson@me.com

Update Thu August 30 -- Extra film screening for locals: MayneNews has been informed that a extra screening of the "Sea In Between" will happen tonight at 7 PM at the Ag Hall. I'm speculating that they are expecting a lot of people to attend Friday given the long weekend influx of visitors and decided to have an advance screening to accommodate local folks who might want to see it.

The film has a Facebook page: Facebook.com/TheSeaInBetween

Check out the film's web site: theseainbetween.com

87th Annual Mayne Island Fall Fair - Sat Aug 18

The Mayne Island Fall Fair receives support from community members through sponsorship for door prizes, raffle items, and advertising in the Fall Fair booklet. We also have volunteers that help set up the Agricultural Hall, man the gates and assist in displays. It's this type of participation which makes the Fall Fair a special event. To our community we say, "Thank you for being a part of the 2012 Fall Fair."

This year's Mayne Island Fall Fair will be held Saturday August 18th.

Fall Fair Schedule of Events

10:00 am Farmers Market and Fair Grounds open.
11:00 am Parade begins - Fernhill Road.
12:00 pm Fall Fair and Agricultural Hall open.
Bob Connolly will Host, perform and announce spot prizes throughout the day.
Ongoing activities at the Museum (Gaol) area - wheat grinding, Duncan Martin and his backyard Hen House display, and ongoing children's activities
Displays in the Hall.
1:00 pm Anita McCamley - on Stage (children's songs).
1:45 pm Pender Island Pipers - on the Fair Grounds.
2:15 pm Lumberjack Show with Ben Lefler-James and Jody Evans - Fair Grounds.
3:30 pm Awards Ceremony - Stage.
3:45 pm Raffle draw - Stage.

For further information please contact Karen Ramlo, Agricultural Society President ramlo@shaw.ca

Arleen Pare Author Reading - Fri Aug 17

The Mayne Island launch of Arleen Pare's second novel, Leaving Now, will be held at the Mayne Island Library on Friday, August 17th at 4:00 pm.

Pare has been a part-time resident of Mayne for many years. Her first book, Paper Trail, won the Victoria Butler Book Prize and was short-listed for the Dorothy Livesay B.C. Book Prize in Poetry.

The event is open to all and is free of charge.

For further information please contact Judi Walker at judilu@live.ca

GISS Art Show at the Ag Hall - Sat Aug 11

Local young artists are gathering to show off their most recent creations, showcasing culinary delights and music performance as well as paintings, drawings and sculptures.

Come and support the artists of Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) as we take over the Ag Hall on Saturday August 11th between 10am and 2 pm.

For further information please contact Anika Kitka, anika.kitka@gulfislandssecondary.ca

Astronomy in the Park - Sat Aug 11

Join Bruce Lane for an introductory lecture at the Mayne Island School grounds at 8:30 PM, followed by the guided viewing of the night sky through a telescope or two.

If you own a telescope please bring it along, together with blankets, tea and any other sustenance that you might need. Please use red filtered flashlights only during the observing session.

Bruce is the resident amateur astronomer and nature enthusiast at QuarkyScience.ca. He is a member of the Victoria chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and enjoys introducing the public to sky watching at star parties and special events. Bruce is also an avid hiker and photographer.

See you there!

For further info please contact Helen (250) 539-5619

Check out Active Galiano

Detail of Active Galiano Banner photo. Photo by Henny Elizabeth Schnare henny.ca

Active Galiano is a web site on Galiano Island that is similar in some ways to MayneNews, but also offers a whole host of fantastic online community tools created by Christian Nally who built the site himself and is a talented and knowledgable web development expert.

I've been having some interesting discussion with Christian lately and his focus is very much like mine, in that we want to provide online tools to enrich and enhance the great spirit of community that exists on our islands. Christian is also focused on expanding this vision to reconnect the Gulf Islands. All of us Gulf Islanders share so much in common and our communities are so similar, but we are kept separated by a lack of transportation options. Christian alerted me to the Island Futures group from Gabriola Island that is an initiative that aims to try and reverse this separateness. (I posted the announcement for their upcoming all-islands meeting, August 7-9, last week.)

Recently, Christian has added a section on Active Galiano that feeds MayneNews announcements on to his web site. If submitters to MayneNews have content of interest to those on Galiano as well as Mayne, then when you submit to MayneNews our cousins on Galiano may now be viewing it. I'm not sure if I can figure out a way to reciprocate this feed, but I'll be looking into it.

I expect there will be some more interesting collaboration between Active Galiano and MayneNews in the future, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, take a look around the Active Galiano web site: activegaliano.org