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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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OCHS teacher Bill Bartman gets surprise retirement party


Dana Henson knows he has some big shoes to fill, now that Oregon City High School band Director Bill Bartman has retired.

by: PHOTO BY: ELLEN SPITALERI - On the last day of school, the real Bill Bartman, left, with the flat Bill Bartman, given to him by his many fans.Bartman wasn’t really ready to retire, but he also said he is proud to be leaving the program “in good hands, so it will grow and flourish.”

Although Bartman’s official last day of school was June 11, his students, present and former, cooked up a surprise send-off party for him on June 3, the night of Bartman’s last band concert.

“It was a tearful, joyful, humbling honor,” he said, describing how his students had arranged for him and his wife to be transported to the concert in a 1957 Cadillac limousine.

After progressing through a reception line, Bartman was directed to sit in a special gold chair, and then listened as students from his past shared stories about him.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Bill Bartman, retiring band director at OCHS, waltzes through a receiving line before the last concert of his career. He is followed by Dana Henson, his successor.Then Oregon City Mayor Doug Neeley gave Bartman a city proclamation, noting his positive work in the community.

Following the concert, Bartman was given a letter from Gov. John Kitzhaber, and treated to a reception and surprise party.

“There was a really cool display of things we’ve done in the past 10 years and lots of kids from the past. It was so awesome to reconnect with parents and kids who are young adults and parents now. It is always good to see what they have done,” Bartman said.

A jazz band played during the party, and when Bartman went over to commend them, he discovered that it was composed of his former students who are now working musicians.

And as one final honor — a plaque dedicating the band room to Bartman will be placed just outside the door, where he has worked with nearly 3,000 students over the years.

Retirement decision

Several years ago Bartman was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a disorder of peripheral neuropathy, which affected his ability to stand and walk.

Despite his doctor’s orders, Bartman chose to stick with his job, because it “has been a joy and pleasure” to be the band director at OCHS for the last 10 years, he said.

In April 2012, Bartman decided to work only half-time, and that was when Henson, 30, came on board.

They’ve known each other since Henson was a senior at Siuslaw High School.

“Dana ended up being the band director at the high school when he was still a senior, and he took them to state. My daughter was in his band, and we got to be really good friends,” Bartman said.

Henson went on to Oregon State University, Bartman’s alma mater, studying to become a band director.

“Dana was considered by his professors to be the best field show instructor,” Bartman said, so the school district brought Henson into the program in 2012, and hired him to replace Bartman.

“When I realized the students couldn’t have played any better with me, I decided to retire,” Bartman said.

Now he is looking forward to doing other things, including traveling and playing his trombone for the Willamette Falls Orchestra and the Tualatin Valley Community Band.

Career highlights

One of the brightest spots in his time at OCHS was the New York City band trip in November 2011 for the 92nd Annual NYC Veterans Day Parade, commemorating the 10th Anniversary Tribute to the World Trade Center, Bartman said.

“The kids and parents were so wonderful and the kids did so well. We were one of the first groups to preview the reflecting pools, and the whole 9/11 memorial was so touching to the kids — they were visibly moved.”

He also fondly remembers the first trip the band took to Washington, D.C., in 2006. The band, in full dress uniform, marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in honor of the 300th anniversary of Ben Franklin’s birth.

“It was 99 degrees and 100 percent humidity. It was so hot they canceled school in Washington, D.C. We were so proud to be there, but during our performance it was so hot that the instruments were starting to pop,” Bartman said.

Smooth hand-off

Bartman is happy to be leaving the band program in good hands, and Henson said he is most looking forward to “continuing the legacy” that Bartman has established at OCHS, by “continuing to build on an already award-winning program.”

Henson will take the marching band to the 2014 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., and the band will return to Victoria, British Columbia, in 2015.

There are so many things that he likes about his new job, Henson said.

“But the best thing is the kids — the students. Who else can get up at 5:30 a.m. and play at 6:30 a.m.? They come with smiling faces — ready to play. They are really special out here,” he said.