Our Biggest And Best Stories Of 2011

By Mike Fourcher | Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Former Center Square Journal editor Samantha Abernethy, right, interviews then-mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel in Welles Park last February. Credit: Chris Murphy

It has been a great year at Center Square Journal and as we look back on the year, we can’t help but think about all the stories we’ve written. Here’s what you read the most:

  1. Drew’s Eatery Closing For Good On Saturday
  2. Politically Connected Group Gets City Contract, $500K A Year For Little Work
  3. Neighbors Rally To Close Ashland Ave Restaurant
  4. CSJ Rooftop Report: Gene’s And Fountainhead Get Ready
  5. Mariano’s Faces Obstacles To Opening New Grocery Stores

But while you read those stories the most, we don’t necessarily think it was the most important work we’ve done. We stretched our boundaries quite a bit. So, I’d like to point out the stories I liked the most and the ones I would encourage you to read, if you haven’t already:

Campaign Sign Thief Caught on Camera – This February piece from former CSJ editor Samantha Abernethy was a benchmark. It showed video of someone blatantly stealing Ameya Pawar’s aldermanic campaign signs and helped kick off a wave of voter frustration that swept him into office.

EXCLUSIVE: New Details Emerge in O’Lanagan’s Slaying – This November report was a benchmark for us, as freelancer Carrie Miller combined solid court reporting, contacts with the Chicago Police and just sitting in a bar for two days talking to people into an important story explaining how bar regulars watched the buildup to a heinous murder.

8 Minutes, 5 lbs of Baby Back Ribs Later, Champ Defends Title – This one’s just fun, because where else in Chicago can you watch a bunch of grown men devour enormous amounts of meat and look like they really know how to do it? Anna Roberts shot the photos and told the gruesome tale.

Ravenswood’s StoryStudio: A Community For Writers – Jason Kreke has written a number of great features on Center Square’s arts community. This one shines a light on a strong, but little known writing workshop that trains hundreds of new writers every year. These kinds of institutions are pillars of our community, even if we don’t notice them.

Alderman-elect Ameya Pawar: Slow and Steady Wins the Race – If there’s any change in Center Square people would point to, it’s getting a new alderman. Samantha Abernethy tells the tale of how it happened, just a few days after then Ald-Elect Ameya Pawar’s totally unexpected win. (Also check out the photo of former CSJ editor Hunter Clauss interviewing Pawar. Hunter is now with the Chicago News Cooperative.)

Pair Of Roosters Keeping Paulina Street Awake – Update With Photos – Chickens. No matter what, they’re funny. Sarah Tilotta’s photos make it good.

Tags: , , , , ,

Share this now!

  • Anonymous

    I’d just like to thank you for your extraordinary work.  For me, you’ve surpassed the Reader as my go-to source of local news/information. 

    Looking ahead, I anticipate sharp coverage of the new ward maps, especially as it looks like – to my great regret – I’ll be bounced back into Do-Nothing O’Connor’s ward.

    Seeing the rooster story makes me wonder if anything can be done about the dog at 2221 West Winona that barks all day and well into the night (last night, past midnight).  So far, no one – cops, alderman – have been any help. 

    You rock!!!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you so much! We love doing what we do and your feedback means so much to us.
      As for the dog – you might want to call the cops and alderman again, and cite this: 7-12-100 Excessive Animal Noise Prohibited - http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Illinois/chicago_il/title7healthandsafety/chapter7-12animalcareandcontrol?f=templates$fn=document-frameset.htm$q=%5Brank%3A%5Bsum%3A%5Bstem%3Anoise%5D%5D%5D$x=server$3.0#LPHit1

Spread the word