Monday, April 16, 2001

Left to right, B-Jay Trajano, Marla Alimurong, Angela
Alimurong and (behind) Klaire Marie Trajano left
the annual Easter egg hunt at Washington Place
yesterday with large buckets full of eggs.

Children find eggs but no governor

By Treena Shapiro

The governor's residence has the biggest dining room 11-year-old Klaire Trajano has ever seen.

That was what wowed her the most as she left Washington Place with more than 50 jellybean-filled Easter eggs yesterday, although taking a picture with first lady Vicky Cayetano came in a close second.

"It feels like woo-oo-oo!" she said, clasping her hand over her mouth in excitement.

Bubbling with enthusiasm over her tour of the governor's house, Trajano was not concerned with two protesters standing next to her on Beretania Street, holding signs to bring attention to the University of Hawaii faculty strike.

This is the third year in a row Cayetano, honorary president of the Hawaii Girl Scouts, has hosted an Easter egg hunt on the Washington Place lawn. The event gives Junior Girl Scouts an opportunity to perform community service, and yesterday some 60 Juniors filled and scattered 5,000 Easter eggs across the lawn and helped give tours of the governor's mansion.

Anticipating a crowd of more than 1,000, as in the two previous years, children were limited to three eggs each. However, by the time Trajano arrived with friends and family, it was obvious attendance would be several hundred fewer, so the egg limit was lifted, and Trajano and other late arrivals got to clean up the lawn.

Girl Scout Maddison Rutigliano, 11, said that she still enjoys participating in the egg hunt after three years and plans to continue to participate as long as she stays in Hawaii. "I like it," she said. "You get to see all the kids having fun."

Rutigliano said a highlight for the kids is getting a picture with the governor and his wife.

However, this year, Gov. Ben Cayetano did not appear, leaving Vicky Cayetano to do the bunny hop with celebrating children and Bungie the Clown.

Despite rumors that striking teachers and professors would appear at the egg hunt to confront the governor, a handful who came to Washington Place remained unobtrusive and left when they learned Cayetano would not be present.

The sole exception was Hazel Beh, a University of Hawaii law professor who stood outside Washington Place with her husband, Walter, sign-waving and blowing bubbles.

Beh said she came out "because people need to be reminded this is not a governor who cares about the university or public education. A few Easter eggs is not the way to be investing in children or college students."

"If he really cared about children, he'd be settling our strikes," said Beh, who is no longer optimistic that the strikes will be settled soon.

"It's do or die for a lot of institutes and departments (this week)," she said. "But even if they save the semester, they can't salvage the lack of learning for the last two weeks."

Beh, who specializes in contract law, said she supports students' efforts to have their tuition refunded because of the strike. Students at other universities faced with similar situations have not only secured tuition refunds, but also have recovered damages in lost wages, she said.

But inside, elementary school children harbored no ill will against the governor, and some were disappointed at not getting the chance to thank him. Chloe Raymer, 12, said, "I've been here lots of times, (and the best part is) I get to meet the governor."

Junior Girl Scout Alysha Kraft, 12, said the event would not be possible without the governor and his wife. "I think it's really nice of them to let us use their lawn to spread the Easter eggs out," she said.

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