Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Orders 20 New Helicopters… Updating Fleet

At the Heli-Expo launch of Eurocopter’s new EC130 T2 helicopter, American Eurocopter announced today that Blue Hawaiian Helicopters has ordered 20 of the updated EC130 model that has made a name for itself in the United States in a variety of industries, particularly the aerial tour industry. The agreement with Blue Hawaiian includes 10 firm orders with options for 10 more. These helicopters will be used as part of an ongoing fleet replacement program.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters land at an undisclosed location on the East Side of Hawaii (copyright Damon Tucker)

“Blue Hawaiian was our first EC130 customer, and we welcome them as one of the launch customers for the EC130 T2. They have been a leader in promoting innovations and implementing quiet technology rotorcraft in the air tour industry,” said Marc Paganini, President and CEO of American Eurocopter. “We value the trust they have placed in Eurocopter products and our company, and we will continue to work with them as they enhance their fleet.”

February 2012 Declared as Humpback Whale Awareness Month in Hawaii

In recognition of the 50th State‟s official marine mammal, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Lt. Governor Brian Schatz have officially proclaimed February 2012 as Humpback Whale Awareness Month in Hawai„i.

“The humpback whale represents the diversity of ocean life that surrounds the Hawaiian Islands and reflects the deep connection the people of Hawai„i share with the ocean,” said Governor Abercrombie.

February is the best month of the year to catch a glimpse of Hawai„i‟s humpbacks. Humpback whales represent the diversity of ocean life that surrounds the Hawaiian Islands. Each year humpback whales return to Hawaiian waters to mate, calve and nurse their young.

In 1992, an act of Congress designated the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to protect humpback whales and their habitat. The sanctuary is jointly managed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The sanctuary is offering a variety of whale watches, whale counts and other activities statewide throughout February to celebrate Humpback Whale Awareness Month. Visit the sanctuary‟s website at for a complete listing, or on O„ahu call 1-888-55-WHALE ext. 253 to learn more about how to get involved in the protection of the humpback whale and Hawai„i‟s marine environment.

For O„ahu information, call (808) 397-2651 ext. 253

For Maui information, call (808) 879-2818

For Kaua„i information, call (808) 246-2860

Big Island Police Still Looking for Man Missing Since Last Year

Big Island police are renewing their request for information about a a 58-year-old Hilo man who was reported missing last year.

Robert Dalpe

Robert Dalpe, who has no permanent address, was known to frequent the Hilo area. His family last heard from him in February 2011.

He is described as Caucasian, 6-foot-1 about 150 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

Thursday in Hilo – “45 Ton Whale Talk”

“45 Ton Whale Talk” at Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in Hilo this Thursday, February 16th from 6 – 7pm. Learn more:

“Honoring Ipu”

“Honoring Ipu” features a unique collection of decorated gourds by Jelena Clay and Ipu Heke and Umeke by Kalim Smith. The exhibit is on display from March 3 through April 22, 2012 at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Original decorated gourd by Jelena Clay photographed by Jesse Kalawe

The exhibit features hawaiian ipu gourds (Lagenaria siceraria) of varying shape and size embellished in both traditional and contemporary design, honoring the deeply rooted cultural practice of decorating functional vessels used as tools, musical instruments, and in ceremony. Each item on display, is the dried fruit of the gourd vine, unique in color, pattern, blemishes and irregularities. It is often these irregularities which dictate how the gourd will be used once the seeds and pith are removed and fully dried. Captivated by these irregularities, Jelena says the gourds themselves tell her what to do. The individual “personalities” of each one, with their bulges and irregularities, ask her for ornamentation with seed lei, dye colors, hula or plant images. Her constant challenge is to answer their demand for embellishment of natural materials, carving, dying, and burn etching.

Jelena Clay

One of the more common applications of ipu art is as a percussion instrument used to provide a beat for hula dancing. There are two types of ipu, the ipu heke and the ipu heke ‘ole Both are made from gourds that have been cut off at the neck and hollowed. The ipu heke is two such gourds joined together with a hole cut in the top to allow the sound to escape. Chants and dances in ancient Hawaii were accompanied only by percussion instruments. This art was suppressed after the arrival of Christian Missionaries in 1820, but revived under King David Kalākaua during his reign of 1874 to 1891. The annual hula competition, The Merrie Monarch Festival, celebrates his life and the revival of theses arts in Hawaii today.

Kalim Smith (in dark blue, far right) and company showing traditional gourd hula implements

Volcano Art Center’s “Honoring Ipu” exhibit will be on display during this year’s annual festival as well as other special gallery events, including print and book signings by local artist and authors. For a complete listing of events please visit

The public is invited to view these transformed gourds during a reception honoring both Clay and Smith on Saturday, March 3, from 5-7 p.m. ,or daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. from March 3 – April 22, 2012. Call (808) 967-7565 or visit for more information.

Lt. Governor Brian Schatz – “Setting a New Course”

I have had the honor of serving as your Lieutenant Governor for the past year, and I am pleased to report that it has been a productive year for my office. We have memorialized our major activities and initiatives in an Annual Report which I would like to share with you today.

Click to read the report

The Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawai‘i has essentially two legal mandates in the operation of his or her office.  The first is to serve as the assistant chief executive, becoming Acting Governor upon the Governor’s absence from the state.  The second, as the legally designated Secretary of State, is to manage specific services for the public.

When this administration took office in December of 2010, Governor Abercrombie asked that I assume additional responsibilities in the form of special projects and initiatives assigned to me by the Governor.  An overarching principal in the selection of initiatives was that they help guide the State through its period of economic recovery.

In a phrase, our objective was to stretch the office so we could work collaboratively with both government agencies and the private sector to focus on key targets.

Our Annual Report covers service improvements made within our office, the Hawai‘i Fair Share Initiative, the significance of hosting APEC, disaster relief, China trade and travel activities and initial efforts to make Hawai‘i the home for the Obama Presidential Center.

The Governor’s vision to utilize my office to the fullest is derived from his continued commitment to make the best use of governmental resources.  We face challenges ahead.  But there is a lot to build on after this first year, and I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Hawai‘i into the future.


Carousel of Aloha

Paradise Ponies, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, intends to construct and operate a unique Hawaii-themed carousel, called the “Carousel of Aloha,” along the Volcano Heritage Corridor on Hawai’i, the Big Island.

Paradise Ponies will offer a series of carousel-figure carving classes for artists who want to be part of the community project. The first class will be held Feb. 24-26 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Shipman Business Park in Keaau. Master carousel carver Ken Means of Oregon, will teach the foundation of creating a carousel figure: starting from a drawing, to a pattern, and then creating the “blank”. A carousel blank is the block of wood made from laminated boards that become the palette for the carver. The class cost is $300 with possible discounts.

“This class is the first in a series we will hold to get people excited and involved,” said project coordinator Katherine Patton. “Ultimately, the Carousel of Aloha will be the focal point of a bigger park and pavilion that will serve our community and bring everyone together,” she said.

The Carousel of Aloha will feature hand-carved Hawaii-themed menagerie figures like a monk seal, a green sea turtle, pa`u style horses and a “nightingale,” (the coffee-bean toting donkeys once used on coffee plantations island-wide). It will feature seating benches, scenic panels, mirrors and other colorful carousel amenities carved and painted by volunteer artisans throughout Hawaii. An expansive pavilion will house the carousel, gift shop and other indoor spaces available to the community for art and cultural activities, recreation and entertainment. An adjacent park will add outdoor space for cultural events, and activities for families, residents and visitors to the east side of Hawaii Island.

Volunteers, donations, corporate sponsors and major benefactors are needed. For information on classes or how to help, go to website or contact Katherine Patton at 808-315-1093.

An informational display, including carousel figures in progress, is shown at the Hilo Coffee Mill in Mountain View every Saturday from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Woman Dies in South Kona Car Crash… Police Arrest Her Before She Dies

A 36-year-old Kealakekua woman died Sunday (February 12) from injuries she sustained in a one-vehicle crash at the intersection of Hawaiʻi Belt Road (Route 11) and Route 180 in Honalo, South Kona.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as Dana M. Leoneza.

Responding to a 2:26 a.m. call, Kona patrol officers determined that Leoneza was operating a 1998 Subaru multi-purpose vehicle and traveling south on Hawaiʻi Belt Road (Route 11), when she failed to negotiate a curve in the road and struck a utility pole.

Fire/Rescue personnel took Leoneza and her passenger, a 25-year-old Kailua-Kona man, to Kona Community Hospital.

Leoneza was pronounced dead at 8:19 p.m.

The passenger was listed in serious condition and confined to the hospital.

Before her death, Leoneza was arrested at the hospital for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, negligent injury and promoting a dangerous drug in the third degree. Because she was confined to the hospital, she was released pending further investigation.

Speed and alcohol appear to be factors in this crash.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a coroner’s inquest case and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

This is the second traffic fatality on the Big Island this year compared with five at this time last year.