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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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Clackamas Fire: OC volunteers especially needed


Oregon City's terrain, proximity to woods make it susceptible -

Oregon City residents are rallying fellow citizens to join their local Community Emergency Response Team by gaining training to become part of a plan to assist their community when needed.

Photo Credit: DESIGN BY: JOSH SCHWARTZ - A new logo is helping rally Oregon City residents behind their local Community Emergency Response Team.Oregon City graphic designer Josh Schwartz volunteered his skills for a new logo showing a hard hat, flashlight and the Municipal Elevator.

Clackamas Fire spokesman Brandon Paxton said that professional emergency responders will be taxed in any major emergency, so firefighters and other public-safety officers will rely on the efforts of local volunteers during a flood or other disaster. By promoting a partnership with emergency services, trained community members can help increase the level of safety for those who will step forward to assist their neighborhood and community after a disaster.

Body-shop owner Craig Alleman remembers how community members and "friends of friends" helped the Bump Parlor move everything that wasn't bolted down to higher ground during the 1996 flood.

"Everyone knows that we flood every 30 years or so down here," Alleman said. "Through friends and community, everyone can work together."

Clackamas Fire District No. 1 Emergency Manager Gregg Ramirez said there's been an active CERT team in Oregon City for a long time, but when a coordinator had to bow out due to family issues, the OC team had to rebuild. Volunteers will do everything from helping fill sandbags during a disaster to training members of the community how to fill their own sandbags and take other precautionary measures before a disaster strikes.

"CERT is not only reactionary, we also try to be pro-active in getting the word out," Ramirez said. "I've got a couple of good organizers right now, and we're aiming to revitalize the team so that Oregon City will have some local CERT events by the end of the year."

Ramirez argued it's especially important for Oregon City to have its own CERT team.

"Oregon City has a propensity for flooding, a proximity to many wooded areas susceptible to wildfire and hilly areas in many places, so having a well-trained populace would help mitigate the potential damage during a disaster," he said.

You can help

CERT training, taught by FEMA-certified leaders and subject specialists, is available for all citizens who are interested in disaster and emergency preparedness. Physical agility for lifting, carrying, standing or walking for long periods is necessary.

Oregon City residents are especially encouraged to attend a 25-hour course on three Saturdays (Aug. 2, 9 and 16) that includes both classroom and hands-on practical application of the FEMA training materials and is held both indoors and out regardless of weather conditions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Clackamas Fire District Station 4, 6600 S.E. Lake Road.

To register, email Ramirez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You should bring your own water bottle and lunch, dress in long sleeves, long pants and layers. Bring leather work gloves, a hard hat and goggles, if you have them, and wear hard-toed shoes.

The basic CERT course covers disaster triage; first aid; fire prevention; hazardous-materials identification and policy; search and rescue; CERT organization and operations; terrorism; and disaster psychology.

The training consists of classroom instruction, videos and practical application of course materials, including putting out a small fire, search and rescue operations, medical operations, and safe victim extraction exercises.

Keeping the momentum going

Oregon City's revitalized CERT team includes someone overseeing the creation and maintenance of a database of graduates and those interested in receiving preparedness infomation. An event coordinator is organizing and promoting free monthly meetings for graduates and anyone else interested in presentations and continuing educational offerings related to emergencies and preparedness.

Additional volunteers are helping Clackamas Fire spread the word about CERT and preparedness via public presentations and tabling at community events; yet others are making phone calls and helping with community outreach.

OC CERT is looking for more tabling and presentation volunteers, along with local businesses interested in helping them customize gear with the new logo. An engagement coordinator is needed to follow up with recruits to be sure all are welcomed and answer questions, while a mentor coordinator is needed to encourage folks who have not yet taken the CERT course, provide support and act as resource contact to those interested in gathering preparedness supplies.

For more information on the local CERT programs, contact Ramirez at 503-754-2902.