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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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Former teacher turns TV spotlight on Bigfoot


by: PHOTO COURTESY OF ANIMAL PLANET - Cast members from The Animal Planet's TV show 'Finding Bigfoot' set out on a mission. Pictured above are Ranae Holland, James 'Bobo' Fay, Matt Moneymaker and Cliff Barackman.Cliff Barackman is almost certainly the only man to go from teaching sixth grade at Cascade Heights Public Charter School in the North Clackamas School District, to having his own television show.

And that TV show is letting him live his dream of hanging out in the woods at night looking for the world’s most elusive creature: Bigfoot.

Barackman, a Portland resident, taught from 2009 to 2011 at the charter school, before he was given the opportunity to be a member of the four-person cast on Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot.”

The producers of the show found him on the Internet by looking at his blog “North American Bigfoot.com.” They took some video footage of Barackman and then chose him as a cast member, along with Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization members Matt Moneymaker and James “Bobo” Fay and biologist Ranae Holland.

Their goal — scour the globe and find Bigfoot.

‘Finding Bigfoot

The pilot for the show was filmed in the spring 2010, and because the first season was such a success, Barackman realized he’d have to give up his teaching job and devote himself to “Finding Bigfoot” full-time.

The third season of the show is set to air on Sunday, Nov. 11, and he and his fellow cast members flew to Australia, looking for the Yowie, known as Australia’s Bigfoot, and to Indonesia, looking for the Orang Pendek, a “hairy hominoid,” sighted on all the islands in that country.

Those are going to be exciting episodes, he promised.

“Finding Bigfoot” is not scripted, but instead cast members find out about sightings, and they investigate those, and line up two or three witnesses.

“We show up and let things play out,” Barackman said, noting that some of the sightings are hoaxes, but some “have a compelling piece of evidence.”

They are on location for about a week, working eight to 16 hours a day.

“We film over 100 hours for 44 minutes,” he added.

Barackman is delighted at the success of show, noting that he is beginning to film the fourth season.

“Finding Bigfoot” ranks among Animal Planet’s top-three performing series in a specific age group and demographic, said Matt Windsor, the publicity assistant at the Discovery Channel, which owns Animal Planet. The second season averaged 1.3 million viewers, up 15 percent from season one, he added.

Why Bigfoot?

“I’ve been interested in Bigfoot since I was 4, and when I was in college I started to realize that the creature might be real and that really grabbed me,” he said, noting that he has always considered himself a “science nerd.”

Because he loved camping and did it as much as possible, he figured he could look for Bigfoot at the same time.

“Here,” he said, “is a “tangible, solvable mystery, right in our own backyard.”

Let’s get the big question out of the way first: Has Barackman ever actually seen Bigfoot?

“I believe I saw one in a thermal image at 2:30 a.m. in the Uwharrie National Forest, in North Carolina,” he said.

The creature ran away, before the cast members could get a visual sighting, but 45 minutes later “we got a vocalization,” he added.

Bigfoot sightings, it turns out, are fairly common. In fact, there have been “30,000 raw reports of sightings,” Barackman said, noting that footprints are “rare, with only 300 casts on record.”

There is some local history with the creature as well, he said, adding that “Clackamas County has the most Bigfoot reports in all the counties in Oregon.”

Just as summer was coming to an end, Barackman and a friend decided to go swimming in the Clackamas River, north of Timothy Lake, and they heard “wood knocks, really close,” that he and his friend decided could have come from a Bigfoot.

“We did not bring a thermal imager, but we did bring a recorder,” Barackman added.

Bigfoot creatures have been portrayed as monsters and have generally been given a bad reputation by the tabloid media that makes fun of them and depicts them in an inappropriate manner, Barackman said.

And yet, Bigfoot or Bigfoot-like creatures have persisted across cultures in mythology; they have been depicted on Native American totem poles, and newspaper accounts of “wild men” or “hairy men” have been reported since the 1830s.

All the reports are remarkable in their similarities of description, he added.

Barackman hopes the TV show continues for a few more years, and he knows his personal quest for Bigfoot will also go on.

He added, “I want to learn as much as I can about them and be an appropriate ambassador for them.”