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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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Open Studios celebrates 10th anniversary


Twenty-nine artists, 13 open studios and two anniversaries — those are the relevant numbers for the upcoming Open Studios of Beavercreek on June 21, 22 and 23.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Bunny Lewis uses the slab method to create her 'village people' sculptures; this one is currently for sale at the gallery at Grapevine Graphics & Picture Framing.This marks the 10-year anniversary of the open studios event, and the second anniversary of the Grapevine Graphics & Picture Framing art gallery space, hosting an exhibit of the work of nearly all of those 29 local artists.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Karen Grondin, owner of the gallery at Singer Hill Cafe is drawn to this painting by Jodi Dann, who incorporates maps of Oregon wine country into her work.“This is the first show I have done as a collaborative sale, and I did it specifically to help the open studios,” said Karen Grondin, owner of the picture-framing business and art gallery, in Singer Hill Cafe in Oregon City.

People who come into the cafe will see posters advertising the upcoming event and can pick up a map showing the locations of all the studios.

“All the pieces are for sale, and I have jewelry, ceramics, fused glass, mixed media, acrylics, watercolors and photos,” Grondin said.

“This is a great collaboration. It is a good fit for all the artists, who love this gallery, and another way to pull people out to the event, since a lot of people still don’t know we’re here,” said Bunny Lewis, one of the seven founding member artists of the Open Studios of Beavercreek.

A hit from the beginning

The event was started in October 2003, and was so popular that the founders decided they needed to add a second show earlier in the year. Now 10 years later, there are nearly 30 artists who show their wares in working studios in the Beavercreek area twice a year, in June and October.

“The Open Studios of Beavercreek is a wonderful hidden gem in a country venue. These are studios, and visitors will see a variety of artists at work. There are also some nice little stops to grab a bite to eat — this is a real family activity,” Lewis said.

“This has become an event for a day, with a scenic drive to each place,” Grondin added.

This year, six new artists have been added to the mix, along with “some of our old-timers and regulars,” Lewis said.

She will be sharing space with five other artists at Diane Wright’s studio on Moore Road, and will be adding recycled jewelry or other accessories to some of her sculptures, which mostly depict women.

“I call them village people, because they look like they come from a village. I make them a little rough around the edges, and sometimes leave some imperfections,” Lewis said, adding that she uses the slab method to create the figures.

Also available for sale will be her masks, hanging planters and a variety of torsos and busts.

Lewis recommends visiting the Open Studios of Beavercreek website to see a complete list of artists and a map to all the studios. The event also has some specials and drawings for prizes.

Accidental gallery owner

Grondin did not exactly set out to become a gallery owner. She originally was looking for a place to put her framing desk. She has lived in Oregon City’s historic neighborhood for 30 years and has spent 30 years in the art world, mostly as a graphic designer.

She learned the framing business to enable her to have a part-time job when she went back to school in 1998 to complete her art degree and learn graphic design. Grondin graduated in 2002 from Marylhurst University with a bachelor of arts degree in art and communication and certification in public relations.

About four years ago, Grondin and her husband walked by Singer Hill Cafe and noticed a for-lease sign in the window. She remarked that it would make a perfect art gallery, but at the time she was only inquiring about warehouse space with the idea of opening her own framing business.

Two years ago, she again saw the space at the back of the cafe, and found out that Betsy Yates, daughter of cafe owners Phil and Vickie Yates, was trying to persuade her parents to set up an art gallery there.

“I have the background, and we decided to work together to have this become a gallery. It is a good collaboration between Singer Hill and myself. It was now or never for me. This was something I wanted to do, and it was an alignment of goals and ambitions, meeting the right people at the right time,” Grondin said.

“I love the warmness of the environment. It is a comfortable place to have an art gallery. Food and art make good companions, and looking at the gallery gives people something to do besides eat,” she said.

Grondin said she carries the work of about 50 artists on an ongoing basis, and has six helpers who give her a break from the gallery so she can go to her own studio and do framing.

She offers full-service custom framing, including replacing glass, cutting mats and more.

“You name it in framing, and I can do it,” Grondin said, adding that she works with people on their budgets for each piece. She also stocks ready-made mats and frames.

Artists frequently use her framing services since she is aware of what they need, Grondin said. She also offers gallery space at a reasonable price so artists “can immerse themselves in a show.”

She receives as many as 15 requests a month from artists who want her to carry their work. However, Grondin cannot meet that need, but is willing to look at artists’ work and offer suggestions on how they can promote themselves.

She chose the name for her business as a play on the phrase “heard it through the grapevine,” she said.

Grondin added that the gallery is a culmination of “all my different jobs coming together. I love promoting artists, and it feels good.”

Grapevine Graphics & Picture Framing is in the Singer Hill Cafe, 623 Seventh St., in Oregon City. Call 971-207-2354 for more information. The current exhibit showcases artists from the Open Studios of Beavercreek. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Fridays during the summer only. Visit the Wordpress website for the gallery at grapevinegallery.wordpress.com.