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Old 05-06-2012, 06:54 PM
 
1 posts, read 3,145 times
Reputation: 10
Smile Young first year teacher looking into Sheridan, Gillette, and other WY towns

Hi all! This is my first post, so get your reading glasses and make sure you're sitting somewhere comfy...this first post's going to be a doozy.

I've really enjoyed reading the many, many posts about moving to various Wyoming towns, especially the threads about life in Gillette and Sheridan. Very informative...both the positives and negatives. Love it.

A little background about me, to hopefully help you learn about me so you can give me some specific advice. I have lived my life in and around Portland, OR. I ended up choosing a college only 45 minutes from home. That being said, I am so so SO ready for a new adventure!

I just graduated- a week ago, in fact- with an Elementary Education degree (PreK-8th grade in a self-contained classroom) and will be getting my Oregon teaching license sometime in June. I've applied (or am in the process of applying) to schools in Sheridan, Gillette, and the Powell area, and am still looking into others. If….no, let’s say when (I’m all for positive thinking… ) I’m hired in one of these districts, I will be able to take a trip out this summer to visit and get to know the community. I know myself, though. If I visit this summer, I will probably fall in love with the town(s) and the climate and absolutely want to move to the beautiful, mountainous, outdoorsy place. What I’m concerned about is the winter. Since I would be starting my job when the school year begins, I obviously can’t visit during the winter to see if I like it then, too.

Growing up in Portland means that I'm used to rather moderate weather with lots and lots of rain. I know Wyoming's just a tad different than this. When in Portland, if it snowed, school (and the entire city, it seemed) was shut down for the day. Ha, obviously not the case in Wyoming. Getting used to new weather doesn’t scare me…I’ve always wanted to experience new climates. Driving in snow, however, intimidates me. How quickly does one get used to driving in snow?

Being that I am from Portland, a city, I have a tad bit of trepidation applying to small, small towns. They kind of intimidate me. From what I've read and researched about Gillette and Sheridan, they're small towns (by my Oregonian standards) but have the needed amenities (an adequate grocery store in town is my "must have").

I'm hoping to find a teaching job (whether it be in WY or not) in a town that has a community feel and schools are a welcome part of life and a focus in the community (not the case in some places I've lived/student taught). I would also LOVE to have a nice church “family” in my new town, since I won't have family nearby where ever I end up teaching.

The town I went to for college had about 22,000 people, which seemed pretty big to me. There was a large grocery/home goods/clothing store there along with a nice downtown area (expensive knick knack places, coffee shops, small restaurants, etc), good schools, both a nice and “not so nice” part of town, and parks. Could either Gillette or Sheridan be compared to this?

I am also a bit concerned about moving to a new place by myself…is it going to be safe for a single young woman to live by herself?

I think that’s it, for now anyway. Thanks SO much for whatever advice you can give this totally confused girl.
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Old 05-06-2012, 08:25 PM
 
47 posts, read 64,732 times
Reputation: 32
I'll answer about the safty,
I've lived in Sheridan since 2005; When I was new to town there was an energy boom and I hear a lot of people say the 'rif raf' have mostly left to North Dakota and the Bakkan-play oil fields. Many posts have touched on the Sheridan Police Department. LIke many, I feel the PD is way too large for this town and spend their time running down the wrong things while any large item would be handed over to an outside police force in other words the real cops.
So, yes, Sheridan is safe.
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:00 AM
 
822 posts, read 631,618 times
Reputation: 1073
Having spent most of my life in Wyoming as a single woman, I will say the whole state is "safe." Just use your head. I travel to large metro areas that are not considered safe every year and common sense seems like just a good thing to have regardless of where you are.

Don't forget other parts of Wyoming. Everywhere is a relatively short drive to mountains and there are always the weekends and breaks for longer get aways.
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:54 AM
 
Location: Sheridan County, Wyoming
673 posts, read 859,554 times
Reputation: 542
Once you move here you will never leave. I am a Wyoming native back home after 30 years away. My wife is a southern belle who never was anywhere but the southern US. She loves Sheridan and works in the school system and has no regrets of leaving her family down south.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
17,426 posts, read 21,651,985 times
Reputation: 10595
Sheridan is a tough area to get a teaching job because it is so desireable. There is a wonderful school system here that have a great group of dedicated teachers and staff. I had 5 children that went through the Sheridan schools and I've very pleased with the education they received.

Sheridan is very safe and you could be comfortable just about anywhere in town. There is one section, North East of the center of town and it's not that area isn't safe its just that it's older homes, mostly small homes and that section of town still has a lot of streets that are gravel with no curb and gutter. Construction is going on to upgrade the streets there but progress is slow.

You'll find that Sheridan had some great restaurants, and for Wyoming Standards, wonderful shopping. But for big ticket items most folks will take a day and run up to Billings (hour and a half or just over) where there is a Costco and such. While there they'll stop at Applebee's, Fudruckers, Red Lobster, etc. Something different than what Sheridan has available.

Sheridan has had crime and will always have crime, as any town will. But I had no problems with allowing my kids to walk down town, or to the schools and such, and today I have no worrys about my grandkids moving about town. I worked in the jail for a while and out of 80 inmates we'd have 4 or 5 that were in for drug crimes such as possesion of meth or mariuana. The rest of the people were in for domestic violence, or petty theft, unpaid traffic tickets, unpaid child support and things like that.

The rent in Sheridan tends to be a little high. I would suggest you look at surrounding towns, Ranchester, Dayton. It would give you a 20 minute commute but all interstate or just 4 or 5 miles of secondary highway.

Sheridan is nestled up against the Big Horn Mountains so you will be about 30 minutes of drive time and be in the Mountains started up. Outstanding camping available, fishing, hunting, hiking, etc... When in the Big Horn Mountains, if you want to primitive camp, no water, elect, or sewer, you can set up a camp just about anywhere you want. Drive down a county road and see a level spot, set up and camp. I think the max is 16 days. We have semi primitive camp grounds where there will be a central spiggot for water, some outhouses and such. Those campgrounds run $6 a night, but you can buy an annual permit for $30. The mountains offer excellent cross couontry skiing and snow mobile trails that are well groomed. There are several lodges in the Big Horns that offer various ammenities. Most have cabins available for $350-$400 a month for rent.

I think you would love Sheridan and the area. Everybody that comes here does. I don't know a lot about the other areas you were investigating so I'll let more knowledgable members answer for those towns.

If you haven't already, you might take a look at the other part of City Data where you can find out all the demographics of Wyoming and it's Towns.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:31 AM
 
1,860 posts, read 1,818,819 times
Reputation: 864
First of all, I wish you well in your endeavor, and congrats on getting through school! I am a teacher (now special ed director), and have a soft spot for new teachers. I live in Meeteetse, 30 miles from Cody. I know that Cody has several elem. ed openings. Go to their website, google under Cody schools or Park County School Dist. #6. It is a great area. Let me know how your search progresses. Will chat more when I have more time!
Georgia
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
3,468 posts, read 2,927,184 times
Reputation: 3073
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColorfulClaire View Post
Hi all! This is my first post, so get your reading glasses and make sure you're sitting somewhere comfy...this first post's going to be a doozy.

I've really enjoyed reading the many, many posts about moving to various Wyoming towns, especially the threads about life in Gillette and Sheridan. Very informative...both the positives and negatives. Love it.

A little background about me, to hopefully help you learn about me so you can give me some specific advice. I have lived my life in and around Portland, OR. I ended up choosing a college only 45 minutes from home. That being said, I am so so SO ready for a new adventure!

I just graduated- a week ago, in fact- with an Elementary Education degree (PreK-8th grade in a self-contained classroom) and will be getting my Oregon teaching license sometime in June. I've applied (or am in the process of applying) to schools in Sheridan, Gillette, and the Powell area, and am still looking into others. If….no, let’s say when (I’m all for positive thinking… ) I’m hired in one of these districts, I will be able to take a trip out this summer to visit and get to know the community. I know myself, though. If I visit this summer, I will probably fall in love with the town(s) and the climate and absolutely want to move to the beautiful, mountainous, outdoorsy place. What I’m concerned about is the winter. Since I would be starting my job when the school year begins, I obviously can’t visit during the winter to see if I like it then, too.

Growing up in Portland means that I'm used to rather moderate weather with lots and lots of rain. I know Wyoming's just a tad different than this. When in Portland, if it snowed, school (and the entire city, it seemed) was shut down for the day. Ha, obviously not the case in Wyoming. Getting used to new weather doesn’t scare me…I’ve always wanted to experience new climates. Driving in snow, however, intimidates me. How quickly does one get used to driving in snow?

Being that I am from Portland, a city, I have a tad bit of trepidation applying to small, small towns. They kind of intimidate me. From what I've read and researched about Gillette and Sheridan, they're small towns (by my Oregonian standards) but have the needed amenities (an adequate grocery store in town is my "must have").

I'm hoping to find a teaching job (whether it be in WY or not) in a town that has a community feel and schools are a welcome part of life and a focus in the community (not the case in some places I've lived/student taught). I would also LOVE to have a nice church “family” in my new town, since I won't have family nearby where ever I end up teaching.

The town I went to for college had about 22,000 people, which seemed pretty big to me. There was a large grocery/home goods/clothing store there along with a nice downtown area (expensive knick knack places, coffee shops, small restaurants, etc), good schools, both a nice and “not so nice” part of town, and parks. Could either Gillette or Sheridan be compared to this?

I am also a bit concerned about moving to a new place by myself…is it going to be safe for a single young woman to live by herself?

I think that’s it, for now anyway. Thanks SO much for whatever advice you can give this totally confused girl.
I haven't lived in Sheridan or Gillette but can give you some info about Wyoming in general. Your concern about the climate is valid as this will be a shock if you are from Portland. Wyoming is much drier than that part of Oregon, likely much more like eastern Oregon in that regard. The winters can get very cold and blizzards can and do shut down the interstate. However, in Sheridan and Gillette, and likely Powell, you won't be shut off from getting to necessary supplies as I know that Sheridan and Gillette had basics like chain grocery stores, Walmarts, and Kmarts. Your best bet to deal with the winters is to take up winter activities like skiing (especially cross country) snowshoeing, ice fishing, or any other outdoor winter activity. Also, as most of Wyoming is very friendly to down to earth, hard working outsiders, you shouldn't have a problem making friends and finding ways to occupy your time during the cold winters.

Where safety is concerned, just use common sense and you'll be fine. Keep in mind that if you are single the ratio of male to female in many of the towns seems to be in your favor. I don't know what the specific ratios are in the towns you are looking at but it seems that there are quite a few more men than women in a lot of Wyoming towns. That may be a plus for you.

As far as shopping and the stores you mentioned, you are likely going to have to drive to Billings or Casper if you are in Sheridan (around 2 hours) and in Gillette you will likely have to drive to Rapid City (and see the Black Hills while you're at it) or Casper (about 2 hours). 2 hours is not a long drive by Wyoming standards. This is referring to shopping at chain stores. I'm not sure what the downtowns are like in those towns. ElkHunter will be a good source for Sheridan and WyoNewk and georgiainwy are good sources for Gillette.

Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have and I wish you the best of luck on your applications. You'll love Wyoming.
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
6,651 posts, read 8,522,933 times
Reputation: 8608
Since my name was brought up....

Gillette's weather is about the same as Sheridan's, as how it's only 110 miles SE via I-90. I'd say Sheridan's downtown is a little more vibrant and larger than Gillette's, since Sheridan was a larger town until a decade or two ago. Gillette's shopping is more dispersed -- strip shopping centers, etc. I think Sheridan's population is a little under 20K and Gillette's a little over 30K now.

Street crews do a good job with snow removal in both towns, so winter driving isn't too bad, especially once you get out of the residential neighborhoods and onto the main roads. My wife (also from Oregon) refuses to drive on ANY snow or ice, and I probably drive her to work a dozen times each winter. Unless, like her, you let snow and ice-covered roads bother you, it's not hard to learn to drive on them. Just slow down a little and don't follow too closely and you should be fine. I would recommend snow or all-season tires, and a 4x4 is nice but not really necessary if you're careful and plan ahead before you park on a slippery slope. It doesn't get as icy as Portland can, as we don't get much of that black ice -- mostly just packed snow, which isn't nearly as slick.

One nice thing about Gillette is that the population is mostly made up of transplants from somewhere else, so new residents usually find it easy to fit in. Get involved in your school, church and maybe a civic organization and you'll be an "honorary native" very quickly.

We have our share of dopers, just like any town, but I doubt it's any worse than most. If you go bar-hopping, go with friends and/or stay out of the "bad" ones, and you'll be fine. Most jobs around Gillette require drug testing, so the vast majority of residents keep their noses clean.

Gillette's schools are excellent, as they are in most of Wyoming's cities and towns. Beer drinking isn't unusual at all, and I understand that high school students can get their hands on pot pretty easily too, if that's what they want. We hear about other drugs being used too, but the school district takes a pretty firm stand against drug use.

Gillette is on the plains, of course. We enjoy mountain activities, but I like being halfway between the Black Hills and Bighorn Mountains. Either way it's basically an hour-drive. Year-round we have our choice of either. In the summer we consider the weather before we head out on a weekend. If it's coolish we'll probably head for Devils Tower/the Black Hills, and if it's hot we'll head to the cooler air in the taller Bighorns. (Devils Tower is at a lower elevation at around 4000 feet; the Black Hills top out at around 7500 feet, and the Bighorns reach up over 13,000 feet in elevation. By Oregon standards, that's WAY up there!)

My wife and I seldom leave town for shopping these days, but Rapid City is probably a little better shopping town than is Casper. I go there to see a doctor about once each year but seldom stop to shop -- used to just for Sam's Club but no more. It's 130 miles via I-90, so it's a fairly easy 2-hour drive (75 mph in Wyoming). They have about anything you'd need. Years ago when we had Denver Bronco tickets we'd travel to Denver for all the home games and a several times in between. It's 350 miles/5 hours (mostly interstate) and isn't a lot unlike Portland.

If you have any specific questions about Gillette, just ask.

Last edited by WyoNewk; 05-07-2012 at 07:36 PM..
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
17,426 posts, read 21,651,985 times
Reputation: 10595
Just wanted to say something about shopping in Sheridan and I'm sure, Gillette as well.

You can buy anything you need. There are two basic reasons why people leave town for shopping. Although we have anything you could possibly want, there is not as wide of a selection for some people. I mean if you want new kitchen cupboards, there are only 2 places to look at cabinets. The second reason is "Large Quantity" stores. Sheridan doesn't have a Costco, or a Sam's CLub.

Sheridan has a Super-Walmart, KMart, Home Depot, etc...
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Cody, WY
775 posts, read 1,610,961 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElkHunter View Post
Just wanted to say something about shopping in Sheridan and I'm sure, Gillette as well.

You can buy anything you need. There are two basic reasons why people leave town for shopping. Although we have anything you could possibly want, there is not as wide of a selection for some people. I mean if you want new kitchen cupboards, there are only 2 places to look at cabinets. The second reason is "Large Quantity" stores. Sheridan doesn't have a Costco, or a Sam's CLub.

Sheridan has a Super-Walmart, KMart, Home Depot, etc...
If only Cody had a Home Depot (and a Target), life would be complete.
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