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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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Tropical storm forms in Eastern Pacific

Tropical Storm Norbert has formed in the Eastern Pacific about 375 miles southeast of the southern tip of Baja California. The system is tracking to the north at 9 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, prompting a tropical storm watch for the southern end of the Baja California peninsula. The storm is expected to strengthen and turn more northwesterly over the next few days, with winds strengthening to 65 mph on Thursday before gradually weakening. Tropical storm force winds extend 60 miles from the center.