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Old 02-25-2010, 06:37 PM
 
4 posts, read 22,559 times
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My husband and I are moving to Ottumwa in May. Looking for any advice in finding a job (i work as a customer service rep at a medical insurance company, but have also been a receptionist and a legal assistant), where to and not to live, things to do....im just looking for info in general about living there!
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:33 PM
 
Location: NW Portland
30 posts, read 113,149 times
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We just moved to Oskaloosa, and we have been using:

https://www1.iowajobs.org/jobs/seeke...ch/search.seek
Job Search | one search. all jobs. Indeed
Oskaloosa.com - Classifieds (there are links at the bottom for the surrounding towns)

I cant say much about Ottumwa, as I've never been there. It would be a good idea to look at the Wikipedia article for it, it should list major employers. There is also a number of colleges/universities that have job postings, etc. Good luck! My fiance is still looking as well.
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Old 02-28-2010, 09:48 AM
 
4 posts, read 22,559 times
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thank you for the advice! Hope you and yours find jobs soon!
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
2,733 posts, read 3,964,375 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavinaGenevieve View Post
My husband and I are moving to Ottumwa in May. Looking for any advice in finding a job (i work as a customer service rep at a medical insurance company, but have also been a receptionist and a legal assistant), where to and not to live, things to do....im just looking for info in general about living there!
Ottumwa is a disaster of a town. If there was a city as a poster child to squelch illegal immigration it's Ottumwa. The packing house and it's workers have put this once very nice town into a downspin.

Fortunately, there are a lot of very nice towns to move to outside of Ottumwa. No recommendations as to which would serve your purposes more, but I would definitely live in the suburbs.
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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I was born and raised in Ottumwa and I think it depends on what you are used to verses what your coming into. Ottumwa is about 27K people, has one of the highest bar to church ratio in the world. The meth problem and drug problems are very evident. There is a lot of hate going on in the town because of the increase of Latinos which is culture shock for the past primarily white rural attitude.
On the "positive" side, Ottumwa is fairly safe, friendly if you "fit in", is a hard working town, has some beautiful buildings, good schools, some great doctors and ARNP's, and you can always get a job at Excel.
There is the local theater, Fridays after 5 in the summer, Oktoberfest, high school sports, community college activities. There really isn't that much going on.
As for the job market try the workforce development, they have most jobs listed and are a good resource.
If I had advise for anyone moving to this area, don't if you don't have to. I still have a lot of family in the Ottumwa area and it has become a total wasteland. I am glad that I have moved and don't have to come back more than twice a year.
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Old 03-02-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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thanks to everyone for the info. We are moving to be closer to my Husbands family in Moulton. Ottumwa was a opton as well as centerville, maybe even kirksville missouri.
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Coralville/Ames, IA
267 posts, read 1,042,012 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavinaGenevieve View Post
thanks to everyone for the info. We are moving to be closer to my Husbands family in Moulton. Ottumwa was a opton as well as centerville, maybe even kirksville missouri.
I would look into Centerville. It's quite a bit smaller, but overall I think it's a much nicer town. It's also considerably closer to Moulton. I haven't spent enough time there to describe it too much, but there are other posters here who are more familiar with the area and will hopefully provide more info.
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Old 03-03-2010, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
681 posts, read 2,624,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iowegian View Post
I would look into Centerville. It's quite a bit smaller, but overall I think it's a much nicer town. It's also considerably closer to Moulton. I haven't spent enough time there to describe it too much, but there are other posters here who are more familiar with the area and will hopefully provide more info.
Centerville is my hometown, and I'll just say that iowegian is right. For a small town (about 5-6k) it's a nice place. Good schools, safe town, high poverty--but that's a problem in all of southern Iowa.

Albia and Bloomfield are also two very nice smaller towns (2-3k) closer to Ottumwa.

I know this is Iowa forum, and we should talk about Iowa--but Kirksville, MO is also a pretty awesome town. It's bigger than Centerville, smaller than Ottumwa. Truman State is a quality, seriously underrated college, and the college kids give the town a fun vibe.

So, to wrap it up: I would pick Centerville, or Albia, or Bloomfield, or Kirksville all before Ottumwa. I like the town, (my brother goes to school there), but yeah, it's got some issues.

Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with, especially if you need more info on Centerville.
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Old 03-04-2010, 06:19 PM
 
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I appreciate all everyones help! My husband mentioned Bloomfield, his mom is a teacher there. We are still hammering out all our details and will be in Moulton for a few weeks. But i told him we may want to nix Ottumwa
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:35 AM
 
Location: St. Paul, MN
317 posts, read 619,515 times
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I was born in Ottumwa and lived there until I was 18. Everything negative that people have said about it here is true. I strongly dislike the place and could never live there again. Very, very few people would prefer to live there over other places. But despite that, it's a very livable place, by most standards, so I wouldn't write it off 100%. I know that's contradictory, but being large enough to have Menards, Target, and Wal-Mart, yet being small enough to not have any traffic issues and everything within a 10-minute drive, it's a very practical place to live IF AND ONLY IF most of the activities you enjoy involve staying at home. I now live in the Twin Cities, MN, and love it here. My parents still live in Ottumwa and probably are there for the long-term. They have plenty of friends there, it's convenient and quiet (if you're in a better neighborhood) and they hate the hustle and bustle of the city. They have no desire to move elsewhere.

The only thing I enjoy about visiting Ottumwa, other than seeing my parents, is being able to sit down in front of the computer and focus on whatever task I came there to do, without the distractions of all the exciting activities to do and people I know in the Cities. There's NOTHING to do in Ottumwa!

When I lived in Ottumwa, the middle school was absolutely atrocious. Kids were out of control and not disciplined - I almost had my eye poked out by a kid throwing a needle at me in Home Ec, and instead of sending that kid to sit in the office, the principal made me sit in the office so I'd be safe. Turns out that Home Ec teacher was an alcoholic and drank whiskey between classes! Fights broke out regularly. Yet, despite that, the undercurrent was that the school's focus was discipline over education. The school system - high school and middle school both - strongly focuses on teaching kids to _conform_ and follow pointless rules without asking why, as opposed to thinking for themselves/thinking outside of the box. Although I'd imagine this is an issue with many public schools, it undoubtedly is more so in Ottumwa.

One time, my "advisory" class was outside for hours watching some event. I became very, very thirsty and desperately needed water. Even after telling the advisory teacher about my severe thirst, she would not allow me to get a drink of water. In hindsight, I should've yelled at her to call an ambulance or something and claimed it was a medical emergency.

Science teacher wrote "Artic" on the board one day. I politely told him the real spelling was a-r-c-t-i-c. He adamantly denied that his spelling was wrong, and made me feel bad for bringing it up. He also ran a business out of his classroom and made the class wait while he answered business phone calls almost on a daily basis.

If anybody is considering sending their kids to this middle school, you will definitely want to sit in on some classes (those with mixed level students) and walk the halls before enrolling your kids there, in order to be sure that conditions have improved. I don't believe there is an alternative to it other than home schooling. There's a good Catholic elementary school, which I went to, but it only goes through 6th grade (unless things have changed), and a couple of the public elementary schools are good too. The real problem is the middle school. And things could've changed since I was there.

(End rant. Sorry, I had a terrible experience at Evans Middle School and had to get that out! Thought it would be beneficial to anybody with kids considering living in Ottumwa.)

Other issues: Since I left town, many Mexican immigrants have been moving in, and I've heard that this has caused the crime rate to go up significantly. Restaurants are sub-par for a town of its size. My parents say Ottumwa can even degrade the quality of an Applebee's. The Ottumwa Police are polite and respectful (in my limited experience) but VERY ticket happy and patrol heavily - if you commit even minor infractions like speeding 5 mph over or slightly rolling through a stop sign, be prepared for your insurance rates to go up over time. I've traveled extensively throughout the US and there are few places with more petty traffic enforcement than Ottumwa. Don't ever attempt to drive drunk there. Of course you shouldn't drive drunk anywhere, I'm just saying it's far more risky in Ottumwa than it is elsewhere. And don't step outside of a bar for a smoke break - the police breathylize bar patrons while they are taking smoke breaks and hand out public intoxication tickets to those who are legally drunk. This is an easy way for an otherwise law-abiding citizen to get a criminal record which could ruin one's career.

I highly doubt Ottumwa is a good place to find jobs these days. Living in small-town Iowa, with people and jobs dispersed over a wide area, many people commute 1/2 hour or more to a neighboring town for work. But the commute is easy and relaxing because there's little traffic.

That said, I don't think Ottumwa is entirely a bad place. It's far worse than most towns its size, but the crime rate is still low enough that crime is not something to worry about as long as you lock your doors. As with most isolated small towns of its size, it's quiet and relaxing. Only a handful of good restaurants, essentially no nightlife, not much for other activities, but for those whose main focus is raising a family or other activities that involve staying at home, I would not categorize it as a "bad" place. Unless they have to send their kids to that atrocious middle school.

Oh, and being a smaller city, the cost of living is very low.

Neighborhoods: I spent hours every day during my childhood biking all over town, and can almost give the nature of the neighborhoods on a street-by-street basis. The best neighborhoods, where the well-off live, are mostly in a strip from the north end of town southward to Ottumwa Cemetery and then southeastward along the east side of Memorial Park. Another is west of Ferry and south of Finley. The worst neighborhoods are mostly along a strip from the West End, along W 2nd, to the East End, along E Main, and everything in between. Another is the eastern third of the south side. Then there are localized pockets of good (Cambridge Court and Jay St/Michelle Dr area are a couple) and localized pockets of bad (within a block of Grant and Norris is arguably the worst-looking corner of the city). Overall, the crime is bad enough that you might worry about a break-in in the bad neighborhoods, but I would never worry about being robbed anywhere. Crime is slightly higher than most towns of its size, but nothing at all like a big city.
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