Every year the City and Regional Magazine Association gives out awards for the best stories from that sort of thing, and every year Chicago is usually in the running. This year we've received 14 nominations, and it's a convenient reason to look back on some good reads.
* Profiles: David Bernstein for “Inmate No. 40892-424," aka Rod Blagojevich; Bryan Smith for "The Ballad of Ed 'Bad Boy' Brown," about the death of a talented young boxer, also nominated for Wayne Brezinka's illustration.
* Feature Story: Elly Fishman for "Welcome to Refugee High," about Sullivan High School in Rogers Park, whose student body is 45 percent immigrant; also nominated for multiplatform storytelling.
* Food or Dining Writing: Carrie Schedler for "Are You Worthy of This Man's Coffee?" about Sparrow Coffee genius Chris Chacko; "Charlie Trotter Is Alive and Well," about the late chef's legacy; and "My Dinner Party With Grant," in which Chicago's most famous chef helps her make dinner.
* Photography: Sandro for "Faces of a Century," interviews with local centenarians.
* Leisure/Lifestyle Interest: Jason Foumberg for "How to Buy Art," 10 rules for doing just that.
* Civic Journalism: "Budget Mayday," by Rob Arthur, Amanda Kass, Yana Kunichoff, Whet Moser, and DS Shin, about the Illinois budget crisis.
* Online Column: "The Last Holdouts," about people, places, and things that have persisted against the odds in the city, and "The 312," where I write about things like city planning, baseball, and energy.
* Excellence in Writing: Our October issue.
* Excellence Online