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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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'Bells and whistles'


OC's DHS overhauls child visitation rooms

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Project Coordinator Aimee Eckley and her 2-year-old daughter, Caitlin, play at the kitchen area in one of the refurbished visitation rooms. For years, Jen Johnson and her fellow social workers at the Oregon Department of Human Services office in Oregon City faced the same basic problem every time they ushered a foster child into a visitation room to meet with his or her biological parents.

No matter how kind they were, no matter how bright their smiles or light their voices, they couldn’t do anything to change the appearance of the rooms — drab and industrial, hardly a welcoming environment for family reunions.

“It was just kind of stagnant and depressing,” Johnson said. “So it’s hard to put a family in there and say, ‘Enjoy this.’”

That disconnect between best intentions and harsh reality was apparent when members of West Linn’s Willamette Christian Church visited DHS last spring as part of the Portland Leadership Foundation’s Embrace Oregon project. They wanted to know how they could help, and the child visitation rooms clearly ranked first on the list of needs.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: CINDY CONLIN - A look at one of the old DHS visitation rooms, before a recent renovation.

Now, more than a year later, Johnson and her colleagues can look in awe at the transformation that has taken place. With the help of $15,000 raised during a Mother’s Day fundraiser, the church partnered with DHS workers to completely revamp the visitation rooms, adding fresh paint jobs along with new couches, televisions and three-dimensional artwork to line the walls.

“It’s fantastic,” DHS Office Specialist Liz Schroeder said. “Really, the only thing we could provide (before) was a safe, monitored area without the bells and whistles. These people came and they put the bells and whistles in the rooms.”

Monday’s unveiling of the new rooms was particularly special for Schroeder, who came up with the idea along with former colleague Katie Schaefer as part of a leadership class offered by DHS. They took it upon themselves to reinvent the first room with a Dr. Seuss theme, and originally planned to seek different sponsors for each of the remaining rooms.

“We started with the intent of having each room adopted by someone in the community, at zero cost to taxpayers,” Schroeder said. “We didn’t want any taxpayer money involved in this at all.”

That was before Willamette Christian Church and Embrace Oregon came along.

Led by Joy Dombrow — the church’s director of the adoption and foster care ministry and wife of Lead Pastor Joel Dombrow — the church group jumped full on into the project. Schroeder and DHS had found the only sponsor they needed.

“We asked to see if there was any sort of need here, and they were very open and generous in letting us come and help in whatever way we could,” Joy Dombrow said. “We wanted to make it more homey because we knew that families were coming to reunite with their children.

“I have the luxury at home of cuddling with my kids on the couch and reading them a story — it feels comfortable. But here it felt more office-like, hand-me-down furniture and that kind of thing."

It was a team effort, as artist and church member Lori Russell contributed a series of paintings for display and Cindy Conlin applied her skills as a decorator to the redesign of each room.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Artist Lori Russell stands next to one of the three-dimensional paintings she contributed to the Department of Human Services office in Oregon City.

“Everyone had a hand in it and it created something beautiful,” Schroeder said.

There will always be hiccups, especially in work as unpredictable as human services. Just after the rooms were opened up on Monday, Johnson was frustrated when neither a child nor her parents showed up for a 9:30 a.m. appointment. She wanted to work.

Yet if schedules and motivations are ever volatile, the refined visitation rooms provide at least one constant to rely on.

“It’s soothing, too — the paintings on the walls, everything when they walk into the rooms isn’t so much like you’re at an appointment,” Johnson said. “I think it’ll just be more comfortable for them.”

“We wanted to show them that they’re valuable and loved,” Dombrow added. “And we’re thinking about them and caring for them by putting them in an environment that feels like a home more. That was our objective, and I feel like we’ve done that.”

The Oregon DHS office is located at 315 S. Beavercreek Road in Oregon City and can be reached at 503-945-5944.

For more information, visit http://oregon.gov/dhs/Pages/index.aspx.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Sokpak Bhell, left, and Cindy Conlin admire one of the new child visitation rooms at the DHS building in Oregon City.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Department of Human Services Manager Carlos Crutch and his 9-year-old son, Christian, check out the new Dr. Seuss-themed visitation room at DHS.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - From left, Lori Russell, Cindy Conlin, Aimee Eckley and Joy Dombrow are members of the Willamette Christian Church community who volunteered for the project.