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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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Get ready to be wowed


The 2013 Street of Dreams opens Saturday

The NW Natural Street of Dreams opens Saturday at Stonehedge in West Linn. Located at Whiten Lane off Rosemont Road, the home tour features nine newly constructed houses built by some of the top builders and designers in the area and showcases the latest in building innovations, design developments and decorating trends.

This year’s NW Natural Street of Dreams represents the 38th consecutive year the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland has put on the show.

“In 1976, Paul Simon’s 'Still Crazy After all These Years' was a popular song. And not that I’m such a Paul Simon fan, but I have to agree that you’d have to be a little crazy to be building after all these years,” said Brad Hosmar, 2013 Street of Dreams committee chairman. “It’s a real testament to the industry that we’ve presented this show for 38 consecutive years, through all the ups and downs of the economy.”

by: VERN UYETAKE - Unique sculptures can be found in many places in The Rendezvous. Built on 1-acre lots, the luxury homes feature a variety of amenities. At press time, only two of the homes, The Beauvoir and the Two Thousand Thirteen, were still available for purchase.

The tour includes:

1. Beauvoir, built by Smith-Donnerberg LLA, a J.T. Smith Company. Priced at $1,895,000, this house measures 5,243 square feet and has four bedrooms, a den, four full baths and two half baths. This is an all-Kohler home with a generator to provide backup power and safety. It also has a covered outdoor living space with full kitchen and barbecue and a sunken sports bar with refrigerator, wine storage and three viewing screens. This home combines the craftsmenship of a European chateau with the Northwest's casual elegance.

2. The American Dream, built by Westlake Development Group. Priced at $2,100,000, this house measures 6,100 square feet, has five bedrooms and six baths and features all American-made components. It has old-growth Douglas fir accents throughout the home from reclaimed barn wood, and boasts the lowest carbon footprint ever built in a NW Street of Dreams home.

by: VERN UYETAKE - The American Dream, built by Westlake Development Group, features a bonus room with extensive use of barn wood.

3. The Rendezvous, built by F. Dale Lumpkin General Contractor. This home is priced at $1,800,000 and measures 5,153 square feet. It has four bedrooms and four and a half baths. It features a saltwater “endless pool" with water features and automatic safety pool cover. The brick-and-mortar exterior provides natural temperature control while eliminating paint upkeep and potential dry rot. This home is classic while meeting state-of-the-art efficiencies.

by: VERN UYETAKE - Southern Exposure built by Haggart Luxury Homes, is one of the houses on the 2013 Street of Dreams tour.

4. Southern Exposure, built by Haggart Luxury Homes. Designed for the active family, this home is priced at $1,685,000 and measures 5,868 square feet. It has five bedrooms, four full baths and two half baths. The backyard includes a full tennis court, a putting green and an outdoor fire pit with custom seating.

5. Blackmore, built by Pahlisch Homes. This home is priced at $2,250,000 and measures 6,298 square feet. Reminiscent of English manors and estates, it has four bedrooms, five full baths and one half bath. It features an outdoor living space with cooking station and fireplace and an exceptional library with fireplace.

6. Cuvee, built by Elite Development Northwest LLC. This home measures 5,350 square feet. Already sold, the owner did not want the price disclosed. It has four bedrooms, four full baths and one half bath. The home frames a waterfall that uses the natural topography of the land and has lodge-style timber accents.

by: VERN UYETAKE - The Two Thousand Thirteen, built by TTM Development Company, features a chefs kitchen with unique pot rack lighting.

7. The Two Thousand Thirteen, built by TTM Development Company. Blending timeless and modern design, this home is priced at $1,950,000 and measures 5,297 square feet. It has four bedrooms and four and a half baths. It features an outdoor living area with full kitchen, fireplace and soothing waterfall, custom gourmet kitchen with one-of-a-kind range hood, pot rack and cabinets with Wolf appliances and a large mud room.

8. Tranquility, built by BC Custom Construction. This home is priced at $1,200,000 and measures 4,191 square feet. It has two bedrooms, two offices, a fitness room and four and a half baths. It features Camino stone pavers with a traditional cobble finish, Pella ProLine energy efficient wood windows and doors and a Kohler residential natural gas generator with an automatic transfer switch.

9. Clearhaven, built by Pahlisch Homes. This home is priced at $2,200,000 and measures 5,061 square feet and has a taste of Nantucket. It has three bedrooms and three and a half baths. It features a large kitchen with separate prep station and breakfast room, family space outside with outdoor cooking, living and pool with waterslide and a hidden passage into the turret.

Tickets to the Street of Dreams are $15 and can be purchased online at streetofdreamspdx.com or onsite. Children ages 10 and younger are admitted at no charge. For bulk tickets or to arrange private events at the Street of Dreams, call the HBA at 503-684-1880.

Special events such as wine tastings and culinary demonstrations will be offered through the run of the tour. For updated special event information, visit streetofdreamspdx.com.

The Street of Dreams runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Aug. 25. Tickets will be sold until 7 p.m. and visitors can enjoy the homes until 9 p.m.

by: VERN UYETAKE - The mantle in Southern Exposure is made from reclaimed wood from a Sumpter mill.