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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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Grant helps Shiba Inu rescue thrive


by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI -  Denise Roelke holds Jewel, while Tony Roelke encourages Oso to give Jewel a doggy kiss.With their meltingly adorable dark eyes, inquisitive snouts, curly tails and butterscotch-colored coats, these dogs look more like foxes than wolves.

Yet the Shiba Inu’s origins are closer to the gray wolf or dingo, said Denise Roelke, who with her husband, Tony, is the founder of N.W. Shibas4Life Rescue in Beavercreek. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to saving the lives of Shiba Inus and finding homes for the dogs.

“We have partnered with shelters and humane societies all over the Northwest; they will call us and tell us they have a new Shiba in or they’ll tell us they have a special-needs dog, and ask if we can take it, and we’ll say yes,” Denise Roelke said.

Recently the Roelkes received a $1,000 operation grant from the Pedigree Foundation, in partnership with the Petfinder.com Foundation.

The Pedigree Foundation, a nonprofit founded by the makers of Pedigree food for dogs, supports shelters and dog-rescue organizations, while the Petfinder.com Foundation, another nonprofit, helps save the lives of homeless pets.

The $1,000 grant will help pay general operating costs for the shelter and will also defray the cost of medications for special-needs dogs, Roelke said.

“We are so pleased they recognized our work; without their help, we wouldn’t exist,” she added, noting that even with discounts from local veterinarians, special-needs medication costs and vet visits are expensive.

Special breed

The Roelkes first came across a Shiba Inu 15 years ago, when they agreed to foster a dog that had been thrown out of a car on purpose.

“We saved him, and fell in love with the breed,” Denise Roelke said, adding that she and her husband like the dogs’ independent, “catlike” personalities.

But they really became hooked on Shibas 12 years ago when they began working with a woman who ran a Shiba-rescue organization. When she left to take another job in Texas, the Roelkes took over.

“For the first few years, we weren’t sure we could do it,” she said, noting that both she and her husband have full-time jobs.

But the pair developed a nonprofit model, formed a board and found a big support group in the Northwest. Two-and-a-half years ago, the Roelkes moved to Beavercreek, where they designed and constructed a building with five private rooms and five outside kennels. In addition, the dogs enjoy a two-acre fenced-in dog park, where they can run, play and relax.

In addition to finding permanent homes for the dogs, other goals include providing a high quality of life for the dogs in their shelter and caring for senior and special-needs Shibas; they never have more than 10 dogs at once, Roelke said.

Another of their goals is to work with breeders to reduce the population of Shibas and re-home retired show dogs.

Educating people about the breed is key, Roelke said, noting that people are attracted to the dogs’ looks, and don’t do the research ahead of time to figure out if the dog will fit into their family unit.

“In many homes, people let their children and dogs roam freely at all times, and Shibas are not made for that. If they are not properly trained, they can nip small children, and the dogs tend to get stressed out in a noisy environment,” she said.

Mama, Jewel and Oso

Where there are rescue dogs, there are tales, and three of the shelter’s dogs have compelling stories.

Mama, now nearly 8 years old, was raised as a breeding dog, and was sold to a volunteer who bought her and brought her to the shelter. The Roelkes didn’t know Mama was pregnant, so it was a bit of shock when they went out to the kennel and discovered two puppies.

They were both very small and Noah died a week later, but Noel thrived and was adopted.

When the Roelkes took Mama in for an extensive physical, they found out her hip was broken and she had bone grinding on bone. She also had an embedded collar, where her skin had grown over, that had to be surgically removed.

After several surgeries, Mama is doing well and is just starting to trust people, Denise Roelke said.

“Even though she was in pain, she still delivered two puppies and took care of them. It just goes to show how incredible animals are,” she added.

Jewel, now 6, was rescued from a backyard breeder in Washington state who did not want her because she was too small to breed.

“She had rusty chicken wire wrapped around her leg, and the breeder did not want to take the time to have it removed,” Roelke said.

Luckily, the people who purchased Jewel’s brother, also took Jewel, and brought her to the shelter.

Because the chicken wire caused an infection, the dog’s leg had to be removed, so Jewel became a three-legged dog.

At first the little dog was depressed, but once she settled into the shelter, two of the other dogs befriended her; she ultimately thrived and now Jewel is the shelter’s “spokesdog.”

Her story has been written up online, and Jewel has her own Facebook page with more than 2,500 friends.

And then there is Oso, named because he is “oh so handsome,” Roelke said.

Oso had a family who turned him over to the shelter, because his glaucoma was so bad that his care had become prohibitively expensive.

“In a normal dog’s eye, the pressure is 35 to 40; Oso’s pressure was 102 in one eye and 109 in the other. The pain level was like he had a severe migraine with glass in his eye. One time he scratched his own cornea, and now the scar tissue is so thick the eye never healed properly,” Roelke said.

But now, after four months of treatment, Oso’s eye pressure is down to 35 in one eye, and 62 in the other, and it looks like he will be able to keep both eyes.

“He’s an amazing dog,” Roelke said.

Donations to a dog

People can help the organization by going to the dog rescue’s website and donating money, which can always be used for operations costs and medical supplies and treatment, Roelke said. But people can also help by donating dog food, treats and toys.

She is also grateful to local veterinarians, like those at Southgate Animal Clinic in Milwaukie, for their support.

The shelter’s dogs have an active social life, and they will even host a Halloween party through Facebook and will attend a Shiba Fall Ball in November; all of these are fundraising activities.

“For donations and fundraising, people would rather ‘talk’ to a dog,” Roelke said.

She and her husband described board members Jean and Scott McTarnahan as the “backbone” to the rescue organization, saying it is a “two-couple” venture.

The McTarnahans “don’t ask for recognition, but we are so lucky to have them,” Denise Roelke said, noting that the other couple has taken in senior Shibas.

“There is nothing more rewarding than to see a senior dog live out its life, as happy as it can be.”

Roelke also noted that her son, Riley, 21, and some of his friends help with the dogs.

She added, “It takes a small army to run a rescue.”

Fast Facts

N.W. Shibas4Life Rescue

16924 S. Buckner Creek Road, Beavercreek

Call: 503-358-1068

Website: shibas4life.us

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Facebook: NW Shibas4LifeRescue

Learn more about Petfinder at petfinder.com

Learn more about the Pedigree Foundation at pedigree.com