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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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Theft charges horrify Milwaukie nonprofits


Former city recorder released from jail on Thursday

Longtime Milwaukie residents who have kids involved in area schools and youth sports programs were concerned about volunteer boards of nonprofit entities where Juli Howard has had access to funds.

Howard, 40, a former assistant city recorder for Milwaukie, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of stealing public funds. An arraignment set for Thursday was rescheduled for March 11 after she was “matrixed” from Clackamas County Jail and released.

Since the investigation began in August, Howard remained a board officer for several local nonprofits, including vice president of the Rowe Middle School PTA. Milwaukie’s Police Department, which immediately coordinated its investigation with the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office, said it has found no evidence so far that Howard stole any other funds outside of the city of Milwaukie.

Board members who had worked closely with Howard said they were surprised by the charges and didn’t see any suspicious activity. Howard was generally trusted by fellow board members, who saw her as scrupulous and frequently heard her speak out to encourage adherence to rules.

Rowe PTA President Tina Heen called an emergency meeting to assuage fears that funds had also been stolen from school fundraisers. In accordance with the general PTA policy, Howard always had other volunteers with her at fundraisers involving cash, Heen noted. Although at meetings Howard reported on the dozens of members each year who paid their $15 membership fees, these fees were typically paid with checks, so Howard wasn’t worried that money could have gone missing.

“Typically when we get membership forms, the money goes directly to the treasurer (Yvonne McVay), and Juli was just in charge of telling the Oregon PTA who our members were to match up contact lists,” Heen said.

Although local schools receive taxpayer funding, parents typically pay hundreds of dollars annually for their kids’ involvement in youth athletics, and they don’t want to worry about possible improprieties going on behind the scenes. With continued cutbacks to public schools, PTAs have become even more important to augment supplies and services to support the teachers and students.

Removed from boards

In an emergency meeting on Wednesday, an interim was named to replace Juli Howard as treasurer/secretary of Milwaukie Youth Soccer Club, where she has been involved for a decade. Soccer Club Vice President Karen Gallaway noted that Howard as treasurer wouldn’t have access to writing checks. About 80 percent of the club’s funds come in electronically, and there are two signees on any other transaction.

“I’m very comfortable with the safeguards we’ve had in place,” Gallaway said.

Soccer Club President Susan McCarty added that Howard had been “subdued” since she resigned her position at City Hall when the investigation began in August. But Howard had remained involved at board meetings, and the organization has continued robust growth.

“I am 100 percent confident that Milwaukie Soccer Club funds are exactly where they should be and how they should be,” McCarty said.

Milwaukie Junior Baseball President Tim Salyers said his organization has had a “full check-and-balances with registration,” which was always checked by an outside auditor. As registrar, Howard collected payments for registrations and helped the organization with cash fundraisers.

Howard was a co-signer on some checks, but there was always another signee, Salyers or Treasurer Yvonne McVay. Salyers and McVay talked about the issue when the allegations first surfaced in August. They “racked” their brains for a way that funds could have been going missing and couldn’t think of a possible loophole.

In August, Milwaukie’s Finance Department and Municipal Court personnel recognized a pattern in money transactions that were deemed suspicious, officials say. During the course of an internal financial audit, they discovered “anomalies in cash transactions” that pointed to Howard.

“I’ve known about it since August and cooperated with the Milwaukie Police Department, and I’ve assured them too that the money we’ve had has been very safe, and we’re in good financial shape that’s never been better in the last few years,” Salyers said.

On Friday, Milwaukie Junior Baseball Association’s Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Howard as registrar and picture coordinator.

“We hope that these accusations are false and she will be welcomed back to our organization with open arms, if these issues are cleared up,” Salyers later wrote in an official statement from the board over the weekend. “She helped implement our Meatstick Fundraiser and did a great job as registrar collecting funds. She also acted as registrar for the North Clackamas Fall Ball, which is a collective effort between Putnam Youth Baseball Association, Milwaukie Junior Baseball Association and North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District. This was something that she pushed for, and both youth leagues have greatly benefitted from the extra income that this has produced.”