Shoemaker Village

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[Article written in April 2001]

Shoemaker Village is a home-based magazine that had its origins in May 1993, when it started as an outlet for the current Editor, Stephen Sokolowski, for his novel, The Biggest Adventure in History. At that time, there was only one subscriber, the Curry family, who were neighbors to him. There were seven issues published during a period of four years, informing the Curries of happenings in the neighborhood in which they lived and including the novel. Short Stories evolved after a few issues. The Curries moved away in August 1995, but The Curry Courier (as it was called then) continued to be delivered to them.

In May 1997, the Editor decided to hold a birthday party, and as an invitation, revived the Courier to send to the Curries. This was the first color edition, printed with a PC instead of the old Mac which had once been used. Most probably, the Curries were impressed by this issue, and somehow the Hoffmans, who lived in the Editor's neighborhood, became interested in June. After that, the Courier grew, and, with the increase of readership, the name was changed in October to its current name, Shoemaker Village, titled after the development in which most of the subscribers lived.

In December, it became apparent that the cost of the Village was too high to bear alone. In response, subscription forms were sent out, and readers who didn't pay were discontinued. Readership was cut in half. It looked as if the Village were going to fall apart. And then something happened...

A long-time contributor to the Village deleted the Village files from the computer on January 2, 1998. Although there was a backup of the Village, it was a week old and several important files were lost. It was not until March that all the necessary files were recovered.

In April, Matthew Care joined the staff of the Village to become the Assistant Editor. At about the same time, the first webpages were posted, and a vote was held to determine the best article of 1997. Because only four forms were received, the award was cancelled and the webpages dismantled. However, with suggestions from our readers, they were reborn in May.

On August 10, 1998, the finished webpages were put up, and the first internet writer, Amanda Sansoski from AOL, joined our staff. However, she eventually left.

In September of 1998, the Village was going through some troubled times. Because the computer that was used to publish the magazine crashed and remained offline for two months, publication was forced to be suspended.

In December, an enormous 45-page bonus issue was completed, showing what a few extra written articles from people other than the Editors could do. Not only was it rated highest ever, but it was also the most widely distributed, putting the Village on the map at UMHS.

After the usual break in January, we were experiencing a lack of written material. Had not more contributions been received, it may have been that the magazine would have had to be canceled.

Publication resumed as normal throughout the spring months. The Neighborhood News continued to be a big hit as vandalism in the neighborhood brought serious concern.

In April 1999, a severe shortage of new material led us to consider the cancelation of the village. Fortunately, this problem was resolved soon after with the addition of several new members to the Village staff.

The spring of 1999 brought two new contributors to the Village staff, Lori Blickley and Amanda Dilks. Lori's news column, entitled The Bear Facts quickly became and still is one of the most popular sections of the magazine. Amanda continues to contribute articles to The Discussion Forum every month.

Though the Village encountered several setbacks during the summer of 1999, we continued the publication of the magazine in September with some of the best issues ever published. The December 1999 Bonus Issue reached 56 pages, which was (and still is) the largest issue the Village has ever published. Only your contributions can make this possible again.

The Village website was redesigned to the design you see now in Feburary 2000, and the goal of the Village during the first half of 2000 was mostly attempting to create a magazine with a look for the 21st century. If you compare the Feburary 2000 and August 2000 issues, you can compare whether we have accomplished that goal.

Matt Care resigned his post as Assistant Editor on February 29, 2000, shortly after several life-shattering events. Matt hinted that he would take a less active role in the future, but has not returned to contribute as of yet.

Amanda Dilks took over as Assistant Editor of the Village in March 2000, quickly taking more responsibility than Matt had before. Amanda plans to continue her role in the Village in the future.

Due to hard times and lack of written contributions, the Village was canceled in May. It was again canceled in July 2000 because the Editor was subjected to a multitude of summer homework assignments and college visits, as well as to several vacations, that, while enjoyable, limited publication time for the Village.

A new layout was unveiled in August, and response has been overwhelmingly positive. Since then, the Village has hit troubled times, with cancellations due to English assignments, but we resumed publication and continued worry-free through the second semester.