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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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New coach, like the Mustangs, has had adversity


Gladstone success story Heather Denison is coaching volleyball at Milwaukie -

It’s been more than 20 years since Milwaukie High School has had a winning program in volleyball. The Mustangs have won only five of 138 league matches over the past 10 years.

Photo Credit: PHOTO BY JOHN DENNY - Heather Denison, the new head volleyball coach at Milwaukie High School, works with some of her players during an open gym. Denison hopes to generate an increased interest in volleyball at Milwaukie High School by building a youth program.Heather Denison, the Mustangs’ new head coach, admits it may take some time, but she hopes to begin to turn things around.

“I applied at Milwaukie because it was close to where I work and it was an opportunity to build a program,” Denison says. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Denison says she believes the main ingredient that has been missing at Milwaukie is a feeder program, and she is hopeful she can get one started for area middleschoolers.

“They haven’t had a junior high program, a program that the kids can grow up with. There hasn’t been enough focus on the younger ages,” Denison said.

“I think my growing up in Gladstone, where we didn’t have the resources to play club, gives me an understanding of what it’s like for the girls in Milwaukie....,” Denison said. “One thing I’ve found out about volleyball is that it’s a sport where, no matter your level of play, with club volleyball or without club, it’s repetitions that make you better so that you can be successful.

“I’m excited for the challenge, but I’m very aware of where our priorities need to be. This year’s focus will be on maintaining a positive attitude and keeping it fun, but making it clear to the girls that they need to take ownership for improving their own skill-set. We’ll focus on individual development, and as the girls improve their abilities the team will get better.”

Denison’s own life is an example that great things can be accomplished even if life does not deal you the best of hands.

“I pretty much raised myself,” Denison says. “My parents divorced when I was two. My mom had a lot of addition and mental health issues. I stayed with friends off and on from fifth grade on, and I moved out of my mom’s house when I was in eighth grade. I had three families that I stayed with eighth grade through high school. I was one of those children raised by the community.”

In the fall of 1999, Denison’s senior year at Gladstone, she led the Gladiators to an 8-6 record in the big-school Three Rivers League and a berth in postseason play. No Gladstone volleyball team since then has had a winning record in league.

Denison played one year of club volleyball. Her senior year, she made the Nike Northwest Juniors, where she played for Rod Jones. Her efforts gained her a full-ride scholarship to the University of Portland, where she started three seasons and earned all-conference honors as an outside hitter.

Denison also competed in basketball and track and field at Gladstone. Her sophomore season, the Gladiators made the state tournament in girls basketball. Her senior year she qualified for state in both the triple jump (33-7-1/2) and high jump (5-0).

A double major at the University of Portland, Denison earned a bachelor’s degree in Life Science in 2004 and in nursing in 2006.

In 2004, Denison was honored by the NCAA as one of only three individuals from around the country awarded the NCAA’s Inspiration Award.

She was the first student from the University of Portland to receive the award, which is presented to a coach, administrator or student/athlete “who, when confronted with a life-altering situation, uses perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome the event, and who serves as a role model to ‘give hope and inspiration to others in similar situations.’”

Denison went on to earn her MBA degree in Hospital Administration in 2012. She’s worked as an operating room nurse at Kaiser-Sunnyside Hospital for the past eight years and a year ago was named manager of the surgical unit and post anesthesia recovering unit at Kaiser-Sunnyside.

“I think that with my personal struggles, they helped make me successful where I might otherwise not have been,” Denison says.

Denison was jayvee volleyball coach under K.T. Emerson at Lake Oswego High School for four years (2005-2008) and jayvee coach under Lea Petok at Lincoln High School two years (2009-2010). Emerson was recently named athletic director at Milwaukie High School. Denison also coached Athena Volleyball club teams from 2005 through 2010. Denison and Emerson played together one year at the University of Portland.

“I had been toying with returning to coaching since completing my MBA,” Denison says. “I missed it.”

Denison has named Melissa Brant and Darren Parra as her assistant coaches.

Brant was an assistant coach at La Salle from 2006-2009 and an assistant at Putnam the past two seasons. Parra, a 1984 graduate of Gladstone High School, has coached area CYO and club teams for the past 14 years.

“I feel great about our staff,” said Denison. “They all have several years of coaching experience. And it’s nice to have K.T. [Emerson] as athletic director. She’s really enthusiastic about volleyball.”