All things Kotzebue!

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All things Kotzebue!

Postby CoreyShep » Sat May 23, 2015 9:24 am

Hello all,

I have done a fair amount of reading on the old forum about life in Kotzebue, but I wanted to create a thread for the new forum where people could share information about the city, the schools, the surrounding villages, and the outdoor/recreation activities the area has. I have accepted a teaching position at June Nelson Elementary, and I am excited and very nervous about the move. I've seen several things pop up consistently about life in the bush including:
  • Don't bring very much with you
  • Amazon Prime is your friend
  • Be active in the community

A few specific areas that would be helpful to have more information are below.

  1. I know that both GCI and OTZ offer mobile service. Any advice or experiences with these services would be welcome.
  2. I know pets make housing more difficult to find and comes with higher deposits, and I know Kotzebue doesn't have dedicated teacher housing. Are most housing options available through private owners or through KIC? I've read conflicting info on whether KIC allows a cat in their apartments or not. I would ideally want a 1 bedroom, but I'm not closed to having a roommate.
  3. What is an item you wish you had taken to the Bush but didn't?
  4. Do you recommend buying home internet service if it's available at school to use? If so, would a slower speed still allow streaming? I know there are bandwidth limits and overage charges. I'll be bringing a hard drive full of movies and TV shows, so I'm not too concerned.

I appreciate your advice and guidance. This is a big change for me, but I am ready for an adventure!
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Re: All things Kotzebue!

Postby Bushteachers » Sat May 23, 2015 11:30 am

CoreyShep wrote:Hello all,

I have done a fair amount of reading on the old forum about life in Kotzebue, but I wanted to create a thread for the new forum where people could share information about the city, the schools, the surrounding villages, and the outdoor/recreation activities the area has. I have accepted a teaching position at June Nelson Elementary, and I am excited and very nervous about the move. I've seen several things pop up consistently about life in the bush including:
  • Don't bring very much with you
  • Amazon Prime is your friend
  • Be active in the community

A few specific areas that would be helpful to have more information are below.

  1. I know that both GCI and OTZ offer mobile service. Any advice or experiences with these services would be welcome.
  2. I know pets make housing more difficult to find and comes with higher deposits, and I know Kotzebue doesn't have dedicated teacher housing. Are most housing options available through private owners or through KIC? I've read conflicting info on whether KIC allows a cat in their apartments or not. I would ideally want a 1 bedroom, but I'm not closed to having a roommate.
  3. What is an item you wish you had taken to the Bush but didn't?
  4. Do you recommend buying home internet service if it's available at school to use? If so, would a slower speed still allow streaming? I know there are bandwidth limits and overage charges. I'll be bringing a hard drive full of movies and TV shows, so I'm not too concerned.

I appreciate your advice and guidance. This is a big change for me, but I am ready for an adventure!


1. I'd do GCI. Your other option sounds like it may be a local provider. Not sure how reliable it would be outside of Kotz.
2. We originally brought a dog with us. The flight from ATL to our village messed her head up. We couldn't leave her in the house without an accident. She was potty trained for 6 years before the move up. So I'm not a bring your pet with you person, but a cat is totally different. Just remember that each time you travel you will have to make accommodations for the pet. Hotels in anchorage aren't exactly pet friendly.
3. Bring things that make you happy. I did t bring firearms at first since I wasn't a resident yet. I regretted that because bird and small game hunting was t crazy expensive.
4. I just read a good article about GCI's overage fees. I doubt your speed will be fast enough to stream. And streaming eats up your data fast. Very fast. We bought the middle plan ($80) and with three adults and two small children have only gone over once in two years.
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Re: All things Kotzebue!

Postby CoreyShep » Sat May 23, 2015 6:21 pm

Bushteachers wrote:1. I'd do GCI. Your other option sounds like it may be a local provider. Not sure how reliable it would be outside of Kotz.
2. We originally brought a dog with us. The flight from ATL to our village messed her head up. We couldn't leave her in the house without an accident. She was potty trained for 6 years before the move up. So I'm not a bring your pet with you person, but a cat is totally different. Just remember that each time you travel you will have to make accommodations for the pet. Hotels in anchorage aren't exactly pet friendly.
3. Bring things that make you happy. I did t bring firearms at first since I wasn't a resident yet. I regretted that because bird and small game hunting was t crazy expensive.
4. I just read a good article about GCI's overage fees. I doubt your speed will be fast enough to stream. And streaming eats up your data fast. Very fast. We bought the middle plan ($80) and with three adults and two small children have only gone over once in two years.


Thanks for your input! I was thinking about the middle plan as well. It's not much more than what I pay now, and there's not much that I do that eats up a lot of data. That's good to know.

I'd like to bring my rifle and shotgun. I haven't been in a position to hunt in quite a while, and I would love to be able to get back into it. Are there any special permits required to have them? I would probably ship them instead of jumping through airline hoops.
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Location: Tennessee

Re: All things Kotzebue!

Postby Bushteachers » Sat May 23, 2015 9:28 pm

CoreyShep wrote:
Bushteachers wrote:1. I'd do GCI. Your other option sounds like it may be a local provider. Not sure how reliable it would be outside of Kotz.
2. We originally brought a dog with us. The flight from ATL to our village messed her head up. We couldn't leave her in the house without an accident. She was potty trained for 6 years before the move up. So I'm not a bring your pet with you person, but a cat is totally different. Just remember that each time you travel you will have to make accommodations for the pet. Hotels in anchorage aren't exactly pet friendly.
3. Bring things that make you happy. I did t bring firearms at first since I wasn't a resident yet. I regretted that because bird and small game hunting was t crazy expensive.
4. I just read a good article about GCI's overage fees. I doubt your speed will be fast enough to stream. And streaming eats up your data fast. Very fast. We bought the middle plan ($80) and with three adults and two small children have only gone over once in two years.


Thanks for your input! I was thinking about the middle plan as well. It's not much more than what I pay now, and there's not much that I do that eats up a lot of data. That's good to know.

I'd like to bring my rifle and shotgun. I haven't been in a position to hunt in quite a while, and I would love to be able to get back into it. Are there any special permits required to have them? I would probably ship them instead of jumping through airline hoops.

I'd post links but I'm on my phone. Find out what u it you are. You should e able to hunt small game and birds, but big game will be expensive.
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Re: All things Kotzebue!

Postby marymatt718 » Wed May 27, 2015 9:38 pm

This is a wild , out-there suggestion, but I'm going to make it anyway, and not just for you Kotzebue folks.

If you are going to have a really long flight to get to Anchorage and you have pets, consider driving. Yes it takes more time (takes me 7-1/2 to 8 days from Austin, TX, depending on my stops) but the drive is beautiful and the experience is amazing.

I have two REALLY big dogs (Scottish Deerhounds) and their kennels are too big for a passenger flight on Alaska Airlines. My options were to fly them on a 12 hour cargo flight alone (not MY babies!) or to drive. I did the math and with the cargo fees (pay by weight) and the special order kennels (at $350 a piece for the XXL kennels), my ticket, etc., it was about the same amount of money, if not a bit cheaper, to drive as it was to fly. I drove up through Texas, New Mexico, and into Colorado, Montana and Wyoming.

From Denver on, I had to watch myself because I was following the Rockies most of the way and the scenery was SPECTACULAR. The drive was a vacation in itself. I went through Yellowstone NP, and spent a day in Glacier NP. Alberta was a bit "normal", but so incredibly tidy, that it had its own charm. Then there was British Columbia and the Yukon Territory, where the roads were narrow and winding, but the scenery around every curve was awe-inspiring. I saw buffalo, mountain goats, elk, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, black bears, to name a few. I have memories I'll never forget.

You can camp most of the way, but I have an SUV, so often I just slept in the car with the dogs. I have slept in my car in Walmart parking lots in some expensive tourist towns, along with about 50 other RV folks, at a pull off by Lake Kluane and another one just outside of Denali NP. I took the Cassier Hwy (make sure your gas tank is full along this 450 mile road as there's only one gas station on the whole road) and I slept in the occasional hotel for showers and such. When it was all over, I stored my car in Anchorage, and had two short flights to my village. My boys freaked a little on the flights, but one was only 75 minute and the other was less than 45 minutes, so they came through beautifully. The bush company I flew with let me take them out of their kennels while I was waiting for my final flight...then they doted on the boys because they'd never seen dogs so large.

I drove back to Texas in the spring, and my sister flew up to drive back with me. We had some great girl-time together. Then in July, it was back to Anchorage, shopping, and on to my village. Easy-peasy and stress-free!

I'm just saying, the time saved by flying to Anchorage is not always worth it. If your dog is still having problems, then the trauma of that trip was worse than you knew. I really don't think my two would have lived through it. Everyone out there who has a dog and is coming to Alaska, please consider how a long flight without you nearby is going to affect your pet. Consider leaving them with family (I nearly did) or consider driving.

The added bonus of driving is that you can store your car in Anchorage (International Self-Storage is awesome, costs $85 a month and is within walking distance of Motel 6. Motel 6 is pet-friendly with NO PET FEES, and has a shuttle shared with other hotels to get you to and from the airport.) and have it handy when you go to town. This has been a bonus to all the teachers at my school because every time someone (I know and trust) goes to Anchorage, they are able to use my car. This also keeps my battery from dying over the winter because the car isn't just sitting there for 9 months. This summer I'm staying in my village, working at the local Public Library, but my car is being used by teacher friends all summer, off and on, until I go in to shop and take the boys to the vet in August. They are paying me enough for my car this summer that half a year of storage will be paid for, and they're changing the oil for me. That's still cheaper than if they rented a car for the summer in Anchorage.

Anyway, for what it's worth, there's my wild idea!
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