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State agency released from federal injunction

The state Department of Human Services Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division has successfully closed a February 2011 class action lawsuit for failure to issue Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits within time frames outlined by federal law.

Chemical odor prompts school evacuations in Honokaa

Students at Honokaa Elementary and Honokaa High & Intermediate were sent home at around 10:45 a.m. today due to a strong chemical odor that affected about 50 people at the High & Intermediate school. According to hazardous materials investigators, the odor was traced to a nearby resident who was using a mix of chemicals to spray his yard.

EPA orders county to fix wastewater pipe

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered Hawaii County to repair the Hilo Wastewater Treatment Plant’s ocean outfall pipe. The pipe is leaking treated wastewater close to shore, posing a potential risk to the marine environment and public health, EPA officials said.

Tips offered to help downed seabirds

Every year from September to December, seabird chicks throughout Hawaii leave their nests and make their first nocturnal flight from their nesting burrow to the sea. Guided by moonlight, the lights from cities, towns and homes can confuse these young birds — and even some adults — and cause them to fall inland rather than continue out to the ocean.

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