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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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Stayin' alive!


Ten-thousand and counting. That’s the number of North Clackamas and Oregon City middle school and more than 500 high school students who have learned and taught hands-only CPR since last fall.

by: PHOTO BY: CINDY FREE-FETTY - Clackamas Fire EMS Officer Bill Conway trains students on proper use of the defibrillator machine used during cardiac arrest. It was a combined effort between middle school health classes, Clackamas Fire District personnel, Cascade Training Center and American Medical Response.

According to Rowe Middle School health teacher Paco Joanis, “There could not be a better way to get kids involved in their community. The idea last fall of these kids learning CPR and then going home and teaching it to others was amazing. Now that it has been such a success with over 10,000 people taught, it not only makes us proud as teachers, but it builds a new level of confidence in these kids. They know they can save a life!”

The program was designed by Clackamas Fire EMS Officer Bill Conway and Clackamas Fire Public Information Officer Brandon Paxton as an effort to teach as many people hands-only CPR as possible.

“There have been attempts in our Legislature to require that students are taught CPR, and while it seems like a viable mandate, it just doesn’t pass the government requirements,” Conway said. “So Brandon and I met with a curriculum developer with North Clackamas schools last year and came up with our own program, which includes all middle-school seventh- and eighth-grade students through their health classes.”

Using humor, candy rewards, and, of course, the “Stayin’ Alive” song, which coincides perfectly with the chest compression rhythms, Conway walks the students through a series of lessons and hands-on exercises.

“From an EMS standpoint,” he said, “we just don’t want people stopping the compressions. When these kids first learn, they are tired after 40 seconds compared to the five minutes it may take for a paramedic to arrive in a real-life scenario.”

The students are taught proper hand and body position to make the process less tiring. Following the training, each student also makes a commitment to teach at least three other friends or family members how to perform hands-only CPR, the newer and recommended way of saving lives.

Since 2008, the American Heart Association has been recommending exclusive use of hands-only CPR. Their website states, “nearly 310,000 Americans die annually from cardiac arrest that happens at home or in a public place, and only about a third of those people receive help from bystanders. This could be because they are afraid to initiate CPR for fear that they’ll do something wrong or won’t know what to do. Others may be reluctant to perform mouth-to-mouth breathing for fear of contracting an infection.”

“Hands-only CPR fulfills the most lifesaving goal which is the chest compressions,” Conway said. “If someone can keep the blood flow going until paramedics arrive, they can save the life. Mouth-to-mouth limits the beats per minute, and the consistent compressions without breaks in between are more effective.”

Joanis estimates that only about 15 percent of Rowe Middle School students coming into the program have had any CPR training, but by the time they leave the nearly 60-minute session, they not only know how to give CPR, but how to use a defibrillator as well. As the kids enter the gymnasium they receive a Family and Friends CPR Anytime box that includes a plastic mannequin, CPR Skills DVD, and several other tools needed for the course and the training.

Student Bryant Smith said that in a normal 60-minute timeframe you might find him wrestling, watching television or riding his BMX bike, “but it was cool to learn this and be able to know that if someone were in trouble I could give CPR.”

Arely Merino agrees. “It felt pretty good to take this course. In just 60 minutes. I feel like I can teach my parents and even my 8-year-old little sister how to do this, too.”

Following the training, each student is given a plastic firefighter’s hat and badge sticker as a symbol to remind them of their accomplishment, but the lifesaving stories are the true reward. According to Conway, there have been success stories directly related to the program.

“A dad in Happy Valley got a refresher from his child and then used CPR to save a woman in cardiac arrest,” he said. “The success stories are the best because this program is saving lives, but to have over 10,000 people taught in this time is also one of my proudest moments. I’d love to get all schools in our fire district involved. Thanks to grants and our partners like Cascade Training Center, who provided us with support and supplies, we will be able to teach a lot more students and can save a lot more lives.”