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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It looks like we are going to be relocating to Spring Arbor from SE Kentucky. I know virtually nothing about MI other than it's freezing! We lived in Colorado for 10 years, so hopefully that would help me get used to it!<br><br>
How will a non-vaxing, babywearing, organic eating, cosleeping, breastfeeder fit in?
 

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DH's family lives near Spring Arbor. From what I can tell, there's not much there. It's a very small town, with a conservative Christian college. Jackson is a larger city, but IMO, also very mainstream. On the eastern side of the state, Ann Arbor, Metro Detroit, and Lansing are more AP friendly. Ann Arbor is about a 30-40 minute drive from Jackson, so perhaps you could look at living somewhere in between the two (Dexter, Chelsea, etc.)? It is more expensive to live closer to Ann Arbor, however, I think it would be well worth it. Ann Arbor is a pretty friendly city in terms of babywearing, organics, etc. They have a NINO group, several active LLL groups, a Whole Foods, and a couple neighborhood co-ops.
 

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The Jackson area is lovely though. "They" call it the Irish Hills. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I agree, though, that if you can live a bit closer to AnnArbor it wouldn't hurt on the crunchy factor...if you can't...well then...here's the Jackson LLL contact info: <a href="http://www.lllusa.org/web/JacksonMI.html" target="_blank">http://www.lllusa.org/web/JacksonMI.html</a><br><br>
THere are most likely some crunchy mamas THERE!...it's a place to start, anyway.
 

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I believe Irish Hills is actually quite a bit away from Jackson... I grew up in Hillsdale County (and went to Hillsdale College) and my dad works in Jackson, so I've been around that area for about 23 years. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Spring Arbor is very small--not much there at all. Just a peaceful college town. Jackson has it's good parts and bad parts--it's not very crunchy, but crunchy is hard to find in southern Michigan. Ann Arbor is a total hippy crunch-town though--I love it!<br><br>
I think if you want a quiet peaceful town, you'll like Spring Arbor. South of it, and you'll hit Hillsdale County which is another peaceful college community, and then a couple minute's drive and you're in Jackson. However, if you're used to having everything you need in one area, southern Michigan may be a culture shock--you get very used to driving to Lansing or Ann Arbor for bigger malls or medical specialists, etc.
 

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Yup, my understanding is that Irish Hill is to the south and west of Jackson.<br><br>
SA is very small. Luckily, its far enough east that you won't get as much lake effect snow as Kalamazoo or the lake shore gets. Michigan does get cold but its only really bad for about a month. We haven't gotten a ton of snow the past couple years. We've had a couple big storms, but thats really it. Of course, our definition of "alot" of snow is probably alot different than someone from Kentucky's definition.<br><br>
I think Michigan is beautiful. We have very distinct seasons. Apple orchards abound and that is typically a favorite fall past time, to go apple picking, make carmal apples, etc. Up north has some great camping. The Great Lakes are gorgeous. Lake Michigan is my favorite (though I haven't visited Superior).<br><br>
We have tons of beds and breakfasts, so cheap vacations can be found.<br><br>
To the west of SA, is Battle Creek and Kalamazoo and Marshall. Marshall is small town with a lot of money. It has an awesome down town with neat little shops and a cool water fountain. They used to light up the water fountain at night when I was a kid. I'm not sure if they still do. IMHO (and negative opinion) of my home town, Battle Creek, there isn't much there. The crime is bad down town. There is a small mall, but Detroit area has better ones. Kalamazoo is bigger than Battle Creek and they too can have a problem with crime, but there is alot more there. Oh and outside of Marshall, just north on I-69 is Turkeyville USA. I love the Turkey Farm. Its a very neat place to go for a bit to eat and to look around at the shop and the turkeys.<br><br>
To the east of SA is the metro Detroit area. Detroit proper isn't the safest, but there is a ton to do here, sporting events, concerts, restaurants, museums. Royal Oak has the Detroit Zoo.<br><br>
Jackson is most noted for its prison population. There are several in the area. They also had (maybe still have) Jackson Dairy. I think it is named something else now, but OMG, you can get a giant ice cream sundae there and it is soooo good. I could never, ever finish a sundae there. I *think* Jackson has a small mall, but I don't remember.<br><br>
Do you have any other questions that we can answer? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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We live about 25 min from Jackson and my DH has worked there (and possibly will be again). It's not a very crunchy area but I know there is a doc (DO) in Jackson that also does some homeopathy. I don't have any personal experience with him, but have heard good things. There are 2 small malls in Jackson, also. Lansing or Ann Arbor wouldn't be terribly far, and they are both definitely more crunchy with a lot more things to do. Hope that helps.
 

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My dh's family is from Jackson and I have to say that they are all pretty crunchy people. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I personally don't think I could live there, as I am not a small town person per se, but it is peaceful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
LOL Heather! You're the best!<br><br>
Thank you all for such detailed information! Dh wanted me to point out that it is only a probability that we will be moving. He hasn't got the job just yet. I didn't want to sound so presumptuous! I just got excited! We will be going there within the next week or so for an in-person interview though! Wish us luck!<br><br>
Is crime in Jackson really bad? What is the school system like in MI? What about the terrain in Jackson county? What do you do with your kids during the winter months? (I have a 6 yo dd and a 1 yo ds).<br><br>
Btw, we live in one of the poorest areas of the US. There is virtually nothing here but fast food and a Wal-mart. It is also tobacco country, so a LOT of people smoke. Which can get old when you are at the park trying to swing your baby!<br><br>
Thanks again!
 

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Like most of Michigan, Jackson is hilly by our standards. Lots of trees and farming.<br><br>
Here are some general information links:<br><a href="http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/genInfo.php?locIndex=21895" target="_blank">http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/genIn...locIndex=21895</a><br><br><a href="http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/crime/county/26075.html" target="_blank">http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/cri...nty/26075.html</a><br><br>
The schools in Michigan vary by location. Some are good, some are not good. Its hard to give an accurate description since the variance is so wide. Lots of people homeschool in MI, as we are pretty homeschool friendly and lots send their kids to private schools. And lots send their children to public school <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
During the winter months, we do play groups. Sledding is another past time. Some people take their kids to the mall to walk around or play on the play equipment. The winter months do tend to be dreary and I find it hard to do stuff.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Caden's Mom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8231118"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Jackson is most noted for its prison population. There are several in the area. They also had (maybe still have) Jackson Dairy. I think it is named something else now, but OMG, you can get a giant ice cream sundae there and it is soooo good. I could never, ever finish a sundae there. I *think* Jackson has a small mall, but I don't remember.<br><br>
Do you have any other questions that we can answer? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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<br>
LOL, yeah, it's a bit weird to drive through Jackson's highway system and see signs that say "prison. Do not pick up hitchhikers" or something to that extent. But, Jackson itself isn't *too* bad in terms of crime--most of south and south-central Michigan is relatively low in terms of crime. It's more "illegal drug" crime instead of "random murder" crime... Spring Arbor is really quite peaceful and low-crime...<br><br>
And yes, there is a small mall there. It's funny--I grew up thinking that all malls were one story with very few stores--then I moved out of state and was floored by the fact that malls can be multi-story! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">:
 

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To be totally honest about the schools, we are undergoing tons of budget cuts right now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> It's very hard for some schools.<br><br>
I'm in Kalamazoo, which I love. I don't normally go to Jackson, but I hear good things!
 

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Guys, the prison closed. As of last month. 400 corrections officers are out of work.<br><br>
Hi there. I lived in Jackson for 2 years, Ann Arbor/Ypsi for 2 years, born and bred in the Irish Hills, and my stepson lived in Spring Arbor for 3 years and still goes to school there.<br><br>
I know EVERYTHING. (Read with toungue in cheek.) Feel free to pm me, and we'll email.<br><br>
Spring Arbor is itty bitty. The college (small, private, Christian Spring Arbor University) and Ganton's (retirement center and assissted living) are the only places to work. Spring Arbor is in Western School District, widely considered very good, and right in SA itself is Warner Elementary, the best elementary school in Jackson County (so sayeth the state). The houses in SA can get pricey, and the property taxes are high.<br><br>
From SA, Jackson is about 15 to 30 minutes away, depending on where you are going.<br><br>
I'm going to be brutally honest here: Jackson sucks. It's an aging industrial city with a declining population. Think Pittsburgh. The job market is depressed. The downtown is no longer dangerous, but it not exactly vital. There is not a lot of culture or interest there. The newspaper is wretched. It claims that Jackson is the birthplace of the Republican Party. The biggest employer is the hospital, Foote Hospital.<br><br>
The rent in Jackson is typically very cheap because no one wants to live there.<br><br>
We lived right downtown (can I get a shout out from Steward Apartments! No? Okay.) next door to the high school. There was crime, but it was nothing violent. Petty property crime, drunken loudness, dumb stuff. We were within walking distance of The Parlour a.k.a. Loude's a.k.a. the All Star Dairy, where they serve the Dare To Be Great gigantically huge sundae that a pp mentioned. (My MIL used to manage the dairy, as a matter of fact, and my FIL made the cottage cheese there.) The Carnegie Library is nice.<br><br>
Ann Arbor has become completely gentrified. Ypsi is nothing but student ghettos (my brother lives there). Rents are sky high, small houses go for $300,000. But, Ann Arbor is a great place to shop, especially compared to Jackson, and has quite the crunchy population of overeducated idiots (speaking as one). Terrible parking, though. AA also has good cultural stuff- museums and what not that go along with being a major college town.<br><br>
The Irish Hills has become a bedroom community. There is no local economy outside of the racetrack. (MIS, in Brooklyn, home of the second biggest NASCAR race. All of your worst stereotypes of NASCAR fans are true- I lived with 100,000 of them three weekends per summer for twenty years.) Stay the hell away from the Irish Hills, US-127 and US-12 on race weekends.<br><br>
There are lots of public/developed lakes that draw the tourists. The area has gotten pretty built up recently, but that's on the decline now. The sprawl is yucky, if you ask me.<br><br>
Of any of the places I've mentioned, I'd live in Spring Arbor as my first choice. The commutes to Jackson or Battle Creek are doable, and SA is a planned community, so they have a much better handle on sprawl/growth. It's rural, pretty, and quiet.<br><br>
About 60% of my family and DH's family, and virtually all of our friends, live in Jackson, Lenawee, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties. They all say that the economy is in the toilet. "Dead on the vine" seems to be the phrase of choice. My brother told me today that 1 in 15 homes in Lenawee county is in foreclosure. This is actually good news for you, in a way, because real estate is a buyer's market right now. So I'm glad your DH has a job lined up.
 

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Wow I had no idea the prison closed!! We used to live in Jackson and Leta I didn't live too far from you on West Ave. At least that was where our first apt was.<br><br>
Anyway SA is nice and I have found the best way to connect with like minded moms is through LLL so hopefully they have a group in that area. Best of luck with the job interview!<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Stay the hell away from the Irish Hills, US-127 and US-12 on race weekends.</td>
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Yes! We got married on race weekend at a church on US-12.<br>
Fortunately it was a small and early service so we missed(by the skin of our teeth) all the traffic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Leta,<br>
I've only tried to respond to your post about 3 times now!!! Ds doesn't seem to like sharing his time w/ the computer!<br><br>
Thank you so much for all of your great information! You are hilarious, btw!<br><br>
From what I've read online so far, I pretty much knew Jackson wasn't all that great. Thanks for your honesty though! I'm just hoping it is somewhat better than where we are now. The county we live in has a 40% unemployment rate and at least half of the buildings are abandoned. It's pretty bad. It's sad that so many places are struggling.<br><br>
I think if dh gets the job, we will most likely live in SA though.
 

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I live in Jackson. And I went to Spring Arbor University, which at the time had a solid music department. Most of the things people have said are very true. The prison is so far north of Jackson that it's not really in Jackson and it's almost completely closed now. Jackson county has school-of-choice, which means you can choose and public school in the county. Western Schools, which is where Spring Arbor is (West of Jackson) is the only school with a long waiting list and a lottery to get in - very competitive. If you live in the district, you're automatically in though. My only problem with that district is lack of diversity. All the book-learning, state standards, etc. are absolutely wonderful at Western; it's the cultural/social stuff that worries me. Jackson Public elementaries vary, but there are some good ones. The middle school frightens me (and I went there.) Jackson High has more opportunities than any other high school in the county. I should mention that the Jackson Homeschoolers are very active and I see programs for them everywhere.<br><br>
I just might be the only crunchy person in the county. If you move here, you should have no trouble spotting me. I'm the only person around nursing her three-year-old in public. Crunchy docs are nearly unheard of, but there are a few you can muscle-around if need be. I've even heard rumors through LLL of a BF-friendly family doc. (Yes, just one.) I didn't/don't vax. MI offers both philosophical and religious exemptions. And I have a brilliant Applied Kinesiologist/Chiropractor right here in town. He's crunchy too.<br><br>
Is there anything specific you want to know about either Jackson or Spring Arbor? May I ask where your DH is applying? I'm thinking it has to be college, church, public school, Ganton, or MACI. There is nothing else out there.<br><br>
Good Luck. (BTW, I want you to move here for my own selfish reasons)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Littlerockstar,<br>
Thanks for the great information! We'll be there next week for a couple of days. I'm sure I'll have more questions then!<br><br>
No doubt I want your chiro's number though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just thought I'd update and let you all know that dh got the job!!! We will be moving to MI as soon as our house sells or we find renters!
 

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Congratulations! It's a very mainstream county, but there is a lot to like here. And Ann Arbor has a lot to offer and it's only 40 minutes away. I'm looking forward to having another crunchy family around. Even if we never meet, I'll be happy just knowing you're out there.<br><br>
The organic selection is limited in Jackson, but Ann Arbor has everything. There is an organic food co-op that I've read about, but never explored. (DH's uncle grows most of our produce). LLL meets on the first Tuesday of each month. It's a small, but very friendly bunch. I'm not sure about non-vax-friendly doctors (MDs), but my chiropractor is very supportive.<br><br>
PM me anytime with specific questions.
 
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