Mile-High Headlines for Wednesday, September 17

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Economic Crisis Turns Presidential Campaign Domestic
The major issue of the presidential race has shifted from vague promises of change to specifics on fixing the economic calamity that’s plaguing Wall Street. Democrat Barack Obama, in his visit to the Colorado School of Mines in Golden yesterday, pitched a plan to address what he calls the “most serious financial crisis in generations” and attacked his Republican opponent, John McCain, for failing to respond, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The six-point plan aims for more oversight of financial institutions and would punish those who engage in questionable trading practices. Meanwhile, McCain is “laboring to hit the right note on the economy,” according to The New York Times, which writes that McCain initially called the fundamentals of the economy “strong,” but just hours later backpedaled, saying he was talking about the productivity of workers, and then on Tuesday described the situation on Wall Street as “a total crisis” linked to “greed.” As The Washington Post notes, McCain flip-flopped on the issue of regulation–once staunchly opposed, he now seeks to “recast himself as a champion” of government oversight.

A Bailout and Trouble in Colorado
Despite yet another multibillion-dollar bailout linked to the mortgage-lending crisis and a recovery of some lost ground on Wall Street yesterday, markets this morning were, unfortunately, sharply lower. Fears of a worldwide financial crisis led the Federal Reserve to reluctantly agree to an $85 billion bailout for insurance giant American International Group, according to The New York Times. It has been just two weeks since the Fed also took over mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Times calls the bailouts “the most radical intervention in private business in the central bank’s history.” Local newspaper editors seem content to let wire reports and stock ticker numbers roll in, judging by the dearth of local stories on this critical subject. Yet just look around, and there are signs that Colorado’s economy is teetering on the brink of crisis. Twenty-two Colorado counties have been designated by federal agriculture officials as “primary natural disaster areas,” owing to a drought that began in 2002 and has persisted this year, according to The Denver Post.

Local RNC Delegate Drugged, Then Robbed

After taking a woman to his swank hotel room, disrobing at her request, and then sipping his drink, Gabriel Nathan Schwartz, a Denver delegate to the Republican National Convention in Minnesota, passed out. When he awoke, he discovered he’d been robbed of his jewelry, cash, and more–a total of at least $50,000, if not more, according to Minnesota’s Pioneer Press. Twenty-nine-year-old Schwartz, an attorney, says he was vulnerable prey. He’s single and was enamored with a beautiful woman. But he isn’t getting a lot of pity. The relentlessly irreverent Wonkette wrote the following headline in her gossip blog: “GOP Delegate Robbed Blind By Sexy Hero Gal.” The lack of pity for Schwartz isn’t due to his apparent ignorance when it comes to unknown women but because of comments he made during the convention, as The Colorado Independent notes. For one, Schwartz said the United States should “bomb the hell” out of Iran: “We should plant a flag. Take the oil, take the money. We deserve reimbursement.” There’s more: Watch the video on Link TV here. Meanwhile, the sultry robber remains at large.

Jimmy Carter Motorcade Witnessed DNC Hit-and-Run
CBS4’s Brian Maass is on the trail of Amber Voiles, who allegedly drove under the influence of alcohol and crashed her 2007 Durango into a car near former President Jimmy Carter’s motorcade, which was waiting at a red light, one night during last month’s Democratic National Convention in Denver. Voiles, a 31-year-old production assistant working on a documentary about Mayor John Hickenlooper for the mayor’s cousin, filmmaker George Hickenlooper, attempted to flee but was chased down by an officer assigned to the Carter motorcade. She now faces DUI and hit-and-run charges, as well as failing to report an accident. CBS4 is seeking copies of related police documents, including witness statements, but has been foiled so far. A City and County of Denver records clerk has denied the request on the grounds that releasing the documents is “contrary to the public interest.” The case is being prosecuted, after all, and Voiles has her rights, starting with a court appearance on September 26.

Fox 31 and CW2 News to Make Nice
It’s generally a public concern when news operations merge. It remains to be seen if that will be the story for Fox 31 News and Channel 2 KWGN, which have come together under Fox 31’s roof (KDVR) near Sixth Avenue and Speer Boulevard, according to The Denver Post. The whole shop will be run solely by KDVR’s new general manager, Dennis Leonard, who is tasked with navigating an agreement between respective parent companies Local TV LLC and Tribune Company. The two stations will share resources, including newsrooms, as Jim Zerwekh, the general manager for Channel 2, exits the picture at month’s end. Leonard will seek to “understand the talents and contributions of staffers at KWGN and decide how best to blend them while maintaining separation,” according to the Post. He also promises to take the “best of both newscasts and repackage it for each station,” according to Broadcasting & Cable magazine’s website. Still, Westword calls the deal “bad news” for Channel 2.

A Little Too Much Too Late
The Colorado Rockies knocked home “two monstrous home runs” in a 10-3 thrashing of the San Diego Padres at Coors Field yesterday, according to The Denver Post. But the big win doesn’t change the fact that the Rockies’ season is a major disappointment, given their World Series bid last year. (Insert your own expletive.) As the Post notes, “This was going to be the year Colorado won its first division title. Instead, the Rockies are left to hold off San Francisco for third place.”

Cyclists Upset Over Mask Incident
The four cyclists who found themselves in the middle of a small scandal when they arrived at the Beijing airport for the Olympics, wearing masks to protect their lungs from the pollution, are, it turns out, quite upset. The cyclists, including Mike Friedman of Colorado Springs, say U.S. Olympic Committee officials threatened to eject them from the games if they didn’t apologize, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. Now some of the cyclists want the man behind the heavy-handed threat–the USOC’s chief of sport performance, Steve Roush–fired. That hasn’t happened, but James E. Scherr, the CEO of the USOC, issued a letter of apology to the cyclists, stating it was “not our intent” to make them feel as if they were not supported, according to Velo News.
: Did you miss Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s speech in Golden yesterday? The Denver Post has video here.

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