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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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Lavender love


Girls prep for annual sale to benefit cancer patients, now in Oregon City

It started small, with a few bundles of lavender and a $49 donation to the Children’s Cancer Association.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - From left, Lauren Henning, Audrey Minch and Lauren Jones work on putting together tea lights for the sale.Twin sisters Emily and Lauren Henning were in first grade at the time, five years ago, and they wanted to find a way to help their mother, Jeanette, with her volunteer work at the Children’s Cancer Association. They noticed that there was an unusual amount of lavender in their backyard and that it was almost exactly the same color as the CCA logo.

“Our first-grade minds made that connection,” Lauren Henning said. “Purple and purple matched.”

The $49 accrued from that first sale wasn’t much, but it proved to be a building block to something bigger. Over the past five years, Emily and Lauren have brought more and more of their friends into the group — which took on the name “Lavender Girls” — and the fifth annual lavender sale is shaping up to be perhaps the most successful yet.

This year the sale will span two days and two cities — on Friday, Aug. 23, the sale will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 23 on the corner of Vista Ridge Drive and Coeur d’Alene Drive in West Linn, and on Saturday, Aug. 24, the sale will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at Big Dog Stables, 13262 S. Leland Road in Oregon City.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Maddie Sand braids TinkerBell's mane at Big Dog Stables in Oregon City to prepare for the lavender sale there this weekend. Judy Herson, owner of Big Dog Stables, was so touched by the work of the lavender girls that she opened up her 23 acres for the girls to sell lavender goodies and will offer pony rides for $5 each on Saturday, Aug. 24. Many of the Lavender Girls have made Big Dog Stables their “second home” over the years where they’ve taken horseback lessons, camped out, and spent time just hanging out helping Herson with the care of the horses and grounds.

The Lavender Girls are a passionate group of preteens who are determined to put the excess lavender growing in their yards to helping critically ill kids in their community. They’ve sewn lavender sachets, gathered bundles of fresh picked lavender, prepared homemade baked goods, lavender bath salts and hand-painted votives with lavender stalks.

In the past, the group elected to help a 4-year-old girl who bravely battled leukemia by contributing their funds toward a fully furnished backyard playhouse complete with a pink iPod and matching speakers. A few years ago, the girls contributed to help Kate, a CCA-served girl, swim with the dolphins in Hawaii.

In 2012, a portion of their earnings went toward a surprise “pick-me-up” for a 13-year-old patient at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Through the years the girl had had two heart surgeries, a liver transplant in 2001, and a kidney transplant in July 2012. She was crazy about Justin Beiber, to the point that her hospital room was decked out with posters and a life-size cardboard cutout that she carried around the floor with her. On the day of her discharge there were about 15 hospital staff in her room to say goodbye and watch her receive a surprise gift of Beiber concert tickets.

Profits have jumped exponentially since that first sale, from $49 in 2009 to $162 in 2010, $1,600 in 2011 and $2,400 last year. Each year, the money is used on special gifts for children who are often terminally ill.

“All the money goes to the Children’s Cancer Association,” Lauren said. “And they use it on kids who have cancer, as their wish. ... It’s CCA’s version of Make a Wish.”

As profits have grown, so too has the scope of the craftwork. Where at first the girls simply gathered the lavender into bundles and sold it, now they take pains each year to come up with fresh ideas. This time around, they are making lavender pouches and sachets, as well as decorated vases, jewelry and assorted baked goods.

To go along with the material from the girls’ backyard, Lavender at Stonegate Farm in West Linn and Wilsonville’s Barn Owl Nursery also have donated lavender to the cause.

“It’s pretty much all local stuff — we don’t import anything,” Lavender Girl Sydney Steinberg said.

The hope is that a wide variety of items for sale will help offset the shorter timeframe in Oregon City. And once the word gets out, people tend to be more generous.

“Last year a few people donated $100, or $50 or $20,” Lauren said. “And that really helped.”

Once the sale is over, the group sends its earnings to the CCA. Shortly thereafter, the CCA replies with a list of needs from its patients and the Lavender Girls are tasked with deciding where the money goes.

“Sometimes we try to pick less expensive wishes,” Lauren said. “So they can do more with the money.”

Aside from Justin Bieber tickets, the Lavender Girls have in past years given out everything from a pink ukulele to an outdoor playhouse and even the trip to Hawaii.

Not bad for a project that started with the Henning twins, a cousin and one of their neighbors. The group has now expanded to 15 girls from various West Linn middle schools and doubles as an extracurricular social opportunity.

“I’ve met a few new people here because I’m a grade younger,” said Lauren Jones, another member of the group.

But ultimately, it’s the giving aspect of the project that has the most profound impact.

“I think it makes us all feel good that we’re helping people,” she said. “And making their wish come true.”

To learn more, visit the Lavender Girls Facebook page at facebook.com/LavenderGirlsOfWestLinn.