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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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Both sides of weapons debate gather forces to lobby state


by: PHOTO BY: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Portland-area residents attend a candlelight vigil Thursday night at Clackamas Town Center, the scene of a mass shooting on Dec. 11, 2012. Members from local gun violence prevention organizations Moms Demand Action and Ceasefire Oregon were in attendance.Three organizations working to prevent firearms violence announced Wednesday the creation of a new coalition, the Oregon Alliance To Prevent Gun Violence, in response to December’s Clackamas Town Center shooting.

On Thursday, March 28, members of the groups gathered for a candlelight vigil at the mall that was the site of three deaths on Dec. 11 — Steve Forsyth, a 45-year-old West Linn father of two; Cindy Ann Yuille of Northeast Portland, a 54-year-old Kaiser Permanente hospice nurse; and Jacob Tyler Roberts, the 22-year-old shooter who committed suicide before police could arrest him.

Groups participating included Ceasefire Oregon, the Portland Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and the Portland, Mid-Willamette Valley and Southern Ore gon chapters of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. The alliance’s first official joint project is a Day of Action and Rally in Salem in support of new Oregon gun-safety legislation, scheduled for Thursday, April 4 — the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.

“We represent the majority of Oregonians who support common sense laws designed to promote gun safety — laws that will protect every Oregonian’s right to live in communities free from gun violence,” said Jenn Lynch, who heads the Moms Demand Action chapter for Portland.

In preparation for the Day of Action, organizers are busy gathering endorsements for pending Oregon gun legislation from social-service agencies, as well as from public and private organizations. Supporters say oversize magazines (a device that holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition) are a key enabler of mass killings. Under proposed legislation, anyone who owns an assault weapon would be allowed to keep it, and up to three oversize magazines, provided they are registered and securely stored.

Meanwhile, the Canby-based Oregon Firearms Federation, the state’s only “no compromise” gun lobby, joined two dozen other gun-rights advocacy groups across the country in sending letters to lawmakers urging them to protect their Second Amendment rights.

“Concentrating all power in the state was the central theme behind every murderous regime in history. It must not be allowed to happen here,” said OFF Executive Director Kevin Starrett.

A state Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on several gun-safety bills is scheduled for Friday, April 5, and organizers on both sides of the issue hope to demonstrate strong, deep-rooted public support, or opposition, for those bills across a broad spectrum of Oregonians. Senate Bill 347 would prohibit guns in K-12 schools with exceptions for special programs, SB 700 would require criminal background checks for gun transfers outside the immediate family, and SB 796 would require someone applying for a concealed-handgun license to pass a firing-range test.

“The tide turned after the Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook shootings. The majority is coming together to stand up to the very small, but loud, number of gun extremists, and we demand action now,” said Penny Okamoto, Ceasefire Oregon executive director.

Stripping away rights

But pro-gun lobbyists don’t think events at Clackamas Town Center or Sandy Hook should be part of the discussion.

“Stripping away a God-given, constitutionally protected right as a reaction to the crimes of madmen is a ridiculous way to make national policy,” Starrett said.

Starrett identified U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, a Hood River Republican representing the state’s Second District, as Oregon’s only member of Congress who “isn’t anti-gun” and will be encouraging supporters to write their current lawmakers and vote in the future to support “Second Amendment candidates.”

Alliance organizers also vowed to track state legislators’ votes on gun-safety legislation, and build a political constituency around this issue for upcoming elections.

“Gun violence is preventable, takes too many lives, and there are things we can do today to make a difference,” said Erin Thomas, Brady Campaign Portland chapter co-founder. “Let’s focus on a very clear area of agreement between gun-rights advocates and the Brady Campaign: we can establish zero tolerance for murder as a solution to anything.”

The Clackamas Town Center event was one of more than 120 events nationwide commemorating a National Day of Action to Reduce Gun Violence, which was launched at the White House Thursday morning by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and more than a dozen American mothers directly impacted by gun violence.

“Oregonians have not forgotten the tragic shootings at Clackamas Town Center in December, and we are tired of inaction in Washington, D.C., more than three months after the fact,” said Helen Nolen of Organizing For Action. “The time for common sense restrictions on gun purchases and ammunition is now.”