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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

Entries by Joseph Erbentraut

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

(54) 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

(27) 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

(59) 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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'SNL' Alum Cheri Oteri 'Tries Out' For NBA Dance Squad Luvabulls & It Goes Really Well

(14) Comments | Posted August 19, 2014 | 4:51 PM

Becoming one of the Luvabulls, the Chicago Bulls' beloved cheerleading/dance/pep squad, is no easy task -- but that doesn't stop hundreds of hopefuls from trying for it each year.

This year, one of those women, as portrayed in a mockumentary short released by the Bulls last...

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This Is, By Far, The Perviest Voter Registration Ad Ever

(6) Comments | Posted August 19, 2014 | 2:18 PM

Well, this is.. different.

A new ad from LGBT advocacy group Equality Illinois has taken an unusual approach to encourage voters to head to their polling places this fall.

The ad, titled "Doris Wants Your V Card," promotes voters taking advantage of Illinois' new online voter...

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Chicago Orders Ban On EDM Music At Historic Concert Venue

(7) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 6:05 PM

What was once one of Chicago's highest-profile destinations for EDM concerts will no longer be able to play host to events featuring live music from the popular, difficult-to-define genre.

DNAinfo's Darryl Holliday reported Friday that the owner of the Congress Theater, which has been out of operation since losing its...

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Relative Of Slain 16-Year-Old Honor Roll Student: 'I'm So, So Angry At The World Right Now'

(61) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 4:13 PM

A 16-year-old girl who was dedicated to her schoolwork and wanted to work in forensic science was among the seven people killed in shootings across Chicago over the weekend. Twenty-nine others were wounded in non-fatal shootings.

Shaquise Buckner was shot in the head early Sunday morning when a...

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Watch A Poet-Activist Destroy The Fallacy Of 'Black-On-Black' Crime In Under 2 Minutes

(156) Comments | Posted August 16, 2014 | 9:28 AM

On a night when thousands gathered at vigils throughout the nation to honor the memory of Michael Brown, Ezell Ford and victims of police brutality, one poet-activist addressed a racist fallacy at the root of how violence is sometimes reported by the media.

Speaking at Chicago's vigil in...

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Fans Force Chicago Blackhawks To Drop Sexist 'Stripper' Song Tradition

(162) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 5:43 PM

The Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks are tweaking a long-standing tradition after a number of fans rallied against it for being sexist.

The Blackhawks will be ditching their practice of organist Frank Pellico playing "The Stripper" as women participate in the "Shoot the Puck" contest during the...

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Feds Investigating Claim Of Civil Rights Violations In Schools On Chicago's South Side

(16) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 6:47 PM

The U.S. Department of Education has launched an investigation into alleged discrimination taking place at two public schools located on Chicago's South Side where course offerings have been slashed to the point where physical education is only available as an online class.

Students and parents at the two majority African-American...

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Organizer Of Parade Where 2 Teens Were Shot Faults Media For 'Unfair' Coverage

(10) Comments | Posted August 11, 2014 | 6:37 PM

The organizer of one of Chicago's most popular annual parades -- and the nation's largest African-American parade -- is lashing out after a shooting wounded two teens and overshadowed the rest of the day's festivities.

The incident occurred around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, after two young men got into a confrontation...

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World War II Love Letters Reach Their Rightful Recipient -- Almost 70 Years Later

(4) Comments | Posted August 8, 2014 | 9:09 AM

Mystery solved. Mostly.

A couple of weeks ago, two already opened, taped-together letters addressed to a Dorothy Bartos arrived at the Chicago home of Martha Rodriguez. The letters, from a sailor at the San Diego Navy base, were dated 1945, near the end of World War II.

The Chicago Tribune...

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University Of Illinois Professor Apparently Loses Job Over Anti-Israel Tweets

(272) Comments | Posted August 7, 2014 | 3:27 PM

An outspoken critic of Israel's role in the latest conflict in Gaza appears to have had his job offer at a major university retracted due to his tweets and public comments on the matter.

Steven Salaita, previously an associate professor in the English Department at Virginia Tech, was initially offered...

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This Cheez-It And Kimchi Cocktail Actually Exists

(3) Comments | Posted August 6, 2014 | 5:33 PM

It seems people are putting Cheez-Its into just about anything these days.

Presented with the the challenge of using the salty, cheesy snack crackers as the main ingredient of a new drink as part of the latest round of the Chicago Reader's Cocktail Challenge, a Chicago...

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News Anchor's Impression Of The 9 Guys You'll Meet At A Music Festival Is Spot-On

(1) Comments | Posted August 6, 2014 | 4:44 PM

If you've been to a music festival lately, (at least) one of these guys might seem vaguely familiar.

WGN Morning News anchor and reporter Pat Tomasulo, no stranger to man-on-the-street comedy gold, interviewed people heading to the Lollapalooza music festival last weekend while impersonating the "nine...

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This Rapper Thinks Your Boyfriend Sucks And Found A Very Catchy Way To Tell You

(2) Comments | Posted August 6, 2014 | 12:36 PM

We're sorry to break the news to you, but Chicago rapper Blake does not approve of your boyfriend and has a straightforward course of action in mind.

Blake -- who previously released music as Jams Dean -- wants you to dump your man and get with him...

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Illinois GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Steps Back From Government Shutdown Threat

(69) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 5:54 PM

Shortly after video surfaced of Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner (R) stating that he is open to shutting down the state government in order to address the state's underfunded pension system, the millionaire's campaign distanced itself from the remark.

The video (above) -- posted to YouTube on Monday...

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