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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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Volunteers help Sandy's four-legged victims recover


by: COURTESY: OREGON HUMANE SOCIETY - Oregon Humane Society employee Emily Davidshon is shown volunteering at the Brooklyn shelter in December.Milwaukie Police Officer Ulli Neitch and Oregon City resident Jo Becker were among a team of three Oregon Humane Society volunteers who returned home last week after seven grueling days helping at a massive emergency shelter for pets left homeless in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

by: SUBMITTED - Officer Ulli NeitchTraveling farthest to help out, the Oregon group worked nonstop at the 20,000-square-foot emergency boarding center that opened Nov. 18 in a vacant Brooklyn warehouse to house hundreds of cats and dogs whose owners no longer have homes. Since the dogs have to remain quarantined in small kennels, volunteers have to clean the cages several times a day.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also runs the shelter as an overflow valve for local animal shelters overwhelmed by the storm. The shelter only has space for 700 animals, so it can only provide free food, shelter and veterinary care for 30 days.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Oregon City resident Jo Becker helps out at an emergency shelter in New York City where Milwaukie Police Officer Ulli Neitch also cared for homeless cats and dogs.Volunteers often wore a head-to-toe protective suits to care for pets kept under quarantine conditions for medical reasons. People with pets at the shelter often lived in temporary housing funded by the federal government that didn’t allow pets, or were unemployed and couldn’t afford to care for their animals.

Neitch witnessed a man who traveled two hours every day to visit his dog staying at the shelter even though he lost his home and business due to the storm. An elderly woman who was made homeless by the storm would visit her aging, half-blind Chihuahua at the shelter.

“She cries the entire time and feeds him snacks through the bars of the kennel,” Neitch recalled. “She doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to take him home, because right now she hasn’t one.”

Neitch, 47, added it was nice to see some happy families reunite with their pets while she was in NYC, leaving less than 100 animals to find homes before the shelter closes Jan. 15. Locally, she also shares with students her African savanna monitor and South American green iguana that she rescued as part of the humane society’s emergency-response team.

“Call it my ‘catharsis’ if you will, away from the stress of dealing with police-related human problems,” she said. “The media on our side of the country has gone onto new news topics, yet the Sandy super-storm is still causing misery for thousands of people. Would you believe that after two months, there are still large areas without power?”

That said, police activity often interrupted Neitch’s time at the Brooklyn facility where armed security were stationed outside the doors to keep stuff from getting stolen.

“Police on calls everywhere — baseball-bat fighting teens on the sidewalk, someone jumping off the elevated train tracks one block away ... quite the experience,” Neitch said.

Worthwhile experience

Neitch said she had absolutely no time to sight-see between waking up every day, driving to the shelter, working “like a dog” and going to back to the hotel to crash. The other volunteer was Karin Maczko of Southeast Portland.

“I’m incredibly impressed that these volunteers spent the holiday season helping animals,” said OHS Executive Director Sharon Harmon. “They did a tough job and did it with compassion.”

Several of the out-of-town volunteers were put up in a couple hotels side-by-side in Queens. On Saturday and Sunday the drive took 15 minutes, but during the week it had taken 45 minutes to an hour, adding to what were on average 10-hour days.

by: SUBMITTED  - Jo BeckerBecker, 38, noted “it was all very much worth it” to be able to work with the animals and be of assistance. She was glad to spend time in two different wards—first with the general population of cats and then in the isolation ward with 11 dogs.

“It really impressed folks we’d come so far to help out but we were happy to do it,” Becker said. “It was amazing to work alongside 35 to 40 people, all singularly intent on the mission and eager and willing to give 110 percent. Personalities, politics, culture, class, etc. didn’t—as far as I could see—matter to anyone. We were all there for a common goal and united by that which was most important: the four-legged critters in our care. What an experience! That said, boy, it’s good to be back home in Oregon City!”