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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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School notes: Holiday placemats; foundation funds; donations; classes


Miss Gillies’ third grade class at John Wetten Elementary brightened the holiday season for seniors served by the Meals on Wheels program, creating festive placemats and handcrafted cards that were delivered with hot meals.

by: PHOTO BY: LESLIE ROBINETTE - Gladstone third graders in Miss Gillies' class decorated holiday placemats for homebound seniors served by Meals on Wheels. “Each child showed off their unique style and creativity,” said Gillies. “The students loved the idea of giving back and making a stranger’s day special.”

Foundation funds school projects

At the School Board meeting Dec. 12, the North Clackamas Education Foundation awarded 21 grants totaling $14,700 to projects at 18 district schools. The grants covered a range of elementary, middle and high school projects and funded exciting, innovative and challenging projects in art, music, science, math, reading, community building and anti-bullying work.

“We are excited to be able to fund these amazing projects and recognize and award the work our teachers are doing in our classrooms,” said Executive Director Ami Margolin Rome. “We are able to award our highest dollar amount in our 20 years as a foundation, thanks to the generosity of our donors and this community.”

Each year, the NCEF dedicates money toward educational and enrichment programs through its teacher grant program. The foundation also provides scholarships to graduating high school seniors and subsidizes activity fees to ensure that students in need are not denied the opportunity to participate in an elective course, art class or sport.

NCEF helps support a range of programs outside of school hours such as the Backpack Buddy program that provides two meals to hungry students each weekend and the Lunch Buddy program that provides adult mentors to elementary school children.

More information may be found at nc-foundation.org.

Bob’s Red Mill donates to Gladstone food pantry

The Backpack Buddy program serving 70 Gladstone families each week got a boost at the end of 2013 when the school district created a food pantry to store non-perishable food donations, a staging area for loading backpacks.

Thanks to generous donations from Bob’s Red Mill, the supplemental weekend food packets now include nutritious, whole grain products like brown rice, oatmeal and granola.

“The donation from Bob’s Red Mill has helped students in two ways,” explained Gladstone High Principal Natalie Osburne. “Besides providing food to struggling families, the whole grain donations have provided a job training experience for young adult special education students, who help us count, package and sort the food.”

The program, supported by Gladstone Christian Church and First Baptist Church of Gladstone hopes to expand to serve more families in 2014. To volunteer or contribute, call Volunteer Coordinator Angela Johnson at 503-656-6564, ext. 265.

GHS effort welcomes community donations

Students and staff at Gladstone High School are celebrating the season of giving by adopting more than 20 struggling families. The school has launched a coin drive, toy drive and food drive, and they invite community members to donate.

Toy-drive tags are available during school hours to those who check in at the school office. Unwrapped gifts can be returned to the school with the tag attached. If the number of toys exceeds adopt-a-family needs, the extra toys will be donated to the Gladstone Fire Department toy drive. Needed items include sports equipment, art supplies, dolls, toy cars/trucks, games and books for kids ages 2 to 18.

Coin-drive proceeds will be used to purchase new clothing items for local families. Coins can be delivered during school hours.

Food drive donations can be delivered to the GHS office during school hours. Needed items include pancake mix, syrup, instant rice, muffin/biscuit mixes, high-fiber breakfast cereals, oatmeal, pasta, or high protein items such as peanut butter, tuna, stew, chili, beans, canned ravioli or hearty soups.

Registration begins for parenting class

Parents mystified by middle schoolers will find new strategies to improve family communication, motivate kids, and use positive discipline in a free four-night workshop presented by Northwest Family Services. Free childcare will be provided.

The Parent Power class will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays on Jan. 9, 16, 23 and 30 at Kraxberger Middle School, 17777 Webster Road, Gladstone.

Spaces are filling fast, so register now at lastingrelationships.com or call 503-546-6377.

Community school announces winter classes

For those whose New Year’s resolution is to try something new, Gladstone has a list of fun, affordable winter classes for seniors, adults and kids at http://tinyurl.com/GladstoneFun.

Opportunities for youths include sports, dance, cheerleading, tumbling, baseball batting, guitar, ukulele and driver education.

Classes for adults and seniors include Zumba, first aid, genealogy, computer technology, driving safety, a variety of dance classes, investing, Spanish, gardening, sign language, cooking, guitar, ukulele, woodworking, tai chi, yoga and more.

For more information about how to register, call Tammy Tracy at 503-650-2570.

Volunteers needed to run enrichment classes

Wetten Elementary, 250 E. Exeter St., Gladstone, needs volunteers who have the time and talent to teach children to knit, crochet, cook, play chess, build Legos or do crafts. The school plans to launch a number of after-school classes this winter.

To get involved, contact Volunteer Coordinator Angela Johnson at 503-656-6564 ext. 265 (or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). The commitment is one hour, once a week from 2:20 to 3:20 p.m.

“We want every child to have the opportunity to master new skills, join a positive peer group, and connect with an adult mentor,” Johnson said. “These experiences boost a student’s odds of success in school.”

Elementary seeks donations of used Legos

Families who need to make room for new Christmas toys will find a good home for excess Legos delivered during school hours to Wetten Elementary in Gladstone. The building pieces will be used for a new after-school club at the school.

“With the new educational emphasis on science, technology, and engineering, we want to start kids thinking and planning in three dimensions from their earliest years in school,” said volunteer coordinator Angela Johnson. “One family’s old toys can help students consider a career path of building and designing.”