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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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Returning home: OC remodel reflects trend


by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Kari Andersen expresses relief that her house's remodel was able to save her father's stove that he would light every evening until the day he died in 2011.Kari Andersen is returning to her parents’ home at the age of 62 — not to the familiar shag carpeting, sunken living areas and swirly wallpaper in the bedrooms — but to a remodeled house nearly unrecognizable from its original 1980 version.

Such “whole-house remodels” take everything down to the studs to put in new plumbing, electrical and air-conditioning systems. The old disco-inspired lamp had to go, too.

“I’ll tell you that lamp went very quickly in the estate sale, because there’s a whole resurgence of that,” Andersen said.

Originally about 2,150 square feet, approximately 800 square feet of additions expanded the garage and put in new bedrooms for when her four children and two grandchildren visit. Although she’s updating the house that’s located just outside Oregon City limits near Redland Road, she’s also keeping many original features intact.

by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Oregon City-based remodeler Ed Parsons completely remodeled Kari Andersen's home just outside of Oregon City so she could return to the property her parents owned for more than 30 years.A support pillar in the house’s cathedral hallway/

living room incorporates a Port Orford cedar her father brought from Bandon. Because her father always tried to save falling trees throughout the 1-acre property, you can still see a cable mark on the tree trunk that had been planted in the driveway. Her husband, Les Andersen, 59, striped the tree and cleaned it up for Oregon City-based remodeler Ed Parsons.

“The idea here was to keep this room the way it was but open it up,” Parsons said. “The footprint of the house is pretty much the same, and the length of the house is similar. Some original beams remain, as well as some flooring.”

As for the cost of the remodel, Andersen acknowledged that she could have rebuilt the house new, but then she couldn’t have reused and recycled so much of the old house.

“It’s not about saving money, but rather about sentiment,” she said.

Particular sentimental value comes to Andersen from having cared for her parents there during the last years of their lives. Her mother, who died in the house at age 92 in 2010, was the same age as Andersen upon moving into the house.

“We really liked the location, so we wanted to carry it on forward,” she said.

To keep the house warm, her dad chopped wood every day until the night he died from melanoma at age 97 in 2011. So she wanted the remodel to keep the old wood stove, which her father would use every night to start a fire.

Retirees’ movement

Andersen is part of a new national movement to embrace a “home for life” idea where seniors can comfortably stay in their one-level home if the necessary remodels have been done. This home’s remodel also features a shower with a large doorway ideal for wheelchair access.

“People are wanting to stay in their homes for longer and wanting their homes designed so they can do that,” said Hallie Gentry, events manager at the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland, which is putting on the Tour of Remodeled Homes featuring the Andersen house this weekend.

Retirees have become an important market as people under 35 more frequently eschew homeownership. Last month’s Pew Research Center analysis of government data showed young adults shed substantially more debt than older adults during the Great Recession and its immediate aftermath — in large part by less frequently owning a house.

Audit shows efficiency

Clean Energy Works Oregon last month completed an audit of Andersen’s house using a Blower Door Test and Ductblaster Test, plus visual inspection of mechanical, HVAC and lighting systems, to determine that the house’s carbon footprint is only 6.4 tons a year compared with the average Oregon home of a similar size at 9.1 tons annually.

“You guys did a nice job on the remodel — the house is very appealing and so efficient,” said Clean Energy Works spokeswoman Colleen Shannon. “Carmy (home performance auditor) was particularly impressed with the attention paid to preventing/sealing air leaks, even considering that this house has 37 can lights, which are notoriously leaky areas.”

Parsons Remodeling is also benefiting from the trend. Parsons completes 32 to 40 remodeling jobs a year, more than half of which are in Clackamas County. He took over the company that started in 1979 from his father, who gave him his start helping install shag carpeting and sunken living rooms.

“I’ve remodeled some of the houses that he’s built,” Parsons said.

For more information, visit parsonsremodeling.com or remodeltourportland.com.