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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

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

(45) 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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Students: University Of Chicago's Racist Halloween Costume Controversy Is Part Of A Larger Problem

(50) Comments | Posted November 21, 2014 | 6:29 PM

CHICAGO -- Students at the University of Chicago say a recent controversy surrounding a racially insensitive Halloween costume is only a small part of the school's larger "culture of intolerance."

The controversy began when third-year Vincente Perez confronted a student dressed in a costume that stereotypes Mexicans and later spoke...

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Classic Nichols And May Skits Show Where It All Began For The Legendary Director

(8) Comments | Posted November 20, 2014 | 3:51 PM

All these years later, it’s still every bit as funny.

Before Mike Nichols became the Academy Award-winning director known for iconic films like “The Graduate” and “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?” he was a talented comedian on the Chicago improv scene.

While attending the University of Chicago, Nichols...

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Fire At Shuttered Chicago School Leaves Behind A Stunning Ice Palace In Its Wake

(3) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 4:42 PM

An extra-alarm fire at a former Chicago elementary school early Tuesday morning gutted the building -- and seriously disrupted the morning commute for thousands of train passengers -- but something eerily beautiful arose after the flames.

After firefighters used water to put out the blaze, the exterior of the...

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The World's Tallest Ballet Dancer Wasn't Going To Let Height Stop Him From Pursuing His Dreams

(9) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 11:21 AM

When one talks to Fabrice Calmels, a veteran principal dancer at Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet, it’s hard to believe he was ever anything but completely confident in his dancing ability.

But for 6-foot-6 Calmels, who this month was officially named the world’s tallest professional ballet dancer by the Guinness...

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Take Some Time Out Of Your Busy Day To Chill Out With This Sea Otter Pup

(1) Comments | Posted November 18, 2014 | 11:23 AM

Just can't get enough of Pup 681, the abandoned sea otter pup who arrived at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium late last month? You're in luck.

At 1 p.m. ET (12 p.m. CT) on Tuesday, Nov. 18, the Shedd and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which originally discovered the...

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5 Powerful Lessons From 3 Incredible Women at the Chicago Humanities Festival

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 7:04 PM

There's something important to be said about any event that manages to bring people together, put away their phones and pull our their notepads by the thousands these days.

And that's exactly what was achieved by the Chicago Humanities Festival, which wrapped its 25th-anniversary fall festival last week....

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New Ad For Obamacare Is Genuinely Hilarious: 'You'll Be Okay, Probably'

(267) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 3:13 PM

Let’s face it: Whoever has been attempting to market President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and its associated health insurance plans to a younger generation has had a pretty rough go of it.

But a genuinely funny new ad from Get Covered Illinois, the state's health insurance...

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This Rescued Bunny's Incredible Recovery Is Testament To Hard Work Of Pet Shelters Everywhere

(5) Comments | Posted November 15, 2014 | 10:31 AM

Had it taken even one more day for little Ping to be discovered, it certainly would have been too late.

Instead, the tiny rabbit, found among tall grass in Chicago’s Ping Tom Park, will be ready for adoption in a matter of weeks, thanks to the animal shelter that...

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Jane Byrne, Chicago's First Female Mayor, Dead At 81

(14) Comments | Posted November 14, 2014 | 12:39 PM

Chicago’s first and, to date, only female mayor Jane Byrne has died, according to reports.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Michael Sneed reported late Friday morning that Byrne had died. The Chicago Tribune also reported the news of Byrne's death.

Byrne was 81 years old and had suffered...

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This Sea Otter Pup Loves Snacks, Milk And Toys Just As Much As Any Other Baby

(18) Comments | Posted November 13, 2014 | 6:05 PM

Chicago's Shedd Aquarium clearly has a star on its hands.

Just over two weeks ago, the facility took in a young, orphaned southern sea otter. Dubbing her "Pup 681" for now, Shedd employees provide her round-the-clock care, ensuring that the surprisingly furry critter learns basic otter tasks such...

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Reporter Can't Believe Teens Today Can't Write Checks Or Use Landlines

(14) Comments | Posted November 12, 2014 | 5:23 PM

It turns out sewing, laundry and leaving voicemails aren’t the only things millennials are struggling with these days.

During a recent segment on Chicago’s WGN Morning News, reporter Pat Tomasulo wanted to see whether some local seniors at Lane Tech High School were capable...

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This Is What It Takes To Move A 760-Ton Home Intact

(8) Comments | Posted November 11, 2014 | 5:43 PM

Moving a house that weighs hundreds of tons doesn't exactly take a village, but there are certainly a lot of wheels involved. Over 200, in fact.

Beginning Tuesday morning, a landmarked historic home in Chicago's Near South Side began its careful, slow journey 600 feet north from...

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Chicago Police Say Complaints And Police Shootings Are Down, Despite Protests

(3) Comments | Posted November 10, 2014 | 5:37 PM

Though the Chicago Police Department has been the subject of multiple recent protests and a scathing report concerning the way it handles police-involved shootings and allegations of misconduct, the department says it's actually improving its record on such matters.

In an interview, CPD spokesman...

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Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco Talks Labels, Immigration And The First Time He Felt American

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2014 | 5:49 PM

When poet Richard Blanco took to the podium to read his poem "One Today" at President Barack Obama's second inauguration, he became the first immigrant, first Latino and first openly gay poet to hold the honor.

But perhaps more importantly to 46-year-old Blanco, who was born to his Cuban parents...

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Families Of Chicago Police Shooting Victims: 'We Just Want Answers'

(52) Comments | Posted November 7, 2014 | 3:39 PM

A number of family members and supporters of four black youths fatally shot by Chicago police are calling for change.

The group gathered Wednesday night outside a police station in the city's Bronzeville neighborhood, commemorating the birthday of one of the victims and demanding the department modify the way...

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Abandoned Puppy Left For Dead Now Recovering -- And Enjoying A Bit Of Viral Fame

(25) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 5:37 PM

Can a hashtag save a dog's life? The love behind it can certainly help, shelter officials say.

On Oct. 30, staff at the South Suburban Humane Society in Chicago Heights, Illinois, were heartbroken when a good Samaritan dropped off a 3-month-old puppy he'd found abandoned inside a milk...

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캘리포니아에서 구조된 새끼 바다 수달(사진, 동영상)

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2014 | 10:29 PM

이 바다 수달(해달)은 'Pup 681'로 불린다. 이 해달은 지난 9월, 캘리포니아의 코스트웨이즈(Coastways)해변에서 발견됐다. 당시 태어난 지 1주 밖에 되지 않았던 해달의 몸무게는 약 1kg에 불과했다.

해달은 이후 몬트레이 베이 아쿠아리움(Monterey Bay Aquarium)으로 옮겨져 건강을 회복했다. 지금은 시카고의 셰드...

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Aquarium Staff Teaches Adorable Orphaned Otter Pup How To Otter

(19) Comments | Posted November 5, 2014 | 3:40 PM

An orphaned 5-week-old southern sea otter now has a second chance at life, thanks to round-the-clock care from staff at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.

The female otter, who is being referred to as Pup 681, was found in late September on Coastways Beach in California. Wildlife officials determined the 2-pound pup,...

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