Marjory Douglas, 1890-1998THE ANGEL of the Everglades will...

NOTES AND COMMENTS

May 20, 1998

Marjory Douglas, 1890-1998

THE ANGEL of the Everglades will forever remain a part of the unique "river of grass" she chronicled and championed for more than a half-century. The ashes of Marjory Stoneman Douglas will NTC be strewn over the section of Everglades National Park named for her years ago, absorbed by the wild wetlands of saw grass and swamp that is home to subtropical species found nowhere else on earth.

Advocate and authority, Mrs. Douglas led the fight to protect the fragile marshland that was once despised as pestilent wasteland to be drained and filled for development. Although the Everglades became a national park in 1934, it was the lyrical, loving writings of Mrs. Douglas that converted many to the spirited cause of preserving the 1.6 million acres of South Florida marshlands.

"The Everglades: River of Grass" in 1947 was her signature work, capturing in history, folklore and ecology the magic and splendor of the lush wetlands. A journalist and author, Mrs. Douglas remained active until her death at age 108 last week in the ongoing campaign to preserve the Everglades from over-drainage and pollution.

Her idealism did not overwhelm her realistic view of the challenge, remarking on her centenary birthday: "I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist. I say it's got to be done."

No dilemma under law

ATTORNEY General Janet Reno surely isn't the most popular person in Washington right now. She had little choice, though, under current law but to ask for an independent counsel to look into allegations of wrongdoing against Labor Secretary Alexis Herman.

Ms. Herman has been accused of illegally accepting payments to use her influence on behalf of business interests while a White House aide during President Clinton's first term. A five-month preliminary investigation by the Justice Department found that parts of the account of Ms. Herman's accuser, West African businessman Laurent Yene, can be corroborated.

While there is "no evidence clearly demonstrating Secretary Herman's involvement," Ms. Reno said investigators were "unable to conclude that he (Mr. Yene) is not credible."

That finding sets in motion a process that begins with the attorney general's request to a three-judge panel that an independent counsel be appointed. However controversial it may be, the Ethics in Government Act requires no less.

Pub Date: 5/20/98

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