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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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Splash into fun, connect with community


Looking for something to do for the day that is fun and affordable for the entire family? Then look no further than BCT’s 10th annual Backyard Bash, from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 13.

The event, held in the backyard of Beaver Creek Cooperative Telephone Company’s facility on Henrici Road in Oregon City, started off small in 2004, to honor the company’s 100th birthday, said Tangee Summerhill-Bishop, director of marketing and member services.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: BCT - This year's annual Backyard Bash organized by Beaver Creek Cooperative Telephone Company will also feature a water slide.“It is a community event, a hometown festival like a small-scale fair, with inflatables, food, wine, vendors and entertainment,” she said.

In 2004, her team was asked to put the event together, and it first started with a few tables of nonprofit organizations, an eating area, a tiny kids corner and entertainment. A couple hundred people, mainly BCT members, attended.

“It’s amazing to see how it has grown. We now have 45 vendors and the kids corner takes up the entire parking lot. Last year 1,300 people attended from a wide variety of places,” Summerhill-Bishop said.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: BCT - Crowds converge for last year's ninth-annual Backyard Bash organized by Beaver Creek Cooperative Telephone Company.

It takes a community

Since its founding in 1904, BCT has been heavily involved with the community. It has always been the company’s mission to be a partner in the community and give back, Summerhill-Bishop said.

One reason to put on the Backyard Bash is to provide a family-friendly event, but it is the second goal that makes the event unique, she said.

Right from the advent of the bash, the purpose was to raise money for local nonprofits, but organizers quickly realized they needed to scale back the number of groups, so that each made a fair amount of money.

“We do this to shed light on the small-scale, nonmainstream nonprofits, not the ones that are already getting huge amounts of money,” Summerhill-Bishop. This year’s charities include Backpack Buddies, The Founders Clinic, Gaffney Lane Elementary School, Meals on Wheels, Squires and Youth Music Project. Next year a different group of nonprofits will benefit from the event.

Entrance to the Backyard Bash is free, but all the money raised that day from two silent auctions and raffles, the kids corner, the Bingo tent and the BCT barbecue cart will be divided among the six nonprofits, Summerhill-Bishop said.

“There is no way a company as small as ours could fund this event by ourselves, so that is where all our community partnerships and sponsors come into play,” she said, noting that companies and individuals donate items for the raffles and auctions, and fees from the vendors go into putting the event on.

“In the past nine years this event has donated over $48,000 to local nonprofits,” Summerhill-Bishop said.

She also said she is grateful to the Oregon City High School cross country and wrestling teams, which help set up and take down the event every year.

Family friendly

Organizers try to have something for everyone to enjoy, she said, from babies to grandparents.

“People even bring their dogs, and this year one of our affiliates gave us little doggie bags for clean-up,” Summerhill-Bishop added.

In the kids corner, children may take part in face painting, bounce houses, a waterslide, an old-fashioned dime toss and a trout pond, stocked with real fish.

Last year there were so many fish left at the end of the event, that children were invited to jump into the pond and catch fish with their bare hands.

“They were splashing and squealing and holding up the fish — they were so proud,” Summerhill-Bishop said.

As for the dime toss, whatever participants manage to land a dime on is theirs to take away, she said, noting that one time an adult won so many prizes that his wife was unhappy with his haul of goodies.

Wineries Christopher Bridge and Forest Edge will be on hand with adult beverages. In addition to the BCT barbecue cart with hamburgers, food vendors also will be selling hot dogs and sausages, ice cream sandwiches, Mexican food, strawberry shortcake, pulled pork and slushies.

Craft and commercial-product vendors will sell such wares as jewelry, candles, handbags and more, Summerhill-Bishop said.

Musical entertainment will be provided by Scott Brockett and Rich DeVore; Maralee’s Dance Production features children dancing in the stage area, she said.

The most fun part of the whole event for her, Summerhill-Bishop said, is “looking across the field and seeing it filled with people. We are a small telephone company, and to have that direct impact with a company founded so long ago brings me so much joy.”

Bash-full fun

What: BCT presents its free 10th annual Backyard Bash

When: 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 13

Where: Behind BCT headquarters at 15233 S. Henrici Road, in Oregon City

Details: Profits from raffles, auctions and other events benefit six local nonprofits. They are: Backpack Buddies, providing a backpack of food for children to take home on weekends; The Founders Clinic, providing health care to the medically uninsured in Clackamas County; Gaffney Lane Elementary School; Meals on Wheels, delivering food to home-bound seniors in Oregon City and Beavercreek; Squires, empowering and educating teen fathers; and Youth Music Project, providing free or low-cost music lessons to children.

The BCT Backyard Bash is presented by BCT and Oregon City’s Haggen. The event is sponsored by: Carlson Furniture and Appliance, Citizens Bank, Clackamas County Vet Clinic, Coastal Farm and Ranch, Denise Goding-Keller Williams, Haven Corner, OC Signs, Oregonians Credit Union, Portland Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, Team Jensen Mortgage Express and Willy Make It?

For more info, visit bctelco.com.