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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

If You Think Clowns Are Creepy, Don't Look At These Awesome Vintage Circus Photos

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 4:13 PM

Family entertainment sure has come a long way since the heyday of traveling circuses in the United States.

For example, check out this collection of images taken by amateur photographer Charles W. Cushman that document a series stops in Chicago by the traveling Ringling Bros. and Barnum &...

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This Baby Penguin's Name Is Ruggles And She Wants To Teach You About Conservation

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 12:15 PM

Chicago's Shedd Aquarium on Tuesday revealed the name of their new rockhopper penguin chick.

The chick, born last summer, has been named Ruggles after a vote was held among members of the Shedd.

Rockhopper penguins like Ruggles have been identified as a "vulnerable" species by the International...

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These Game-Changing Ringtones Bring The Symphony To The Streets

(1) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 9:21 AM

Think of it as public art -- except that it's on your phone.

Thanks to an innovative new initiative from the Chicago-based contemporary classical ensemble Spektral Quartet, cell phone users will no longer be limited to a selection of dreary, muzak-esque sound bites or blaring, regrettable...

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You Probably Don't Want To Know What's Actually In Public School Chicken Nuggets

(245) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 5:25 PM

Turns out the chicken nuggets being served in one of the nation's largest public school districts don't contain much actual chicken at all.

Earlier this month, Chicago-based WBEZ food reporter Monica Eng reported that her attempt -- made via a Freedom of Information Act request -- to retrieve an ingredient...

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Jenny McCarthy Claims She Is 'Pro-Vaccine' In Sun-Times Op-Ed

(408) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 5:32 PM

Noted anti-vaccination advocate Jenny McCarthy is describing herself as "pro-vaccine" now.

McCarthy, "The View" co-host who has campaigned against vaccinations due to a widely discredited alleged link to autism, claimed in a Saturday op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times that she has been "wrongly branded"...

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36 People Were Shot In 36 Hours In Chicago

(684) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 12:20 PM

A 17-year-old girl killed Friday afternoon was among at least 36 people wounded in gun violence over the weekend in Chicago.

Gakirah Barnes, 17, was shot multiple times in the upper body Friday afternoon in the city's Woodlawn neighborhood. She died about two hours later at Northwestern Memorial...

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32 Reasons It's Completely Worth It To Put Up With Chicago's Miserable Winters

(7) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 10:35 AM

This post is part of HuffPost's Good News USA series, which showcases both past and present ways cities across the country have created a positive impact worldwide and within their own communities.

Chicago is the sort of city that always seems to come alive in the warmer months.

But after...

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This $100 Gilded Grilled Cheese Might Actually Be Worth It

(26) Comments | Posted April 10, 2014 | 4:35 PM

This is not the grilled cheese of your youth. Unless, perhaps, you were born into royalty.

In honor of April being National Grilled Cheese Month -- as well as April 12 marking National Grilled Cheese Day, according to the authorities who decide such matters -- one Chicago restaurant is serving...

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Bobby Rush Faces Ethics Probe After Report On Campaign Spending

(6) Comments | Posted April 10, 2014 | 12:15 PM

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) is currently the subject of an inquiry by the Office of Congressional Ethics, the congressman of more than 20 years revealed Wednesday.

Rush told the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet he has "been cooperative" with the OCE and urged "anyone they wanted to talk to"...

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10 Kids Hospitalized After Allegedly Being Served Booze At Pizza Party

(29) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 1:11 PM

At least 10 children, most of them under the age of 10, were taken to the hospital Tuesday night after they were allegedly served alcohol at a birthday party at a Chicago pizzeria.

Police and ambulances were called just before 10 p.m. to Home Run Inn in Little Village after...

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Chicago's 'Revenge Shot' Has Never Been More Popular -- Are You Man Enough To Try It?

(4) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 5:48 PM

Business has never been better for Chicago's signature "revenge shot."

By all available indications, the malort boom has arrived -- at least in Chicago, where the recently-trademarked wormwood liquor known for its gasoline-like taste and the facial expressions it inspires is almost exclusively sold.

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26 Food Things Only A Chicagoan Would Understand

(161) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 2:21 PM

If you think deep-dish pizza and ketchup-free hot dogs are all there is to understanding Chicago food, you've got another thing -- or 26 -- coming.

Chicago is a city of many, many neighborhoods, all of which come with their own culinary traditions. It leaves the city's residents with an...

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27 People Shot In Chicago This Weekend, Including 16-Year-Old In Front Of His Church

(81) Comments | Posted April 7, 2014 | 10:52 AM

A high school sophomore gunned down outside a church was among more than two dozen people hurt in weekend gun violence in Chicago.

Michael Flournoy, 16, was fatally shot in the head just before 8 p.m. Saturday in the 1000 block of East 93rd Street in the city's...

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Illinois May Soon Decriminalize Low-Level Marijuana Possession

(33) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 1:42 PM

Efforts toward legalizing marijuana in Illinois, where a medical marijuana pilot program was approved last year, could be on the verge of another big step forward.

A vote by the full state House of Representatives on a proposal that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts...

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This Restaurant Serves Fried Chicken Sandwiches With A Side Of Gay Rights And Condoms

(44) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 12:54 PM

Turns out the latest addition to Chicago's fried chicken boom is serving up much more than tasty, crispy sandwiches with diet-defying sides.

Leghorn Chicken, a foodie hotspot that opened last month in the city's Ukrainian Village, makes it very clear they don't share the...

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Chicago Has The Koch Brothers To Thank For Its Toxic Black Dust Problem

(55) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 4:33 PM

In what environmentalists in Chicago are calling a "shameful switcheroo," it appears Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel may have had a change of heart when it comes to petcoke, the mostly-carbon and sulfur black dust that has been roiling the city's Southeast Side since last fall.


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Man Jumps Onto Train Tracks To Save Woman In Amazing Rescue Captured On Video

(17) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 2:35 PM

Were it not for the actions of an off-duty Chicago TSA worker acting on instinct, this story would have had a much different ending.

When 50-year-old Eddie Palacios saw a woman fall onto the rail tracks at the Chicago Avenue CTA Blue Line station with a train swiftly approaching on...

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Rare Video Footage Proves The 'Godfather' Of House Music Will Live On Forever

(5) Comments | Posted April 2, 2014 | 3:16 PM

Consider yourself warned: This clip will probably bum you out that time travel still isn't a thing.

On the heels of the passing of Grammy-winning house music pioneer Frankie Knuckles, the Media Burn video archive shared a previously unseen mini-documentary of the Oct. 25, 1986 opening...

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Chicago Just Had Its Coldest Winter In History. Here's Proof.

(33) Comments | Posted April 2, 2014 | 1:31 PM

We knew it was a doozy, but new numbers make it official: Chicago's seemingly endless winter was also its coldest since records began in 1872.

According to a statement released Tuesday by the National Weather Service -- it was not, unfortunately, an April Fool's joke --

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This 30-Year-Old Community Organizer Thinks She Can Beat Rahm Emanuel

(27) Comments | Posted April 2, 2014 | 8:07 AM

CHICAGO -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel's approval rating has been declining for months, but people aren't exactly lining up around the block to run him out of his fifth-floor City Hall office.

And why would they? Emanuel has more name recognition than perhaps any other U.S....

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