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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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HOPE helps the hungry in Oregon City


Have you ever had to skip a meal to pay for bills, rent, gas or some other necessity? Well, there’s HOPE for you.

HOPE is an acronym for Helping Other People Eat and is an Oregon Food Bank supported program run by five churches in the area that will give you food if you qualify and have the need. All you have to do is show up, show your ID, show a rent receipt or utility bill showing your current address and once a week they will give you a food box, the amount based on family size, that will feed you nutritionally balanced meals for three days.

They also have thrown in the consideration of toilet paper.

For those without identification or proof of residence, you can still show up and they will take your word for it. HOPE will make sure that you don’t go hungry, they don’t turn people away.

“I’ve been there before, too, and I didn’t know that this was available to me and I would like to have known,” said Kelly Stewart, who works with the Oregon City HOPE program.

“When you think you have enough packed, you have a bunch of people come in and you’re like, ‘Ahh!’ We need to start repackaging boxes again,” said Stewart of the demand.

“The need is great,” said Ron Schlosser, master gardener in charge of the garden at United Methodist Church, one of the five churches participating in HOPE.

The beautifully maintained garden uses a raised bed technique and has produced about 1,700 pounds of food for the church pantries. Schlosser and his six or so volunteers grow corn, potatoes, green beans, carrots, tomatoes, various species of peppers, sunflowers, green onions, lettuce, spinach, celery, sweet peas and basil.

The garden is in its third year and has almost doubled in size since it was originally planted. Schlosser instituted Plant a Row for the Hungry, an initiative started by The Garden Writers Association in 1995. The concept is for gardeners to grow just one more row of vegetables and donate the produce to local homeless shelters and community programs like HOPE.

“Grow an extra row to donate to a food pantry,” said Schlosser. “The idea is to grow vegetables that don’t require much refrigeration. Small operations such as ours can’t afford to refrigerate large quantities of vegetables.”

“It’s amazing,” said Rynn Mazur, a volunteer for the last year with the United Methodist Church’s HOPE program. “This church has a garden and we provide produce for many of the churches.”

The United Methodist Church is the second smallest of the five churches involved in Oregon City HOPE. Serving about 25 to 30 families a week with the typical family size being four, that’s 120 people fed on average.

Most of the food comes from the Oregon Food Bank and much of that is provided by the federal government. The partners at HOPE get some of their food for free, and some of it is bought by the churches at five cents a pound. The bread is donated by various stores across the city and a lot of the extra cans of food are donated by reaching out to schools and the public.

“Sometimes we have food drives,” said Mazur. “The schools donate quite a bit of canned food from food drives.”

“We haven’t missed a week in all this time,” said volunteer Bob Dichtel of he and his wife Grace’s 25 years of dedicated service to the church.

“We want to help people,” said Grace Dichtel as they left arm in arm.

The Dichtels are the kind of people HOPE truly appreciates.

HOPE is almost completely run by volunteers and is urging for help in feeding the people of this city. They accept donations of clothes, canned goods, plastic bags and whatever else that can be put into use to help others. If you want to help the hungry and needy, you can also donate to the Oregon Food Bank. It may be a neighbor, a friend or even a family who needs your help and every little bit goes a long way.

For more information, visit oregonfoodbank.org.

Oregon City HOPE

Weekly locations, dates and times:

Monday - Church of Nazarene, 716 Taylor St., from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday - First Presbyterian Church, 1321 Linn Ave., from 1 to 4 p.m.

Wednesday - Oregon City United Methodist Church, 18955 South End Road, from 1 to 3:45 p.m.

Thursday - St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, 417 Washington St., from 4 to 5 p.m.

Friday - First Baptist Church of Oregon, 819 John Adams St., from 1 to 4 p.m.