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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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State sees Sabin-Schellenberg tech center as blueprint for expansion


by: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Dr. Rudy Crew, Oregon's chief education officer, talks with broadcasting seniors Donna Esparza (from left), Stephanie Davis, Lexie Polzel and Madelyn Odegaard at the Sabin-Schellenberg Career-Technical Center last week. Dr. Rudy Crew, Oregon’s chief education officer, fell in love with the Sabin-Schellenberg Career-Technical Center during his tour of the campus in North Clackamas last week.

Crew ordered a black cup of joe from student baristas at Sabin’s Mud Hut, declaring it “great.” Then, waylaying the tour plans on Dec. 18, emanating scents enticed him into the Culinary Arts classroom, where students were rolling up bûches de Noël. After a carpentry student gave him another type of Yule log, a branch fashioned to hold three tea lights, he spent minutes admiring the piece.

Crew noted that he was most impressed after conversing with broadcasting seniors Donna Esparza, Stephanie Davis, Lexie Polzel and Madelyn Odegaard about their live reporting on election day. If these students ever wanted to apply for an open position at the Oregon Department of Education, it seemed like they would have a leg up against the competition.

by: PHOTO BY RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Registered nurse and Sabin-Schellenberg Career-Technical Center teacher Lyn Gray meets Dr. Rudy Crew, Oregon's chief education officer, during a Dec. 18 tour.“What I saw was this station of themselves, or this carriage of themselves, that will help them get jobs,” Crew said, referencing the Legislature’s special session on a potential Nike expansion. “The worry I have is that there are places in Oregon that are getting new infusions of jobs and that Oregon students won’t be ready.”

Principal Karen Phillips argued that it is no accident that Sabin students learn these so-called “executive skills” such as positive attitude, professional dress and public speaking. All 15 of the center’s career courses have integrated executive training into teachers’ discussions of nursing, welding, cosmetology, forestry and other technical fields.

“You don’t have any background in retail, but you have professionalism,” Phillips said various storeowners have stated upon hiring Sabin alumni.

Program could grow

by: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Rudy Crew talks with students, including Keaton Newberry, about their plans after high school. The state's chief education officer would like to see more students with solid career plans.“Where would this program expand?” asked Crew of the four School Board members, two union presidents and other school officials who participated in the tour. “I’m thinking about how to do this on a state perspective to give students access to technical and high-tech jobs.”

Superintendent Matt Utterback was full of ideas to help Crew clarify his thinking. Seventy percent of the 4,600 students in North Clackamas’ three high schools take buses every other day to classes at Sabin, but the center could open on weekends or nights to accommodate more students.

Sabin used to get $2.6 million per biennium to video its programs for distribution to students statewide, Utterback pointed out, but the Legislature cut funding for the only public technical education center in the state that serves students across a region. Ten of the closest school districts used to send students to Sabin, but money dried up for that as well.

“One of the things that we’re looking into is how we regionalize this skills center even more for other areas in the county,” Utterback said.

Utterback spoke with Crew, while manufacturing teacher Mark Lynch showed off his students’ comprehensive wielding skills that have gotten them unionized positions right out of high school. The students also welded a horn-shaped arbor for Milwaukie’s View Acres Elementary Vikings, installed last month in the school’s outdoor garden classroom.

“Walking through these buildings today, we were so proud,” said School Board Chairman Rein Vaga, adding that he would probably support a construction bond for expansions.

Students who attend Sabin two or more years become much more likely to graduate from NCSD, and this group does so at a rate well exceeding 90 percent.

Crew has stressed the importance of schools emphasizing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math by hiring Mike Seelig as the state’s director of strategic education initiatives. Seelig toured with the group who wanted the state to invest some of its millions of dollars set aside for STEM into Sabin as it explores potential for new programs in advanced manufacturing, clean technology and high tech, areas of planned economic development in Oregon. At their meeting on Thursday, School Board members approved a new robot engineering course at Sabin starting next year.

But Crew made clear that he wasn’t going to let his love for Sabin blind him to the potential pitfalls of a larger, state-funded expansion effort. He supports career and technical education, “done correctly,” for its ability to inspire confidence in students.

“I want that for every child in the state, but we need to be careful,” he said. “This can’t be helter-skelter and has to be part of a statewide strategy.”

Vaga and a couple of other school officials agreed to meet again with Crew to work on details of a proposal. They will analyze Sabin’s master plan and discuss how much an expansion could increase graduation rates for extra students.