Featured Stories

INSIDERS (Sponsored Content)

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


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Gardens keep Ainsworth House colorful


Co-owners partner with plant society to welcome visitors to July 22 event

Visitors to the Ainsworth House and Gardens open garden self-guided tour on July 22 will see a riot of colorful roses, lilies, late-blooming iris, hydrangeas and clematis, among other flowers.

This is the first year that Ainsworth House co-owners Bud Bowen and Kevin Yell have partnered with the Hardy Plant Society to open their gardens to the public.

“A lot of people know what the place looked like when it was not lived in. It has taken us seven years to build pathways” and get the gardens in shape, said Yell, who purchased the historic house in 2005 with Bowen.

At that time, “the pine tree was on its last legs, but now is more vibrant than ever, and we have a lovely English rose garden. There are a lot of fun things to see, especially for those who remember what it looked like before, and what it’s been through,” Yell said.by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Bud Bowen, co-owner of the Ainsworth House and Gardens, peeks out from behind some lilies.

Bowen recently took a master gardener class through the program at Clackamas Community College and learned so much, Yell said.

“Bud really appreciates the community that builds from those classes,” he said. “People come back to swap hints and seeds. This open garden event allows us to give back to the gardening community that has been so generous and supportive of us.”

Bowen is a member of eight Portland-area garden societies, each with people who are passionate gardeners.

“It is that camaraderie that inspires me to learn from nature as my friends do and share what has been blessed to me. My experience with gardens has always been one of sharing,” Bowen said.

“Plants named after people have a story to tell that needs to be passed on. I have the privilege to share two-plus acres of creative ‘clay soil’ that many gardeners relate to so well. When people visit, you should hear the stories that are evoked by a memory or experience from a flower or tree. Working as an R.N. it does not take long to realize that life is too short to not take time to stop and smell the roses.”

The Ainsworth House and Gardens and the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon will hold a self-guided, open garden event at the historic house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 22. Light refreshments will be available, and the owners will be on hand to answer questions.

The house was built in 1851 as a wedding gift from his new father-in-law to Capt. John Comminger Ainsworth on the occasion of his marriage to Jane Whyte, daughter of Oregon City’s Judge Whyte.

The house came with 18 acres, probably given out of the judge’s original square-mile land bequest. The house is a magnificent, and in this area, unusual, example of the Greek revival style more common in the American South and very fashionable around 1850.

Ainsworth, then in his mid-20s, had come to Oregon City from working as a river captain on the Mississippi. His first local commission was as captain of The Lot Whitcomb, named after one of the boat’s owners, a successful Milwaukie businessman.

The house kept all 18 acres until around 1990, when most of it was sold, and the remaining structure, now almost dilapidated, was threatened with demolition. A local family, at considerable personal expense, saved the house and restored it to its present magnificence, building also a reception room, now called The Garden Room, and offering a wonderful black and white tiled floor for dancing.

It was extended with the building of The Conservatory in 2005 by the present owners, Bud Bowen and Kevin Yell.

In 2005, the house had been unoccupied for more than two years, so the gardens were replanted and restored, transforming them from a vacant lot look of brambles, English ivy 30 feet up some trees and three years of leaf drop, to the beginnings of what the gardens are today.

Virtually all the plants people see today and even many of the trees were not here when the property was last purchased in March 2005.

The third property on the grounds is The Cottage, originally built in the 1870s and first located around the falls area of Oregon City, where it sat in a flood plain. The cottage was moved in the 1960s to preserve it from further damage. It was used as a caretaker’s cottage and is now an office and storage facility.

The Ainsworths lived in the house for a few years, the captain feeling the need to follow the growth of commerce as it moved from Milwaukie to “Stumptown,” which then became Portland.

The house received its name when it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, celebrating the early Oregon beginnings of a man who went on to be a founding father of the business and banking life of the new city.

The prominent Ponderosa tree is considered a Heritage Tree by the city of Oregon City.

Visit the website at ainsworthhouse.net for directions to the Ainsworth House and Gardens, located at 19130 Lot Whitcomb Drive in Oregon City.

In addition to July 22, the gardens will also be open on Aug. 13, from noon to 6 p.m.; Sept. 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sept. 10, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.