Okay, I figured it out ... Error Message, "The panel encountered a problem while loading. "OAFIID: Gnome_FastUserSwitchApplet". Do you want to delete this applet from your configuration?
This is the fix that worked on Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Merkat.
At the terminal type: sudo aptitude install gnome-applets
Reboot ... no error message
Thanks to all those who offered their help, it was much appreciated.