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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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Mothers, daughters bond through philanthropy


by: SUBMITTED - Patty Ottaway and her daughter, Gillian Watts, are raring to go down the Clackamas River at the 2012 SOLV River Clean Up. This is their third year as members of the Sunnyside chapter of the National Charity League. If an organization that promotes bonds between mothers and daughters while volunteering in the community seems like an impossible dream, think again.

Such an organization exists in Happy Valley, and organizers are hoping to recruit new members in 2013.

The National Charity League Inc. — Sunnyside chapter is part of the national organization, and it serves mothers and their daughters in grades seven through 12 in the North Clackamas area.

The National Charity League focuses on leadership training and volunteering in the community, and girls in grades seven through 10 and their mothers can join now, said Patty Ottaway, the vice president of membership for the Sunnyside chapter of National Charity League. The organization does not accept girls in grades 11 or 12, as they would just not be able to be part of the organization long enough, she added.

The teens take turns being officers and they all learn to run a meeting, Ottaway said, noting that they learn leadership and public speaking skills, in addition to putting in hours of volunteering in the community.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Ali Bettinger, Dewaina Scafidi, Veronica Scafidi and Meg Bettinger get ready to dish up meals at an event for Feed the Hungry in Milwaukie.The Happy Valley chapter of the National Charity League was started by Annemie Williams; she was a member with her daughters in 2004 in Las Vegas, and then joined the Lake Oswego chapter in 2006.

“We started to get the word out and formed the Sunnyside chapter in 2008,” she said.

Three of her daughters went through the program and are now in college, and continue to volunteer their time; the National Charity League made volunteering part of their lives, Williams said.

One thing that surprised her about the National Charity League has been her own personal growth.

“I’ve grown as a leader, and my daughters got to watch me stretch and see me accomplish something,” she added.

Having an impact

The philanthropic side of the organization is an enormous part of what the girls and their mothers do, and the Sunnyside chapter has a list of between 15 to 20 charities in the community. Moms and their daughters “donated over 3,000 hours last year,” Williams said.

The best part of the organization for her was the opportunity to spend meaningful time with her daughters, volunteering side-by-side as peers.

“Being involved in the community, making a difference, gave us a lot of opportunities to have conversations,” Williams added.

Sharon Shuman was on the original founding board for the Sunnyside chapter, and has been a member with her daughter for five years.

“One of the biggest things is that our daughters get to see us in a completely different way, doing philanthropy. And it is amazing to see the look that comes into our daughters’ eyes, when they see people less fortunate, and realize the impact they are having by helping them,” she said.

Shuman and her daughter volunteered this summer at the Clackamas Clothes Closet, part of the Family Support Center on Southeast King Road in Milwaukie. They helped families shop for clothes and gave them school supplies and backpacks.

Last year, her daughter also took part in a Christmas party organized for children of National Guard deployed troops, and was so moved by it, Shuman said.

Ottaway and her 14-year-old daughter Gillian Watts are starting on their third year of membership in the Sunnyside chapter, and in September they volunteered together at the Down the River Clean Up on the Clackamas River.

“My favorite part is after we do philanthropy; on the ride home we talk about it. After the cleanup, Gillian said, ‘We did a lot of work and we did it together,’” Ottaway said.

She added that she was proud of her daughter and her friend Claire Gillies, who gave up part of their day off on Veterans Day to chat with younger girls in the organization about what it is like being a freshman in high school.

What do the teens like best about the National Charity League?

“I like helping the community,” Gillian said, noting that she has worked with dogs and cats at the Oregon Humane Society, and helped set up food boxes at the Oregon Food Bank.

Moms and daughters have such busy schedules, she added, so being part of the league is “a lot of fun and a great way to spend time with my mom.”

“My mom and I always talk about what we’ve done and it is for a good cause,” Claire said, adding that she encourages mothers and daughters to join, because of the bonding experience and the fun times spent making a difference in the community.

Membership drive

Ottaway is starting work on a membership drive for the Sunnyside chapter of the league, noting two informational meetings will take place in January, but mothers and daughters in grades seven through 10 can visit the website or call her at any time.

“We are all constantly doing something, and it is really great to volunteer together,” she said.

Shuman said she has a speech where she emphasizes the mother-daughter bonding experience.

“This appeals to moms. As our daughters get older, we see less and less of them, and this is an opportunity for us to spend time together helping the community where we live,” she said.

Williams said that she is so grateful that she discovered the National Charity League, and has enjoyed spending time with other mothers and daughters with the same values.

“It is hard to go out on your own and volunteer, but NCL has liaisons set up, and with the activities in our chapter, it is so easy,” she said. “This is a national organization with an awesome website. It is a valuable organization; it is important and it is worth doing.”