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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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Care for a spot of tea in Oregon City?


What might one expect at an English tea party? Scones, jam, tea, finger sandwiches and, above all else, an English butler in proper morning coat and white gloves, attending to one’s every need.

And that is exactly what attendees will get at the “Downton Abbey” English Garden Afternoon Tea Party at Cottage Row in Oregon City, on Aug. 10. But be warned, the event has proved so popular that all three sittings are almost sold out.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Cheryl Frampton, owner of Big White Goose in Oregon City, relaxes with a cup of tea, as she gets ready for her English tea party on Aug. 10.The idea of the tea came from Cheryl Frampton, the owner of Big White Goose Barn House, one of three shops in Cottage Row on 14th Street in Oregon City; the other two shops are Lavender Hill Cottage and Retro Revival.

Frampton, originally from London, has owned the store since March and started thinking about a way to let customers know she and the other two shop owners are open for business.

“I wanted to find a way of marketing the three cottages and realized we have almost an English garden out back. I love ‘Downton Abbey,’ and thought it would be so lovely to have a traditional tea here,” she said.

She plans to recreate a smaller version of the classic tea menu served at the Ritz Hotel in London, including three kinds of scones, jam, various kinds of tea and, of course, cucumber, watercress and salmon finger sandwiches.

“The wealthy used to hold the sandwiches with three fingers and they only nibbled at the sandwiches. When the working class came along, they held them with four fingers and put their pinky out to emulate the wealthy,” Frampton said.

The menu also will include French-style macarons, petits fours and cupcakes. Wrightberry’s in Oregon City and Sanet’s Bakery in Aurora will cater the event.

Butlers are big hit

As people flocked to sign up for the event, Frampton discovered that “the biggest draw is our butlers,” Jeeves and James.

Jeeves took a few moments off from his butlering duties to explain that he originally is from Essex, England, and will “provide the service expected of an English butler, a person who is there when needed, and invisible when you’re not needed.”

He will be clad in a traditional morning suit, called a cutaway in this country, and noted that Frampton had to order the attire from a Men’s Wearhouse in California, since this kind of outfit is not readily available in Oregon.

Americans love “Downton Abbey,” and it turns out the British love it, too.

“The English are fascinated with ‘Downton Abbey,’ with a secret yearning for how times used to be. There is a longing in each generation that a previous generation had it better than us, and it is a good story,” Jeeves said.

On a side note, he added that the British also are fascinated at the prospect of a new royal baby, and “the current generation of young people are looking to William and Harry to create the royalty of the future.”

Row of shops

Suzan Clough, who runs Lavender Hill Cottage with business partner Tracy Price, said the tea is all about increasing foot traffic on a busy commuter street.

“We have to work extra hard to get people to stop, and we want to remind them that there are lots of reasons to stop” and visit all three businesses, she said.

Frampton already knew the owners of two of the cottages as a customer, when the third shop came up for rent. At first she was hesitant to start a business on her own, but when she went inside the empty shop, she fell in love with it.

“She liked the idea of all three of us together — she is not all on her own,” Clough said.

Frampton moved to the United States in 2004, and had her own marketing business in Florida. She moved to Oregon City four years ago and worked for the Stephens Margolin family law firm until last February, when she quit to open the Big White Goose.

“I always wanted to open a little cottage shop, and I loved the fact that the cottages are quaint and have history,” Frampton said, adding that the three small houses were built in the 1840s.

As for the name Big White Goose, Frampton said her husband came up with it as a character in a children’s book that she was going to write. Although that book is yet to be written, Frampton is an author and has written books aimed at helping women, including her own life story, published in 2003.

She carries a variety of items in her shop, including jewelry, accessories, home decor, and British goods, like salt and pepper shakers shaped like the iconic red English telephone boxes.

But she is best known as the new local supplier of Chalk Paint decorative paint by Annie Sloan. You can use the paint on any surface, with no priming or sanding. Technically, it is not chalkboard paint, but if you put three coats on something, you can write on it with chalk, Frampton said.

Sense of history

As she prepares for the tea on Aug. 10, Frampton said she could not have done it without the support of her former employers and local Oregon City business owners. In fact, Oregon City Mayor Doug Neeley and City Manager David Frasher will attend the event.

She thinks Americans are fascinated by “Downton Abbey,” because this country is so young.

“People are getting more and more interested in history and into their own ancestry. ‘Downton Abbey’ gives them an insight into that part of English life — it gives them a complete sense of culture.”

She added, “I am surprised at the response, about how excited people are to dress up, wear hats and experience a different type of etiquette.”

And lest we forget — there will be butlers.

Tea anyone?

What: “Downton Abbey” English Garden Afternoon Tea Party

Where: Big White Goose, 216 14th St., Oregon City

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 10

Cost: $20, call 503-781-6074 for reservations

Attire: Casual or dressy, with hats or fascinators

Website: bigwhitegoose.com

Cottage Row shops

212-220 14th St., Oregon City

Big White Goose: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, painting workshops by request

Lavender Hill Cottage: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Retro Revival: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday