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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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PetSmart donates $10K to Dog Food Bank


A dog’s life just got better — or to be more accurate, hundreds of dogs’ lives just got better on Oct. 2, when PetSmart presented a $10,000 check to Friends Involved in Dog Outreach.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Linda Cloud, AniMeals coordinator, and volunteer Jan Straessle pack dog food into bags, while Kady, Straessle's dog, watches.Volunteers at FIDO, based in a warehouse on Kaen Road in Oregon City, will use the money to pay overhead expenses, like utility bills and maintenance, janitorial and security fees.

“The gift from PetSmart will pay our county fees for a year, and money generated from fundraisers and donations will allow us to keep ahead of the game,” said Linda Cloud, AniMeals coordinator.

She said PetSmart also donated a substantial amount of food for both cats and dogs, something the organization always needs. In addition, 24 PetSmart employees from Oregon and southwest Washington came to the warehouse at 9 a.m. on Oct. 2 to help bag dog food and deliver it to seniors in the AniMeals program.

“They put us all to work, and it was a lot of fun and rewarding to spend time with the volunteers. We want to be there to support and appreciate what they do — they are the heroes,” said Jeff Mlady, manager of the Clackamas PetSmart store on 82nd Avenue.

The $10,000 gift came about because Mlady met volunteers from FIDO and found out the organization was in a financial crunch.

“This program allows us to reach out to the community and have a lasting and personalized impact on the community by supporting pet adoption and rescue organizations, along with shelters,” Mlady said.

FIDO and AniMeals

FIDO, a nonprofit founded in 2004, was set up to help keep pets in homes and out of shelters. In 2005, volunteers at FIDO began the AniMeals program. It works in conjunction with Clackamas County Social Services to deliver dog and cat food to the housebound pet owners who receive Meals on Wheels.

“In 2009, we heard about people in limbo, who didn’t have the resources to buy dog food or who were maybe waiting for unemployment checks. We then realized that others need help besides seniors, so we started the Dog Food Bank,” Cloud said, noting that people receiving food from the program need to meet proof-of-low-income status.

The Dog Food Bank is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the third Saturday of every month at the warehouse, and people who bring proof of low-income status will be given 20 pounds of dog food, which should last them one month, Cloud said.

“We go through 25,000 Ziploc bags a year,” she said.

The bank always needs more food and volunteers for events or to drop off bags of food at the Milwaukie, Oregon City, Estacada and Canby senior centers. You can also set up an appointment to bring donations to the warehouse.

“We’d love to expand to do a cat food bank, but we would need a steady supply of 500 to 800 pounds of cat food a month,” Cloud said.

“We help over 100 families and 200 dogs a month through the Dog Food Bank, and another 100 seniors’ pets in AniMeals. Doing this makes people happy. They can keep their pets, and it keeps the pets out of the shelters or from being euthanized,” she said.

Soon after the Dog Food Bank opened in 2009, people in other states wanted to use FIDO, AniMeals and the Dog Food Bank as models for programs in their areas.

“The Dog Food Bank has helped people start pet food banks in Wyoming, Vermont, Florida, Oklahoma, Indiana and California. It’s nice that it’s spreading,” Cloud said.

October is a busy month for FIDO volunteers. On Oct. 12, the Gladstone Burgerville on McLoughlin Boulevard will host a fundraiser from 2 to 5 p.m., with 10 percent of profits going to the organization.

Then on Oct. 12 and 13, the Berry Hill K-Mart on Beavercreek Road will host a vaccination clinic from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Pets can get rabies shots for $10 or a vet check and microchip for $30; or they can do both for $35,” Cloud said.

FIDO Dog Food Bank

Where: 2100 Kaen Road, Oregon City

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Saturday of every month. The next event will be Oct. 19, at the warehouse.

Contact: Call Linda Cloud, AniMeals coordinator, at 971-678-6940, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Website: Visit fido-clackamas.org for more information on all FIDO programs.

Donations: Donated cat and dog food may be dropped off at area senior centers in Milwaukie, Oregon City, Estacada and Canby. Mail checks to FIDO, P.O. Box 1896, Clackamas, OR 97015.