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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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Eye-catching artwork at OC Carnegie Library


by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Oregon City Library Director Maureen Cole, left, and Lynda Orzen, curator of the temporary sculpture garden, cozy up to 'Big Mouth.'The big birthday bash for Oregon City’s Carnegie Library will not take place until June 19 through 22, but a temporary sculpture garden has arisen to get citizens in the mood to celebrate.

Four sculptures are placed in the park in front of the library, and the pieces already are catching the public’s eye, said Library Director Maureen Cole.

“People are driving by, and they stop and come to look and take photos,” she said, adding that she wanted to “spruce up the library and its grounds, so it will look really nice for its big day.”

The outdoor exhibit was local sculptor Ben Dye’s idea, said Lynda Orzen, who works with the Friends of the Oregon City Library, and who curated the exhibit.

“He said he would love to see some public art in Oregon City, and we had the 100-year celebration coming up, so I put out invitations to sculptors that I knew, and three of them came,” Orzen said.

In addition to Dye’s piece, “Hippocampus,” on display are “Big Mouth,” by Tualatin’s Steve Farris, and “Revelation” and “Wind-swept Bonsai,” by Oregon City’s Todd Rau.

All three men use all or mostly recycled materials for their pieces. The sculptures will be on display until July 31, Orzen said.


Is it a horse? Is it a fish? Dye said he based his piece on early 1800s carousel carvings, only his version is indeed, half horse, half fish.

“In all the myths, Neptune’s and the water gods’ chariots are pulled by these creatures,” Dye said.

He used all recycled materials, including an above-ground heating oil tank. The colors already were on the steel, he said, adding that the distinctive blue-green is from a well-pressure tank.

Dye wanted to be part of the temporary sculpture garden because he likes to take advantage of “any chance I get to promote public art, public sculpture in Oregon City.”

‘Big Mouth’

Farris, who started out as a boat builder, also uses recycled materials, and “Big Mouth” is constructed from a farm fuel tank.

The name of the piece has a double meaning — the opening on top looks like a big-mouth jar, Farris said. But he really came up with the title as a reminder.

“When I met with Lynda I agreed to do this, but then she hit us with a deadline, and I realized I had a piece half done that I needed to finish. When I got started on it, it was taking longer, since I always try to change my method. About halfway I wished I could have kept my big mouth shut,” he said.

Farris said he likes to support a project like the one at the Carnegie Library, because it is a small effort and not corporate backed.

“I did it to support the library, to raise awareness that the library always needs funds, and this one is an icon worth preserving,” he said.

He added: “This is the best example of public art. It raises people’s awareness of how pretty a spot can be and brings them into the surroundings. Art makes everything better.”

‘Revelation’ and ‘Wind-swept Bonsai’

“I get all my materials from the scrap yard,” said Rau, adding that both his pieces are made from carbon steel. He has been a welder since high school and was always taught that welding is an art form.

The title of “Revelation” came about because he is trying to express a “born-again experience. Spirituality is an inner journey, and a lot of people don’t find it in a lifetime,” he said.

Rau added that there can be a “real beauty involved in an inner breakthrough,” so this piece has stainless steel on the inside and lesser materials on the outside, to give the illusion of “something contained.”

He used old snow-tire chains to construct “Wind-swept Bonsai,” he said.

The opportunity to be part of the sculpture garden at the Carnegie Library is a win-win, Rau said, since he gets to support public art and show his work at the same time.

“Nowadays, they are cutting down on art in the classroom. I want to let children know there is a field out there called art. Art can change a community. It is important to interact with the community — art provokes some kind of feeling, like wonder,” he said.

Birthday bash

The Oregon City Carnegie Library will turn 100 years old on June 21, and staff members did not want to miss the opportunity to throw the building a party, Cole said.

On June 19, the city commissioners will issue a congratulatory proclamation. On June 20, the library will be the site of the OC Chamber of Commerce after-hours event, and June 21 will see a night devoted to history.

The “big big day” will be celebrated on June 22, with a number of activities, including an author fair at Atkinson Memorial Church, an open house at the fire station across the street, and a community ceremony in front of the library at 11 a.m.

Dignitaries in attendance that day will include Paulann Peterson, Oregon’s Poet Laureate, State Librarian MaryKay Dahgreen and author Matt Love, who grew up in Oregon City.

“Mayor Doug Neeley will appear as John McLoughlin and former Mayor Alice Norris will perform a skit depicting the first day of the early library. There will be music, crafts, face painting” and more, Cole said.

“One of our staff members will dress up like Andrew Carnegie, and Marge and Rolla Harding will appear in period dress,” she added.

Learn more

The Oregon City Carnegie Library is at 606 John Adams Street. Call 503-657-8269.

Learn more about Ben Dye at BenDyeSculpture.com; email Steve Farris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; and visit Todd Rau’s website at toddrau.com.