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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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OC resident sharing animal-rescue karma


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Jo Becker, who rescued the llama from under her neighbors fence this summer, feeds Miss Posey.Good thing Oregon City resident Jo Becker had just attended Washington State Animal Response Team’s Technical Large Animal Rescue class just one week before her midnight run-in with a large bull in her driveway.

In early July, what turned out to be a docile 1,000-pound bull wandered the streets and yards of the Park Place neighborhood. In the ensuing media coverage, he was dubbed Ferdinand after the genteel character illustrated by Robert Lawson in the Munro Leaf children’s book.

By the next afternoon, Becker and her neighbors corralled Ferdinand onto another property with a pivotal assist from their garbage truck driver who turned out to be at the right place at just the right time. By late that evening, the bull’s owners had been identified.

Now Becker has decided to organize a series of free animals-in-disasters workshops for the community this fall. She’ll teach the first class on Nov. 10 as an overview on animals “great and small” and hopes not only cat and dog people, but also horse and pig people attend. Her expertise goes beyond the small-animal focus of the classes she took with the Oregon Humane Society, which also trained her to rappel over cliffs to reach stranded dogs and to climb trees to assist injured cats.

September is Emergency Preparedness Month, so it’s a good time to add a class to your schedule. Disclaimer: After taking one of these classes, Becker warns that you won’t necessarily be able to wrangle a bull, or even deal with an aggressive dog.

“But it will give attendees a higher level of awareness when it comes to approaching unfamiliar or stressed and injured animals,” she said.

Passion pays off

For nearly a decade, Becker, who is in her late 30s, has made it her hobby to study preparedness, disaster response and emergency management, all with a specific passion for helping animals in such situations. She has spent countless hours attending online and classroom courses and participating in regional disaster drills with WASART and other first-responder agencies, often driving six-hour round trips to train.

“That training was extremely useful in terms of large-animal behavior and what to expect, as well as what not to do,” Becker said. “I took several calculated risks that week and was incredibly lucky that everything worked out.”

Earlier that week, Becker was tending to another neighbor’s livestock when she found one of their llamas, Miss Posey, had gotten pinned below a fence, and no one was available to help with extrication. The flexible fencing material was too strong for her to budge alone, and she didn’t have a wire cutter. Even if she did, she would then have to contend with an animal on the loose.

“I finally decided if I couldn’t lift the fencing up the two-to-three inches I needed to clear her, then perhaps I could lower her body that distance to free her,” Becker said.

With that, Becker began digging — primarily by hand — at the dry dirt beneath the animal for more than two hours.

“By that time, another neighbor was home and helped pull up on the fencing while I worked at pulling, pushing and wiggling Posey free,” she said.

Because of her technical animal-rescue training, Becker had some idea how to handle these situations, but she laments that many people don’t have that knowledge or experience. An American Pet Products Association survey this year found 68 percent of U.S. households have at least one pet, and that’s without counting personal or commercial livestock.

“The fact of the matter is people love their animals, and the sneaky little truth is, if you can pull on their heartstrings and spur them to action in preparing their animals, they’ll prepare themselves as well,” Becker said. “Doing so can realign their expectations of first responders, raise their level of resourcefulness, encourage working with neighbors and the community, increase their chances of surviving a disaster, and empower them by improving personal resilience.”

In 2005 before moving to Oregon City, this type of “preparedness bug” bit Becker when she first participated in Beaverton’s city-run Community Emergency Response Team, officially a FEMA program. Clackamas Fire District No. 1 supports CERT groups in local cities such as Oregon City and Milwaukie.

Get pet smart

Clackamas Fire has donated the use of Milwaukie Fire Station No. 4, 6606 S.E. Lake Road, for the classroom-style sessions, and two of Jo Becker’s teammates have offered to help put on the series scheduled from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on three consecutive Sundays in November.

Becker will present “Preparing for Disasters Great & Small: Why & How to Prepare for Your Animals” on Nov. 10. The introductory session will consist of an overview and lots of practical tips for animal owners.

On Nov. 17, Milwaukie Police Officer Ulli Neitch, who’s also a member of the Oregon Humane Society’s Technical Animal Rescue Team, will present “Canine Communication & Pussycat Posture: Animal Handling & Body Language.”

Hollie Smith will offer “Pet First Aid: Knowing What to Do When Minutes Count” on Nov. 24. This is not a first-aid-certification course, but is focused on increasing animal owners’ awareness and general knowledge. Smith is a board member of the Washington State Animal Response Team as well as a certified vet tech and emergency management professional.

The classes are free for anyone in the metro area who would like to attend. If you’re interested, you can learn more and register at jobecker.weebly.com/aidpresentations.html.