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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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Cultural Forum celebrates literary arts


by: PHOTO BY ALICIA DICKERSON GRIFFITH/FOUR LEGGED FRIEND - Rick Woodford, author of 'Feed Your Best Friend Better' will lead off the Ledding Cultural Forum on Feb. 7. He is pictured offering an apple to Raleigh, one of his dogs.First Thursdays in Milwaukie will be more interesting with the debut of the Ledding Library’s Cultural Forum on Feb. 7.

Library staff has wanted to put together a type of event to build the kind of audience that the poetry series has, so the staff asked the Library Board to take on the project, said Laura Gamble, the co-chairwoman of the Ledding Cultural Forum committee.

“There is a need for this in Milwaukie, where the cultural opportunities are few and far between, and the library is the cultural center” of the city, Gamble added.

People don’t have to drive to Portland to hear authors speak, these talks “are free and just down the street and they offer a variety of genres and topics to appeal to a broad audience,” Gamble noted.

Committee members created a list of potential local authors, and co-chairwoman Kathy Gannett began to focus on the writers.

“I did some Internet research and read the author’s books, to make sure they were appropriate and interesting. And I was lucky enough to find many of their email addresses on the web, and I reached out to them. They were all very interested and flattered and happy to come,” Gannett said.

Rick Woodford

The group chose to start the forum with Portland author Rick Woodford, whose book “Feed Your Best Friend Better” explains his approach to making home-cooked, nutritious meals for dogs. The book also is a collection of easy and convenient recipes.

“I’m a dog lover, and there are so many people out there who are also dog lovers, and his story is so touching,” Gannett said.

Woodford was inspired to write the book, because his own dog, Jackson, was diagnosed with lymphoma and given nine months to live.  

“I started feeding him homemade meals to encourage him to eat, but it did more than that; real food gave him energy, the ability to fight his cancer and eventually assisted him in going into remission. Jackson lived four more years — cancer free,” Woodford said.

When people found out about Jackson, they asked Woodford to help feed their pets, so he started a dog food business that specialized in helping dogs with serious diseases.

“I want to help other people who simply love their dogs and want to give them really great nutrition without breaking the bank or spending hours at the stove,” he added.

“Feed Your Best Friend Better” is a book about “food, nutrition and health that takes really complex information about dogs and presents it in an approachable manner for pet owners. It is a book for anybody concerned about their dog’s health,” Woodford said.

“Fresh foods are filled with helpful, easy-to-provide additives, and the purpose of my book was to help people find ways to incorporate them into their dog’s diets in ways that are easy and fun.”

Woodford said he wanted to be part of the cultural forum, because writing the book was a pretty solitary experience, and he is looking forward to reaching out to people, receiving their feedback and hearing stories about their dogs.

“I grew up in Gladstone and visited the Ledding Library often as a kid, so it’s an honor to not only see my book in their stacks, but also to speak at their author’s series. I really appreciate the opportunity to meet readers and provide answers to any questions that they have,” Woodford said.

To add to the congenial atmosphere, Jill Younce, owner of the Painted Lady Coffee House in Milwaukie, will provide coffee and dog-bone cookies for humans, at the event, Gamble added.

Upcoming authors

In choosing the authors for the cultural forum, the committee sought out “a mix of topics that was both strictly local and much broader than local,” Gamble said, noting that the next presenter on March 7 will be Randy Gragg, editor of Portland Monthly magazine.

He is “certainly a well-known Portland personality and such a good writer,” Gamble said.

Gragg worked for The Oregonian for nearly 20 years, writing about art, cultural politics, architecture and urban design and planning; he was also a leading columnist for the paper’s Sunday op/ed page.

In spring 2009, he took over as editor of Portland Monthly.

“He has a critical eye and is so articulate; he is one of the most interesting personalities we have in this area. It is beneficial to society to have people like him who are capable of looking at things from a different perspective,” Gamble said.

Mike Richardson, founder of Milwaukie’s Dark Horse Comics, will speak on April 4. And, on May 2, Laura Foster, author of “Portland Hill Walks,” will bring a Power Point presentation on walks that “are about as local as you can get,” Gamble said.

Other writers include Brian Doyle, who will talk about his book “Mink River” on June 6, and Matt Love, who will make a presentation on Oct. 10, with his book “Of Walking in Rain.”

The committee is looking for published authors to fill two slots in September and November.

All the authors will bring their books to the event, both to sell and sign, and will participate in a question-and-answer session after they speak.

Future plans

Gamble and Gannett expressed gratitude to the Clackamas County Cultural Coalition and Oregon Cultural Trust for giving the committee a grant for partial funding of the cultural forum.

“We are already looking ahead to doing this again in 2014, but we are going to look to the community to help support this project. We are looking for corporate sponsors from the business community,” Gamble said.

“We are looking for a wide variety of topics, for the true Oregon experience. This is a good opportunity to hear what people who love living in this state have written,” Gannett said.

The forum is an opportunity “to provide youths and adults with materials to open their eyes and expose them to other experiences and other cultures. It shows them the power of language and how professional writers work. It is an opportunity for people to ask questions and have some dialogue” with these authors, Gamble said.

What will audiences like best about the Ledding Cultural Forum?

“If they are interested in a particular writer or subject — that could draw them in. It is also in a welcoming environment, where they can talk with others and engage one-on-one with professional writers whose work they admire,” Gamble said.