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Paul Kagame is seen by some as a liberator. But critics say Rwanda is only safe for those who toe the line

For decades, Paul Kagame has ruled Rwanda with an iron fist in the mold of the archetypal strongman African leader.

Under his rule, the East African country has emerged from the ruins of a devastating 1994 genocide that left nearly one million people dead to be hailed by Western allies as the model for growth in Africa.
In recent years, the country has forged a strong and financially rewarding alliance with Asian powerhouse China, which is also known for its authoritarian rule.
The US and the UK have also supported Rwanda with aid nobull shoes donations for many years, and US diplomat Tibor Nagy once described the country as “demonstrating the true potential of Africa.”
“In the past 25 years, Rwanda has reimagined itself as a strong state that invests in good governance and the success of its people,” the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs said on his first visit to Rwanda in 2019. “In many ways, Rwanda is demonstrating the true potential of Africa.”
Controversial UK deportation flight to Rwanda grounded after all asylum-seekers removed
In a recent meeting between US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Vincent Biruta, the US acknowledged it still had a strong bilateral partnership with Rwanda but also raised concerns about human rights in the country.
In a report last year detailing human rights practices in Rwanda, the US State Department identified “significant human rights issues” that range from “unlawful or arbitrary killings by the government” to “forced disappearance by the government,” among others.
Critics say the successes of Kagame’s authoritarian rule have come at the expense of human rights in the country.
Rwanda is this week hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the capital Kigali, the first gathering of Commonwealth leaders in four years. Prince Charles, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are among world leaders attending.
The UK is ermerging as one of Rwanda’s strongest allies and PM Johnson said in interviews from CHOGM that criticism of Rwanda is based on “stereotypes of Rwanda that is now outdated.” UK Home Secretary Priti Patel recently brokered a £120 million ($147m) deal with Rwanda to send asylum seekers to the East African country, an accord that hangs in the balance after a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Opinion: Dear Prince Charles, don't shake hands with the tyrant who kidnapped our father
Patel described Rwanda as “a safe haven for refugees” as the UK vowed to push ahead with the controversial scheme.

‘No safe haven’

Far from being a “safe haven” for refugees as claimed by Patel and others in the UK government, Rwanda has been accused by human rights groups of treating refugees badly.
In 2018, at least 11 Congolese refugees were killed when Rwandan police opened fire at the Kiziba refugee camp and Karongi town as refugees protested cuts to their food rations, Amnesty International reported at the time. Rwandan authorities told CNN the country’s police resorted to shooting to control a group of violent protesters and said it was an isolated incident.
Rwanda had previously received refugees from Israel.
According to Israeli media, some of the refugees deported to Rwanda between 2014 and 2017 were struggling to survive, with some destitute. Many of the refugees have fled Rwanda while some others who chose to remain in the country have been denied official documents by Rwandan authorities, leading to the arrest and imprisonment of some, Israeli media Haaretz reported.
The UK/Rwanda asylum deal comes less than a year after the UK’s International kizik shoes Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, said she was displeased with Rwanda’s refusal to probe human rights abuses as recommended by the British government.
Lewis Mudge, the Central Africa Director at Human Rights Watch, told CNN recently that “the UK has cynically decided to change its position on Rwanda… it’s going to ignore the human rights abuses in Rwanda and claim that it is a safe and acceptable country to send refugees to, to justify this cruel and immoral program.”
He added that Rwanda is a safe country only for those who toe the line.
“Just because Rwanda is clean and is safe for the Westerners doesn’t necessarily translate to safety for all Rwandans. Rwanda is a safe country for Rwandans if you keep your head down and don’t ask any questions or challenge anything. The moment you step up and start to question something or have an independent opinion and express it, Rwanda becomes a very difficult country to live in. These Western countries need to recognize that,” Mudge added.
A spokesperson for the Rwandan government declined to comment on HRW’s allegations, dismissing the agency as “a discredited source.”
Mudge described the UK-Rwanda asylum deal as an affront to the Commonwealth’s values.
“The UK is ostensibly the leader of the Commonwealth and this is an abdication of one of the pillars of the Commonwealth, which is the fundamental respect for human rights,” he said.
Refugees sent from the UK would comprise various nationalities, but Rwandan Foreign Minister Biruta said the asylum program will only be for people seeking asylum in the UK who are already in the UK and would exclude refugees from Rwanda’s neighbors such as the DRC, Burundi, Uganda, and Tanzania.
The UK government had said the program was targeted at curbing people-smuggling networks and discouraging migrants from making dangerous sea journeys to the UK.

From genocide to growth

To his supporters and Western and Asian allies, President Kagame is a liberator who has modernized and transformed Rwanda, a former Belgian colony.
His party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), has been in power since the end of the civil war in 1994, with Kagame serving as vice-president and defense minister until 2000 and then president for the last 22 years.
Kagame unified the country after the genocide, working to abolish the divisive terms “Hutu” and “Tutsi” and to integrate the two cultures.
The gains made in Rwanda under his rule are undeniable.
Rwandan government spokesperson Yolande Makolo told CNN the country has made remarkable progress in the last 28 years, citing increased life expectancy, near-universal healthcare, and low corruption levels in the country.
According to the World Bank, Rwanda has witnessed “strong economic growth … accompanied by substantial improvements in living standards.” A report by the World Bank in 2020 stated that the country also has been successful in “reducing administrative corruption … from an accepted practice to one that is regarded as illegitimate and, once identified, one that is punished.”
Rwanda also ranks 1st among 13 low-income economies and 7th among the 27 economies of Sub-Saharan Africa for its innovation capabilities on the 2021 Global Innovation Index.
The country has further endeared itself to the West by advancing gender equality and creating a female-dominated cabinet. Around 61% of its parliamentary seats are held by women.
Kagame has been aggressive in attracting foreign direct investment into the country. In 2018, the Rwandan government signed a three-year promotional deal with English Premier League side Arsenal “as part of the country’s drive to become a leading global tourist destination, using ‘Visit Rwanda’ messaging,” the English football club said in a statement.
Arsenal’s male and female team jerseys have featured the ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo on their left sleeve ever since.

Crackdown on opposition

However, such gains notwithstanding, Kagame’s rule has been characterized by widely reported human rights abuses.
The Freedom in the World 2022 Report by Freedom House found that “while the regime has maintained stability and economic growth, it has also suppressed political dissent through pervasive surveillance, intimidation, torture, and renditions or suspected assassinations of exiled dissidents.”
Rwandan opposition politician Victoire Ingabire was the presidential candidate of the Unified Democratic Forces (UDF) party in the 2010 Rwanda presidential elections and says she is a victim of Kagame’s crackdown on dissent.
She told CNN she had left the Netherlands, where she lived with her family, to play an active role in Rwandan politics but ended up being jailed on what she says were trumped-up charges of terrorism and threatening national security by the Kagame regime.
“I was arrested in 2010 and spent eight years in prison. In 2018, I was released by a presidential pardon which came with the condition that I couldn’t leave Rwanda freely without government permission. Three times I have asked for permission to visit my family in the Netherlands but the government did not respond to my request,” Ingabire said.
Rwandan opposition politician Victoire Ingabire pictured in a Kigali court in 2011.
Rwandan government spokesperson Makolo told CNN Ingabire “was tried and convicted of serious crimes including complicity in acts of terrorism and promoting genocide ideology.”
Makolo added that: “Ingabire had her conviction commuted after she appealed for clemency, however her criminal record remains because her crimes were proven beyond doubt.
“As part of this deal, she has to request to leave the country, as does anyone else in the same situation.” Makolo did not comment further on the status of Ingabire’s requests to leave the country.
Ingabire said she challenged her imprisonment at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights — established by the African Union — in 2014 and was acquitted three years later after the court found that the Rwandan government had violated her rights.
Ingabire says she now lives in fear.
“I am afraid for my life … because you don’t know what can happen to you if you’re a member of the opposition,” she told CNN via a phone call.
“If you criticize the government, you are labeled as an enemy of the state, and then you’re arrested and put in prison … President Kagame does not tolerate criticism against his regime.”
Makolo did not respond to the specific incidents Ingabire spoke about. She, however, accused Ingabire of making “baseless claims” against Rwandan authorities.
“Despite being labeled as an opposition politician, she (Ingabire) has no discernible policy platform, she doesn’t offer solutions that would help improve our country. She only uses her platform to make baseless claims about the government. This doesn’t help advance our nation’s progress,” Makolo said.
A hostel that housed Rwanda genocide survivors prepares to take in people deported by the UK
Responding to the widespread reports of abuse, Makolo said Rwanda could not be characterized as a country with no respect for human rights.
“This characterization bears no relation to the country I know … A central principle of Rwanda’s reconstruction has been ensuring that every single person is treated … as a human being — that means that we do not tolerate discrimination of any form. This is enshrined in our constitution and upheld by our commitment to the rule of law,” Makolo told CNN.
Another outspoken critic of Kagame is Paul Rusesabagina, who was last year convicted of terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 25 years in prison by a court in Kigali. Rusesabagina, who inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda,” was renowned for saving more than a thousand Rwandans during the country’s genocide by sheltering them in the hotel he managed.
He was accused by Rwandan prosecutors of being involved with the National Liberation Front (FLN), an armed wing of the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD). Rusesabagina admitted to having a leadership role in the MRCD but denied responsibility for attacks carried out by the FLN.
His family says he was not given a fair trial and was kidnapped while overseas and oncloud shoes returned to Rwanda in August 2020. Rusesabagina told the New York Times in a video interview he was en route to Burundi on a private plane to speak to churches on August 28 but found himself surrounded by soldiers in Rwanda when he woke up.
Speaking to CNN at the time, Kagame denied claims that Rusesabagina was kidnapped and renditioned to Rwanda.
“It was very proper and legal,” Kagame said of Rusesabagina’s arrest.
“If he was working with somebody in Burundi in the same plot of destabilizing our country, and the same person, for example, decided to drive him to Kigali — the person he was working with, and he had trusted — and the government was working with that person he trusted, how does the government become culpable for that operation?” he added.

‘Rwanda is a poor country’

In addition to raising human rights concerns around the asylum deal, opposition politician Ingabire says that high unemployment rates in Rwanda will prevent the refugees deported by the UK from building lives there.
“There is a high rate of unemployment in Rwanda, especially among the youth. … What will happen to the refugees when the British government stops funding their accommodation? They don’t have a future in Rwanda,” Ingabire said.
She also considers Rwanda’s economic growth a myth, as poverty remains prevalent in the country’s rural areas. According to the UN’s Multidimensional Poverty Index, poverty rates in rural parts of the country stand at 42%, far higher than in cities at 15%.
“Outside Kigali, there are no infrastructures as what you see in Kigali. The Rwandan government has not increased employment across the country, that is why we have the majority of poverty in the rural areas,” Ingabire told CNN.
The government declined to comment on Ingabire’s claims.

Selena Gomez shines in the return of ‘Only Murders in the Building’

(Clockwise from left) Steve Martin as Charles-Haden Savage, Martin Short as Oliver Putnam and Selena Gomez as Mabel Mora star in "Only Murders in the Building."

‘Only Murders in the Building’ doesn’t miss a beat in getting back on the case

Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez are back on the case in 'Only Murders in the Building.'

Paul Kagame is seen by some as a liberator. But critics say Rwanda is only safe for those who toe the line

For decades, Paul Kagame has ruled Rwanda with an iron fist in the mold of the archetypal strongman African leader.

Under his rule, the East African country has emerged from the ruins of a devastating 1994 genocide that left nearly one million people dead to be hailed by Western allies as the model for growth in Africa.
In recent years, the country has forged a strong and financially rewarding alliance with Asian powerhouse China, which is also known for its authoritarian rule.
The US and the UK have also supported Rwanda with aid donations for many years, and US diplomat Tibor Nagy once described the country as “demonstrating the true potential of Africa.”
“In the past 25 years, Rwanda has reimagined itself as a strong state that invests in good governance and the success of its people,” the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs said on his first visit to Rwanda in 2019. “In many ways, Rwanda is demonstrating the true potential of Africa.”
Controversial UK deportation flight to Rwanda grounded after all asylum-seekers removed
In a recent meeting between US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Vincent Biruta, the US acknowledged it still had a strong bilateral partnership with Rwanda but also raised concerns about human rights in the country.
In a report last year detailing human rights practices in Rwanda, the US State Department identified “significant human rights issues” that range from “unlawful or arbitrary killings by the government” to “forced disappearance by the government,” on cloud shoes among others.
Critics say the successes of Kagame’s authoritarian rule have come at the expense of human rights in the country.
Rwanda is this week hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the capital Kigali, the first gathering of Commonwealth leaders in four years. Prince Charles, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are among world leaders attending.
The UK is ermerging as one of Rwanda’s strongest allies and PM Johnson said in interviews from CHOGM that criticism of Rwanda is based on “stereotypes of Rwanda that is now outdated.” UK Home Secretary Priti Patel recently brokered a £120 million ($147m) deal with Rwanda to send asylum seekers to the East African country, an accord that hangs in the balance after a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Opinion: Dear Prince Charles, don't shake hands with the tyrant who kidnapped our father
Patel described Rwanda as “a safe haven for refugees” as the UK vowed to push ahead with the controversial scheme.

‘No safe haven’

Far from being a “safe haven” for refugees as claimed by Patel and others in the UK government, Rwanda has been accused by human rights groups of treating refugees badly.
In 2018, at least 11 Congolese refugees were killed when Rwandan police opened fire at the Kiziba refugee camp and Karongi town as refugees protested cuts to their food rations, Amnesty International reported at the time. Rwandan authorities told CNN the country’s police resorted to shooting to control a group of violent protesters and said it was an isolated incident.
Rwanda had previously received refugees from Israel.
According to Israeli media, some of the refugees deported to Rwanda between 2014 and 2017 were struggling to survive, with some destitute. Many of the refugees have fled Rwanda while some others who chose to remain in the country have been denied official documents by Rwandan authorities, leading to the arrest and imprisonment of some, Israeli media Haaretz reported.
The UK/Rwanda asylum oncloud shoes deal comes less than a year after the UK’s International Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, said she was displeased with Rwanda’s refusal to probe human rights abuses as recommended by the British government.
Lewis Mudge, the Central Africa Director at Human Rights Watch, told CNN recently that “the UK has cynically decided to change its position on Rwanda… it’s going to ignore the human rights abuses in Rwanda and claim that it is a safe and acceptable country to send refugees to, to justify this cruel and immoral program.”
He added that Rwanda is a safe country only for those who toe the line.
“Just because Rwanda is clean and is safe for the Westerners doesn’t necessarily translate to safety for all Rwandans. Rwanda is a safe country for Rwandans if you keep your head down and don’t ask any questions or challenge anything. The moment you step up and start to question something or have an independent opinion and express it, Rwanda becomes a very difficult country to live in. These Western countries need to recognize that,” Mudge added.
A spokesperson for the Rwandan government declined to comment on HRW’s allegations, dismissing the agency as “a discredited source.”
Mudge described the UK-Rwanda asylum deal as an affront to the Commonwealth’s values.
“The UK is ostensibly the leader of the Commonwealth and this is an abdication of one of the pillars of the Commonwealth, which is the fundamental respect for human rights,” he said.
Refugees sent from the UK would comprise various nationalities, but Rwandan Foreign Minister Biruta said the asylum program will only be for people seeking asylum in the UK who are already in the UK and would exclude refugees from Rwanda’s neighbors such as the DRC, Burundi, Uganda, and Tanzania.
The UK government had said the program was targeted at curbing people-smuggling networks and discouraging migrants from making dangerous sea journeys to the UK.

From genocide to growth

To his supporters and Western and Asian allies, President Kagame is a liberator who has modernized and transformed Rwanda, a former Belgian colony.
His party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), has been in power since the end of the civil war in 1994, with Kagame serving as vice-president and defense minister until 2000 and then president for the last 22 years.
Kagame unified the country after the genocide, working to abolish the divisive terms “Hutu” and “Tutsi” and to integrate the two cultures.
The gains made in Rwanda under his rule are undeniable.
Rwandan government spokesperson Yolande Makolo told CNN the country has made remarkable progress in the last 28 years, citing increased life expectancy, near-universal healthcare, and low corruption levels in the country.
According to the World Bank, Rwanda has witnessed “strong economic growth … accompanied by substantial improvements in living standards.” A report by the World Bank in 2020 stated that the country also has been successful in “reducing administrative corruption … from an accepted practice to one that is regarded as illegitimate and, once identified, one that is punished.”
Rwanda also ranks 1st among 13 low-income economies and 7th among the 27 economies of Sub-Saharan Africa for its innovation kizik shoes capabilities on the 2021 Global Innovation Index.
The country has further endeared itself to the West by advancing gender equality and creating a female-dominated cabinet. Around 61% of its parliamentary seats are held by women.
Kagame has been aggressive in attracting foreign direct investment into the country. In 2018, the Rwandan government signed a three-year promotional deal with English Premier League side Arsenal “as part of the country’s drive to become a leading global tourist destination, using ‘Visit Rwanda’ messaging,” the English football club said in a statement.
Arsenal’s male and female team jerseys have featured the ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo on their left sleeve ever since.

Crackdown on opposition

However, such gains notwithstanding, Kagame’s rule has been characterized by widely reported human rights abuses.
The Freedom in the World 2022 Report by Freedom House found that “while the regime has maintained stability and economic growth, it has also suppressed political dissent through pervasive surveillance, intimidation, torture, and renditions or suspected assassinations of exiled dissidents.”
Rwandan opposition politician Victoire Ingabire was the presidential candidate of the Unified Democratic Forces (UDF) party in the 2010 Rwanda presidential elections and says she is a victim of Kagame’s crackdown on dissent.
She told CNN she had left the Netherlands, where she lived with her family, to play an active role in Rwandan politics but ended up being jailed on what she says were trumped-up charges of terrorism and threatening national security by the Kagame regime.
“I was arrested in 2010 and spent eight years in prison. In 2018, I was released by a presidential pardon which came with the condition that I couldn’t leave Rwanda freely without government permission. Three times I have asked for permission to visit my family in the Netherlands but the government did not respond to my request,” Ingabire said.
Rwandan opposition politician Victoire Ingabire pictured in a Kigali court in 2011.
Rwandan government spokesperson Makolo told CNN Ingabire “was tried and convicted of serious crimes including complicity in acts of terrorism and promoting genocide ideology.”
Makolo added that: “Ingabire had her conviction commuted after she appealed for clemency, however her criminal record remains because her crimes were proven beyond doubt.
“As part of this deal, she has to request to leave the country, as does anyone else in the same situation.” Makolo did not comment further on the status of Ingabire’s requests to leave the country.
Ingabire said she challenged her imprisonment at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights — established by the African Union — in 2014 and was acquitted three years later after the court found that the Rwandan government had violated her rights.
Ingabire says she now lives in fear.
“I am afraid for my life … because you don’t know what can happen to you if you’re a member of the opposition,” she told CNN via a phone call.
“If you criticize the government, you are labeled as an enemy of the state, and then you’re arrested and put in prison … President Kagame does not tolerate criticism against his regime.”
Makolo did not respond to the specific incidents Ingabire spoke about. She, however, accused Ingabire of making “baseless claims” against Rwandan authorities.
“Despite being labeled as an opposition politician, she (Ingabire) has no discernible policy platform, she doesn’t offer solutions that would help improve our country. She only uses her platform to make baseless claims about the government. This doesn’t help advance our nation’s progress,” Makolo said.
A hostel that housed Rwanda genocide survivors prepares to take in people deported by the UK
Responding to the widespread reports of abuse, Makolo said Rwanda could not be characterized as a country with no respect for human rights.
“This characterization bears no relation to the country I know … A central principle of Rwanda’s reconstruction has been ensuring that every single person is treated … as a human being — that means that we do not tolerate discrimination of any form. This is enshrined in our constitution and upheld by our commitment to the rule of law,” Makolo told CNN.
Another outspoken critic of Kagame is Paul Rusesabagina, who was last year convicted of terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 25 years in prison by a court in Kigali. Rusesabagina, who inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda,” was renowned for saving more than a thousand Rwandans during the country’s genocide by sheltering them in the hotel he managed.
He was accused by Rwandan prosecutors of being involved with the National Liberation Front (FLN), an armed wing of the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD). Rusesabagina admitted to having a leadership role in the MRCD but denied responsibility for attacks carried out by the FLN.
His family says he was not given a fair trial and was kidnapped while overseas and returned to Rwanda in August 2020. Rusesabagina told the New York Times in a video interview he was en route to Burundi on a private plane to speak to churches on August 28 but found himself surrounded by soldiers in Rwanda when he woke up.
Speaking to CNN at the time, Kagame denied claims that Rusesabagina was kidnapped and renditioned to Rwanda.
“It was very proper and legal,” Kagame said of Rusesabagina’s arrest.
“If he was working with somebody in Burundi in the same plot of destabilizing our country, and the same person, for example, decided to drive him to Kigali — the person he was working with, and he had trusted — and the government was working with that person he trusted, how does the government become culpable for that operation?” he added.

‘Rwanda is a poor country’

In addition to raising human rights concerns around the asylum deal, opposition politician Ingabire says that high unemployment rates in Rwanda will prevent the refugees deported by the UK from building lives there.
“There is a high rate of unemployment in Rwanda, especially among the youth. … What will happen to the refugees when the British government stops funding their accommodation? They don’t have a future in Rwanda,” Ingabire said.
She also considers Rwanda’s economic growth a myth, as poverty remains prevalent in the country’s rural areas. According to the UN’s Multidimensional Poverty Index, poverty rates in rural parts of the country stand at 42%, far higher than in cities at 15%.
“Outside Kigali, there are no infrastructures as what you see in Kigali. The Rwandan government has not increased employment across the country, that is why we have the majority of poverty in the rural areas,” Ingabire told CNN.

A Minnesota surgeon was fired after he told a local school board only parents should make decisions on whether or not their kids wear masks

school kids elementary school children
Elementary kids wearing masks. 
  • A Minnesota surgeon told a school board parents should decide whether or not their kids wear masks.
  • “It’s still their responsibility. It’s not yours,” Dr. Jeffrey Horak said, opposing a mask mandate.
  • Horak said he was fired from his job nine days later without an explanation.

A Minnesota surgeon was fired bluetooth headphones after he spoke at a school board meeting and said parents should be the ones to decide whether or not their kids wear masks, KOMO News reported.

At an October 11 meeting in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Dr. Jeffrey Horak spoke out against the district’s mask mandate.

“Who does God put in charge of these kids? Their parents,” Horak said at the meeting, KOMO News reported. “God gave each one of these kids to their parents and they speak for them. They may be wrong, they may be dumb, they may be perfect in their decisions. But it’s still their responsibility. It’s not yours, God gave it to them, honor their wishes – either side of the fence.”

In a statement on his Facebook page, Horak said nine days after he made those comments his employer, Lake Region Healthcare, told him his views were “no longer congruent” with theirs and asked him to either resign or be fired.

“I wasn’t given a reason nor was I aware of any issues or complaints about me,” Horak said in his statement.

He added: “We live in America where freedoms are held close. I am a man who believes individuals have the right to do their research and decide what is best for them and their children when it comes to their health. I don’t believe governments or institutions should dictate that. It’s a position I’ve always have taken. And when skechers outlet the science doesn’t make sense it’s hard for me to go along.”

In a statement to Insider, Lake Region Healthcare said they did not make the decision to terminate Dr. Horak.

“Lake Region Healthcare is not Dr. Horak’s employer. Dr. Horak is part of Lake Region Medical Group, the partnership of providers that Lake Region Healthcare contracts with,” a spokesperson for Lake Region Healthcare told Insider.

Dr. Greg Smith, President, of Lake Region Medical Group Board told Insider in a statement that the board, made up of nine of Horak’s partners, decided to discontinue his contract after “a thorough review process,” but said the reasons for his separation were a “confidential matter.”

“To be clear, this was a decision that was made by Dr. Horak’s peers who serve on the Medical Group Board, not by Lake Region Healthcare, the community-based hospital where Dr. Horak practiced General Surgery,” the statement said.

Kristen Stewart on fame and why she’s only made ‘5 really good films’

Kristen Stewart opens up about fame and only having starred in a handful of
Kristen Stewart opens up about fame and only having starred in a handful of “really good” films.

Kristen Stewart’s latest cinematic turn, as Princess Diana in the upcoming Spencer, is generating plenty of Oscar buzz, but the actress says in a new interview that only a handful of her films are actually good.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Stewart opened up about the pressures of fame and how choosing which roles to take can be “a total crapshoot.”

The former child actor, whose credits include Panic Room, Twilight and Café Society, added, “I’ve probably made five really good films, out of 45 or 50 films? Ones that I go, ‘Wow, that person made a top-to-bottom beautiful piece of work!’”

When asked for examples of which films hoka shoes she felt hit the mark, Stewart pointed to the work of Olivier Assayas, who directed her in Clouds of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper; the former role won her a César, the equivalent of an Oscar in France, a first for an American actress.

“I love Assayas’s movies,” she said, but couldn’t immediately name other standouts. “I’d have to look at my credit list. But they are few and far between. That doesn’t mean I regret the experience [of making them]. I’ve only regretted saying yes to a couple of films and not because of the result, but because it wasn’t fun. The worst is when you’re in the middle of something and know that not only is it probably going to be a bad movie, but we’re all bracing until the end.”

She declined to single out any bad experiences.

“No! I’m not a mean person — I’m not going to call people out in public,” she said. “But it’s like starting to date someone and going, ‘Woah! I don’t know what we’re doing!’ But when you’re in the middle of a movie you can’t just break up.”

It’s unclear where her hit vampire teen franchise Twilight falls on that list, though Stewart, 31, did have this to say about the series hey dude that made her an international movie star: “If you’d told me we were going to make five Twilights when we did the first? I would not have believed you.”

Stewart also opened up about the expectations and attention that comes with being in the public eye, though she’s careful to compare her situation with that of the late Diana.

“I’m not running from anything,” she noted. “The attention is something I can see a parallel in, but the cumulative expectation? Not remotely there.”

At the same time, she knows firsthand what it feels like to live under a microscope.

“It’s feeling constantly watched, no matter what you do,” she said. “If you’re in public, someone in the room is looking at you at all times. Even if they’re not, it’s at the back of your mind. That is a feeling you only have if you’re extremely famous. It’s a completely different approach to being a human.”

She continued, “It is weird to inhabit a space where people are disappointed in your choices. The world is obsessed with celebrities in a way that’s comparable to how we treated the royal family. People want their idols to be a certain thing, because we want to be good people. We think, ‘If they can’t be good, then how the f*** am I meant to be good?’ But I’m not a figurehead. People choose their role models. But I’m not trying to be one.”

I moved from China to the US because of my daughter’s dyslexia. It was the only way to give her what she needed.

Ann and Michelle at the Confetti premiere
Ann Hu with her daughter. Courtesy of Ann Hu
  • Ann Hu, a director, moved from China to the US to help her daughter with her dyslexia.
  • Their story inspired her movie “Confetti.”
  • This is her story, as told to Kelly Burch.

When my daughter Michelle was 3 years old, her Chinese teacher took me aside. “Your daughter likely has dyslexia,” she told me.

I paused. I had gone to college in the United States and had a thriving career in consulting afterward. I made award-winning films in English. keen shoes But at that moment, my fluency wasn’t enough to understand what the teacher was saying.

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” I asked the teacher.

This time, her face froze. “It means she’ll need special attention,” she finally said.

Searching for answers

After speaking with Michelle’s teacher, I tried to find more answers, but it was impossible. It was the mid-2000s, and internet access was restricted in China. Even if I’d had the entire web at my fingertips I would have struggled, because dyslexia is not well known in China.

When Michelle turned 6, she enrolled in public school. Some kids in Michelle’s class could write 5,000 Chinese characters, but my daughter couldn’t write her name.

I decided to pour all my resources into helping Michelle. She went to school each day and met with tutors each afternoon, sometimes until 11 p.m. It didn’t seem to make a difference. Michelle’s classmates were making fun of her. Her teachers were powerless to help, because they didn’t understand dyslexia either. We were miserable, and I knew I had to do something about it.

Emigrating in search of a better education

Michelle had been born in the United States, and we were both US citizens. I had taken her to China as a baby because it was important to me that she learn Chinese and be raised in my culture. I figured she could move to the United States for high school or college, once her Chinese roots were well established.

Michelle’s dyslexia changed that plan. When she was 7, we moved back to New York.

At first our problems were nike outlet compounded. Michelle spoke the language, but it was Beijing English, not New York English. Her teachers had difficulty distinguishing which of her challenges were language-related and which were because of her learning disability.

Eventually I learned more about special education in the United States and was able to get Michelle into a school where she thrived. Today she’s a confident, happy teenager who just started her sophomore year.

Learning disabilities in China versus the US

My experience with the American school system taught me that the US doesn’t have the cure for dyslexia, as I had hoped. However, we do have a society that talks openly about learning differences and is willing to help kids learn in the way that works for them.

That’s what’s missing in China. There’s a total lack of awareness about learning disabilities. I was once asked if dyslexia is contagious. Because people don’t understand learning differences, children with them are stigmatized and marginalized. Soon they disappear from the mainstream education system.

The Chinese value education above all else. Raising Michelle has shown me that my culture needs to focus on more than just the volume of knowledge that we give our children; we need to make sure they are creative and confident too.

Why I share my story

Navigating learning disabilities can be daunting for any parent. My experience was compounded by my culture. I had to navigate an unfamiliar school system to get Michelle the support she needed, while also learning about a new concept and easics shoes xamining cultural ideas of what it means to be a successful student and a successful parent.

After 16 years of parenting Michelle, I’ve realized that dyslexia isn’t a curse, it’s a gift. People with different styles of learning have strengths that I can only dream of. I’ve watched my daughter blossom into a self-assured young woman who loves to interact with the world around her.

Only after he escaped did wife see how close she was to losing her husband in Afghanistan

It was a text message from a bloodbath.

And while the words had been said many times before, Zorah Aziz knew immediately that something was not right when she found the note from her husband, Nazir Ahmad Qasimi, who was trapped in Afghanistan and trying desperately to escape.

Nazir Ahmad Qasimi. (Courtesy Zorah Aziz)
Nazir Ahmad Qasimi.
“He said ‘I love you,’” Aziz said. “I just want you to know I love you and that was it. And I was so weirded out by it.”

So, as she had done countless times since Kabul fell to the Taliban, she texted him back with words of love and reassurance.

“Okay, I love you too,” she wrote. “It’s gonna be okay.”

It would be several days before Aziz found out how close she came to losing the love of her life and the father of the baby she is carrying.

Qasimi, she said, was just inside the hey dude gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport on Aug. 26 when 13 Marines and more than 100 Afghans were killed in an ISIS-K suicide bombing.

“I didn’t know he was actually in the middle of all that,” she said.

Aziz, 30, said her husband is safe now in Germany and waiting at a U.S. military base for the greenlight to join her in California, where she lives amid the large Afghan émigré community. She said his papers are all in order, but he has to quarantine before being allowed into the U.S.

Four months pregnant with a child conceived during her last visit to Kabul, Aziz said it’s likely that they’ll be reunited before she gives birth.

“God, it means the world to me,” she said. “I was so worried he wasn’t going to be here for that.”

Just a few days ago, it seemed unlikely that Qasimi, 24, would ever escape. He and Aziz married in June 2019 after a four-year courtship over the internet and he’d already been approved for a visa by U.S. immigration. But his departure was initially delayed by the pandemic.

Then came the Taliban.

Three times, Aziz said, Qasimi joined the crowds of desperate Afghans trying to get into the airport. And three times, despite waiting for hours on end, his bid ended in failure.

On his third try, after a 40-hour wait, Qasimi managed to get close enough to the Marines guarding the gates and show them his passport and visa, she said.

“They looked through it,” Aziz said. “They flat out denied him. And so that was pretty much the last straw for all of us. I begged my husband. I said please just don’t go back to airport.”

Meanwhile, Aziz said, the stress was taking a toll on her.

“Every single pregnancy symptom that you can think of started around the time that all this was happening,” she said. “And the dr martens boots  doctor looked at me and said: ‘Well, you need to just stop. Like, you’re stressing yourself out.’”

“My husband was a mess over there, and I’m a mess over here,” she said.

But unbeknown to Aziz, Qasimi, who worked in Kabul as purchasing manager for a U.S.-based company, found another way into the airport, with a little help from work.

“His boss had a contract job with the military,” Aziz said. “I think they were, like, providing them with Porta-Potties and stuff like that inside the airport.”

So one day, Qasimi rode shotgun with the driver making the delivery and simply stayed.

“I don’t know exactly what he was doing,” Aziz said. “But yeah, he went through another three or four days of hell at the airport.”

Aziz said she had no idea that Qasimi was at the airport when the suicide attacks happened and, even though he’d texted her, she knew he’d been trying to get inside via the same gate where the massacre happened.

“Prior to this my husband told me, don’t ask any questions,” she said. “We may not talk for a few days.”

But not long after word of the bloody ISIS-K attack broke, Aziz said she got a text message from Qasimi’s boss that her husband was all right. And then, a few days later, Qasimi texted her a selfie from inside a crowded plane.

“I couldn’t breathe,” Aziz said. “I almost, like, just broke down on the floor.”

Aziz said she knows how lucky she is that Qasimi got out. She said her in-laws are still trapped, and thousands of other Afghans with ties to the U.S., and who fear what the Taliban might do to them, are in the same boat.

Born and raised in California, steve madden shoes Aziz said she understands and supports the decision to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. But she says the evacuation was mishandled and too many people were left behind.

“The (U.S.) embassy could have finished up the cases they had and direct all the new cases to neighboring countries,” Aziz said. “It didn’t have to happen this way.”

Asked what she plans to do once she is finally reunited with her husband, Aziz said she will take him shopping. She said he escaped with just his documents and the clothes on his back.

“I just want to hold him, I just want to hug him,” she said. “And just to know that he’s safe and he’s with me.”

Florida is the only state where more people are dying of COVID now than ever before. What went wrong?

A few months ago, Gov. Ron DeSantis, Republican of Florida, declared his hands-off approach to COVID-19 “a tremendous success.” Politico announced that he had “won the pandemic.”

But then came the hypercontagious Delta variant, which continues to hit Florida harder than anywhere else in the country.

The result? DeSantis just added another, less flattering distinction to his résumé. When COVID first surged across the Sun Belt last summer, the average number of Floridians dying of the disease every 24 hours peaked at 185, according to the New York Times’s state-by-state COVID database. The same was true over the winter.

Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Aug. 21 announcing the opening of a monoclonal antibody treatment site for COVID-19 patients in Lakeland, Fla. 

A few days ago, however, Florida’s daily death rate cleared 200 for the first time, and today it stands at 228 — an all-time high.

This makes DeSantis nike store the first (and so far only) governor in the U.S. whose state is now recording more COVID-19 deaths each day — long after free, safe and effective vaccines became widely available to all Americans age 12 or older — than during any previous wave of the virus.

Since last spring, Florida and California — two of America’s biggest and most influential states — have been locked in a pitched battle over which kind of pandemic response makes the most sense: less or more. At times, the Sunshine State seemed to have the upper hand — like when Florida avoided the worst of a nationwide winter surge that hit California particularly hard, all while refusing to require masks in public and keeping bars and restaurants fully open.

But Delta may have changed that.

“Vaccines are working to prevent deaths in many other countries that have seen post vaccine spike in cases, and most other states in the U.S. as well. Florida is different,” Dr. Vincent Rajkumar, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, recently explained on Twitter. “What’s different in Florida is that, relative to the vaccination rate (~50%), the relaxation of distancing and masking was disproportionately high. Leaders expressed disdain for masks and mask mandates. The total number of people unvaccinated is high. And hospitals got overwhelmed.”

To be sure, comparing COVID numbers from two different states is always a fraught proposition; there are many factors — the introduction of a new, more devious variant such as Delta; the weather; plain old bad luck — that people and policymakers have little control over. And any declaration of victory (or failure) during such an unpredictable pandemic is likely to be premature. In theory, California could suffer more this winter.

But by looking at how California and Florida are doing this summer, post-vaccination, versus how they did last summer, pre-vaccination — an approach that minimizes seasonal variables such as weather and indoor gathering — you can get a rough sense of what is or isn’t working.

The difference is stark.

Last summer, COVID surged in both Florida and California, just as it did across much of the rest of the Southern and Southwestern United States. California fared better. There, new daily cases peaked at 25 per every 100,000 residents; total hospitalizations peaked at 23 per every 100,000 residents; and new daily nike sneakers deaths peaked at 0.35 per every 100,000 residents.

In Florida, those numbers were more than twice as bad: 55 cases/100,000 residents, 56 hospitalizations/100,000 residents and 0.86 deaths/100,000 residents.

So something about Florida — tourism? humidity? fewer restrictions, even last year? — likely makes it more susceptible to summer spread.

Passengers prepare to board the Celebrity Edge cruise ship in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on June 26, 2021. (Maria Alejandra Cardona/AFP via Getty Images)
Passengers prepare to board a cruise ship in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on June 26. 

The problem, though, is that while California is doing much better this summer than last, Florida, for some reason, is doing much worse.

In California, the current new daily rate case is somewhat higher (35 cases/100,000) than it was during its summer 2020 peak — in part because California is now conducting twice as many tests per day (about 250,000). Yet despite that, and despite the fact that Delta is twice as transmissible as the initial strain of SARS-CoV-2 that was circulating in 2020, current hospitalizations in California (21/100,000) are still lower than last summer’s peak — and deaths, the metric that matters most, remain twice as low (0.17/100,000).

That’s the kind of progress you’d expect after vaccination.

Florida is the opposite. There, new daily cases appear to have topped out at 138 per every 100,000 residents — more than two and a half times last summer’s peak. As a result, the state’s current hospitalization rate (80/100,000) is nearly one ecco shoes and a half times last summer’s peak; new daily deaths (1/100,000) are higher than ever. And they’re both still climbing.

In other words, Florida did roughly twice as badly as California last summer in terms of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths. This summer, however, Florida is doing roughly four times worse in terms of cases and hospitalizations — and nearly six times worse in terms of deaths.

Medics transfer a patient on a stretcher from an ambulance outside of Emergency at Coral Gables Hospital where Coronavirus patients are treated in Coral Gables near Miami, on August 16, 2021. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)
Medics transfer a patient at Coral Gables Hospital in Coral Gables, Fla., on Aug. 16.

Why has Florida moved in the wrong direction while California has gone the other way? Again, simple misfortune probably plays a part (as do other hard-to-quantify forces). But not every factor is beyond human control. Take vaccination. There are just five counties in California (of 58) where fewer than 35 percent of residents are fully inoculated. In Florida, that number is 23 (of 67). It’s easier for Delta to get a foothold and spread in places where the vast majority of people are unprotected.

Still, vaccination doesn’t explain everything: Statewide, Florida’s full vaccination rate (52 percent) is the same as the national number and just 3 percentage points lower than California’s (55 percent). And Florida has fully vaccinated more of its seniors (82 percent) than California (79 percent).

So as Rajkumar explained, precautions are probably playing a big part as well — and here too the difference between California and Florida couldn’t be more pronounced.

When Delta took off, Los Angeles became the first county in the country to reinstate its public indoor mask mandate. The San Francisco Bay Area followed suit soon after, and nearly every large county in California that doesn’t require masks indoors at least strongly recommends them. No lockdowns, no business closures, no official curbs on indoor drinking or dining — just indoor mask requirements and recommendations.

In contrast, DeSantis doubled down on his opposition to mask mandates, prohibiting local governments and even local school districts from implementing such policies. “Did we see areas like Los Angeles, with heavy masking, having reduced cases to a trickle?” DeSantis once asked, mockingly. Such wisecracks were all part of the governor’s larger message: Now that vaccines are widely available, he argued, requiring additional precautions is not just unscientific and unnecessary — it’s an infringement on your personal freedom.

Parents drop their kids off at Hillcrest Elementary school in Orlando with a sign at the entrance advising for the requirement of face masks for students unless the parents opt out of the mandate by writing a note to school officials. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Hillcrest Elementary school in Orlando, where masks are required for students unless the parents opt out by writing a note to school officials. 

At this point in the pandemic, it’s impossible to determine whether mask mandates actually trigger more caution or simply reflect existing attitudes in a particular community. “Because the pandemic has become so politicized, people have already sorted themselves into their different camps,” Vox’s Dylan Scott wrote in June. “By now, you are already either a mask-wearer or you’re not. A government mandate probably isn’t going to affect someone’s behavior in June 2021 as much as it would have a year ago, especially after enforcement has been nonexistent.”

But either way, the behavior associated with mask mandates — that is, universal indoor masking — has been proved to work. In fact, according to a research summary by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “at least ten studies have confirmed the steve madden shoes benefit of universal masking in community level analyses: in a unified hospital system, a German city, two U.S. states, a panel of 15 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., as well as both Canada and the U.S. nationally.”

“Each analysis demonstrated that, following directives from organizational and political leadership for universal masking, new infections fell significantly,” the summary continues, adding that “two of these studies and an additional analysis of data from 200 countries that included the U.S. also demonstrated reductions in mortality.”

Meanwhile, another 10-site study showed “reductions in hospitalization growth rates following mask mandate implementation,” and a separate series of cross-sectional surveys in the U.S. “suggested that a 10 percent increase in self-reported mask wearing tripled the likelihood of stopping community transmission.”

Critical care workers
Critical care workers insert an endotracheal tube into a COVID-19 patient at a hospital in Sarasota, Fla. 

This isn’t to say that if DeSantis had pulled a 180 and issued a statewide mask mandate, Florida would have dodged Delta (though it might not have hurt). Mostly, the damage is done. Behavior — and thus vulnerability to new variants like Delta, which can transmit via vaccinated people — is already baked in.

In mid-July, for instance, both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans reported regularly wearing masks at exactly the same rate (43 percent), according to the Yahoo News/YouGov poll. But since then, mask wearing by the vaccinated has increased by 22 points (to 65 percent) while mask wearing by the unvaccinated has actually fallen (to 39 percent).

In short, the people who need the most protection from catching and spreading the virus are, paradoxically, masking up even less often now than they were before Delta took off. Instead, it’s the least vulnerable Americans — those who are vaccinated — who have been responsible for all of the recent uptick in regular masking.

A recent survey by the University of Southern California also found that unvaccinated Americans are more likely than their vaccinated peers to go to a bar or a friend’s house and less likely to avoid large gatherings.

“Lack of mask measures, lack of worry about it, lack of vaccination are all kind of the syndrome,” Kevin Malotte, an emeritus professor of epidemiology at California State University, Long Beach, recently told the New York Times. “And I think that’s what we’re seeing correlate with the high rates.”

Marc Ocampo, right, and Camila Lapeyre
Camila Lapeyre, 12, gets a COVID vaccination shot at a Long Beach, Calif., clinic.

And yet this divide wasn’t preordained. Fate did not decree that Floridians would be more inclined than Californians to view wearing masks indoors for a few more weeks — or gathering outdoors more often, or waiting a little longer to drink at the bar — as violations of their personal liberty. Leaders have some power to encourage or discourage such attitudes, and some responsibility for the behaviors they help to normalize (or not).

The good news is that cases finally appear to be peaking in Florida; the state’s seven-day average has fallen by nearly 30 percent over the last week (though testing is down too).

But new cases may be leveling off in California as well, and at a much lower level. Both Los Angeles and San Francisco have registered promising declines over the last 14 days.

In the meantime, 228 people are dying of COVID in Florida each day — more than three times the number dying each day in California, a state that’s almost twice as populous.

There Are Jobs in the Hamptons. If Only Workers Could Afford the Rent.

Richard Cadrouce a server at Almond restaurant, takes an order in Bridgehampton, N.Y. on June 10, 2021. (Karsten Moran/The New York Times)
Richard Cadrouce a server at Almond restaurant, takes an order in Bridgehampton, N.Y. on June 10, 2021.

BRIDGEHAMPTON, N.Y. — At the Candy Kitchen diner on Main Street, the staff juggling orders of pancakes is short by seven members — and not one job seeker has dropped off a resume this year.

At Blue One clothing store down the street, the owner raised the hourly pay from $15 to $18 to lure workers.

And at Almond, at the end of the street, the restaurant’s co-owner is sharing his two-bedroom home with three seasonal workers who could not find housing.

“Right now it is full season in the Hamptons, and we are closed Sundays and Mondays; we don’t have enough cooks,” said Eric Lemonides, co-owner of Almond, which is typically open seven days a week. “It’s just been harder than it’s ever been before.”

The Hamptons is experiencing the same constellation of factors that has contributed to a national employment crisis, ecco shoes but here it is supercharged by elements unique to the upscale towns: Untold numbers of New York City residents fled during the pandemic, gobbling up the housing stock and driving up prices as they turned the summer escape into a year-round residence.

Plus, a spate of recent laws designed to limit the number of shared houses — seen by some as nuisance party houses — has sharply limited places where summer workers say they can afford to stay.

“You have people that basically came out here last year in March, and they stayed,” said Patrick McLaughlin, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman, a real estate company.

Data collected by the company showed that the inventory of available houses in the Hamptons — the collection of towns and hamlets along Long Island’s South Fork, from Southampton to East Hampton and all the way out to the peninsula of Montauk — fell at its fastest rate in over a decade in the first quarter of the year. The number of sales and prices surged.

“Towns are cracking down on the share houses, and that makes it harder as well,” McLaughlin said.

There are other factors behind the shortage. Across the country seasonal immigrant workers are in short supply. It is a holdover from a sweeping ban in 2020 on temporary work visas that the Trump administration said was vital to protect employment for Americans who lost jobs during the pandemic. The ban has expired.

Some economists believe that the extra $300 a week from expanded unemployment benefits, a program that runs through September, is also responsible for keeping some workers home. And while teenagers are finding it easy to land jobs, after a year away from friends, busing tables and standing behind a cash register can have less appeal than frolicking as a camp counselor.

In the Hamptons, where the high season lasts about 12 weeks, the crisis has led some restaurants, already reeling from lockdown closures, to suspend service on certain days of the week at what is typically their most lucrative time because they are unable to staff shifts.

Gus Laggis, owner of Candy Kitchen, has been working a lot of overtime: “You don’t even want to know,” he said.

At Almond, Lemonides said that instead of his typical role as maître d’, he now fills in as the restaurant’s handyman, power-washing sidewalks and even renting a cherry picker to fix twinkly lights over the patio dining.

“There is no one else to do it,” he said.

Some say service has suffered: At the Golden Pear cafe on Main Street, where only two international applicants arrived this year to fill over a dozen spots typically taken by foreigners, according to a manager, a line snaked out the door several times over Memorial Day weekend as the handful of servers struggled to dish out its locally renowned curry chicken salad.

“Our customers understand,” said the manager of the Bridgehampton location, brooks shoes Karmela Delos Santos. “Hopefully.”

In the spring, Honest Man Restaurant Group, which runs the celebrated East Hampton restaurant Nick and Toni’s, among others, hosted its first job fair, offering a $25 gift certificate to new hires. Few showed up, according to reports.

The issue has even had an impact on the local government. Jay Schneiderman, the Southampton town supervisor, said the municipality has struggled to recruit people for town positions. It has been without a town accountant since May of last year, and for months has been unable to fill vacancies for six secretarial positions and three building inspectors as well as other roles, according to the human resources department.

“We can’t pay them enough to live in the community,” Schneiderman said.

“We need to create more affordable housing, we do. It is creating issues for so many businesses,” he added. “It’s not just the town, and certainly not just restaurants. It’s the hospital needs nurses, the schools need teachers and custodians. Everybody is priced out.”

But there are no plans to relax the laws to deter share houses, some that serve as party crash pads split by dozens of young people and often result in noise, garbage and police complaints.

These rules, versions of which exist in each of the towns that comprise the Hamptons, limit how many unrelated individuals may rent a house together. Violators, who are identified by code enforcement officers who go door to door, or turned in by their neighbors, are subject to fines. About six years ago, East Hampton and Southampton began requiring that rental houses be registered with town authorities, further curtailing the practice.

“We had people who were renting spaces in the basement by hanging sheets up and it was very unsafe,” said John Jilnicki, East Hampton town attorney.

Even before the pandemic, formerly working-class neighborhoods like the hamlet of The Springs, in East Hampton, were seeing an incursion of wealthy renters, and this year, even the most humble homes were snapped up by out-of-towners, McLaughlin, of Douglas Elliman, said. Workers now priced out of the Hamptons have been driven to less booming real estate markets like Riverhead.

But with a single train track running the length of the South Fork and narrow Route 27 as the main thoroughfare, traffic snarls for hours, and the commute itself deters workers. In 2018, East Hampton’s Town Board put out a request for proposals for a pilot program to permit employers to house seasonal workers in RVs or tiny houses, but it was abandoned because of a lack of response, Jilnicki said.

In typical years, in the weeks leading up to Memorial Day, job seekers from places like Jamaica and Ireland on temporary employment visas would stroll between the towns’ shops and restaurants looking for work. Sometimes as many as five such people a day would approach Maeghan Byrne, manager of Bobby Van’s, she said.

This year not one has come through the door.

With so few staffers, she scrambles to accommodate requests for days off; she has no replacement workers and lives in fear of a disgruntled employee quitting.

“We have lots of jobs but nobody to fill them,” Byrne said.

There are some notable exceptions to the trend. Nationwide, more 16- to 19-year-olds are working, a peak of student employment not seen since 2008.

At Hayground Camp, more than 190 jobs were swiftly filled, primarily by teenagers or college students, skechers shoes camp director Doug Weitz said. After a year of remote learning away from friends, he said, his staff members feel that camp jobs with peers are a welcome way to socialize.

Plus, Weitz added, “We have an advantage: Very few of our staff members have to support a family.”

The crisis has long been building, employers say, but this year it has been pushed to the extreme. With record low unemployment rates before the pandemic, Long Island has long had a dearth of workers, said Shital Patel, an economist with the state Department of Labor who focuses on the region. But this year, though the unemployment rate is over 5%, different factors are contributing to the shortfall.

“Many people still remain nervous about the virus. They worry about bringing it home to their kids,” Patel said. “It is always hard to bring people back to work after being unemployed for so long.”

Richard and Danielys Cadrouce, a brother and sister who live in Brooklyn, were excited to work at Almond this summer, eager to make up for the slump of last year when restaurant work in the city all but disappeared.

But after paying $1,000 each to keep renting their New York City apartment, as well as $120 a week each to share a room without air conditioning in a house near Almond, they said they were barely breaking even. They are considering quitting.

“This isn’t helping me achieve my dreams,” Danielys Cadrouce, 24, said.