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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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'Teen Moms Have a Future' film debuts on Nov. 29


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Pictured from left are Naily Cervantes, Courtney Polk and Brittany Harmon. Polk directed 'Teen Moms Have a Future' with assistance from Harmon.Courtney Polk wanted to make the short documentary “Teen Moms Have a Future,” primarily to break down some stereotypes about teen mothers, perpetuated in many cases by the popular media.

“A big motivation was to counteract such shows as ‘Teen Mom’ and ‘16 and Pregnant,’ Polk said, adding that she finds such programs “horrible and degrading.”

The stereotype “is so incredibly far from what people think. Everyone thinks we get help from the government or our families, but most teen parents don’t live with their parents and can’t get help from the government until they turn 18,” she said.

Polk intimately understands the situation, as she had her daughter when she was 16. Finding other young moms to be a part of the film was easy, even when they found out how public this was going to be, she said, adding, “They were so incredibly brave for doing this; they totally believed in what we were doing.”

She also noted that no teen fathers agreed to be in the film.

Polk, who is now 20, is pursuing a degree in digital multimedia communications at Clackamas Community College, and ultimately wants to be a film director.

She served as creative director of the film, and now that it is making its debut on Nov. 29 at Milwaukie High School’s J.C. Lillie Performing Arts Center Black Box Theater, she hopes that it reaches a wide audience.

Arts grant

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Courtney Polk and Antoine Carney cuddle with their daughter, Anaya Polk-Carney.The project began with a grant in early 2012 to the Arts Committee of the city of Milwaukie from the Clackamas Cultural Commission, noted Beth Ragel, community services program coordinator for the city of Milwaukie.

The original idea was to work with an organization to make a short film about teens in transition, but when that fell through, the arts committee, known as artMOB, turned to Milwaukie’s Madonna’s Center, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting teen parents in Clackamas County.

“They were really into it. The next project they wanted to do was a documentary, so this was a perfect fit; the motivation was already there,” said Zara Logue, a member of artMOB and a design teacher at Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Logue, who served as producer of the film, said filming started in July and took about three months to complete. She worked primarily with Polk and another young woman, Brittany Harmon, in making “Teen Moms Have a Future.”

“Madonna’s Center connected us to teen moms who were willing to tell their stories,” Logue said, noting that all the young women are from Clackamas County.

Before filming began, Logue, Polk and Harmon developed a list of questions to ask each of the interviewees, including how old they were when they became pregnant and what their goals were.

All of the young women kept their children and a lot of them are working to complete their level of schooling, Logue noted.

Grant money was used to purchase a video camera and microfilm, and to pay a professional editor, Ben Meader, to pull all the footage together, she said.

‘Community Connections’

The primary motivation to making the film goes along with artMob’s intention to use arts to create community connections, Logue said.

“Although this is a documentary, we are using the tools of art to create those connections, and Courtney’s goal was to connect to the larger community, to larger issues,” Logue said.

“Arts aren’t just about decorating, they are about engagement. As I was telling people about the project, I was surprised by the interest in the issue. So many people are touched by the story, either from within their own story or from family members,” added Ragel.

The film provided the teen moms who took part with a sense of ownership and gave them a chance to tell their real life stories, Logue said.

She added, “This is pretty charged territory, because of the subject, but the film itself is a neutral entity, but with a positive message.”

The film is not promoting Madonna’s Center or artMOB, but is intended to be shared with other resources as a “tool to start conversation,” Ragel said.

‘Family friendly event’

Ragel noted that the showing on Nov. 29 is a “family friendly event, perfectly appropriate to bring your kids to if they are junior high age and up.”

People should see the film, Logue said, because “it is a reflection of one of the issues in our community. However you feel, what you believe about teen parents going in, this film will change your perception. It is a nice little vignette of one issue that is nicely framed in a positive way.”

“It provides hope and shows the challenges to teen parents. It shows that it is possible to be successful in life,” Ragel said.

Logue added, “The film talks about the difficulties once you involve a child in your life, and it makes those clear. It shows these women are really strong and moving on, and what they are trying to achieve.”

Fast Facts

“Teen Moms Have a Future” — a documentary film

Thursday, Nov. 29, from 6 to 7 p.m.

J.C. Lillie Performing Arts Center Black Box Theater

Milwaukie High School

11300 S.E. 23rd Ave. (enter from Lake Road)

Admission is free and open to the public; the event is family-friendly and children are welcome.

A short Q & A panel session with the teen moms will be presented after the film.

To learn more about artMOB, contact Beth Ragel, city of Milwaukie community services program coordinator, at 503-786-7568, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To learn more about Madonna’s Center, an organization set up to support teen parents in Clackamas County, visit madonnascenter.org. Madonna’s Center is holding a diaper drive on Dec. 1, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the organization’s outreach office, 13800 S.E. Webster Road, Suite 101, Milwaukie. Call 503-653-1595 for more information.