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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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Youth Music Project finds a permanent home


Charles Lewis spent a year and a half sleeping on a friend’s couch while he orchestrated the opening of Portland’s nonprofit Ethos Music Center.

So while the 2012 process of getting Youth Music Project established in West Linn had a certain familiarity for Lewis, YMP’s executive director, a few key differences stand out. Besides Lewis’ own experience, the biggest may be that, this time, his young startup had a sponsor with deep pockets and a commitment to using its resources to serve children.

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: VERN UYETAKE - Emma Comer of Oregon City performed the Quarterflash hit Harden My Heart with her mother, Quarterflash keyboardist Mel Kubik, at YMP on July 26.That sponsor is the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation, an organization with West Linn roots. The foundation is bankrolling YMP for now, including providing the funds to buy and remodel the 12,500-square-foot building that YMP is just now settling into.

“Fourteen years ago I started a music school on my credit card,” Lewis said. “That was quite an experience.”

Despite the differences, he said the YMP startup has been amazing.

“It’s quite an investment the foundation has made,” Lewis said. “I’m excited to be a part of it and help make it happen.”

With an acoustically treated performance space that will accommodate 200 spectators and that features professional lighting, remote cameras and a direct line to two, professional-grade recording studios, as well as 22 soundproofed, individual classrooms, YMP is poised to serve as many as 1,000 students from West Linn, Wilsonville, Lake Oswego, Oregon City and the surrounding communities each week.

The YMP building, located at 2015 Eighth Ave. in West Linn, was purchased by the foundation for approximately $2.5 million and remodeled on a $1 million budget. An additional $1 million will be spent in the future to remodel the building’s exterior. The foundation has paid the bills so far, providing free rental and use to YMP and promising five years’ support, Lewis said.

“After that, we’ll start to transition to getting grants,” he added. YMP is a 503(c)(3) nonprofit.

Lodged in temporary quarters in West Linn’s Willamette neighborhood, YMP opened its doors in January 2012, offering music lessons during the school year as well as summer camps.

“All that time, we were working on finding a new building,” Lewis said.

This summer, YMP offered six weeklong camps at its new permanent home as well as group and private music lessons — all while working on the building’s remodel, which has been ongoing.

“We’ve been focused on getting this building up and running,” Lewis said. With that project nearing completion, “we’ll work on expanding rapidly into a much larger music school.”

As YMP grows, it will continue offering music classes and camps to students regardless of their ability to pay. About 70 percent of YMP students receive free or reduced tuition, based on their lunch status with their school district. Students who qualify for free lunch receive 100 percent scholarships, and students who qualify for reduced-price lunches receive 75 percent scholarships. Since the summer of 2012, Lewis said, the foundation has provided $100,000 in scholarships.

“It’s a very important thing for the foundation, to make sure music education is accessible to every kid,” he said.

The YMP site is designed to be much more than a music school. Lewis’ vision includes professional musicians offering community performances as well as open-mic events for students. In addition to the auditorium, the individual practice rooms and recording studios, when all the work is completed, the site will feature a green room to accommodate visiting artists, a retail space offering musical instruments for purchase or rent, an espresso bar and a café offering things like sandwiches and pizza to students attending after-school music lessons. The site also includes a dance studio, currently under construction, that boasts a Harlequin sprung floor. Lewis said that YMP is seeking a nonprofit dance instructor to offer classes in that space.

According to Rachel Bany, YMP’s marketing coordinator, the organization is eager to become a community partner and encourages students and their families to visit nearby establishments.

Classes are being offered now for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Registration for the new school year opens Sept. 7, with classes scheduled to begin on Oct. 7. The classes are designed to go beyond the music programs available at schools. Not every student is interested in school options like choral performance or symphonic band, Lewis said, and YMP’s focus on rock, country and pop music may strike a chord with students who are uninspired by their school’s offerings.

“We give every child a chance to join a rock band and rock out,” he said.