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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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Neighbors open shelter doors for local families


by: SUBMITTED - Reiko, at the head of the table, her husband, Tom, right, in hat, their children and some guests eat dinner together at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, when they were in the shelter there.When bad things happen, they can happen quickly, as Tom and Reiko Rogers found out.

In 2010, Reiko, the main breadwinner in her household of six, lost her job when her boss closed the shop where she had worked as an auto mechanic for five years.

And then there was a knock on the door of the house where the family had lived for five years, and they were told they had 30 days to get out.

“It happened to us so fast; our rent was always paid, but the landlord was $15,000 behind” on the mortgage payments, Tom said.

Luckily, the family found out about the Annie Ross House, a shelter for homeless families in Clackamas County, from Reiko’s sister. Then they discovered the adjunct to the Annie Ross House, the SON network of churches in Gladstone, Milwaukie, Oregon City and West Linn.

SON stands for Sheltering Our Neighbors, and there are six churches in the network that host homeless families in a two-week rotation.

At first Reiko was reluctant to come to a shelter, because she pictured the concept of shelters from what she had seen on TV, with bedrolls in a basement.

But what the Rogers family found instead was love, warmth, safety and acceptance from a group of volunteers who want to help families in need in the county.

“When you are that broken, that far down, when you are homeless and have lost everything, that feeling of love changes your heart,” Reiko said. “And the volunteers are here because they choose to be — there is no paycheck.

“My kids had a warm place to stay. I could take a deep breath and feel that love, when before we were so alone and scared. For the first time I said, ‘It’s going to be OK,’ ” she said.

This experience “literally changed our lives. You can feel the love coming from these people,” Tom added.

And although the shelters are in area churches, there is no pressure on the families to join the church, although they are always invited to the services, he said.

“This experience has brought our family closer together; when we stayed in the church, we had time for one-on-one with the kids,” Tom said. “It made us a stronger unit; I am a better dad and a better husband.”

The four children, now 9, 11, 13 and 22, profited from the experience as well, Reiko said, adding, “Even now, a couple of years later, they appreciate the little things more. I was really honest with them all the time, and the kids were forced to grow up a little bit.”

Reiko took photos of the family’s time in the shelter, because “that is a part of my life I didn’t want to forget; I didn’t want to lose those memories.”

After spending three months at the Annie Ross House in Milwaukie and 16 weeks in SON shelters, the Rogers family has a permanent home now in Clackamas County. Reiko has gone back to work at CarQuest in Oregon City; her husband, an insulin-dependent diabetic, is disabled but now gets Social Security disability checks.

The love has come full circle, they say, since they have joined the congregation at St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Gladstone, and are youth mentors there with junior and senior high school students every Sunday evening.

The whole family also prepares and serves meals with the SON program, including the children.

Tanya and Holly

Another couple, Tanya and Holly, who happen to be friends with Tom and Reiko, encountered similar problems just before Thanksgiving of this year, when Holly, an insulin-dependent diabetic, lost her job for health reasons, and the couple lost their home.

The two were living in their car in McMinnville, and when Tom and Reiko saw their friends struggling, they told them about the shelter.

“I was afraid to bring my two kids into what I thought of as a shelter, but the kids weren’t progressing staying at their dad’s, so I figured that if they were with me I could keep an eye on everything. Reiko talked me into it,” Holly said.

Tom and Reiko also told the couple about another county program, Rent Well, a six-week series of classes offered by Clackamas County Department of Human Services that can help pay deposits on rental homes and offers a renter’s guarantee to potential landlords. The classes also help with credit reports, budgeting and overcoming barriers to renting.

Tanya, Holly and the two children, 8 and 9, first moved into Emanuel Presbyterian in West Linn, then transferred to Oregon City United Methodist Church. They ended up spending Christmas at Atkinson Memorial Church in Oregon City.

“Our family was in one room together, and everyone was very welcoming and loving; that made it like home. And the children did awesome,” Holly said.

“As a gay couple, we have been welcomed; we have not been judged, or looked at or stared at. At SON, we did not have that feeling of being judged at all,” Tanya said.

“Every church was so loving, and we had the best Christmas we’ve ever had in our lives; the congregation wrapped up presents for us, and even took us shopping,” she added.

The SON experience taught the children “to have love in their hearts, because the kids now see the kindness in people’s hearts. It made our bond stronger,” Holly said.

Just last week Tanya, Holly and the two children moved into their permanent home in Clackamas County, and here again the congregations from several churches helped them with household goods and necessities. Both women are back at work and have joined the St. Stephen congregation, where they plan to volunteer with the SON program as soon as they can.

A hot meal

Sheltering Our Neighbors began with one man, Pastor John Reutter-Harrah, at Prince of Life Lutheran Church in Oregon City.

“This happened after we had severe weather in 2009 and some people came into his church looking for shelter and food. He had a vision to start something, and he brought together other pastors and asked how we can address this problem,” said Tessa Dailey, who has been the network coordinator for the SON program since 2010.

Soon, six churches formed the nucleus of SON: Atkinson Memorial, Emmanuel Presbyterian, Milwaukie Presbyterian, Oregon City United Methodist, Prince of Life Lutheran and St. Stephen Lutheran. Beavercreek United Church of Christ and Bryn Seion Welsh Church in Beavercreek are support churches; members of their congregations supply volunteers, provide financial support or bring meals to the program, Dailey said.

In addition, Zion Lutheran in Oregon City has agreed to be a day shelter, if needed.

Each host church provides shelter for one to two families for two weeks, and then the families may move to the next site. All meals are provided, and members make certain that the people bringing in a hot evening meal stay and eat the meal with the family.

“It’s a relational thing; sharing a meal is very personal and it provides an opportunity to talk to one another,” Dailey said.

Welcome statement

There are several ways that families can find out about the SON program. Typically, someone will call 2-1-1 or people will contact Clackamas County Housing Rights and Resource Center, the Annie Ross House or Northwest Housing Alternatives.

“Jeanie Kuzmin-Walling, from HRRC, will call and tell me she has a family that needs shelter. She will describe the situation, and we’ll see what kinds of services they need,” Dailey said.

The usual intake process involves a five-minute phone call and then an in-person conversation. It can take one day or so, sometimes less, to get the family into a shelter, Dailey said.

Once the family comes into the shelter, they are made aware that there are some rules to follow.

“Everyone has to be out by 8:30 a.m., and they may come back at 5:30 p.m., at St. Stephen, but each church is different, and times are flexible,” she added.

The SON shelters operate only from October through April, as volunteers have learned that families don’t seem to need as much help in the summer months, or they camp outside then.

At St. Stephen, where she is based, Dailey stays into the evening to make sure dinner arrives, and families have a phone number to call in case of emergency. Every night a volunteer comes in at 9 p.m. and stays at the site until 7 a.m., just to make sure everything is going well.

Sometimes families are reluctant to come into a church for shelter, because they fear that church members will proselytize, but Dailey is quick to point out that does not happen, although family members are always invited to share worship services.

Her church has a welcoming statement making sure everyone feels comfortable, and more than 50 congregation members are active volunteers.

“Our church members see there is a need; they know there is a severe lack of shelter space for families in the county and they have totally come on board, because they can see the benefits. It can happen to anyone and it is about families who need help,” she said.

The need for help is greater in the county these days, she added, because of the loss of jobs, underemployment, mental health issues, addictions and bad decision making.

The shelter system can always use more volunteers to help serve meals and donations of hygiene products, non-perishable food and clothing are always welcomed.

As for why she is so involved with this program, Dailey said her own family moved around a lot when she was a child, and now as an adult, she recognizes that being homeless can happen to anyone. It is “only one missed paycheck away or serious illness or loss of a job.”

Fast Facts

Contact Tessa Daily, youth minister and SON program network coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 503-927-6452.

Call the office at St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Gladstone, 503-656-8194.

Call 2-1-1 to contact Clackamas County Social Services.

Call the Annie Ross House and Northwest Housing Alternatives, 503-654-1007.

Contact the Housing Rights and Resource Center in Clackamas County, 503-650-5750.