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Fewer manatees wintering in area

With temperatures warming during recent weeks, manatees that usually inhabit area waters during the winter have been heading back into the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. Federal wildlife biologist Joyce Kleen counted 147 manatees in area waters Wednesday during an aerial survey. The total represents a significant decrease from the 369 manatees she spotted during a similar survey late last month and an even steeper drop off from the record-breaking 430 manatees seen Dec. 21. Sixty-six of the 147 manatees spotted Wednesday were in Kings Bay, three in the Crystal River, five in the Salt River, 48 in the discharge canal at the Progress Energy power plant in Crystal River, two in the Cross-Florida Barge Canal, 19 in the Blue Waters portion of the Homosassa River and four in the lower Homosassa River. Manatees visit area waters in colder months, seeking the warmth of warm-water springs. Aerial surveys are conducted every other week, unless a significant cold front pushes through the area.

CORRECTION

Financial adviser Bob Lane testified Wednesday that Mildred Edgerly was competent to make financial decisions for herself. A headline in Thursday's Citrus Times incorrectly stated about whom the adviser was speaking.

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