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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 showcase local artists


Visitors who take part in Open Studios of Beavercreek can be guaranteed two things — a drive through bucolic scenery and a chance to meet the artists who ply their craft in a number of mediums.

by: PHOTO BY: ELLEN SPITALERI - Cherilyn SunRidge uses two brushes on a painting with a central circular motif.The twice-yearly event, featuring 28 artists working in 12 studios, returns from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 25, 26 and 27.

Both Frank Meyer, a woodworker, and painter Cherilyn SunRidge say what they like best about the event is the chance to meet people.

“It’s the camaraderie; other woodworkers have come to discuss what they do, and there are other artists who come, so there is the possibility of collaboration,” Meyer said.

This will be SunRidge’s first time showing at the event, and she will be “meeting, greeting and dialoguing. I’ll be sketching while I am sitting and watching people, so I look forward to seeing the results in my sketchbook.”

Because she will be sharing Diane Wright’s studio with several other artists, she also thinks the three days will “feel like a little community.”

Frank Meyer

Visitors to Meyer’s home will see small furnishings, like benches, chairs and potting tables, along with handy, but decorative items, like wine racks, letter openers, cutting and cheese boards, salad tongs, jewelry boxes and coaster sets.

He also makes children’s toys, including a jointed dinosaur pull toy. He originally made a piece at the request of his son who wanted to memorialize his cat after its cremation.

“He needed something to display a picture of the cat so I made the first pet urn,” Meyer said.

He then visited Dignified Pet Services, a pet memorial and cremation service in Tualatin, and talked to them about selling some of his urns.

“The owner said if I could make something different he’d take them, so I did,” Meyer said. He makes hardwood boxes, and at the crematorium the pet’s ashes are sealed into an urn and set into the box. Then there is a separate piece, made from clear acrylic, into which the owner can display a photo of the pet.

Hardwood medium of choice

Meyer works exclusively with hardwood, mostly purchased from Goby Walnut and Western Hardwoods on St. Helen’s Road in Portland.

The company “recycles scrap wood, like from contractors who had to cut down trees. They have small pieces of wood that I can buy by the pound.”

Meyer also recycles things that he finds, turning a large piece of glass his son found into a table top, for example.

His wife is an antique dealer, so Meyer accompanies her to garage sales and finds things like highly detailed antique cars or railroad spikes. Using his product and exhibit design background, he then crafts wood and acrylic dioramas to showcase those pieces.

After he retired from design work in California, Meyer and his wife moved to Oregon; first to Eugene in 1989, then to Oregon City in 1992. They raised llamas and miniature horses for awhile, and still have several of the miniatures on their property.

Meyer took woodworking classes in high school, an aws, planers, hand tools and a drill press.

People should support the open-studios event, Meyer said, because it gives them a chance to meet the artists and ask “How did you do that?”

He also does custom work, and welcomes requests.

Cherilyn SunRidge

During the three-day studio tour, SunRidge will be doing watercolor sketches and will write poetry. She will have acrylic canvases for sale that are not framed, along with a selection of prints and greeting cards.

“I will also be hanging my affirmation series, and a lot of the paintings have words on them, putting out goodwill. Affirmations are ideas to embrace in your heart and to live into.”

SunRidge said she comes to her work with an idea, “not a finished canvas idea, but a spiritual prompt. Then I can go to work.”

She begins each canvas by painting with water, to get her arm going with form and gesture. Colors often get layered, “and then I go over it and make it art. It is 70 percent inspired and 30 percent intellectual refinement,” she said.

In her own studio, SunRidge is working on a series of paintings inspired by “sacred hoops,” which are sort of metaphorical circles.

“I don’t know how long this current series will last. I hope it goes on all my life,” she said.

An artist’s journey

SunRidge studied interior design in college and then moved to Berkeley, Calif., where she took life-drawing and sculpture classes. She then moved to southern California, where she kept painting, doing mostly portraiture and working in watercolors.

“Then I went back to Colorado, my birth state, and went into self-exile for seven years. And I just painted, mostly outdoors. Then my granddaughter was born, and I decided it was time to re-integrate with my family.”

A year ago, SunRidge moved to Oregon City, and then her son, his wife and their daughter, now nearly 4 years old, moved in with her.

“We came to this center and merged. We are a multigenerational family,” she said.

SunRidge finds Oregon City to be “a grounded, friendly and easy community with wonderful art and wonderful people.”

She joined the Three Rivers Artist Guild last year and found her fellow artists to be “enthusiastic and generous people.”

In this, her first open studios event, SunRidge is looking forward to meeting and sharing information with people.

She said, “This summer I had conversations with people who wanted to talk about art, who wanted to know how I did things. It is so stimulating, and it makes me smile.”

Learn more and see photos of her work at cherilynsunridge.com.

Open Studios

What: Open Studios of Beavercreek

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 25, 26 and 27

Details: The event features 28 local artists working in 12 studios in the Beavercreek area.

More: Visit openstudiosofbeavercreek.com to download a map to the studios and see a list of participating artists.