Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity aims to eliminate substandard housing by building, renovating, and repairing homes in partnership with low-income families. As part of the process of receiving a Habitat home, these partner families commit to 500 hours of sweat equity, helping to build the homes and then making zero-interest monthly mortgage payments. Cincinnati Habitat volunteer crews build about 20 homes a year in the Cincinnati area.
X-ray technicians at the local hospital shook their heads at their motionless patient—a mummified bird that had appeared in a lot of Egyptian artifacts set to go up for auction. After the techs confirmed that the bird was genuine, Richard "Jeff" and Amelia Jeffers, owners of Garth's Auctions, couldn't wait to put the important piece of ancient history in their catalog. Amelia Jeffers remembers that in fact, the bird did poorly at auction, as not many people collect mummified Egyptian wildlife. Instead, collectors flock to Garth's Auctions for vintage Americana, local folk art, Oriental rugs, and even real estate.
Since its opening in 1954, Garth's Auctions has appraised and sold thousands of collectibles at auction, but took on newfound enthusiasm and energy in 2006, when the husband-and-wife auctioneer team took it upon themselves to make auctions accessible to everyone. Amelia notes that first-timers should not be intimidated by the auction format, as the price range for items varies widely and auction catalogs list everything from fine art to firearms and novelty toys. She remembers recently auctioning off an antique novelty vampire-slaying kit complete with a wooden stake, garlic flour, and holy water. A large team of certified appraisers also leads scheduled walk-in appraisal days at museums across the country, and are available to appraise antiques in-house or in the ancient ziggurats where they are discovered.
Garth's Auctions has also worked to expand their environmentally-friendly endeavors such as printing catalogs with Forest Stewardship Council–approved recycled paper and replacing old company cars with fuel-efficient hybrids. However, the Jefferses believe that their most important green contribution is their day-to-day collecting and repurposing of antiques that reduce demand for new items.
PPG Porter Paints' team has dedicated 90 years to sprucing up homes with its revered brand of vivid, low-odor paints, stains, and primers. Multiple lines and sheens of interior paint offer to protect walls from presidential portraits painted in mustard ($25.79+/gal.). Eco-conscious shoppers can snag gallons of Pure Performance color, designed to thwart mold and mildew without angering Mother Nature's overprotective rottweiler ($33.39+/gal.). Peruse exterior paints if looking to prevent al fresco fortifications from cracking and peeling during super-soaker season ($25.79+/gal.). Effective on most surfaces, Porter's acrylic, synthetic, and alkyd Seal Grip primers also help house-wide paint jobs to stay put ($40+/gal.). Amicable staff members roam each locale's voluminous aisles and are eager to provide product recommendations for any home, office, or abandoned grain silo.
There's no speed requirement on the Little Miami River—drifting leisurely on a tube is just as respectable as cutting through the water in a sleek kayak. Both vehicles afford scenic views, as well as opportunities to rest and swim. Of course, there's always the canoe to consider. The large boats fit up to three people, making them the most social of the three options at Bellbrook Canoe Rental. Pairs and trios can take them on one of two jaunts down the river's path: a 3-mile trip beginning at Bellbrook Bridge, or a 5.2-mile trip that departs from Narrows Reserve in Beavercreek.
Regardless of the route, each adventure satisfies first-time paddlers and expert boaters alike. The family-owned rental company has 160 canoes and kayaks that they lend to small groups as well as schools, scouting organizations, and astronauts who would prefer to ease into the water portion of their weightlessness training. For gatherings off the water, there's also three shelter houses available to customers free of charge.
The inspiring trainers at each MetaBody location lead troops of workouteers in results-oriented workouts several times weekly. Sweat sessions utilize a variety of exercises and disciplines to produce full-body results in a supportive environment, ideal for beginners and hard-core core-hardeners alike. During any class, motivational instructors will use the instinctual distrust of routine to their advantage. Begin a day of litigating with a refreshing early-morning boot-camp session, or wind down by burning evidence and pounds with a late-evening yoga class. Muscles are kept guessing with new and challenging moves during each session, so participants never fall into a boring, ineffective routine, such as regular teeth brushing. In addition to the fitness classes, students receive a success guide to help prepare for imminent pound loss, a nutrition guide, and a $100 gift certificate for individual coaching. Because the pass sets a 10-class cap at any given location, roving fitness mavens can further shake up their workout regimens by vetting a series of classes or instructors that work best for them.