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Mystery writers panel includes four authors

As part of a continuing series on writers, the Palm Harbor Library, in partnership with Barnes & Noble's Stacy Barnard, will offer a mystery writers panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The panel will feature:

+ Jeff Strand, author of Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary), Out of Whack, Mandibles and Single White Psychopath Seeks Same.

+ Lynne Hansen, whose Heritage of Horror series for young adults infuses history with mythology. A Florida thriller, Log Out, features the first hurricane to hit Tampa Bay since the 1920s and won the Dream Realm Award for best action-adventure novel the day after Hurricane Charley threatened Tampa Bay.

+ Patty G. Hendersen, who was fascinated in her youth by Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and Barbara Michaels and is the author of the Brenda Strange series set in the Tampa Bay area. The first of the series is The Burning of Her Sin and the latest is Tangles and Dark.

+ Ann Baker, whose book, No Coincidence, is a murder mystery combining romance with moral conflict and political corruption.

The writers will discuss different aspects of their genre as well as the craft of writing. Copies of their books will be available. The event is free and will be held on the public floor in the library's adult services area. The library is at 2330 Nebraska Ave.

Displaced wildlife resort to ponds

EAST LAKE _ The small retention pond behind the Publix at Brooker Creek, just off Ridgemoor Boulevard, doesn't look like much. But it was mecca for a variety of wildlife Friday.

A small alligator, about 3 feet long, snapped and dove, then floated listlessly near the shore of the fenced pond. A fish swam over the reptile's back and away.

Birds of a feather may flock together, but the birds around this pond are less particular.

A great white egret fished near a little blue heron. And a wood stork, federally listed as endangered, roosted in a dead tree with black vultures and crows.

"Retention ponds have replaced a lot of the wetlands in our communities," said Ann Paul, Tampa Bay regional coordinator for Audubon of Florida. "The wildlife that we see in them are using what's left."

Portion of MLK Drive closes this week

TARPON SPRINGS _ Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at Safford Avenue will be closed from Tuesday to Sept. 28 while workers install crosswalks. Traffic will be detoured to Lemon Street during the work. For more information, call the city's engineering department at (727) 938-3711.

Garden memorial planned for assistant principal

PALM HARBOR _ Officials at Lake St. George Elementary School plan to plant two wildflower gardens in memory of Molly Greer, an assistant principal who died Aug. 19 after a battle with colon cancer.

Greer, an Arkansas native, was particularly fond of wildflowers, principal Lon Jensen said.

The school is collecting donations for the wildflower gardens and also will be sending donations to the American Cancer Society.

Donations can be sent to:

Lake St. George Elementary School

c/o Anne Miller

2855 County Road 95

Palm Harbor, FL 34684

An endangered wood stork shares a tree with vultures Friday above the retention pond behind the Publix at Brooker Creek, just off Ridgemoor Boulevard. The pond is home to many displaced species.

SURFERS' PARADISE: Scott Pantle, left, and Tom Bohannon, both of Oldsmar, walk along North Clearwater Beach on Wednesday afternoon after surfing. Bohannon was thrilled about the great surfing weather: "I love it; I wish it was like this all the time," he said.

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