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Old 10-21-2008, 10:21 PM
 
52 posts, read 189,993 times
Reputation: 37

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I'm from the east coast but long been planning moving west. I considered the arid desert west, and I do like the dryness but the middle west has my attention as well. Wife is a teacher and we are both in our 40's. Anyway, what about Kearney and surrounding areas. I was looking at some towns around kearney with only 5000 or so people, but we could commute in if thats where we end up working. I like the idea of very low housing costs, and it looks like I could buy a house for 30k and up, and pay $600ish per year in taxes. Compared to the east coast thats very nice, and we could buy a house outright so only pay taxes, utilities, and of course upkeep.

I'm sure there have been other similar posts and I have read whatever i could find, but I'd like to hear about the job market (especially for elementary teachers!) and anything else I may not have thought of with regard to living in a smallish Nebraska town. Im pretty conservative, very respectful (and expect that in return, and usually get it) and easy to get along with.

Thank You
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Old 10-22-2008, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,890,879 times
Reputation: 9601
I am from the east too and moved to the Sandhills in May of this year. It wasn't just the inexpensive property (we got a 100 year old, 1750 sq foot house and 60 acres for $94,500) but the people that lured us here... plus the fact that we wanted real seasons and beautiful country, all of which we found here in abundance.

The houses here are very inexpensive by comparison, but they are not brand-new (most of them) nor built to impress but for function. (I was told this property used to be the dairy for the town, and you can still see where some of the machinery and tables were in the basement.) Most of the houses in my small town are rented out to ranch hands, there are a few for sale. They are used too by folks who come into town to work (mainly at the school) whose family owns ranches out of town.

I work at the local high school, and we have great teachers. Small classes - anywhere from 9 to 20 - and some of the most self-possessed and self-respecting kids I have ever met. I had to work like a dawg to keep my kids back east out of the drug, sex-and-pregnancy, and other bad influences and cultures; here these kids (most of them) have purpose and direction. Although the excuses for school are NOT what I am used to; getting the calves loaded or branding day is an excused absence. But the kids are sharp, funny, and very centered. They are into art, drama, music, as much as football and agriculture.

I haven't met a nasty person yet; some folks are friendlier than others, some folks are more content than thers, but all are hardworking and purposeful.

They complain about the taxes here but I pay less on my property and house here than I paid on my 1000 sq foot house on 1/3 acre back east. They also don't have multiple taxes charged by the towns and counties, and all those little LOST taxes or other addendums are voted on - and often voted down - by the people. If I buy something in Valentine but don't use it in town, they cannot charge sales tax.

This is a great place to live - I just wish I would have found it before my kids were grown. The educational levels here are exponentially higher, and the atmosphere is about challenges and self-discipline. Maybe it is different elsewhere - Kearney is considered a big town by the folks here - but the small town atmosphere is definitely a good one.
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Old 10-22-2008, 09:59 AM
 
52 posts, read 189,993 times
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thanks for the reply. it's not easy to pull it all togather, but I feel in my heart this would be a great move. where I live now, the area has gone from rural to suburban, and taxes are astronomical (my little 500sqft house on 5000sqft lot costs $3600 in taxes, no sewer, no trash pickup). after 4 decades here I have to leave my hometown and well, thank God I'm still able to do it. I look forward to a new home in parts west, but this post is just the first step in finding a place. the only good news is that we should be able to buy a modest little house for cash due to the high home values where we are, and the fact that we owe only about 1/2 to 2/3 what the house is worth even in this market.

another issue is in-town vs out of town. on realtor(dot)com, the listings rarely show anything but in-town. ideally I would like to find soimething on a small land but outside of town. right now our neighborhood has small lots and it would be nice to not have to necessarily say hi to someone when opening the windows every time. we get along great with our neighbors and even though this is not the plains, we do actually help each other out quite a lot (but if in-town is all there is, I can also live with that).
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Old 10-22-2008, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Central Nebraska
1,821 posts, read 4,797,063 times
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Job market is okay. Our unemployment is lower then the national average. For teachers, there should be some elementary positions around. One warning, teacher salaries are lower here, but so is the cost of living.
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Old 10-22-2008, 08:57 PM
 
52 posts, read 189,993 times
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thanks, wifey is looking, and finding resources for teachers as I type this. we know how to live cheap, we already do that now. thanks!
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:25 PM
 
370 posts, read 1,219,205 times
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Jerry, sounds like you already know everything you need to, so move already!

Again, teacher salaries are going to be lower, if not surprisingly lower. At one point NE was like 47th in the nation for salaries, but I'm sure that didn't factor in the COL factor.

Those rural towns are usually pretty hard-pressed to find someone who wants to work for $30K/year as a teacher, so opportunities abound. Kearney is a good town as well, as are the rest of the "tri-cities", GI and Hastings.

I lived in Hastings for 13 years before moving 200 miles west. There is a huge difference in humidity. The tri-city area is still considerably more humid than the panhandle/west-central regions, but not nearly as humid as the eastern 1/3 of the state. The further west you go, the lower the humidity.

Still, it is a great region, and I can't say much bad about it.
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,890,879 times
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In town. Hee hee. "In Town" means totally something else here! The houses in our town of (officially) 177 people are widely spaced on lots 'way larger than in larger cities, especially back east. There ARE places where the houses are grouped much closer together in Valentine, but even on a teacher's salary you won't have to live that tightly cramped.

I have to say that the locals don't take kindly to folks coming from back east and telling them how to live; they have an excellent way of life here and don't want to change (and I for one think they have the perfect way to live and want to learn it, not change it!)

You could live in Nenzel, Cody, Crookston or Kilgore and work in Kilgore, Valentine, or Cody - but never notice the 'town' atmosphere. In the smaller towns you can get things like water and sewer and trash pickup (don't expect Waste Management trucks) but the neighbors are 'way over there. Every town is different in what it provides, so ask your realtor. There are a number of excellent realtors who are not on the Internet, (ours was - but we were looking for more than a house and found them onModerator cut: link removed, linking to competitor sites is not allowed) so it might be a good idea to come out for a visit and check out the areas you would like to live, then inquire of local realtors.

The demands on teachers here are a little different than you might be used to - our teachers here help each other out, cover each others' classes, because there are not a whole lot of resources for substitute teachers. Things like Federal mandates are not as stringently adhered to because 1) everyone knows everyone and 2) they don't have the population to enforce them like they do in larger schools. PTO conferences are heavily attended; parents are very much involved in their kids' schoolwork - but because of their varied work hours, our PTOs have to last longer to accomodate everyone. Our Drama Club meets every schoolday at 6:45 AM before school. There are a lot of afterschool events and programs, not just sporting events. Many students are heavily involved in things like FFA (Future Farmers of America), art contests, and other programs that are educational, and some compete in the rodeos and other farm-and-ranch centered events, so these kids are well-rounded and BUSY.

So you will get heavily involved in the day-to-day of your kids, but it won't be like back east. They WANT to learn and they WANT to do things (for the most part) its just that their interests are quite different than you may be used to. You'll do less babysitting and more education.

Oh, wait. I'm supposed to be telling people NOT to move here! The more people we have, the more people want Wal Mart and Starbucks and the more they get away from what really matters, and what makes them unique. So DON'T even consider moving here; the people are horrible, the area is flat and boring, the houses are old and decrepit and nothing you would be interested in. TIC

Last edited by Yac; 11-08-2011 at 07:14 AM..
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Papillion
2,589 posts, read 9,836,542 times
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Also, if you have any desire to build a new home be sure to check with the city officials to see if they have a "give away" program for the lot. There are probably 10 or so towns in Nebraska that will GIVE you a lot if you commit to building the house. Its an economic development incentive.

Not sure if any of the towns in or around Cherry County (Valentine, etc) participate, but worth asking. I know Cambridge, Callaway, Central City, Curtis, Elwood, Fullerton, Kenesaw, Loup City, Oxford and Reynolds have done it, but they are all on the lower 3rd part of the state.
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:47 AM
 
370 posts, read 1,219,205 times
Reputation: 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave1215 View Post
Not sure if any of the towns in or around Cherry County (Valentine, etc) participate, but worth asking. I know Cambridge, Callaway, Central City, Curtis, Elwood, Fullerton, Kenesaw, Loup City, Oxford and Reynolds have done it, but they are all on the lower 3rd part of the state.
Since I think the poster was asking about central Nebraska, that would be great for him... Most of those towns above are close to the "tri-city" region. For example, a lot of people who live in Kenesaw commute to Kearney, GI or Hastings--often with spouses commuting to different towns, but they are very central to all three cities.
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:29 PM
 
52 posts, read 189,993 times
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i replied but it didnt seem to stick so here goes again. first, thank you all for the replies! its all a great help. as to "move already" boy would I like to! but we have a house that would need to sell, and it prob will get listed in about a week. also, wifey is scoping out the job prospects. as to the possibility of being given a lot for homesteading in some communities, that is appealing because our taste is for a smaller house (with basement), and I would like a larger garage/workshop. I'll look into square foot costs and give that idea some consideration. As to the humidity, I would like to escape that (we have humidity here as well) but job prospects are higher priority. I spent the last 40 years in what was a rural New England area, and unfortunately the yuppies invaded, built mcmansions, added big box stores and traffic, ran the taxes up, and the ethics down. I could care less for Starbucks, and do value ethics and decency in the people I have to share a community with. I will miss my friends and family, but wont miss what in some ways, this community has built itself up into. Having been on the other end, I will NEVER forget to respect the local values wherever I go. All in all I do look forward to making this happen. I dont want to chicken out, then spend the rest of my life wishing I followed through! And it's not like we're moving to Bolivia or anything.
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