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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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Milwaukie Center helps make New Year's resolutions happen


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Students in Neylana Bezerra's Zumba Gold class at the Milwaukie Center dance to the beat of international music.   If any of your New Year’s resolutions for 2013 include fitness and health or upping your mental acuity, then the Milwaukie Center has you covered.

Classes at the center take place in the morning, afternoon and evening, and 25 of the more than 30 fitness and health classes are set up specifically for seniors. But Tina Johnson, the recreation coordinator for the Milwaukie Center, noted that there are 10 classes for children, and others aimed at people of all ages.

Why offer so many classes?

“I want to bring more people into the Milwaukie Center. We offer night classes for all ages, because some seniors don’t want to drive at night, and we also have after-school classes for children. It makes me sad not to have people here,” Johnson said.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - James Lusk has been a tai chi instructor at the Milwaukie Center for eight years; above, he leads one of his classes through a series of tai chi movements.Many of the fitness classes are designated for people age 62 and above, and fitness is an excellent goal, for many reasons, Johnson said.

“It gives you more energy and helps you think more clearly; it helps control your appetite and is good for weight loss, and helps control diabetes and heart disease. Fitness classes help you to be more social, give you confidence and open doors for so many other things,” she said.

Some of the instructors, like Tina Hall and Sarah Stauss, have worked at the Milwaukie Center for 20 years or more, and specialize in “building relationships with students. And the students build relationships with each other; it is a support system. These classes are about more than fitness. What makes the Milwaukie Center so special is that I see a lot of healthy, happy people here, and it takes time to build that,” Johnson said.

James Lusk, the tai chi teacher, has taught at the center for eight years, and built up the program from one class to four, because he is “knowledgeable and passionate about what he does,” she noted.

Johnson recommends that people try out classes and go into those classes with realistic expectations.

“I’m going to take line dancing, which is different from what I am used to doing. I’m going to do something new, and if I fail, that is OK; at least I tried. I’d love it if everybody had the same attitude,” she said.

She added, “We charge less than $5 a class, which is a lot less than a studio or gym charges. And we offer scholarships to people 55 and over, who live in the district — so there is no excuse.”

Fitness classes

For people just starting out, Johnson recommended Bodyfit, taught by Peggy Latshaw.

“It is a great intro class for somebody new to exercise. The instructor is warm and welcoming and she works on the whole body, using stretch bands, hand weights and fun music,” Johnson said.

Zumba Gold, designed for the active older adult, uses Latin music and dance styles, and is so popular that there are now three classes offered.

The instructor, Neylana Bezerra, is also offering two special Zumba parties, one on Feb. 8 and another on March 15, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., that are family oriented and all ages are welcome, Johnson noted.

Other tried-and-true fitness offerings include conditioning classes, several yoga classes, and stretch and flexibility training.

Johnson is excited about the offerings for children this term at the Milwaukie Center, including art, music and dance classes, some “great thinking activities,” a field trip to the Children’s Museum and zoo and a spring break Survivor Camp, based on the television show “Survivor.”

One new class is called Intro to Rock ‘n’ Roll Instruments, and all children aged 7 to 10 have to do is show up.

“The teacher brings in all the instruments, like guitars, keyboards and drum set. Kids learn the basic beats and learn music terminology. It is a great way to learn about music in a good atmosphere and parents don’t have to buy any instruments,” Johnson said.

A partnership with a local company, Williams International Academy, has resulted in the return of a popular class called Alpha-Bot-Robotics for Kids, taught by Martin Tauc, and a brand new class, Chess for Kids, taught by Alexandra Botez, an internationally ranked chess player, who is a senior at Clackamas High School.

In the Alpha-Bot class, the children use Lego bricks and other types of robotics training systems to learn building and programming skills.

“This is a 10-week class, but students can drop in for one class for $15, to see how they like it,” Johnson said.

As for that chess class, aimed at ages 6 to 13, Sanda Williams, the owner of Williams International Academy, said Botez is very excited about the opportunity to teach children.

“She is our star and an internationally ranked champion. I’ve been told she can see 10 moves ahead in a chess game, and she has worked with chess masters — so why not work with the best,” Williams said.

“She is dedicated and used to using her training, and she wants to make the Milwaukie Center a chess center.”