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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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Water songs


Performances display talents of leader to protect Clackamas County's beloved Johnson Creek

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Matt Clark, executive director of the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, plays his guitar with Johnson Creek behind him for backup music.Plenty of songs have been written about rivers and oceans, and now there is an entire CD devoted to a body of water near and dear to Clackamas County residents — Johnson Creek.

Matt Clark, the executive director of Johnson Creek Watershed Council, an environmental nonprofit, came up with the idea for the album, entitled “Songs for Johnson Creek.” All the songs are family-appropriate and kid-friendly, Clark said.

Many of the participating musicians will perform at an album-debut and children’s party from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, at the Bobwhite Theatre, 6423 S.E. Foster Road, Portland.

Clark, a musician himself, will appear at the event, along with Mo Phillips, Red Yarn, Mr. Hoo, Tallulah’s Daddy and Buttercup Bill Aubrecht.  

Ticket prices are $7 for adults and $5 for children; one album download is included with admission.

Clark said he chose the site, because it is in the Johnson Creek Watershed; he also noted that the Bobwhite Theatre donated the venue for the concert.   

“We’ve done an art show for Johnson Creek, so we could see the creek through different eyes. Then I thought about it and realized I have song-writing skills and know a lot of performers, so I thought we could honor the creek through music,” he said.

This past February, Clark contacted a group of local musicians, many of them specializing in children’s music, and the end result was 12 tracks of songs, all with an environmental theme. None of the artists received any compensation for their work, and any money received through PayPal for the downloading of the CD will support a JCWC project to install logs and boulders in-stream, and to excavate side channel habitat to benefit native Chinook and Coho salmon and steelhead trout in Johnson Creek. 

Once the salmon habitat restoration is fully funded, album proceeds will then go toward the construction of an interpretive boardwalk next to Johnson Creek, Clark noted, adding that the goal is to raise $15,000 for the salmon-restoration and interpretive projects.

Family-oriented music

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - 'Songs for Johnson Creek' will aid the creek's restoration.Clark, 40, has been playing piano since he was 7 and guitar since he was 12. He began writing children’s music when his wife was pregnant with Rowan, who is now 6. Clark has played in bands around town for years and forged friendships with many local musicians who play “kindie” music, specifically aimed at kids.

On the song he wrote for the album, “Kids Need Creeks,” his son sings on the track with him.

Oregon City resident Jeff Inlay, who performs as Mr. Hoo, will be at the event on Saturday to perform “Roe Together,” a song he sings on the CD with his performing partner Mr. E; together, the two men are known as The Alphabeticians.

They came up with that name because Inlay’s children re-wrote the traditional alphabet song to new music and the two men liked the word Alphabetician, as it is a play on words for the alphabet, with elements of musician and magician mixed together, Inlay said.

They wanted to be part of the Johnson Creek project, Inlay said, because they are friends with Clark, and they wanted to help the environment.

“It’s a great thing to help habitats, and it also gets our name out there and we get to be affiliated with the other musicians,” Inlay said.

Mr. E, wrote “Roe Together,” which plays off the Beatles song “Come Together,” Inlay noted, adding that the song would not have existed without the CD project.

“It is about salmon leaving and coming back, and it mentions Johnson Creek particularly. There are a lot of parts to it; it has more layers than any other song we’ve done,” Inlay said.

Honoring Johnson Creek

The Bobwhite Theatre event will give attendees a chance to “sample local children’s musicians, playing at an event geared toward children and families,” Inlay said.

It will also be a chance to hear some of the songs performed live and it is a “chance to support a great cause,” he added.

Clark is grateful to “all the amazing artists,” many of whom are professional musicians; he further noted that none of them will get any financial compensation, but worked on the CD because they believe in the salmon-restoration project.

Another way to support the Johnson Creek project is to donate money to the “donor recognition handrail,” Clark said.

People who give $100 or more to this project will have their names engraved on the curvilinear railing along the Tacoma Street Boardwalk, one of the Milwaukie MAX stops. The idea is similar to the bricks engraved with donor names that helped fund Portland’s Pioneer Square, he said.

Clark added that both the CD and the boardwalk project are “fun ways to generate some revenue and bring attention to Johnson Creek.”