PODCAST: West Texas Town Shuts Down After Coronavirus Outbreak (BCNN1 8.25.21)

This is the Black Christian News Network One podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to USA Today, Iraan, a small oilfield town of 1,200 people in west Texas, has been struck so hard by the coronavirus pandemic that the entire town has essentially shut down, including the school district and local businesses. “We had had COVID before, but never to this magnitude,” resident Vicky Zapata told CNN. According to Iraan General Hospital CEO Jason Rybolt, 119 people were tested for the virus and 50 tested positive during a two week August span – a 42% positivity rate. Iraan Mayor Darren Brown told CNN, “This is very serious.” Rybolt said he’s “very concerned for the community and “very concerned for trying to make sure that they have the health care that they need.” Rybolt added that at least one Iraan resident has been airlifted for out-of-state care because of a lack of available ICU beds in Texas. He said: “It could be 12 hours (for coronavirus-stricken people to receive a bed). It could be 36 hours. You just never know how long it’s going to take.”

According to the Associated Press, A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld the conviction and sentence of a man on federal death row for the 2015 racist slayings of nine members of a Black South Carolina congregation. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond affirmed Dylann Roof’s conviction and sentence in the shootings at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. In 2017, Roof became the first person in the U.S. sentenced to death for a federal hate crime. Authorities have said Roof opened fire during the closing prayer of a Bible study at the church, raining down dozens of bullets on those assembled. He was 21 at the time. In his appeal, Roof’s attorneys argued that he was wrongly allowed to represent himself during sentencing, a critical phase of his trial. Roof successfully prevented jurors from hearing evidence about his mental health, “under the delusion,” his attorneys argued, that “he would be rescued from prison by white-nationalists – but only, bizarrely, if he kept his mental-impairments out of the public record.” Roof’s lawyers said his convictions and death sentence should be vacated or his case should be sent back to court for a “proper competency evaluation.” The 4th Circuit found that the trial judge did not commit an error when he found Roof was competent to stand trial and issued a scathing rebuke of Roof’s crimes. “Dylann Roof murdered African Americans at their church, during their Bible-study and worship. They had welcomed him. He slaughtered them. He did so with the express intent of terrorizing not just his immediate victims at the historically important Mother Emanuel Church, but as many similar people as would hear of the mass murder,” the panel wrote in is ruling. “No cold record or careful parsing of statutes and precedents can capture the full horror of what Roof did. His crimes qualify him for the harshest penalty that a just society can impose,” the judges wrote. Following his federal trial, Roof was given nine consecutive life sentences after pleading guilty in 2017 to state murder charges, leaving him to await execution in a federal prison and sparing his victims and their families the burden of a second trial.

According to McClatchy DC, Former University of Georgia football star Herschel Walker will run for U.S. Senate in 2022. Walker filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission declaring his candidacy Tuesday as a Republican. He will challenge incumbent Raphael Warnock, who was elected in 2021 to complete the remainder of Johnny Isakson’s term. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Walker offered no initial comment though a formal announcement is expected in the coming days. Representatives for Warnock did not provide a comment to McClatchy News before publication. Walker, 59, joins a Republican field that includes Air Force veteran and businessman Kelvin King, banking executive and former Navy SEAL Latham Saddler, and state agriculture commissioner Gary Black. The filing comes a week after Walker registered to vote in Georgia. His entrance into the race has been speculated for months, fueled by the urging of former President Donald Trump who said the former football star would be “unstoppable” as a candidate.

According to NBC News, The leader of the far-right Proud Boys was sentenced Monday to more than five months in jail after admitting that he burned a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a historic Black church in Washington during a pro-Trump demonstration in December. Henry Tarrio, known to followers as Enrique, was arrested Jan. 4 in Washington on a warrant stemming from an incident on Dec. 12. The Proud Boys and other groups marched in a raucous rally through downtown. The banner was stolen from Asbury United Methodist Church, one of the oldest Black churches in Washington. Tarrio, 37, of Miami, also pleaded guilty to attempting to possess a high-capacity gun magazine, which is illegal in Washington. Investigators said he had the magazines with him when he returned to the city for the Jan. 6 protests of the electoral vote count in Congress. Both charges were misdemeanors, punishable by up to six months in jail.

According to Reuters, Six of the 136 students kidnapped from an Islamic school in the north-central Nigerian state of Niger have died of illness. The abductors have demanded a ransom to release the students, kidnapped in May after an armed gang on motorcycles attacked the school in the town of Tegina. Criminal gangs carrying out kidnappings for ransom are blamed for a series of raids on boarding schools in northern Nigeria in which more than 1,000 students have been abducted since December. The principal, Abubakar Garba Alhasan, said the kidnappers had called to say the children died from sickness and to urge that the ransom demand be met. Abubakar Adam, whose seven children are held by the gang, said the abductors called the principal to demand a ransom. Kidnappers on Sunday released 15 more students taken last month from a Baptist school in northwest Nigeria, after parents paid an undisclosed ransom to free them.

According to PEOPLE magazine, Sonya and Dell Curry are ending their marriage. The parents of NBA stars Stephen and Seth Curry have been separated and Sonya filed for divorce in North Carolina in June. The pair, who met at Virginia Tech University and wed in 1988, also share daughter Sydel. Sonya and Dell said in a statement, “After exploring a trial separation over the past year and much thoughtful consideration, we have decided to end our marriage. As this comes with a great deal of sadness, our focus and desire is for our family’s continued happiness. We are so thankful for all the many blessings and successes! We stay committed to and supportive of our children and grandchildren and will remain on connected paths. We ask that our privacy be respected and for prayer for our family as we move forward.”

According to Fox Baltimore, Former congressional candidate and conservative commentator Kimberly Klacik filed a lawsuit against fellow conservative pundit, Candace Owens, accusing Owens of defamation. Court records show the lawsuit was filed in late July. The two have been engaged in a dispute in the past. They got into a public spat in June when Kimberly Klacik targeted Owens in a tweet about Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday. The feud spiraled into a back-and-forth between the two African American conservative activists. Klacik accused Owens of perpetuating cancel culture, followed by Owens calling Klacik “a fake and hilarious person.” The social media fight escalated when Owens released an Instagram video making accusations about Klacik’s background, including that Klacik previously worked as a stripper and hired a Democratic Party operative to work on her congressional campaign. Owens claims she spoke with a stripper at the club. According to Owens, the stripper claims Klacik engaged in illegal activities at the club.

You can read these stories and more at BlackChristianNews.com .

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!

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