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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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Oregon Impact helps change lives


by: PHOTO: ELLEN SPITALERI - Janelle Meredith, executive director of Oregon Impact, and AMR's Georgia Katsirubus.“Our greatest strength is in the stories people tell,” Janelle Meredith told the audience gathered Tuesday, March 19, for the seventh annual Oregon Impact breakfast at the Abernethy Center in Oregon City.

Meredith is executive director of Oregon Impact, a Milwaukie nonprofit organization that provides community education and prevention and awareness activities to stop people from driving intoxicated, impaired or distracted.

Meredith noted that Oregon Impact has extended its original mission in dealing with drivers who are intoxicated, to drivers who are impaired or distracted when they are talking on cell phones or text messaging while driving.

Oregon Impact also sponsors Clackamas County DUII impact panels, bringing speakers to those panels who are willing to tell their stories to drivers who have received DUIIs.

by: PHOTO BY: ELLEN SPITALERI - From left, Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts, Janelle Meredith and Al Herberholz.And now those stories are spreading, Meredith said, because she and Al Herberholz, a contractor with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department, created a DVD using speeches from the panels.

“We have sent 300 copies to schools for use in driver education classes, and to 11 other states. Our speakers are going to give drivers a second chance all across the nation,” she said.

Bill Bray described the horrific crash that gave him a “wake-up call” in February of 2010. The first time he received a DUII and attended a mandated impact panel, he said he was told “if you haven’t learned anything tonight, you’ll be back.”

A year later he indeed was back, but he had “a bad attitude. When you are a full-blown alcoholic, you become obstinate. I didn’t listen the second time,” he said.

And then there was the crash.

“I don’t remember this night very well, but I read the police reports. I was going 70 miles an hour down Molalla (Avenue) and I hit a telephone pole. I flat-lined once in the ambulance and once in the emergency room,” Bray said.

He sustained a lengthy list of fractures, was unconscious for a week and on life support for five days.

The first time he came to, the nurse told him medical personnel had not expected him to live; when he asked her what happened, she told him he had been drinking and driving.

He immediately assumed he had killed someone, and said he did not want to go on living if that was the case.

But the nurse told him: “It was just you and the telephone pole, and you lost.”

It was then Bray realized that he had a problem and needed some assistance.

by: PHOTO BY: ELLEN SPITALERI - Bill Bray tells his story.It takes a lot of courage to go up to a stranger and say you need help, he noted, but he is willing to share his story, because it is worth it “if I can save one person from doing what I did, or worse still, from killing someone.”

“I have $125,000 in medical bills and my license is gone until 2020, but I am lucky to be alive.”

Impact panels

Judge Greg Silver, a circuit judge pro tem with the Oregon Judicial Department, has moderated impact panels in Multnomah County since 2007, and in Clackamas County since 2012. He closes every panel hoping attendees can make better decisions about driving impaired, after listening to the stories about one woman’s 29-year-old son who was walking down the street when he was struck by a drunk driver; or the woman who was sitting at a red light and was struck from behind by an impaired driver and now has to live with traumatic brain injury.

“When you go home tonight,” he tells all attendees, “don’t tell people you heard about accidents. Everything you heard tonight could have been prevented if one person had made one different choice.”

Silver also tells the drivers at the panels that if they do cause a major accident, under Measure 11 rules, they can be sentenced to 90 months in prison. If someone dies in the crash, they can be convicted of manslaughter, and serve 120 months in prison.

Public safety

Fred Charlton, Clackamas Fire District No. 1 fire chief, called crashes caused by impaired drivers “preventable tragedies.”

And, he pointed out, the events do not end when the crash sites are cleaned up. “The trauma continues for days, weeks, years. And the first responders are haunted by the lasting images for what could be prevented,” Charlton said.

He asked three of his veteran firefighters why these crashes are more traumatic than other road accidents.

One 20-year veteran said they cause more pain and heartache than other accidents, and alter too may lives; another said these are life-changing events for intoxicated drivers and innocent victims; and the third, a 30-year veteran, said he deplored the self-centered attitude of an impaired driver who gets into a 3,000-pound vehicle.

“Our responsibility is to continue to advocate for change,” Charlton said. “We must take a role in reducing the number of impaired or distracted drivers, and that is why Oregon Impact is such an exceptional partner.”

Comic book bid

Meredith was surprised when four representatives from State Farm came to the podium and presented Oregon Impact with a check for $15,750.

Meredith also expressed gratitude to Mark Burnham and American Medical Response for giving Oregon Impact a home in their office.

“AMR is giving us a retired ambulance that we will convert convert into an interactive ‘brainbox’ so kids can see what happens when they multitask while driving,” Meredith said.

And finally, Oregon Impact, working with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, is going to produce a comic book about distracted driving, to be distributed to area students. It’s the second comic in the series, starring police dogs Mik and Nero.

Meredith told the audience at the breakfast that now was the time to bid on the chance to be “drawn into” the comic, playing the role of a distracted driver’s mom or dad.

The winning bid of $225 was by AMR’s Georgia Katsirubas, who noted that several employees joined forces for the bid, and would choose one of their own to be drawn into the comic.by: PHOTO BY: ELLEN SPITALERI - Janelle Meredith, executive director of Oregon Impact, Meredith accepts a check from State Farm Insurance.