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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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Community 'rock' Evans moves on


GHS principal fondly remembers 13 years of service, challenges

by: PHOTO COURTESY: GLADSTONE SCHOOL DISTRICT - Gladstone High School Principal Stu EvansGladstone High School Principal Stu Evans, who announced his retirement last week to a community stunned by his cancer diagnosis, leaves behind a legacy of accomplishments among staff and students.

Known for fostering core programs around reading, writing and math, while constantly developing programs around science, technology and engineering, Evans served as GHS principal for 13 years, the second longest tenure in the school’s history after founding Principal Pat O’Brien (1966-84). The GHS Class of 2013’s 93 percent reading and 88 percent writing scores put them among the smartest in Oregon.

In 2009, science teacher Kevin Zerzan received the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, along with $25,000. Also in 2011, David Kays received Yale University’s Distinguished Music Educator Award.

GHS Spanish teacher Brad Kuntz was one of only two educators nationwide honored with the 2011 Outstanding Young Educator Award by ASCD, an international educational leadership association. Kuntz was instrumental in helping GHS students and staff receive two statewide sustainability awards in the past few years for efforts to recycle, reduce and build school gardens.

“We have a really strong culture of a supportive community,” Evans said. “Awards help keep the rest of the staff motivated because everyone takes pride in the recognition, and it also helps create pride in the school.”

When asked how the school managed to receive so many awards lately, Evans laid out a formula that included getting several teachers national board certification and then allowing all staff to take chances.

“I tried to build a sense of strong collaboration and get people to think outside of the box for solutions,” Evans said. “If it doesn’t work, then OK, let’s try something else, so these folks are willing to take risks.”

Having fun with challenges

Superintendent Bob Stewart expressed how consistently impressed he was with Evans’ credibility with school staff members. A bond voters passed for the Gladstone School District in 2006 put more than $25 million of investments in GHS to expand its cafeteria, fix leaks, build a new technology center and other projects.

“Stu was somebody who stood out because of his strength of character and conviction,” Stewart said. “When we did the remodel of the high school, that was a major upheaval of all the people of the school. Stu kept his eye on the end goal of an incredibly improved school building, rather than on the day-to-day crises, and he wasn’t ever flustered.”

Evans admitted that the remodel was the biggest hurdle of his career.

“That was a big challenge, but that was actually a lot of fun and a big reward for the community because we got to see many key improvements,” he said.

But Evans’ proudest accomplishments are in fostering AP courses and Clackamas Community College teachers onsite during the day so that many GHS students graduate with 30 college credits. Many GHS courses appeared online during Evans’ tenure as well.

“Academic achievement has always been a big priority for me and my staff to make sure that students are college and career ready,” Evans said. “Every teacher does goal setting in the fall, but I required that every teacher write specific goals for improving their students’ writing skills. It’s a lot of work for the teachers on the front end for proficiency-based learning efforts, but it can really pay off in the end.”

Moving forward

Evans, 59, experienced a sudden illness on April 9, and after a cancer diagnosis, began radiation treatments last week, to be followed by chemotherapy. Cancer cells have invaded his colon, lymph nodes and liver, and doctors are telling him that it will eventually reach his lungs to kill him.

“The diagnosis puts a lot of things into perspective,” Evans said. “Knowing that my cancer is terminal was a big part of my decision, and if the best-case scenario is that I have five more good years, then I want to spend that time with my family and friends to get a new perspective on things.”

He and his wife, Ann, have three grandsons and three daughters, the youngest of whom graduated from GHS in 2002. Cards or messages of encouragement for Evans can be sent to GHS, 18800 Portland Ave. 97027, in care of Ellen Peck.

Evans puts his faith in a new team that’s stepped up to lead GHS: Vice Principal Patti Alexander is serving as interim principal, while Athletic Director Jere Applebee serves as an interim assistant principal.

“Patti’s always thinking of ways to help support kids,” Evans said. “Our staff just gets it and they want our kids to be well and have a better future, so as long as they keep those goals in mind, then I know that things will be in good hands. I’m extremely proud of them for hunkering down and working as hard as they do.”

Stewart noted that Evans was a good role model for his staff in building trust among peers.

“The word I would use to describe Stu is a rock who can always be relied upon,” Stewart said. “He was always advocating for the students who needed to be challenged as much as the students who needed special help. Stu was an advocate for all.”