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Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -

BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraSummer's imminent arrival means your vehicle's air conditioning system will soon be under serious strain.

If your A/C isn't as frosty as it used to be, but it's still blowing cold, the system may need to be recharged.

Manufacturers used to use a type of refrigerant known as R-12, or Freon, until researchers found it caused ozone depletion. As such, it's illegal to use Freon in vehicles built after 1994. Now, manufacturers use R-134a to keep things cold in the cabin.

Working on an air conditioning system is about as much fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

Unless you are skilled in vehicle maintenance, it’s safest to take the job to a professional.

An AC compressor is usually driven by your vehicle's serpentine belt, and as it spins, it pressurizes the system's refrigerant. It's this change in pressure that cools the air coming into your cabin. The best way to keep your compressor from failing is to have your A/C system serviced once a year.

If your compressor needs replacement, most responsible shops will recommend swapping out a number of periphery components at the same time.

Why? The easy answer is working on an air conditioning system is about as fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

To avoid draining your refrigerant, removing your compressor, installing a new unit and refilling the system with new cool stuff — only to have you come back in a week and say it's still not cold enough — it makes sense to replace the necessary components.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



Brought to you by Mike Nielsen of Snap Fitness - FITNESS INSIDER -

SNAP FITNESS - Mike NielsenAs the inspirational saying goes, “Live less out of habit and more out of intent.”

While it’s true that starting a fitness routine can be difficult, I offer the following tips to get you in the gym door and on the road to good health.

Assessment — New SNAP Fitness clients receive a free jump-start session, including consultation with a trainer. The assessment determines the client’s baseline, helps us guide their first steps, and is an opportunity to discuss adding personal training.

Cardio — The national recommendation for exercise for all ages and fitness levels is to get to the gym at least three days per week, and to do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio per visit. Working out with a friend will make it more fun, help you feel more accountable, help you stay at the gym for more months and achieve a higher level of success.

Strength training is key to replacing fat with muscle, becoming leaner, stronger and improving balance. Do two to three sessions of strength training per week.

Nutritional guidelines — Instead of eating three large meals per day, eat five to six small meals. This will fuel your energy throughout the day and avoid post-meal sluggishness. Also drink 96 ounces of water daily.

Online help — SNAP has a complete online nutritional program and training center. Free with membership, it provides a personalized workout plan, sample menus and a complete library of instruction videos.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.



Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170



Brought to you by Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER

Mike Nielsen, Snap FitnessStrength training is an essential part of an exercise program, even for someone who hasn’t been active in a while.

Lifting weights, using weight machines and doing core work increases muscle mass and bone density.

As we age, our muscles deteriorate (called sarcopenia) and bone density decreases.

Research shows that seniors are more susceptible to bone breakage that younger adults. As people age, their metabolism slows down. We are seeing more and more seniors joining gyms.

If we take the average adult between the ages of 40 and 50 and do basic strength-training three to four times per week for 90 days, the outcome can be life-changing.

Here’s a myth-buster: Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat! A pound is a pound. 

Muscle is, however, more dense than body fat and takes up less area than fat. If you were to start an exercise program complete with strength training, you would increase your lean body mass and decrease body fat.

The body takes up less space and metabolism speeds up, resulting in a higher BMR (base metabolic rate, the amount of daily caloric intake needed to maintain LBM and weight.) This reverses sarcopenia and increases bone density.   

Not everyone walks into a gym and knows exactly what to do. Snap gives new members an opportunity to meet with a Certified Personal Trainer, who assesses their body and their goals. 

Let’s get started.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.



Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170



Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTO MAINTENANCE INSIDER

John Sciarra, Bernard's GarageRegular maintenance on your car is, quite simply, a good investment.

For example, when you bring your car in for a timing belt — typically needed at 90,000 to 100,000 miles— it costs in the range of $400 to $500. But if it breaks, it might be $1,800 to $2,000.

At our shop, when we do it, we do it right. With the timing belt, we also replace the timing belt tensioner, idler pulleys, camshaft seals, water pump and coolant.

Mileage interval maintenance, which is only done by shops, should be done at 30,000, 60,000 and 90,000 miles.

The ideal scenario is to get the car into the shop about three times per year for inspections, which will find things like rodent damage, which is more common than you might think. It’s mainly squirrels in this area.

An inspection will also uncover leaking coolant or oil, as well as plugged-up air filters. Once a year, you should get a brake inspection.

We do complete automotive repair, including pre-purchase inspections for $150. That’s a comprehensive inspection, which can detect unforeseen problems and save you from buying a compromised vehicle.

Our average cost for an oil change is $38; $58 for a brake inspection.

It’s a small investment. We do it properly and can save you a lot of trouble and expense down the road.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER

SNAP FITNESS - Mike Nielsen“We are a friendly, success-oriented fitness center,” says Mike Nielsen, vice president and co-owner of Snap Fitness locations in Oregon City, Milwaukie and Canby. “We’re like the ‘Cheers’ of the gym world, where everybody knows your name.”

Nielsen has been a certified fitness coach for 13 years and has been with Snap for eight years. He says being a fitness coach is all about helping individuals achieve the best version of themselves.

“It’s not just something that’s done at the gym, but it’s a lifestyle change,” he said of Snap. “We focus on not only the physical but also the mental and emotional aspects of everyday life, to make sure we are able to achieve long-term success.”

He says Snap gyms have a family feel and a personal touch.

The gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with monitored access for safety. Snap has more than 1,500 locations nationwide.

The fitness centers offer cardio, personal training, weight-loss programs, a health center, strength training and Olympic lifting. An online web page for members offers nutrition counseling and an online training center.

“Our members are our greatest assets,” Nielsen added. “We do all we can to make sure they have not only the best facility and equipment, but a wonderful experience.”

Snap Fitness


Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.


Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170


Canby: 1109 SW 1st Ave.


Brought to you by John Sciarra - Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -

BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraAfter nearly 100 years of providing excellent full-service automotive repair and maintenance, Bernard’s Garage is a classic Milwaukie institution trusted by generations of customers.

Founded in 1925, old timers and area residents still remember Joe Bernard Sr., who would design and build custom car parts when his customers’ vehicles needed it. Joe Bernard Jr., a former Milwaukie mayor, helped modernize Bernard’s and continued his father’s tradition of excellent customer service.

The current owner, Jim Bernard, another Milwaukie mayor and current Clackamas County commissioner, has computerized Bernard’s—turning his father’s mechanics into today’s technicians.

Besides providing free pickup and delivery, Bernard’s offers DEQ repair and adjustments, check-engine light diagnosis, manufacturer-scheduled maintenance, brakes, steering and suspension repair, timing belt tune-ups, radiator and water pump work, as well as engine, transmission and air conditioning service.

“We are straight shooters and will let you know what the problem is and what the cost is upfront,” Operations Manager John Sciarra says.

Sciarra, an 18 year veteran of Bernard’s, has attained numerous specialty vehicle class certifications. With 26 years in the industry overall, Sciarra is our INSIDER for automotive excellence.

Bernard’s Garage is a 17-year-long supporter of the Milwaukie Farmers Market, a Milwaukie First Friday participant and frequently donates to the Annie Ross House, Milwaukie Senior Center and other local schools and events.

A member of the Clackamas County Chamber of Commerce since 1955, Bernard’s has been named Business of the Year twice since 2000, and has received the BRAG award from the county for practicing responsible recycling and waste management.

Bernard's Garage 

2036 SE Washington St, Milwaukie, OR.

(503) 659-7722


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Artist makes OC studio his haunt


Dizzy Orion works with ghosts of all kinds in basement

by: PHOTO BY RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Dizzy Orion works in his haunted basement art studio in downtown Oregon City.Dizzy Orion’s basement artist studio in downtown Oregon City is haunted.

In the 1864 Myers Building, Orion (aka Jason Lavery) once tried to turn the studio into an office space for his other persona, who is a licensed contractor and property manager.

But as Orion, 32, tried to move around his computer in Main Street’s oldest continuously occupied retail/office space, a ghost attacked him from behind.

“Something threw me over a stack of wood and knocked me over a set of shelves in a domino effect,” he said.

At the location where Orion began his adult life as an artist, there’s always been a “heavy” supernatural presence. The spirit of former Clackamas County Sheriff John Myers (state senator from 1872-89) still slams a door above his studio even though the doorway has long been filled in with bricks. But Orion works with ghosts of his own making as well.

“I come down here to process every major change in my life, and from time to time, my past will echo in my ear, and you just have to take it in stride,” he said. “It’s my personal holy place, you might say.”

From 2000 to 2005, Orion lived in an apartment on the top floor of the building, but he says he’s since had to move to a house in Milwaukie to stay sober.

He likes keeping his studio here, because it’s always the same temperature, and no sunlight ever enters the space always lit by bare incandescent bulbs. Cans of spray paint fill a cavernous cabinet next to an easel he built by hand, spattered with 12 years of painting projects.

One of his latest paintings is “Dear Valentine,” after the title of the song by Guster, lyrics of which Orion scrawled across the piece. “There are words to say/and there are songs to sing/but I can hardly speak at all” are some lines from the nostalgic song about dreams after falling asleep to black-and-white TV.

“I never paint in silence, and something that often happens is that the lyrics from the music end up on the canvas,” he said. “I don’t think as much as I feel my way through the process of making a painting.”

Another recent painting is on a shed door that he salvaged from the 1930s or ‘40s and that Orion has covered with a modern skyline.

“The best work comes when you really need to make a decision and you tell yourself what you need to hear without ever knowing it,” he said.

Orion (as Lavery) manages several dozen other units of property, including the Myers Building and a 90-acre farm in Washington County. In helping keep up the buildings, his artistic side crosses with his practical side. In addition to painting signs for auto shops, he’s also been working on repainting the Myers Building’s facade to create the impression of natural stonework.

Longtime Myers Building tenant Doug Gless said he’s not himself a “ghostbuster,” but he nevertheless relates to efforts to appease spirits in the building.

“I’ve been hearing that this building was haunted forever,” Gless said. “It’s nice to see downtown getting spruced up a bit, and Dizzy’s certainly part of the efforts that include the Arch Bridge and other downtown improvements, but I’d think the ghosts would be really set in their ways and will not want to move out.”

Genesis of an artist

In 1994, Orion’s dad knew that he would not stop painting on walls and, being a supportive father, went in to the backyard of their Oregon City home and built him a box to paint in. It was a 10-by-4-foot rectangle, 10 feet tall.

Orion said, “He told me ‘You can spray paint back here all you want, but if I catch you painting on anything else, you’ll never paint again.’ And off I went. I couldn’t tell you how many times I covered that thing. Close to a hundred I’m sure.”

But before long, Orion crept out of his box and wound up painting the shed, too. His freshman year of high school, the same year, he received permission to paint a mural in the school cafeteria. Throughout the next decade, he would complete 23 murals for the Oregon City School District alone.

In 1999, he got a mural job at a Oregon City’s Ollies Skate Shop, run by Sandy Ormandy, who he said just gave him a key during the middle of the job and said, “Why don’t you sell something if you’re here,” and that became his side job until 2006.

Almost every square inch of that shop, besides half the ceiling and most of the floor, was covered in Orion’s art.

In 2001, he met a local rock band, Grindstone. Painting as he went along with them, he spent the next five years working with rock bands and touring with them on and off until 2006.

“Problem was, my drinking got to a point when even rock bands told me it was too much, and life was falling through my fingers one piece at a time,” he said.

On April 4, 2005, he stopped drinking and has been a “grateful member” of Alcoholics Anonymous ever since.

In 2006, he married another artist and bought a house, and within a year they had a son, also named Orion, but they separated right before his first birthday. The Orions still live in the same house in Milwaukie with his now fiancée.

“He’s with me a majority of the time, which is great, because he’s now the backbone of all I do so to speak. Even on a hard day, I tell myself, all for Orion,” he said.

In 2007, economic conditions persuaded him to go into business for himself as a contractor helping a friend turn rental homes. He “had to choose security” for his son, as much as he wanted to follow his passion for art and music full time, and his first priority became being a single father.

In 2011, he founded another small company called Shared Space, which rents workspaces to creative professionals. He now balances his art, music, property management, contracting and his workspace business.

“It’s interesting to me because I almost get to live a double life,” he said.

But, through all of the changes, all of the relationships, the ups, downs, and even sobriety, he’s always had his haunted studio.