Start the Presses: Too many accidents are happening

At the corner of California and Columbus avenues in Glendale stands a makeshift memorial. White silk flowers and candles commemorate the sudden passing of Misak Ranjbar, and 80-year-old man struck and killed in that intersection last month.

September, for whatever reason, seemed to have an unusual amount of vehicular mayhem. Two big rigs crashed on the Foothill (210) Freeway in as many days in La Cañada, an allegedly intoxicated man drove his Corvette into a Burbank's home, and a car rammed into the Glendale Marie Calendar's following a collision. And that was all within the last 10 days.

During a single week in mid-September, Glendale saw four pedestrian-related accidents, one of whom was struck in a crosswalk. On Sept. 13, a homeless man was run over by a 7-Up delivery truck shortly after being released from Glendale Memorial Hospital.

And, of course, there is Ranjbar. Police said that the driver of the car that killed him, Ani Voskanian, 20, failed to yield at the four-way stop. Actually, they said she failed to even slow down.

No charges have been filed as yet, but I have to imagine something is coming.

Though it did not happen this month, I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the story of Joo Lee, the 49-year-old Montrose resident who died following a hit-and-run accident on New Year's Day. The driver has yet to be found.

All of this is certainly not helping Glendale's reputation as a dangerous place to cross the street. Though I don't know for sure, I imagine it frustrates the Police Department to no end that such incidents mar an otherwise excellent public safety record.

Increased enforcement is certainly one tried-and-true solution, though given the current budgetary issues, such a tactic is probably not sustainable. More money for traffic cops means less for other investigations. That's just a fact of life.

I think we need new ideas, and I'd love it if you'd send some in.

On a happier note, I'd like to announce the winners of our internal contest. Each month, editors choose the best stories and photos from the previous month. Here are our August winners:

Sports Story: "Barden looks to make Giant strides" (Aug. 9, Gabriel Rizk)

Gabriel has done a tremendous job with this profile of a former Flintridge Prep standout trying to make his way in the NFL. The story gives an interesting and nuanced portrait of Ramses Barden, an up-and-coming wide receiver for the New York Giants, accomplished despite the fact Gabriel had to write the story 3,000 miles away from his subject.

News Story (tie): "Anger, frustration still flaring over Station Fire" (Aug. 26, Megan O'Neil) and "Glendale YWCA official terminated; another resigns" (Aug. 5, Melanie Hicken)

Megan has taken what could have been a dull anniversary story and turned it into an excellent read. She did this through the use of details, noting a charred pair of motorcycles its owner refused to throw away. The balance of the article is thorough, well-balanced and interesting.

Melanie, for her part, took on a very difficult story. Several of the subjects in the story wanted to recant or change their comments after speaking to her. She stood her ground, however, and the story was much stronger because of it.

Photo: "Small brush fire in Griffith Park" (Aug. 10, Tim Berger)

This is simply a wonderful spot news shot, and one that solidified Tim's reputation for bringing back great art regardless of the assignment. The slight diagonals from the water drop, and of the subject in the foreground draw viewers in and keep them there.

Dan Evans is the editor. Reach him at dan.evans@latimes.com.

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