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Old 12-28-2006, 07:36 PM
 
157 posts, read 578,460 times
Reputation: 79

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Hey Simmers,

Glad I could help . IT careers - I think CrackerJack has posted some thoughts on this in some other threads, but I haven't been able to locate them. IT jobs certainly exist here, but not as many as you would find in Denver, Colo. Springs, or Boulder for instance. I checked the classified ads in the Durango Herald today and didn't find much that seemed to fit - you might want to check out Mercury Payment Systems - www.mercurypay.com - I remember reading an article in the paper saying this was a fast growing local firm with opportunities in IT (I think). Also, state, county (La Plata) and the various city governments in the area might provide good leads. Banking seems to be a very good business in Dgo right now - I base this on the the three new (and kinda large) bank buildings I can think of that have been built in the last few years and on the growth in real estate sales as well. When I went to Yahoo local and searched banks in Durango, I found at least 11, which sounds about right - you might want to start your search there. Good luck and please let me know if I can help more!

Hi. LFults: You sound like you value education as my parents do. I think you guys are in San Fran now ... is that right? If you gave me some idea of what your schools are like now and what you would like to find, I may be better able to help you understand what you might find here.

Personally, I know that in my first year of college, I remember thinking that I was generally better prepared than most of the freshmen I was in class with - especially in my abilities to communicate verbally and in writing (I wasn't necessarily more intelligent - no arrogance intended - just better prepared to use what I had). Some of this comes from my family who valued education and I may have done just as well anywhere. However, my parents have both been educators and they were very satisfied with the educations their own kids received in Dgo.

The majority of the kids I hung out with growing up all moved on to college. In fact, I have heard some small criticism of Dgo HS that the school is too geared to the college-track student - not enough options for those not planning on college. Maybe you have already checked www.greatschools.com and googled the state dept. of education - if not, you can get comparitive test scores and data there.

Again, I would be more than happy to give you more information about schooling options in this area - there is so much I could write - please let me know how I can help more! dgoboy
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Old 12-29-2006, 01:09 AM
 
55 posts, read 194,664 times
Reputation: 28
Smile More Durango

dgoboy204,

Thanks for your reply! We are actually in Walnut Creek, which is considered the "East Bay", about 30 miles out of SF. Our "little" community has grown to about 60,000 people in just our city. We are surrounded on all sides by more cities, (which are also growing rapidly) although we do have some very nice open space areas, including Mt. Diablo. It's just getting too busy for me, and well, I've always wanted to be in the mtns! Anyway, as far as schooling, we are currently in a rather small school district. It does very well despite being a CA public school due to the affluence of the area and the degree of parental involvment. I particularly like the parental involvement (at the elementary level), encouraging parents in the classrooms as aides, etc. I also like that they are working very hard on differentiation for each student, understanding that kids all have different learning styles and rates. I like a small school (although our middle school here is huge and doing a good job with it!) where we can know the community and the teachers get to really know the kids strengths and weaknesses. As do all parents, I want my kids well prepared for college, should that be their course. I want their education to be a positive experience so that they enjoy learning. I like a demanding and varied curriculum including exposure to language, music, arts. I have visited the websites you mentioned, and they are helpful in terms of numbers. Just would like to get a better feel for the environment in general. Plan on visiting at least a couple of the schools when we come out in Jan. Any extra insight you can add is appreciated!

Along another line..my husband says he just pulled up an article about a bunch of people losing their homes in Durango to fires last summer. Is this an ever present danger or an occasional occurence? How are the emergency crews out there in terms of response and are the neighborhoods developed in such a way as to provide good access to fire trucks, etc.? (we've had a huge firestorm out here in the Berkeley hills where the roads did not accomodate the fire trucks, so many homes were lost)

Sorry to ask so many questions...this will be a big change and risk for us. If it wasn't for the kids, I'd just jump in and see what happens (I like a little risk...it
keep lifes interesting!) but with kids we need to be more sure we do as much research as possible to make an educated choice.

Thanks again for your time!!
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Old 12-30-2006, 12:00 AM
 
476 posts, read 2,090,060 times
Reputation: 190
I will take the fire issue LFults since I know about it. A few years back some homes burned up near the thickly wooded Lemon Lake - Vallecito Lake area. It is extremely thick with forests and a fire burned in there and took some homes. I wouldnt recommend living in such thick wooded areas myself. I would stick closer to Durango or near Bayfield, green hilly type of area but not a huge amount of trees, more like horse and cow pastureland type of land. If you do buy in any thick wooded area, regardless of where it is, clear out the trees around your property to prevent the fires jumping onto your property. Los Alamos, New Mexico almost burned up via tons of trees by and in the city. Trees are great but just know really thick forests pose a danger regardless where you are.
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Old 12-30-2006, 01:27 AM
 
55 posts, read 194,664 times
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I_LUVNM,

I understand fires are an ever present danger in forested areas. I guess my real question is about the response of emergency services and their access to those areas. Berkeley lost a lot of homes (not once, but twice) mostly due to the difficult access to fire equipment. I'm sure homes would have been lost anyway as it was a big fire store and there were lots of Eucalyptus trees (they explode!) and high winds, but proper access could have saved a lot of homes. I guess I need to do some research on the infrastructure of Durango and Bayfield. So many variables to explore...wish I had one more year to make the decision so I could spend a couple of weeks there in a couple of different seasons. But alas, the choice needs to be made this spring, so time is of the essence! If any of you have any thoughts on things not to be missed (remembering we're going in late Jan/early Feb) or places to stay while in Durango, please let me know. Again, thank you all for your info.
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Old 12-30-2006, 05:50 PM
 
157 posts, read 578,460 times
Reputation: 79
Hi LFults,

Please ask as many questions as you like - I have time now and love helping others!

First, Forest fires - I agree with ILUVNM - definately not regular occurrences. During the big fires a few summers ago few "neighborhoods" were in danger. The fire crews are unreal - they saved so much land. I feel for the most part that everything is built with good access in case of fire - lots of dirt fire roads around the area (good for biking, too). The exception, as ILUVNM said, would be homes built up in the woods all by themselves. I would follow ILUVNM's advice about clearing trees and brush, but I don't see fire potential as a reason not to live here.

I'm not personally familiar with your town, but I get the picture of 60K people with more cities right around you. As a comparison, I don't think a person could live in Durango (city limits) and be more than a 10 minute bike ride from great hiking/biking trails.

Schools - I think in some ways Dgo public schools may be kinda like your schools. The affluence of which you speak can be found here as well to some degree. Parental involvement - kinda hard to say - I'm not sure that you will find as much of that - I think that it can be a case by case issue - some parents may be really involved, while others not so much. Differentiation for students is kinda relative to what you have now, but I really feel that the schools all offer a chance for each student to be very successful. There has been some movement in math, for instance, toward more hands-on programs that allow each student to solve problems and express solutions in their own way.

Our schools are likely to be a fair amount smaller than yours - involved parents such as you are very likely to get to know teachers well. It is a smaller town with only one high school, so often, there is still a feeling of knowing what others are doing (can be both good and bad). As far as teachers getting to know the kids - I have some good friends now who were my teachers in school - I guess they are still trying to keep an eye on me (just kidding). It is a growing community and some of this may change in coming years, but I really think that all of what you desire is here if your family chooses to make use of it (does that make sense?)

Varied curriculum: I am most familiar with the H.S. and I know that they provide lots of educational options - home schooling part-time, correspondence/online courses, credit for classes taken at Fort Lewis College, etc are all possibilities for kids. Arts are strong, in the schools and in the community as well. Music - I'm not as familiar with school programs, but, for the community in general, you might google "Music in the Mountains" and "San Juan Symphony Orchestra". In terms of college prep, DHS offers a variety of Advanced Placement classes that can lead to college credit as well. Some other thoughts: Diversity in schools - mostly Anglo and Latino/Spanish American with some from various regional Native American tribes and some Mexican as well - not so many African American or Asian (some, though). Everyone seems to get along really well - lots of acceptance. Drugs - yeah, can definately be found here too. Affluence seems to breed some of this - some kids have the money to spend. My opinion: probably less of a problem than most places, but can be found if you look for it. Gangs - not really - a few who like to "play the role", but most are really pretty cool.

Places to stay: I am aware of some homes throughout the region that are rented on a nightly or weekly basis - "vacation rentals". Might be a good way to "live in a neighborhood" and be a local for a few days - check www.durangoherald.com" (classifieds, vacation rentals) or property management and real estate companies. While here, maybe schedule a meeting with school district or tour some schools (School district 970.247.5411). Maybe drive north to Durango Mountain Resort or beyond to see some incredible mountain scenery. Visit surrounding towns - maybe one is more to your liking. Check out some local resaurants and food stores to get an idea of what local life is like - if you are into organic health food, you will find a lot for a town this size (I thinK). Maybe ride the train or take a dip at trimble hot springs north of town. Definately drive around Fort Lewis College, which sits on a mesa overlooking the area - you can really get a feel for the layout of the town from there. Maybe visit the local Rec Center in the afternoon when school is out to get a feel for kids and parents as well.

One more thing, Dgo is a pretty laid-back, low stress place so, in terms of your move, have no worries. If Dgo is the right place it will all work easily and if not there must be an even better place on its way.

Please let me know if I can help more ... dgoboy
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Old 12-31-2006, 01:14 AM
 
476 posts, read 2,090,060 times
Reputation: 190
Excellent coverage on Durango Dgoboy! I have to add that the area you were talking about north of Durango is my ab favorite area! I LOVE up there say from Hermosa north to Ouray. So beautiful. Animas Valley is beautiful too. As far as actually living in an area though with less snow and close to amenities, I would live in Durango. It seems like the north side is more ritzy. Is that right Dgoboy? I notice they are building some million dollar condos and such out that way like on Main (from past 32nd north on Main). Also seems like up near Fort Lewis has some ritzy homes too. Those mcmansions that hang off the cliffs and such. There is some big money in Durango, can I ask what these rich people do Dgoboy? Are they just from other places and settle there or are they making big bucks there? My friend asked me the same thing. What the heck do these rich people do there to have these enormous houses? Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-31-2006, 12:30 PM
 
55 posts, read 194,664 times
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dgoboy204,

Thanks for all the input! I'm feeling pretty excited about our upcoming visit. My husband has subscribed to the Durango Herald (he already checks it out on-line daily), bought several books about the area, and is anxious to visit. (This is amazing because he does not like change or moving but I think the area interests him a great deal). We love that there are natural/organic food stores and a community garden. It's exciting to think we can live in the mountains and still grow some vegies/fruits!

We plan on visiting at least a couple of the schools and definately the college. My husband would love go to a community event while we are in town but the only one I see happening is the Follies which seems impossible for an out of towner to get tickets to! Will have to wait on that one until we are residents. We would love to do some hiking but are afraid that we won't get much opportunity during the dead of winter. Maybe we'll take a snowmobile tour so we can get out there into the mountains a bit. We are very curious as to the look and feel of the mountains. We love the Sierra Nevadas in CA....the green and the granite. Are you familiar with them? If yes, how would you compare it to your mountain areas? We are thinking Durango might be more "high desert". Any thoughts on that?

LFults
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Old 01-01-2007, 05:44 PM
 
55 posts, read 194,664 times
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dgoboy204,

Okay..another question for you...if you had a choice to "check out" Durango, do you think there would you choose to see it in the winter or the spring? My husband is afraid if we come in the winter (late Jan) we won't be able to really experience the mountains, trails, fishing, etc. I'm looking to just get a feel for the area and think I can do that in any season. (I'd love to be able to take several trips in each season but that is not time or financial feasible!). Anyway, suggestions or thoughts on the best time to come to get to know Durango, or will any season allow us to get the full flavor?

LFults
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Old 01-02-2007, 08:27 PM
 
157 posts, read 578,460 times
Reputation: 79
Hey LFults and ILUVNM,

ILUVNM: Thank you for the complement about my coverage! Yeah, north of Dgo is special, I agree! I love the aspen trees up there. Ritziness -I would have to agree with you - north of town there are some huge million-dollar homes up in the mountains - seen some ads for a development near Tamaron Resort with homes planned to start at $4mil (Glacier Club?). I think you are right, most make their $ elsewhere, then move here - often second homes. The Dgo. economy may provide good $ for some docs, realestate/developers, bankers, business owners, etc. but I gotta believe that most of the big money homes are built by people who made their $ elsewhere - just my guess.

LFults: familiar with the Sierra Nevadas by picture only, but it looks like there are some definite similarities. Sierras may have more granite and Dgo. may be a little more deserty, but Durango isn't really high desert, but it isn't extreme high mountain either (like Telluride). Dgo is actually very green in the spring, summer, and early fall. I'm guessing there are some areas as you are coming down out of the high Sierras that are like Dgo. BTW - living in mtns. and growing veggies/fruits - many others doing the same - increasing number of cool local organic farms in the county!

When to check out Dgo ... hmmm ... tough one. Of those I've met who have moved here and then left within a year or two (not very many) I think the two main reasons for leaving are: 1. Dgo area is smaller than they expected, especially if moved here from a city 2. winters were colder and snowier than expected. #2 is the only real reason I can see for coming in Jan - if you wanted to know what winter is really like here (or if you wanted to hit the slopes). Otherwise, spring may give more access to mountains, trails, fishing, etc. Further, coming in the spring may lessen the chances of having to fight the weather when checking it all out. Keep in mind that we can have some big spring snow storms through April or even early May, and you may still find lots of snow on the mtns throughout the spring, just depending on how much snow we rec'd in the winter - I guess you know this if you are familiar with the Sierras. To get the flavor of Dgo - well, the flavor kinda changes with the seasons. I think spring might be a little easier, though. Spring lodging rates will be lower, too - slower time of year.

FYI: Memorial Day weekend has The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic (big bike races), and there is a very big youth soccer tournament one weekend in April, I think (let me know if you would like me to find dates). Just know that lodging will be scarce on those two weekends.

Hope you all and ILUVNM had great holidays - please keep asking questions if they come up - I enjoy. dgoboy
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Old 01-02-2007, 09:06 PM
 
55 posts, read 194,664 times
Reputation: 28
dgoboy204,

I can't tell you how much I appreciate all your info. My husband is now also reading your posts. It looks like we are going to be locked into coming late Jan/early Feb due to babysitting issues. (kids are staying here in school!). Also cost at that time is actually the best I can find....kind of between holidays. Hopefully we'll get to enjoy some of the SnowDown activities. I do want to know what the winter is like although realistically, I'm not sure a few days is really going to tell me how I'd adjust. Personally, I'd rather be a bit cool that hot, so I'm thinking the kids and I will be fine...a bit concerned about the husband who gets cold a bit easier. Our area seems to be getting hotter every year (global warming?) and I'd like to get away from that. From what I can gather, there is snow on the DGO mountains half the year, but not so much in town. Is that correct? I'm assuming the hiking trails are somewhat accessible during winter, maybe for cross county skiing, snowshoeing? We want to make sure we can get out and about most of the year. Overall, I'm actually not too concerned about the weather. I rather like a lot of change and like extremes...a good storm is really pretty cool. Wouldn't want to have to dig my way out for months at a time though. My take on DGO so far is that it is really realtively mild. Some snow in winter but manageable and temps that allow outdoor activities year around. Is that about right or am I dreaming of a weather pattern that doesn't exist? How have the recent blizzards affected Durango? Look forward to your insights. Happy New Year to you and yours!

LFults
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