From Alabama to Wyoming? (Cheyenne, Laramie: fit in, apartment, rental)
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Although the mountains of SW Montana are beautiful, I wouldn't suggest looking there. First of all, teachers in Montana make way less than they do in Wyoming. I am a Wyoming native who was in MT for 13 years before moving back to Wyoming this school year. Boy, was I a dummy for staying there so long! My take home pay literally doubled, both from the raise in salary and the fact that Wyoming has no state income tax. Also, SW Montana is expensive to live in, but not as extreme as Jackson.
I've heard that teachers in Jackson are sometimes given the opportunity to rent school owned homes or apts. for a lot less than what rent goes for there. I don't know how true that is, it's just second hand information. Otherwise, I would think that they would have to commute (many people commute from Idaho) or already have money to get started.
The eastern side of the Big Horn mountains is beautiful. Sheridan is a bit spendy as far as housing goes, though, and Buffalo is a bit better. The western side of the Big Horns is also nice. The small towns there in the Big Horn Basin are very reasonably priced for cost of living and aren't far from the mountains. I was raised in Basin. It's a farming community. My brother taught there for the past 24 years and just resigned to go to a larger district for more money and a more desireable coaching job. I now live in Gillette, which isn't as close to the mountains, but is only about an hour & a half to the east of the Big Horns and an hour or so to the west of the Black Hills. We love it here as we have mountains on both sides of us, although Gillette is not mountainous itself. We do have some nice rolling hills so it isn't flat, either. I have found this school district to be the best I've ever taught in. Pay is great, there are super opportunities for teachers, and the students are always put first. This is a larger town than what you are looking for, but we have the town of Wright in our district as well as the tiny towns (dots on the map!) of Rozet and Recluse. Further east are smaller towns (Moorcroft, Sundance, Newcastle) that are closer to the Black Hills. As was mentioned earlier, there are also the Wind River mountains near Riverton and the Snowys down by Laramie. So there are many places in Wyoming that could possibly meet your needs. You just need to do some visiting and see what's best for you. I would definitely recommend teaching in Wyoming, though, as teacher pay is good and the state is really behind education. It's a wonderful place to be!
GREAT INFO there! My wife will definitely appreciate those facts! I noticed that the Teton Co pay scale starts off at $55K... compared to here where you start around $32K & after 5 years haven't increased much! Then again, no one has ever claimed Alabama to be an "educational leader." ...I soooo need to be sitting on a ridge watching some elk right now...
Small town life is what we want. 100-1,000 population would be terrific. Just so long as getting groceries isn't an all day ordeal. One of the things I am really trying to escape from is small town rural people who long for urban life & culture. I like people who are proud of who they are & still believe in honesty & respect.
We lived in Lander which has 7000 or so pop, but doesn't feel huge. My daughter attended 3rd grade in Lander, before we moved back to MN, and she loved it. Lander is 25 miles from Riverton, and a nice town nestled at the base of the mountains. Lander is also on the edge of the Wind River Indian Reservation so there is a diverse population there.
Originally Posted by IShotBigfoot
And as far as working goes... My wife has her degree in secondary education (English). She has taught for the last 5 years at a local middle school. She has taught 6th-8th grades, English, reading, & drama. I am a bit of a Jack of all trades & willing to do most any type work that will provide for my family sufficiently & allow me an adequate home life with my children. (The latter being the reason I quit working construction through the Union. Always out of town, months at a time.)
I'm also a secondary English teacher...well almost! I'm graduating in two weeks! My goal is to teach high school level though, not middle school, if I can. I know there are a quite a few middle school openings for English teachers in the Riverton, Fort Washakie (on the Reservation), Shoshoni, and Pavillion. All are in viewing/driving distance of the Wind River mountains ...(at least I think Shoshoni is.. Riverton and Ft. Washakie are for certain. )
Originally Posted by IShotBigfoot
I am also concerned with the moral and ethical culture in which our children are raised. While Alabama may be considered in the "Bible belt", Christian values are constantly under attack here. (Who would have thought you'd ever hear a pastor speaking from the pulpit about the need for "safe sex" instead of abstenance?) That being said, we are Baptist and having a local Baptist congregation would also be a plus.
That is my priority order as well. A safe small community rooted in values that don't make you blush. A place where people of faith can join together with like minded people and not be at odds with the local government (never mind the Feds!). And lastly, enough work to make sure needs are all met.
There are listings for 4 Baptist churches in Lander and more in Riverton. I went to the Lutheran church my aunt and uncle attend while I lived there, but now my husband and I attend a non-denominational charismatic Christian church here, and would likely attend one there if we could. You might want to contact some of the pastors of the Baptist churches to see if they could recommend an area for you. Just a thought. Just pick a town and Google "Baptist Church.... name your town" and you'll likely get a hit.
But as other posters have mentioned, these are not the only mountains nor the only great place in Wyoming to live. Good luck and God be with you in your search!
Hello! My name is Alyssa Stolns and I am licensed Real Estate Broker in the state of Wyoming. I am also a long time resident of Rawlins. Relocating cross country can be an overwhelming task, however if your interests bring you to the Rawlins area I am an expert in helping people relocate.
As far as work is concerned Rawlins is always looking for good teachers to bring into the community so finding a job for your wife should not be too difficult. There are a lot of other jobs available in the Rawlins area however some of them are not always reliable income even though the wages are really good, but there is always work to be found.
Our housing prices have come down a bit in the past couple years but compared to the rest of the nation we have stabalized. Houses are for the most part affordable and we have a good selection to choose from.
Rawlins is a nice and growing community. I was raised in Rawlins and now have started a family of my own here. So I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about Real Estate or Rawlins in general.
We are looking to move out of Michigan (the economy and job prospects are dismal to say the least) and are looking for a smaller town that will be a good place for our kids to finish school. Wyoming seems to have several places that fit the bill. I am currently in the interview process for a position in Rawlins and had a few questions.
I have a 13-year old and a 14-year old who want to know what kind of "entertainment" they might find there? Shopping/movies/etc. We are coming from a town with 2 malls, 3 movie theaters, etc. and while I don't think they are very important, they do.
Also, how is the winter weather? I figure the higher elevation is going to prove quite a bit different ;o)
My husband will also be looking for a part-time position and wondered what the prospects look like currently?
It is a fact that most people who move to Wyoming from Michigan return within a few months. This includes many returning to no job. For some reason so many people accuse former Californians of constantly extolling the virtues of California and the faults of Wyoming. I've never found that to be true. The people I've met from California may miss the weather and the conveniences, but it's clear they're here because they belong here.
It's far different with people from Michigan. First, they're only here because of jobs. They didn't come because of our lifestyle and they seem to hate our lifestyle. I've had tenants from Michigan telling me that Michigan law doesn't allow me to do what I'm doing. They can't seem to believe me when I tell them I don't care. They want rules and regulations to cover everything; we don't. They whine and moan and go back as soon as they can. They can't stop talking about Michigan. They just must have a place where their teenage daughters can go to meet gang members and other general scum.
I spent five years in the Detroit area. I have never met people who were so provincial and narrow. When I would casually mention that I looked forward to moving back to the West, I would often see actual hatred in their expressions. How could I not think Michigan was not heaven on earth? Truly, the people of Michigan are the worst. Give me an old time rightist from California any day.
Gonna' chime in here and second what Happy in Wyoming has to say about Michigan folk coming here and leaving fairly quickly.
WDOT, for example, was aggressively hiring workers from MI over the last few years ... and I got to meet a fair number of them in the maintenance garages or road crews. Most of them left within the first year ... very unhappy with the work, the climate, the opportunities for entertainment, the social scene, and the overall cost of living compared to "back home".
I attribute a lot of their dissatisfaction to their outlook that the unions were paramount to their workplace environment and job productivity (or lack thereof). Here in Wyoming, they were actually expected to come out and work and be productive for their income ... which just didn't jibe with what they were used to doing. "back home", all you had to do was just "show up" for work and do the mandated minimum expected through a day .... (you certainly didn't want to do anything more and make your "union brothers" look bad)
And that's almost comical, because the work product expected from these public works shops in Wyoming is a fraction of what a worker needs to produce in a for-profit shop. I've been calling on a whole bunch of school and DOT and county and municipal shops in my business, and it's hard to even find many of the workers because they're perpetually in their break rooms or on break or sitting behind a desk playing games on the computer because there's so little for them to do (some even have pretty regular card games, or, thanks to their mobile phones, run second businesses from their workplace while on company time). Of course, they rationalize their low work output due to the fact their wages per hour are much lower than the for-profit shops ... and most of the techs I know in the school shops all have an outside business or farm that is their main interest. You'll see them making a trail to the bathroom to clean up around an hour before the end of their shifts most days so that they can be ready to blast out the door at the stroke of the clock when the end of their shift arrives. Many make a point of heading out to start and warm up their vehicles before the end of their shifts in cold weather so the vehicle is ready to go immediately when the end of their shift arrives. Can't be late, you know, to open the doors of their other business ....
There are several folks I've met who have a bit more demanding workload, and really do get a lot done every day. But they're usually management types and not the workers on the shop floor. Of course, during the winter snow season, plow and equipment operators do put in long hours .... which also seemed to be a point of contention for the MI workers.
I've no doubt that some have moved here and been satisfied with the income (low) and the costs of housing and living here (high) compared to MI. But it's been interesting that such a high percentage of the one's I've met don't find happiness or satisfaction here, and they've left to go back to "home" where the jobs were few and they could live in a "rural" area that was 5-10 minutes away from some major metropolitan area with all the shopping, conveniences, medical, services, entertainments, and everything else that isn't readily available here in Wyoming when you're in a town, let alone a true rural area.
Now, more to the point for fawner .... Cheyenne's the biggest (or second biggest "city") in Wyoming, at about 50,000 people. We've got one mall, on Dell Range. You can walk it from end to end, Sears to the East end ... in a matter of minutes. The strip along there has a few chain restaurants (Applebee's, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, franchise burger and taco places), and exciting shopping such as Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, and another trendy box store or two. There's a Lowe's hardware store, and a couple of office supply stores, or a card and gift shop or two. There's only a few movie screens in town, and outside of major blockbuster films, most of the film world doesn't get to Cheyenne. There's a skating rink now owned by the city on the West end of town, and, for a couple of weeks in July each year there's the Frontier Days Rodeo and carnival and shows. I have no doubt that your teen-agers are going to be highly underwhelmed with the choices of "entertainment" here. IIRC, the mall "banned" teenagers from hanging out there or being without their parents/adult supervision recently for a lot of the hours they're open. I'm sure you can find better food than in the "food court" at the mall, too .... a Country Buffet restaurant, a few franchise food (like) places, a pretzel or cookie shop ..... "Downtown" Cheyenne is the haven of law offices, the gov't offices, some industrial suppliers, banks, stockbrokers, and a little bit of retail ... with an emphasis on "little".
Your teenagers will find that most of their "entertainment" will be from the things that they actually do themselves ... getting involved in school sports/music/education, or 4H, or equine, or hiking/fishing/bicycling, off-road ATV's, etc. If they "need" to be entertained, Cheyenne won't be a good place for them. This is an outdoors activity oriented town, and there's groups you/they can join to focus on those activities .... which may also meet their "social" needs. Best found through the specialty groups, school, or your church ... where there's adult supervision involved. If you're into horsemanship and riding, or skiing, or fishing/camping/hiking, then you'll need to be spending a lot of time with them ... which may be, in their view ... "uncool". Sorry, but that's the reality of activities here.
I can't speak for the whole of Wyoming's job market right now, but I employ a couple of part-timers on the farm from Labor Ready ... both certified welders, with extensive roofing experience (one owned a roofing company in Casper for years), and both have degrees in social sciences (One may even have an MSW, formerly worked for a county alcohol counseling center). In short, two very well educated, good work ethic, good practical work experience, hard working guys in their late 30's ... who cannot find steady work in the region. One's been getting most of his income from "flagging" jobs paying Davis-Bacon wages on the road work right now, and the other is not making much of an income. They share a house with a couple of other roomates and several girlfriends (who don't seem to contribute to the household "kitty" for expenses .... except for some of the beer).
The gov recently announced a 10% cutback in the state spending, and a hiring freeze. With some retailers shutting down in Cheyenne, there's a glut of folks already here looking for anything from entry level to advanced jobs. Part of the job market situation here is that we have a substantial retired military presence ... folks with enough income to survive, but lots of time on their hands and some solid training. Many of these folks have depressed the job market here for years because they're not working to make a living, they're working to have something to do with their time and for the "extra" money and luxuries that they can bring in. If your husband needs to bring in an income, that's who he is competing against .... along with the numbers of casual day laborers out at COMEA House or some of the other charitable shelters in the area, or the people who live in the nightly paid ($30) motels along Lincolnway. As best I know, the railroad isn't hiring right now, the local manufacturing jobs are few and far between, and the job market in SE Wyoming is pretty soft. It's a far cry from a couple of years ago when the local newspaper had pages and pages of jobs listed ... and now, they don't have 1/2 of a page of jobs listed. Most of those are either very low paying or require specialized training (such as the dental tech ad running in the last few weeks).
In my opinion, unless you have a lot of cash reserves and some independent income, moving to this area at this time without a good job lined up would not be a good move. You'll find that the housing and cost of living here will far outstrip the normal income unless you come in with a large downpayment and are willing to live down to a much lower standard than you've enjoyed "back home".
Star Valley is two pretty moutain Valleys 40 miles sourth of Jackson Hole, Good school, 4 grade 2 K-3, 2 are 4th thru 6th. nice new high school. Main employers are School, Simplot(mine), then Jackson Hole alot of people drive the canyon to and from work each day, few work the gas patch in the south end of the county or over the moutain.
realestate in SV srund from around $9000 to $25,000 acre , but there are nice houses(in town) starting at $140,000
Now...I am trying not to take some of the responses I received the wrong way. When did it become so bad to be from the city (or Michigan) and be looking for something different?? I do need a job to survive but I need more out of life than that. I am looking for a real "home" for my family where I don't worry about who my next door neighbor is and whether the park behind my house is a hang-out for the troublemakers at night. I am not from Detroit (it is an awful place), but Lansing is a dying town also with enough problems that I want to leave behind. For Happy in Wyoming...Michigan is a beautiful state...if all you ever saw is Detroit than you missed a lot of the good things that exist here...museums, bridges, lighthouses, fishing, hunting, lakes, wildlife, forests that seem to go on forever, beautiful little towns (so yeah I do love the state and I will always talk about the great things that are here).
I was raised in Michigan and my family has never been part of the union system and have always been willing to work sun-up to sun-down to get the job done. So, I may be from the state that unions have destroyed but they never did anything for me and I never wanted them to. I was raised by my parents to put forth an honest day's work for an honest day's pay and I think that my 60-hour weeks attest to the fact that the values have stuck. (BTW, I manage apartments for a living and I hate all the laws that benefit the tenant and not the landlord, might be nice to get away from those.)
Now, I am going to play momma bear to my "city kids". When you tell two teenagers that you might be moving them to the middle of nowhere, away from friends, and all they know, I think their questions were valid. They might be used to the ease of finding what they want in the city but they are good kids and this move will be the hardest on them. Besides, occassionally I like a little shopping or a movie too.
I thought this forum would give me more insight into making a tough decision to move 1300 miles west and I wasn't wrong. I have spent many years telling my kids to base their opinion of someone on the individual, nothing else. I see that not everyone thinks like that so I am not sure that I want my family to live in a place where we will be compared to the ones who came before us instead of on our own merits, seems kind of "provincial and narrow". Are there any out there that can tell why I should consider Wyoming a good place to live and raise my family?
So thank you to all for the good facts. Also, I figured the opinions needed some type of response so I tried to be nice about it but....
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