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Joseph Erbentraut
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HuffPost Chicago Editor Joseph Erbentraut has been writing ever since he had access to his mother's typewriter while growing up in rural Wisconsin. Enamored with the keys' clickity-click sound and the simple beauty of black, perfect words against a purely white background. The medium later became a computer and the young writer's life of reporting launched with the "publication" of the Sixth Grade Times, which offered in-depth coverage of school-wide assemblies, birthday parties and breaking playground gossip. Overseeing a staff of five with an angsty teenage fist, he sold issues for a dime apiece and caused quite a stir with one particular series of bag-lunch exposes.

A decade later, Erbentraut earned a B.A. in Journalism & Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and moved shortly thereafter to Chicago, a city he has grown to adore. In addition to his work with The Huffington Post, his writing has been featured in the Village Voice, Windy City Times, Chicagoist, Gapers Block, EDGE Media Network and ChicagoPride.com.

Entries by Joseph Erbentraut

Urban Wildlife Research Initiative Needs Your Help Spying On Animals

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 5:12 PM

In an effort to better understand the animals around us, wildlife researchers in Chicago are reaching out to the public to help them make progress on a massive backlog of data.

How can one help? Simply by doing what any Internet-using procrastinator is already very comfortable with: clicking through photos...

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15 Things That Make Riot Fest The Freakiest Music Festival In America

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 1:52 PM

Large-scale music festivals have become a staple of summertime fun, but none of them get quite as weird or wonderful as Riot Fest.

Among the marquee events for Riot Fest's 10-year-anniversary in Chicago over the weekend was a panel that featured the Russian activist band Pussy Riot, whose members...

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Rarely Seen Photos Spotlight The 1970s Social Scene Of South Side Chicago

(14) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 3:11 PM

To say it was a different time is putting it lightly.

In the 1970s on Chicago's South Side, revelers in their finest packed into nightclubs, dancing the night away to the soulful music of the era while knocking back a drink or three at now-extinct blues clubs like Perv's House,...

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Wall Street Journal Video Tries To Explain How A Family Making $400,000 A Year Feels Broke

(187) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 4:30 PM

To any of the 50 million Americans currently living in poverty, an annual household income of $400,000 probably sounds like a dream come true. Even to the millions of people among the rapidly-disappearing middle class, that kind of money sounds cushy.

Not so fast, proclaims...

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7 Charged In Brutal Machete Attack Caught On Surveillance Video At Train Station

(35) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 4:18 PM

Seven people, three of them juveniles, are facing charges after allegedly surrounding two brothers at a Chicago train station and attacking one of them with a machete.

The incident, which was captured by a CTA surveillance camera, took place about 12:30 a.m. Monday. A 26-year-old man and...

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Professor Who Lost Job Over Anti-Israel Tweets: University Setting A 'Perilous Standard'

(44) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 7:09 PM

A professor who left his position at another school to join the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- only to see his job offer abruptly retracted as a result of social media posts criticizing Israel's role in the Gaza conflict -- has publicly addressed the controversy for the first time.

...
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Church Music Director Fired Over Same-Sex Engagement Fights To Get His Job Back

(20) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 4:05 PM

The former music director of a suburban Chicago church who was let go after becoming engaged to another man is taking his quest to get his job back directly to the head of the Chicago Archdiocese.

Colin Collette, who was let go from his previous post at Holy Family Parish...

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Rahm Emanuel's Money May Not Be Enough To Save Him

(42) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 9:40 AM

While Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's (D) approval rating among voters has continued to dwindle in recent polling, critics hoping to capitalize on the mayor's unpopularity have struggled to overcome their biggest obstacle to defeating Emanuel: fielding a major challenger to take him on.

That could soon...

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Youth Homelessness Is An Invisible Issue, But It Doesn't Have To Be

(1) Comments | Posted September 7, 2014 | 11:23 AM

"Is this the life I'm going to live for the rest of my life?"

Those are the words spoken by one of the three young people at the center of "The Homestretch," a documentary that offers an unprecedented look into the day-to-day lives of three of

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Donor Complaints May Have Prompted Controversial Professor To Lose University Of Illinois Job

(60) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 2:43 PM

A number of angry e-mails from university donors sent to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise apparently served as the impetus for the school to abruptly rescind a job offer to academic Steven Salaita.

The Daily Illini, which obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request,...

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Why This Chicago High School Has Only 12 Students Left

(11) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 6:07 PM

Classes began districtwide at Chicago's public schools on Tuesday, and the scene at most of the city's hundreds of schools was one of excitement as groups of students crowded into the campus doors.

This was not the case, however, at Dyett High School in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood on...

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Man Allegedly Threw A Baby From A Moving Car, Then Ran Her Over

(84) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 2:52 PM

A 46-year-old Chicago man is facing two misdemeanor charges after he allegedly beat his girlfriend and her young son, then threw the woman's 8-month-old daughter out the window and ran her over.

Joseph Fults has been charged with misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor domestic battery in the incident, which...

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Airport's Incredibly Cute Lawn-Trimmers Are Back On The Job

(10) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 4:37 PM

Guess who's baaa-ck?

The Chicago Department of Aviation announced Thursday that it has once again "hired" several dozen goats, sheep, burros and llamas to graze on the grounds of O'Hare International Airport.

The airport first introduced the low-tech, eco-friendly initiative in 2013. The animals, all...

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Chicago Police Commander Relieved Of Duties After Allegedly Sticking Gun In Suspect's Mouth

(59) Comments | Posted August 28, 2014 | 3:28 PM

A department-lauded Chicago police veteran has been stripped of his authority and charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct for allegedly sticking his gun into the mouth of a suspect.

Commander Glenn Evans, who oversaw the city's West Side Harrison District and has frequently been praised by Chicago Police Supt....

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Chris Christie Says Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn Is 'Miserably Unpopular,' 'Failed'

(60) Comments | Posted August 26, 2014 | 1:32 PM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Monday had harsh words for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), calling him a "failed" governor and accusing Illinois' Democratic leadership of "using every trick in the book" to fend off a challenge from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.

Speaking to a crowd of...

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Chicago Police Fatally Shot 2 Teens In Separate Incidents Hours Apart

(87) Comments | Posted August 25, 2014 | 2:27 PM

Two men were fatally shot in two hours by Chicago police officers in separate incidents Sunday evening. Both men, police say, were armed.

DNAinfo Chicago reports that police responded to a call of armed men in the street in the city's Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side about...

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For Crime-Weary Englewood, Free Yoga Classes Are About So Much More Than Warrior Pose

(38) Comments | Posted August 22, 2014 | 5:50 PM

Though Tameka Lawson has been practicing yoga for only a bit over a year, the art form has already made a big impression on her life and on the Chicago community she calls home.

Lawson is the mother of three small children and the executive director of I...

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Massive 'Hulk' Statue Interrupts News Station's Flood Coverage

(6) Comments | Posted August 22, 2014 | 5:05 PM

It's just another day on the set of Chicago's "WGN Morning News."

No, they didn't hang up on Oprah again. But Friday morning, as the WGN crew reported on extensive flooding in south suburban Chicago, anchor Robin Baumgarten couldn't help...

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9-Year-Old Boy Fatally Shot In Chicago Yard

(64) Comments | Posted August 21, 2014 | 12:57 PM

A distraught family is looking for answers after a 9-year-old boy was fatally shot in the back yard of a Chicago apartment building Wednesday afternoon.

Antonio Smith was shot multiple times about 4 p.m. Wednesday behind a building a few blocks from his home in the city's Grand...

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This Man Has Mad Rhythm, And His Love For Tap Dancing And Community Speaks Volumes

(1) Comments | Posted August 21, 2014 | 12:08 PM

Bril Barrett was just 5 years old -- or 4, according to his mother -- when he met the love of his life: tap dance.

And It's clear from speaking to Barrett, the founder of M.A.D.D. Rhythms, a Chicago-based tap dancing collective and academy, that his romance is...

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