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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.

Governor releases nonprofit grants

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $1.52 million for various capital improvement and operating grants to Hawaii-based nonprofit organizations whose missions benefit island communities, including some for one Big Island organization.

First whale of the season spotted near Kauai

The first confirmed sighting of a humpback whale on Monday in waters off of Kauai marks the beginning of whale season in Hawaii. Ocean recreation tour company Holo Holo Charters observed a humpback whale surfacing approximately one mile off the Kekaha Sugar Mill on the west side of Kauai.

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Federal agencies partner to protect Tern Island wildlife

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released today an initial assessment of contamination at Tern Island, a remote island in the chain of Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The results show there have been releases of hazardous substances such as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and lead from military wastes buried on the island between World War II and 1979, and further action is warranted, according to the EPA.