The search continues, but I have narrowed it down to a few possibilities:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5 is in the lead, followed closely by Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 and the Olympus C7000.
I am an Olympus girl at heart and just found a place to buy another Olympus C5000 identical to the one I (or should I say MR. SWAMP) am (is) currently using. [Note to self: do not teach spousal unit how to operate any more electronic toys...]
Ah, the trials and tribulations of camera selection.