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Old 06-23-2018, 11:53 AM
 
194 posts, read 527,293 times
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My family and I are considering a move to Utah from the south east. We have visited Moab several times over the past few years due to our love of Off Road adventures and the gorgeous red rocks. We have visited AZ and NM also but being a family with a 10yo and a 17 year old vacationing often is difficult so we have only visited these places in June and July. We have lived in Northern NJ but most of our adult life has been spent in South Florida and now the Charlotte NC metro area. I have several friends who live in Moab from other parts of the country and one who lives outside of SLC who happens to be a "non-practicing". We are not really CONSERVATIVES but we are not really liberal either, I guess if you needed to place a tag on us more like Libertarian equally hated by both sides

My son who is now 18 is returning to Florida in August to attend the University of Central Florida and that is our que now that he is out of HS to relocate before our 10 year old STARTS HS so we don't disrupt his schooling. I am 51 and would rather not relocate when I am close to 60 and start a new job.

I am concerned... I had a couple of people tell me if we are not LDS others will generally be friendly to us but that is it, not included or accepted. The part that really worries me is what one person said and I am trying to see if it's a OPINION or fact. Our son would feel the brunt of it because he would make friends in school but not be invited to any activities like parties, outings, sleep overs etc. I don't want our young child to feel like an outcast.

We have not visited any other part of Utah than Moab having driven in once from Grand Junction on 191 and in/out via Farmington NM the other times. I am looking for airfare now for next month to fly into SLC and spend a week driving the Western Corridor between Vegas and SLC. A week is not a lot of time so I am here to research and try to make the best of our time. My wife is a nurse administrator with 20 years of experience so work is not usually a problem, I have a specialized job after working in EMS and Law Enforcement in my young years. I have spent the last 27 years in communications and am an engineer with a large cellular company, my job is pretty rare. I have a SLIGHT possibility of getting a project management position that would be home based so I could live anywhere with good phone and high speed internet service. We want to be somewhat rural so we can own between 1.5 to 5 acres downsizing from 28 now but still be close to good schools and the town/city options. We have a town now about 16 miles away and the City of Charlotte about 50 minutes away and it's a PAIN. St. George seems good because of it's proximity to the hotbed of off road locations and there are some competitive shooting venues somewhat close from what I hear.

I would love to hear some other opinions, especially about the schools and what sort of issues my child may run into as a Pre-Teen and Teen in the area. I guess we as adults are important too but he is my #1 concern then we come second. We have lived here for 12-13 years now and it's not what we thought it would be, I DON'T want to make that mistake again starting to feel like a Gypsy. We have never really developed a bond with an area or people since we seem to move every 12-15 years.
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Old 06-23-2018, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
21,341 posts, read 21,042,974 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLRich View Post
I am concerned... I had a couple of people tell me if we are not LDS others will generally be friendly to us but that is it, not included or accepted. The part that really worries me is what one person said and I am trying to see if it's a OPINION or fact. Our son would feel the brunt of it because he would make friends in school but not be invited to any activities like parties, outings, sleep overs etc. I don't want our young child to feel like an outcast.
If your child makes friends in school, he will be included in parties, outings, sleep-overs, etc. If you were to move to somewhere in the Salt Lake City area, his and your chances of developing friendships will probably be greater than if you were to move elsewhere in the state. You say how much you love the red rock of Southern Utah, but again, I believe that St. George has a significantly higher ratio of LDS to non-LDS than does Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas. And seriously, you can get to any of Utah's national parks in easily under 5 hours. You and your wife would also be more likely to find employment in Salt Lake City than elsewhere in Utah.

My husband and I have lived in Utah all our lives and are now retired. We are LDS. I grew up having both LDS and non-LDS friends. Religion honestly didn't make any difference to us or to our parents. I raised two kids in Salt Lake City (Cottonwood Heights, specifically) and they had both LDS and non-LDS friends growing up. On my street, there are twelve households. Four are LDS and eight are not. We all get along great and have an annual barbeque at one of our homes. Nobody cares about anybody else's religion (which, on our block alone is LDS, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and ????). Same with ethnicity. We have Hispanics, Middle-easterners, Asians and, of course, your good old run-of-the-mill Anglos.

You may have to extend yourselves a bit beyond your comfort level, but it's definitely workable. For instance, this past January, I went into St. Marks Hospital Women's Pavilion for an annual mammogram and a bone-density screening. The technician was a woman about my age. She and I got to talking and by the end of the half hour I was there, clicked so well that she asked me if my husband and I would like to get together for dinner and a movie sometime. I was kind of shocked. I mean that kind of thing doesn't happen every day. But I said yes, and we've become friends. We're going to the Utah Arts Festival as couples this afternoon and then out for dinner. As it turns out, they are transplants from Philadelphia and have been here five years. They came primarily for the skiing. They're Jewish (they volunteered this information); she's originally from Brooklyn and they met while living briefly in Florida. While I would probably have not been outgoing enough to do what she did and ask someone who was practically a stranger if they wanted to socialize, I'm glad she did.
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Old 06-23-2018, 12:33 PM
 
194 posts, read 527,293 times
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Thank you.. yes I did read your post about the movies and how they volunteered this information. We grew up in the Metro NYC area but even as young adults we knew we did not fit in as the majority even in the 80's and earlier of the area was VERY liberal. We moved to FL and it was nice but after a few years more and more YANKEES like us moved down but unlike us they started changing Florida to what we left the Metro area over. That was not SUPER bad but the taxes started going up with more of the liberal mentality in government offices and the high growth, then the insurance rates skyrocketed due to so many hurricanes in the early 2000's.

The other reason I was thinking SOUTH was due to the higher temps, we did not care for the snow that much, only to visit and the greater SLC area indeed is colder! LOL Not sure if I would like that day in and out.
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Old 06-23-2018, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
21,341 posts, read 21,042,974 times
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Originally Posted by FLRich View Post
The other reason I was thinking SOUTH was due to the higher temps, we did not care for the snow that much, only to visit and the greater SLC area indeed is colder! LOL Not sure if I would like that day in and out.
I can certainly understand that. I am told that Salt Lake City's winters are nowhere near as severe as they are along the Eastern Seaboard, but they definitely are not balmy. The extremely low humidity makes them more tolerable, but I'm kind of a winter-hater myself. I always suggest to people moving here that they take up a winter sport. I would imagine that it would make a world of difference in how they felt about winter here.
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Old 06-23-2018, 04:03 PM
 
194 posts, read 527,293 times
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Yea I guess since we love ATV’s and Jeeps so much a couple of snowmobiles would be in our future.
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Old 06-23-2018, 07:21 PM
 
Location: The other side of the mountain
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Having lived in NJ prior and now here in UT, I can tell you that the snow here is much more tolerable. I do not like snow and cold by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d take a UT winter over a NJ winter any day. The lower humidity makes them much more tolerable. We don’t get the ice storms like they do.
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Old 06-23-2018, 07:53 PM
 
194 posts, read 527,293 times
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That's good to hear.. it's been YEARS since I have lived/worked in blizzard conditions. We get an inch of snow maybe ONCE a year or twice if that and people BEHAVE if like it's a blizzard! LOL When I was young I would ride my motorcycle in snow on occasion, not by choice but sometimes I'd get caught on 3rd shift at the hospital on the bike and snow would roll in. Here in SC we get much more of the ice storms and it's nasty! I don't mind the snow BUT I mind the cold... IF I were to move chances are I would have a job working from home managing projects all over the western USA or country, as long as I have a good phone and internet connection and food I would be set. Only time I would get out is when I am not working which is a stark contrast to my life up to now be it in Law Enforcement, EMS or maintaining a cellular network the core of my job is driving and working outside.
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:22 PM
 
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Another "diverse" area of Utah that doesn't get mentioned much is the Helper/Price area in Carbon County, which is halfway between Moab and Salt Lake. Housing is cheap and internet connections are very good (Verizon for rural Utah). In terms of background, I'm from SLC & the predominant religion, and my hubby is from New Jersey (across from Philly), raised Roman Catholic, but became Mormon when we lived in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Our youngest child was less than 2 years old when we moved from Pennsylvania to Alaska. We loved it there but decided to move back to the Lower 48 to be closer to family (especially my dad in SLC, who was the last living parent). We researched where we wanted to live and knew we wanted to be within a day's drive of SLC. Spent 18 months planning and searching, concentrating on southern Utah, eastern Nevada, northern Arizona, and even eastern California. We finally decided to move to Helper (which wasn't in our thoughts at all until the last 3 months of our search) and with our savings buy a small house and then hope we could get a job. We arrived in Helper the day before our youngest daughter started 6th grade at Helper Middle School. She was 11 years old. (Carbon School District middle school is grades 6 - 8; high school grades 9 - 12).

She loved Fairbanks, loved the cold and snow and was absolutely against moving to Utah. She was not a happy camper when we moved. We were very nervous about her first day, since she hadn't had a chance to get to know any kids over the summer, but tried not to show it. When asked how her first day of middle school went, she said, "It was Awesome!" She got friends right off the bat and is now a freshman at the local high school in Price, where she is heavily involved in clubs and activities, including LGBTQ club. My husband and I are no longer "active" LDS, even though our daughter goes to weekly Young Women events (you're going to learn a whole new language when you move to Utah), but we haven't been to church in years. She gets no guff about it, and the people have been nice and friendly. Her friends are a mix of LDS and other religious or non-religious backgrounds (frankly I don't know about the religious affiliations of her friends, except for the LDS ones).

Why Helper? Historically a mining town, so more diverse (religiously) than other areas of Utah. Even with the mine shutdowns, that mentality of welcoming all and expecting to encounter people from different backgrounds still exists. Helper/Price is not perfect, by any means, but it's one of the few small towns in Utah where my Alaskan tween fit right in. My hubby got a job within 3 weeks at the local college and because the price of living was so low, I was able to be a stay-at-home mom for two glorious years and could visit my Dad, my sister's family and my oldest daughter in SLC on a regular basis. I also started working full-time for the college about a year ago.

So, if you want to live in a small town in Utah that is more religiously diverse (at least in terms of Christian faiths, i.e., Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, mainline Protestant, evangelical Christian, etc.), then Helper/Price would be a consideration.

I don't have first-hand knowledge of this, but I understand Moab, Roosevelt, and Vernal are also more diverse in terms of Utah small towns (Roosevelt/Vernal because of the oil/gas companies who brought non-Utahns into town; and Moab because of its hip tourism vibe and remaining mines).

Another consideration that might impact your son is that Moab is remote. It's 2 hours to Grand Junction, CO and almost 4 to Salt Lake. That may be difficult for your youngest to get used to. Helper/Price is one hour (albeit through a canyon that can be tricky to drive through at times) to the Provo/Orem area for shopping and events, and two hours to SLC. In Moab, he's going to be spending hours and hours on a bus to go to activities at other high schools. That will happen in Price/Helper as well, but not quite as long.

Grand County High School in Moab has about 400 students grades 9 - 12, whereas Carbon High School has about 950 students grades 9 - 12, so he might have a better chance of finding a group to fit in at Carbon than Grand (once he's in high school). Definitely visit the middle and high school to get a feel for the vibe of the school. Check their social media feeds to see what's emphasized, plus it gives you an idea of the culture of the schools.

US News info states Grand County High School is about 75% White, 15% Hispanic and 7% Native Nation. Carbon High School is about 85% White, 13% Hispanic. Grand County High School has about 42% Economically Disadvantaged kids (eligible for free/reduced lunch) and Carbon about 36% Economically Disadvantaged. Carbon School District provides free breakfast for all kids regardless of income, and lunches during summer (free/reduced for those who qualify) and regular lunch prices for those who don't. I don't know if Grand School District does this. Both have Utah State University campus in town, but the one in Price is much larger than the one in Moab for concurrent enrollment and AP purposes.

In terms of weather, Moab is hotter in the summer than Helper/Price and warmer in winter. It doesn't snow much in Helper/Price (except for about every 5 - 10 years), but it can get cold and windy. It's a dry cold, so dressing in layers does the trick. I used to live in Pennsylvania and the humid cold chilled me to the bone. I actually preferred -40 dry Fairbanks winters over +15 humid Pennsylvania winters!

Moab has aggressive claw-your-eyes-out scenery, while Helper/Price is more of an understated, desolate beauty, which grows on you - if you let it. However, you're less than an hour from the San Rafael Swell, dinosaur quarry, and only two hours to Arches jaw-dropping landscapes. You're also about 45 minutes from Scofield Reservoir and about an hour or so from the many alpine reservoirs and ponds along the Wasatch Plateau.

The key thing is that your son finds a peer group he enjoys. I lucked out with my daughter, but I also suspected that Helper would be more accepting of an "outsider" than other Utah small towns. I've typically found that the more diverse (socioeconomically, ethnically, religiously, etc) the town is, the more welcoming the kids are - at least in rural areas.

One more thing to think about. Utah has a bad opioid addiction problem, especially in rural areas where the kids think there isn't "much to do." Moab is only a half-hour off of I-70, otherwise known as "cocaine alley," so you want to be vigilant about the drug situation there. Moab is also close to Colorado with legal recreational use of marijuana for those over 21, so it's easier for underage kids to get it. Of course, drugs are a problem everywhere, but it's especially bad in isolated, rural small towns like Moab and Helper/Price.

I wish you the best with your search.
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Old 11-13-2018, 05:57 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,672 posts, read 53,848,231 times
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I wish I could rep you agakn!
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Old 11-13-2018, 09:54 PM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,359 posts, read 4,972,668 times
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Much has been posted on the stuff you're asking so I'll try to be concise. I'm a NY transplant that retired in the immediate SLC area (Holladay, formerly East Millcreek). Despite my often critical posts I love it here. For me the pros greatly outweigh the cons. That said, my social circle consists of 100% transplants and zero Mormons. Most are about my age (mid-sixties) and about half raised kids here so impact-on-the-kids is is a common topic of conversation.

What's the consensus? Every single person, without a single exception, has told me that their kids had significant social acceptance problems to varying degrees. That usually leads to whether they'd do it again or do things differently if they could take a do-over. The answer to that is split, because there are other advantages and life can be hard anyplace, albeit in different ways.

I want to stress that this is coming not from me but from what I've been told by others. The responses you'll get here will probably range from Pollyannaish to blame-the-victim to agreement with the above. I would point out that the academic culture in the northeast is, in general, far more pressured, academically oriented and aspirational. You probably felt some of that in NJ - if you did you know what I mean. That's decidedly not the case here. So, take your pick and good luck with whatever you decide!
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