HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ ''The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,'' humorist Mark Twain once penned.

The American Association of Retired Persons apparently took him at his word, because the organization has sent him an invitation to join up.

Last month, the Mark Twain Memorial received a letter from the association, inviting Mr. S.L. Clemens - Twain's real name - to join the 20 million other members in the Washington, D.C.-based group that represents retired people.

Elaine Cheeseman, education coordinator at the memorial, said the staff decided to fill out a membership application for the author, who died in 1910.

They included Clemens' birth date, Nov. 30, 1835, and added a note: ''You may know me better by my pen name, Mark Twain.''

''I thought that would give it away,'' Ms. Cheeseman said.

Instead, an identification card arrived a couple weeks ago naming Clemens and his wife, Olivia, as members, along with a bill for the association's annual $5 dues.

Steve Mehlman, manager of editorial services for the association, said there's obviously a glitch in his computerized mailing system.

''We've sent applications to 3-year-old kids,'' he said.

As for Twain, Mehlman said: ''We're delighted. Maybe we can get him to do some free-lancing for our magazine.''

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MIAMI (AP) - The steel freighter Rossmery, blasted into a watery grave by 300 pounds of dynamite, has become the latest jewel in the expanding string of artificial reefs crowning Dade County.

It also has helped stepped up a contest for artificial reef materials between Dade County and its neighbors, Palm Beach and Broward counties.

''It's becoming quite competitive because we're all looking for the same materials,'' said Ben Mostkoff, operator of Dade County's artificial reef program. ''We all want ships that are ready to be sunk.''

Broward's growing artificial reef program includes the Mercedes I frieghter, stranded last winter in the backyard of socialite Molly Wilmot. Palm Beach boasts a Rolls-Royce reef.

The Rossmery, sunk Monday, was the 13th ship sunk by Dade County since 1981, bringing to more than 70,000 cubic yards the amount of material sent to the ocean floor.

Ships, oil platforms, exhaust turbine stacks and fuel storage tanks are sunk to form man-made reefs that lure grouper, snapper, sailfish, dolphin and other aquatic life to the waters off South Florida. The fish, in turn, attract scuba divers and charter fishing boats.

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MILWAUKEE (AP) - A 30-foot, 350-pound green-winged dragon can be seen climbing the historic North Point Water Tower this week, a feat King Kong surely would applaud.

Artist Terese Agnew donned a hard hat and thick construction gloves Tuesday to suspend her creation, which wraps around the ornate stone tower, 65 feet above the ground.

Ms. Agnew, 26, said the sculpture, which cost $3,500 from her own pocket, is meant to ''trick people into thinking.''

The dragon, begun last June, consists of a steel frame, 450 feet of chicken wire, 70 gallons of fiberglass, 3,000 styrene scales, wings of metal on bamboo frames and an exterior finish of silver blue and green bronzing powder suspended in a clear plastic varnish.

It will grace the 175-foot tower, a historical monument, until Oct. 29, lit at night with spotlights.