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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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Program helps people navigate dental health


by: ELLEN SPITALERI  - Alyssa Garner, an expanded practice dental hygienist from Pacific University, cleans the teeth of a patient at a free clinic held at Hillside Manor in Milwaukie.When she wrote the grant to start a program called Oral Health Navigation, Elena Strahm knew there was a need for dental hygiene assistance for low-income adults in Clackamas County, but she didn’t realize how much need until she put the program in place this fall.

“We get 50 calls a day from people; we are barely touching the surface of people who need care,” said Strahm, the program manager for the oral health program, which is administered by Northwest Family Services in Milwaukie.

Now that the program is up and running, Strahm and co-worker Jamie Christianson are asking for the community’s help.

“We need more volunteers; we need local dentists or dental assistants. We need people who want to volunteer in community health or who are retired nurses or dental hygienists,” she said, adding that donations of toothpaste, toothbrushes and floss would also be much appreciated.

“When you are a mobile program, you have nothing. We need to get community support, and donations could stretch our budget,” Christianson added.

Oral health program

Strahm wrote the grant after several conversations with Clackamas County social services organizations about why adults were without adequate access to dental care in the county.

She received the one-year, $100,000 grant from United Way of Columbia-Willamette in July, and said the money is used to rent dental equipment and pay hygienists.

The program provides screening for low-income adults with no dental insurance who are Clackamas County residents. As part of the screening process, “We ask patients about their medical history and ask them about medications they are taking and about their blood pressure,” Christianson said.

“We need to know what is going on in their mouths, before we sit them in a dentist’s chair,” Strahm added.

Once they’ve been screened, patients may then make appointments for free preventive dental care, mostly cleanings, at clinics held three times a month.

“We bring the services to the people at various housing locations and area churches,” Strahm said.

Free emergency dental services are offered through Medical Teams International, which brings a van staffed by Oregon Health and Science University dental students and adjunct staff to the county once a month, she said.

Everyone also gets a free dental hygiene kit, and if there are children in the family, they get kits with toothpaste, a toothbrush and floss as well.

The trend right now is to teach young children about good dental habits, but “if mom and dad don’t know about dental hygiene, they can’t pass it along to their kids, especially if they are not enforcing it at home,” Strahm said.

Navigating the system

by: ELLEN SPITALERI  -  Jamie Christianson, left, the oral health navigator for Northwest Family Services in Milwaukie, walks patient Arnold Rodacker through a medical history, while dental hygienist Alyssa Garner looks on.The program is called Oral Health Navigation, because Strahm and Christianson believe that there are barriers keeping a segment of the population from receiving dental care, and they want to help those folks navigate their way through the system and get help.

Northwest Family Services also has a grant to enroll people in the Oregon Health Plan, and “we are working to connect people with social services. We are looking at the person as a whole person, and oral health affects your overall health,” Strahm said.

The goal of the program is to identify the barriers that are keeping people from accessing care.

“Is it transportation? A language barrier? Lack of money? There is a huge immigrant population that can’t get insurance, but there is a ton of Anglo people whose need is just as much. We are trying to figure this all out,” Strahm said.

Although she knows when people are in crisis, perhaps homeless or hungry, dental care goes to the bottom of the list, but she still wants to know why people are not brushing their teeth at home.

“Almost all oral issues are preventable,” she added.

Research and data

Strahm is looking at the program as a research project, and wants to collect data that everyone can use.

Other dental hygiene programs exist in the state, but she would like to see them all using the same screening forms, “so we can all deliver the same community health care that works.”

She is hoping to survey more than 400 patients about their dental-care habits, during the year, because she would like the program to be replicated.

“We need to be able to share information, and focus on this population of people. We want to push the county and state to have more low-cost dental clinics,” Strahm said.

She plans to reapply for the United Way grant next year, but noted that she knows she will need more than $100,000.

“We need to make changes to make the program better, so we can increase the number of people we reach, and we need to hire another part-time employee who speaks Spanish. Our goal is to grow our network of dentists and dental professionals in our community,” Strahm said.

She added that Oral Health Navigation is not looking to take the place of a dental office, but is instead set up to help a particular population that will probably do not have dental insurance or a regular dentist.

Christianson said she was hired to help administer the grant for the program, because of her experience being a dental case manager, and for her skill set in being a liaison between a nonprofit organization and the people it served.

She is pleased to be a part of Oral Health Navigation, she said, adding, “This free program is huge, and people are really grateful for the care they receive.”

Oral Health Navigation Program

Through a grant from United Way of Columbia-Willamette, Northwest Family Services is offering free dental services. Clackamas County residents with no dental insurance, who meet federal poverty level income requirements, may sign up for screenings for a free teeth-cleaning appointment. They may also qualify for free emergency dental care.

For more information, contact Jamie Christianson, Oral Health Navigator-Northwest Family Services, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 503-546-6377 or 503-278-3574.

Dental hygiene supplies, like toothbrushes, toothpaste or dental floss, are urgently needed to keep this program afloat. Drop off new items at Northwest Family Services, at 6200 S.E. King Road, Milwaukie.

Northwest Family Services is a nonprofit, non-sectarian corporation equipping people with vital skills for a lifetime. For more information, visit nwfs.org.