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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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Artists' work on display as studios open to public


Twenty-six artists once again will welcome visitors to their work spaces during Open Studios of Beavercreek, starting Friday, June 6, and continuing June 7 and 8.

For two of those artists, Bonnie Merchant and Carrie Moore, the best part of the event is that so many local artists, doing so many different kinds of work, are willing to open their studios and share their creativity.

People will “be amazed that so many people have so many wonderful studios. They can talk with that person and make a personal contact,” Merchant said.

Visitors can “experience what an artist’s world is all about, learn how we create and see what we do every day,” Moore said.

Bonnie Merchant

This is Merchant’s seventh or eighth time participating in Open Studios of Beavercreek. This year she will be sharing Studio 10 with Diane Wright, Bunny Lewis and Mary Wonser, since her home doesn’t have a large enough area to accommodate parked cars.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Whimsical mobiles and colorful earrings will be available when visitors meet Bonnie Merchant at Studio 10.Since she is not her in own studio, she will not actually be making her hand-painted paper earrings and mobiles, but will bring some of her tools and raw materials.

Merchant started out making polymer lamps in 1998, then began making metal jewelry in 2000. In the past year she decided to diversify and began making brightly colored, whimsical earrings and mobiles from poster board or watercolor paper that she hand paints, using watercolors, acrylics or colored dyes.

“I start with pieces of paper, cut them into shapes, and then layer one over the other to create a collage. Then I might cut them into geometric shapes or whatever the piece suggests to me,” Merchant said.

Her mobiles, which are similar to big earrings, might resemble the solar system or might be populated by birds or fish, but one thing is the same — they are colorful.

Merchant took a meandering path to get to earrings and mobiles. She has worked in a library, been a member of a trio playing guitar in Portland, and was an actress in the Eddie May Murder Mysteries company.

She looks forward to meeting people at the Open Studios event, and said she loves that the local artists are friendly and sharing.

She added, “Nobody is posing as an artist, instead they are saying ‘We are just folks at home showing you we’re creative, and you are probably creative, too.’”

Merchant’s work also is available at The Grapevine Gallery inside Singer Hill Cafe in Oregon City, at Currents Gallery in McMinnville, and at Guardino Gallery on Southeast Alberta Street in Portland. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Carrie Moore

Moore is looking forward to greeting people in her new studio on Leland Road, and if her artwork isn’t a big enough attraction, visitors can catch a glimpse of her bluebirds nesting nearby.

In fact, Moore’s pastels are mostly inspired by the animals who have visited her yard. Hanging on her walls are large pastels, originals and reproductions, of a noble rooster, brilliant-hued bluebird, and a colorful hummingbird in flight.

She also has a thing about creatures of the sea, and lino prints of salmon abound on her walls, sharing space with leather-embossed sea stars.

Moore makes the lino blocks herself, using battleship linoleum on woodblocks. She then draws on them, carves them using Japanese tools, and prints them on paper. Recently she began experimenting with using the woodblocks to emboss leather, resulting in eye-catching handbags and clutches.

She considers the Open Studios event to be an opportunity to “educate people when they come here,” she said, noting that she will display her woodblocks on the wall, since visitors seem to be fascinated with the printing technique.

Moore has a degree in interdisciplinary studies and communications from Marylhurst University, but said she was always drawing as a child, so art always has been important to her. She took a bit of a break from it, however, for about a year when she and her husband designed and built their new house, barn and studio on Leland Road.

“I am going to teach workshops for kids here and printmaking and embossing for adults. My ultimate goal is to open up this space to other teaching artists so they can take advantage of the view and the light up here,” Moore said.

Why should people come to Open Studios of Beavercreek?

They should take advantage of seeing “such a diversity of artists at work, and the scenery is so beautiful,” Moore said, noting that some of Ben Dye’s metalwork sculptures will be on display in her studio.

Her work also is on display at The Grapevine Gallery in Oregon City. She is a member of Print Arts Northwest, and will have her work at the RiverSea Gallery in Astoria, beginning in late June. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Open Studios of Beavercreek

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, June 6; Saturday, June 7; and Sunday, June 8

Where: Visit openstudiosofBeavercreek.com to see a map and list of studios.

Participants include: Core group artists: Krista Cary, Ben Dye, Bunny Lewis, Blenda Tyvoll, Connie Veenker and Diane Wright. Guest artists include: Ruth Armitage, Carol Bresky, Robert Bresky, Becky Buchanan, Tara Choate, Jodi Dann, Deb Ellis, Carol Ellison, Donna LaPlante, Darla Lynn, Bonnie Merchant, Frank Meyer, Jill Montgomery, Carrie Moore, Jerry Myra, Lance Smith, Jim Spillman, Cherilyn Sunridge, Jude Welter and Mary Wonser.