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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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Rowe Middle School looks for snack help


by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Bonnie Marston, from GracePointe Church, and Evan King, social worker at Rowe Middle School, wait outside a classroom door as they prepare to hand out afternoon snacks.Evan King does not want to see one student go hungry. Ever. Not one single student.

Fortunately, she is in the position to do something about it at Rowe Middle School in Milwaukie, where she is the school social worker.

“I meet with kids all day, and I’ve always had snacks on my desk. Then the last few years I started to notice a lot of kids coming to school hungry. I’d start handing out string cheese, and then there was a long line of kids coming back for it,” King said.

Reacting to the fact that 80 percent of the Rowe student body is on the free breakfast/reduced lunch program, the school district started a free breakfast program for every student in the school, and “that made a tremendous difference in our kids,” she said, but come late afternoon, the kids were hungry again.

Some students eat lunch at noon, but then stay in class until 4 p.m., and teachers noticed that many students were simply having trouble staying focused.

At the same time, King realized that standing at the door to her office handing out snacks was just not practical, so last year she came up with the idea to start an afternoon snack program, which she calls Ending School-Time Hunger at Rowe Middle School.

Soon a group of 30 to 40 volunteers from GracePointe Church in Milwaukie came on board, and King started to meet her goal of having a snack for every student between 2 and 3 p.m.

“Last year, the Clackamas Rotary Club was involved with us after school, and they asked me what we needed. I said, I need to not have hungry kids at school,” King said, noting that now both the Clackamas and Milwaukie Rotary Clubs are providing financial support for the snack program.

“It made a huge difference to our afternoon classes, the kids were able to stay focused,” she said.

One teacher reported that in his last afternoon class, once a high-protein snack had been consumed at the beginning of the period, the students produced more work than he had ever seen before, King said.

And then there was “James,” a student King described as one of her “frequent fliers,” in that she saw him almost every day, when he skipped his classes.

“He was always in trouble, because he could not stay focused in class. I had snacks in my office, so he was in there two to three times a day,” she said.

Finally, she just gave him a box of granola bars he could keep in his locker. But then he came back asking for more, and when she questioned him, he said he had taken them home for his baby sister. It turned out there were some problems at home, so King called his mother and sorted out the food situation there. Once he started having regular meals, including a late afternoon snack, the young man turned himself around and settled down, King said.

“We provide healthy snacks, and teachers are seeing the difference. There is no excuse for students to be hungry at school. These are our future adults, and we want them to succeed. If we don’t feed them in middle school, they’ll get into a pattern of hunger, they won’t stay focused and they’ll drop out,” she added.

King noted that Clackamas Rotary Club member Bill Stewart sees the snack program as “a diversion program to keep kids in school.”

Stewart, the deputy district attorney for Clackamas County, is also the community prosecutor, active in the Truancy Court Program.

“We want to act in a proactive way to reduce crime. If kids don’t graduate from high school, they could end up in the criminal justice system,” he said.

Stewart added, “We want to support schools to keep kids in school. From my perspective, if kids are not successful in school, they will not be successful in life. It is hard to watch those kids struggle, and something small like this can keep them involved.”

Support needed

The GracePointe volunteers became involved when it was clear that the elementary school Backpack Buddy program they run was just not working for middle schoolers, who think they are too cool to carry backpacks of food home over the weekend, King said.

“Last year, we heard that the middle school students needed food in the middle of the day, so we decided to help with the snack program at Rowe and Aldercreek,” said Bonnie Marston.

She and her volunteers are dedicated to providing healthy snacks with little fat or sugar but lots of protein, she said, noting that her shoppers closely read the labels and regularly buy string cheese and crackers with cheese or peanut butter.

Why are they so dedicated?

“We want the children to know we care; that it matters to us that they are hungry,” Marston said.

Now that a new school year has begun, the math is simple: there are 1,000 students at Rowe, and it costs about $90 a day to buy the snacks.

“That is about $15,000 a year. We will feed kids the amount of food we have, and we’ll be out of food in a week — then what do we do?” she said.

People can help by contacting King at Rowe and she will tell them exactly what she needs; she said it would be best to contact her, as refrigerator space is limited, and she is afraid people might drop off food items that cannot be used.

Cash donations would be best, as she could then give the money to the shoppers from GracePointe who have the technique down to a fine science, she added.

Other sponsors are Bob’s Red Mill and Clif Bars, but King said she really needs to see more community involvement.

“We are grateful to our community partners and to the staff for helping us take care of the needs of each of our youth, but we welcome additional support — as of today, we are about $8,000 short of our goal,” she noted.

King also gathers new and gently used school supplies, and can always use more of those, too.

She added, “Hungry kids can’t learn; kids without school supplies can’t learn.”

Contact Evan King, social worker at Rowe Middle School, by calling 503-353-5741, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..