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Considering moving to Montana within a year or two...I know, many people claim that, but I originally lived in Great Falls over twenty years ago and migrated south to New Mexico (Don't ask.) I also will be visiting this June to Billings and Columbus to get a birds eye view of things and want to compare notes ahead of time.
Considering moving to Columbus as it seems nice, small and quiet. Commuting is no issue with me as I commute 68 miles one way to Albuquerque for work. I have a Class A CDL and also have my main trade in auto/truck and commercial tractor/trailer repairs. My questions are: What is the current job market like in and around Billings? What tractor/trailer fleet companies are around Billings? What problems are there in Columbus? Drugs? What are the schools like? In the winter time what is the highway conditions between Columbes and Billings like and how well is the highway maintained in the winter?
I have other questions but a brain freeze erased them from memory at the moment...
The job market around Billings is better than anywhere else in the state. I have a client who owns a large long haul trucking business, and they are always looking for good drivers. Can't tell you much about the situation with drugs or schools in Columbus. The hwy between Columbus and Billings is as well maintained as anywhare, since I-90 is the major east-west route across this wide state. Except for the occasional severe blizzard, that stretch of hwy is easily traveled, even in winter. Check the Billings Gazette and Montana Job Service for the employment opportunities.. Both online.
I agree that the job market around Billings is better than most in the state.
I CAN comment though on the school and drug issues around Columbus. I actually went to school in a small town about 15 miles from Columbus. As any small town in Montana there will be drinking and drugs. Well, that about sums up every town in the U.S.A. When I went to school in that area though there was a huge meth problem in both towns. I graduated going on two three years now and as far as I know the problem is still there accompanied by bigger drinking habits in high school aged students. Columbus, to my knowledge, followed closely behind.
As far as the school goes in rankings of education, you're not bad off at all. In fact if I were given the choice I would have probably attended Columbus instead. They have a much better sports program and you can find a far better range of electives to take. They are a class B school, which means they are not big but a medium sized school for Montana standards.
I never was pressured to take drugs in my hometown or drink though. This could have been solely my focus on sports and school though. I guess I believe it is what you make of it as an education.
Thanks for the replies, looks promising. I have a CDL but my main trade is in mechanics and I did look on the job listings on the Montana state website and have to say the wages are comparable.
I agree on the drugs and alcohol being a problem in schools in anywhere USA its you got to find less of it and steer the kids into focus on school and sports. Here the schools are rampant with gangs, guns, violence, drugs-all influenced by illegals coming across the border and an invasion of southern california displacements...also have a small percentage of left overs from hurricane Katrina. The main thing is the politicians here in this state choose not to do anything about the problems in the schools and continue to cut the funding for education all together wish does no good for its students that want the education. I expect at least the state to fund heavily in education but it does not and the teachers here suck wind. I take it there are no issues of violence in schools there? No shootings or stabbings? I expect some fist throwings. Does Montana invest in its education system? I do seem to recall at Great Falls High that the system was above par as compared to the two other high schools I went to in Colorado and NM.
Any areas in Columbus that should be avoided? I know it may sound rude and hope no one gets offended but I would like to know.
Oh before I forget. How bad is the wind in Columbus? We get a wind season here from about end of march through may where winds blow daily and can gust up to 60-80 miles an hour.
Oh my! It sounds like you all have a bad problem with the schooling system down there. That is not to take a stab at your state at all though, I promise!
Some would say that here in Montana and depending on where you are from that the state has a tendency to put too much into the school systems. Of course the teachers are under paid but I can tell you that the teachers I had were passionate about what they were teaching and not disgruntled that they were there. I would suppose it is better to be on that end of the spectrum than the other. The smaller schools in this state have a tendency to be cleaner.
I never knew of any gang presence in the smaller schools like Columbus it is, or I shall say was, a community of mostly farm and ranch kids. The mine is just up the road so you get an influence of some of the miners, but I know first hand a lot of good men and women who work up there as well. FFA is a big part of the schools here in and around the Stillwater County area as well as 4-H. In fact they have a pretty nice 4-H fair in Columbus every year that many of my friends used to attend.
Because Columbus is a smaller town there are no real "bad" places that you should stay away from. Of course there are some houses there that are a little old and could use some help but you will not find you are dodging bullets to get to your car!
The wind is moderate I would say. We get wind more often in the spring and there are those days that it can get quite gusty. The farther you get west the worse it gets. There will be numerous times in the year that the highway (I-90) will be closed by Livingston due to high wind danger tipping over a Semi or two. You should be okay here in the surrounding area of Columbus. Never rule out those days though when a good thunderstorm will furiously blow in and rock the valley!
Thanks Lindsole, appreciate the input. New Mexico is not bad its just the education system along with a few other things that make it a little undesirable. My primary focus is on schooling for the kids and employment. I have yet to meet a teacher here that is passionate about thier job and mostly it is liberal teachings and history based on opinions on political views and not facts. Most kids here could not tell you any thing about say...WW2 or when it happened or if they do know it is maligned info provided by liberal teachings.
Anyway also curious about hotel/motels in Columbus and which is the better.
Alot of kids that live here will join the military right out of highschool. So needless to say there is a bit of military around here. My history teacher wasn't that great but she was also conservative so she did the best she could. I learned alot about civil war in my history class. Here they do an American history class your senior year where you learn about the wars and politics.
There are two hotels that I know of in Columbus. The first one is right off the interstate by the Town Pump that is the Super 8. The other is by the 307 bar and restaurant and I believe it is called the Big Sky Motel. I guess my first choice would be the Super 8 although I have never stayed in any of them. The Other is a bit smaller and doesn't look like it would be as nice. There are no fancy hotels in Columbus though.
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