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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

This '80s-Inspired Video Might Be The Goofiest NHL All-Star Bid Yet

(0) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 5:49 PM

“Original Canadian dream” Jonathan Toews sure knows how to rock a sweatband and a pair of white short-shorts.

The Chicago Blackhawks captain stars in a new, ‘80s-inspired video released by the team, urging fans to "exercise your right to vote" for players to be a part of the...

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Chicago Artists Took Over A Whole Train Line With A #BlackLivesMatter Protest

(29) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 5:14 PM

As Black Lives Matter protests have captivated the nation over the past month, artists in Chicago used a different kind of medium to shed light on America's racial divide.

And they took over a whole train line on Friday to do it. A group of more than 100...

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This Sparkling New Park Was A Toxic Brownfield Just 4 Years Ago

(10) Comments | Posted December 20, 2014 | 11:43 AM

It is truly incredible what can be achieved when a neighborhood unites.

Though one would never guess by looking at it today, the site of Chicago’s newest city park was a contaminated eyesore not long ago. This turnaround has everything to do with local citizens working together for something better,...

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Donors Come To The Rescue Of Animal Shelter At Risk Of Christmas Eviction

(7) Comments | Posted December 19, 2014 | 3:31 PM

It’s got all the makings of a holiday miracle.

Just a week ago, things looked bleak for Cache Creek Animal Rescue, a no-kill, not-for-profit animal shelter with a facility in Joliet, Illinois. The shelter had received an eviction notice telling it to vacate its suburban Chicago facility by...

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Tina Fey Parodies NPR In Flawless Vintage Improv Sketch

(1) Comments | Posted December 19, 2014 | 12:19 PM

As though we needed yet another reminder of Tina Fey’s pre-"Saturday Night Live"/"Mean Girls"/"30 Rock" comedic genius, Chicago’s Second City has us covered once again.

This week, the comedy school where Fey and so many other greats got their starts released freshly unearthed footage...

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Furries Set The Record Straight: There's Nothing To Be Afraid Of

(133) Comments | Posted December 18, 2014 | 9:15 AM

It is frequently said that it is only human nature to fear the unknown, to assume the worst of the unfamiliar. Perhaps no group of people is more familiar with this tendency than the furry community.

For most in the general public, their knowledge of furries — individuals who share...

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9 Reasons Why No One Compares To Figure Skater Surya Bonaly

(41) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 12:56 PM

French-born figure skater Surya Bonaly has always been in a league of her own.

At the height of her career, the five-time European champion was often criticized by judges and journalists for having an unusual style not like that of her competitors. But it was that same factor that made...

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Sandy Hook Anniversary Vigils Shine Light On A Nation Plagued By Gun Violence

(5) Comments | Posted December 14, 2014 | 12:05 AM

This Sunday marks two years since 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, before turning his gun on himself. For the loved ones of gun violence victims across America, the anniversary of the tragedy serves as a grim...

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Mistletoe Kissing Stunt Earns This Guy All Of The Smooches

(7) Comments | Posted December 11, 2014 | 6:16 PM

A college student and aspiring comedian recently outfitted himself with a homemade PVC-pipe “mistletoe kissing contraption” and hit up the streets of Chicago to see what would happen.

What could go wrong, right?

Well, as it turns out, not much: YouTube prankster Blake Grigsby -- whom you...

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Remembering One Of The Gay Rights Movement's Most Exuberant Republican Supporters

(5) Comments | Posted December 11, 2014 | 4:10 PM

As Illinois continues to mourn the passing of comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, one of the state’s most universally admired elected officials, a key facet of the Republican’s legacy has topped many reflections: her unflinching support for the LGBT community.

Topinka, who died Wednesday at the age of 70...

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Chicago Church Doesn't Just Feed The Hungry -- They Do It With Maitre D' Service

(4) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 3:23 PM

On Dec. 7, the kitchen of All Saints Episcopal Church was packed with volunteers, and the aroma in the air was undeniably mouth-watering. The Chicago parish was hosting one of its two yearly Sunday dinners for needy community members, dishing up food, service and entertainment one might expect...

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No, Illinois Did Not Just Pass A Law Making It Illegal To Record Police Officers

(129) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 2:07 PM

Contrary to what you may have recently read on your Facebook feed, the state of Illinois’ new eavesdropping legislation will not prohibit the recording of police officers — though advocates do have other concerns about the bill.

Earlier this month, the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate both

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Chicago Police Fatally Shot A Teen In October. Now Some Are Calling For Department To Release Video.

(34) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 5:33 PM

More than a month after a black 17-year-old was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer, a journalist and a law professor are calling for the release of squad car video they believe exists in hopes that the footage will clear up questions about what happened that night.


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Beautiful Pit Bull Mix Tastes Freedom After Spending Over 4 Months At Chicago's City Pound

(31) Comments | Posted December 8, 2014 | 3:36 PM

Her name is Fancy, but at this point she may as well be named "Lucky."

A 3-year-old pit bull mix who spent 135 days — more than four months — at the Chicago Animal Care and Control facility was finally saved by Woof Gang Rescue, a no-kill, volunteer-run...

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Conservative Blogger Rants Against 'Propaganda' At Popular Zoo

(535) Comments | Posted December 6, 2014 | 12:18 PM

A conservative blogger is taking issue with the information placards at cultural destinations in Chicago, claiming they present a partisan point of view.

A week after Megan Fox attracted 1 million YouTube views with her rant against the “bias and lies” on display at a local museum, the...

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Protests Over Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision Shut Down Major Chicago Roadways

(1) Comments | Posted December 5, 2014 | 5:27 PM

As protesters nationwide took to the streets Thursday night in continued demonstrations against the grand jury decision this week not to indict the New York City police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, protests in Chicago took on an especially impassioned tone...

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Some Critics Aren't So Sure Body Cameras Are The Solution To Police Abuse In Chicago

(29) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 5:18 PM

Following news that the Chicago Police Department will soon be outfitting some of its officers with body-worn cameras in a pilot program, and President Barack Obama pushing for federal funding to purchase thousands of cameras for officers nationwide, some have heralded such initiatives as

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Chicago City Council Approves Plan For $13 Minimum Wage Despite Opposition

(113) Comments | Posted December 2, 2014 | 1:53 PM

The Chicago City Council moved hastily Tuesday to approve an ordinance calling for a $13 minimum wage for workers in the Windy City, the latest place where city officials are taking action to increase worker pay independent of statewide initiatives.

The ordinance calls for the minimum wage in...

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University Of Chicago Says Racially Motivated Facebook Threat Was A Hoax

(2) Comments | Posted November 25, 2014 | 5:45 PM

As the University of Chicago reels from a controversy over racist Halloween costumes and cultural sensitivity on campus, new information has come to light, further complicating an already tense relationship between students and the administration.

On Monday, the university said that a supposed Facebook hacking incident related...

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Restaurant Decides Not To Fire Teen Who Asked For Time Off For Cancer Treatment

(61) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 6:50 PM

A Chicago-based restaurant chain appears to have shifted into damage control this week following a report that one of its employees was fired after asking for time off in order to undergo surgery as part of his cancer treatment.

In an interview with NBC Chicago that first aired...

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