Melissa Hale-Spencer

Guilderland Democrats sent a mixed message Tuesday in the town’s first primary — a four-way race for two spots where the key issue was development.

Virginia marbleseed

“The nature of rare plants is that you almost never find them. To have discovered a state endangered species that hasn’t been seen in 100 years — it’s just amazing,” says Jesse Hoffman who discovered two Virginia marbleseed plants in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.

Local sales tax collections, which had dipped precipitously a year ago as the result of restrictions to contain the pandemic, in May increased by 57.8 percent over last May, the highest one-month increase in recent history, the state’s comptroller announced.

While statewide, New York reached the 70-percent mark of adults with at least one dose of vaccine, lifting restrictions, vaccination rates vary across the state. On Friday, the state’s vaccine tracker started listing the rates according to ZIP code.

In Albany County, the lowest rate of residents who have received one dose is 1222 in Albany at 7.7 percent and the highest is 12007 in Alcove at 100 percent.

Albany County Health Commissioner Elizabeth Whalen warned, “I don’t think we’ve crossed the finish line yet …. I do not believe at this point herd immunity has been achieved and I think that this is something we can continue to work towards.”

“From the moment this vaccine was available, our members and staff worked very hard to get it to where it was needed the most. It was through their efforts, and those of our County Executive, our Department of Health and our amazing Medical Reserve Corps that we are able to celebrate this milestone today,” said Andrew Joyce, chairman of the Albany County Legislature. According to the state’s vaccine tracker, as of Tuesday evening, 74.5 percent of Albany County’s residents aged 18 and older had received at least one dose of vaccine.

Following President Joe Biden’s lead, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy said, the federal funds will be used “to make sure kids are back in the classroom.” With the funds, he said, schools will be able to test for COVID-19 without raising taxes or diverting money from other school programs.

“A lot of these folks out this way do not want to go down into the city to get services so here we’re bringing services to them and I think this is just going to grow and grow,” said Sheriff Craig Apple of the new program to have social workers and trained EMS crews answer some emergency calls in rural Albany County.

“Data show that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected some populations and placed them at higher risk, including those who are medically underserved, racial and ethnic minority groups, and people living in rural communities,” says the CDC, which awarded the state’s health department $34 million to address inequities.

Andrew Gibson

WESTERLO — Andrew R. Gibson, 42, pleaded not guilty before Justice Kenneth Mackey in Westerlo Town Court on Wednesday night to felony charges that followed a fatal May 16 crash.

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