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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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Willamette View seniors explore coral reef with students


by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Residents at Willamette View watch as Maddy turns bubble wrap into jellyfish.The best thing about the intergenerational art program featuring the collaboration between senior residents at Willamette View retirement community and students from Oak Grove Elementary School is watching relationships develop, said Kristen Larsen, one of two art therapists at Willamette View.

“We are working with the same kids and the same residents and I like seeing everyone loosen up and have fun,” she added.

Larsen and her fellow art therapist, Sally Giles, have wanted to develop this kind of activity, and when the opportunity came to partner with the elementary school, they were happy to make it happen.

“The collaboration is between Willamette View and our Metropolitan Family Service Community School at Oak Grove Elementary. Chelsea Lamb is our community involvement specialist at that site. She is coordinating the interface with the art therapists at Willamette View, and is responsible for getting the kids involved and transporting them to Willamette View for the project,” said Pat Kaczmarek, marketing and communications manager, for Metropolitan Family Service.

Metropolitan Family Service is the provider of this Child and Family Enrichment community school program; funding for the CAFE Program comes from 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the North Clackamas School District and Clackamas County, Kaczmarek noted.

“We thought we should tap into the resources we have around here, and we wanted to have the seniors interact with the kids in a different environment. I see a different side of them when they come here,” said Lamb, who is in her second year with Americorps at the school. “The kids get to express themselves artistically and they know they are ambassadors of Oak Grove Elementary. They enjoy this facility. They are polite and they feel responsible and respectful.”

The theme for the artwork the eight students and eight senior residents are making centers around healthy communities, so the group decided it would be fun to make a coral reef, showing the diversity of life in an aquatic community in a healthy ocean, Lamb said.

The group has created colorful fiber anemones, and last week students and seniors were painting and constructing jellyfish, complete with tentacles.

“Many of the seniors are grandparents, and like the youthful feeling of children being artistic, and many of the seniors are really artistic. The kids enjoy their time here and have said it goes by really fast,” Lamb said.

Maddie, who is in the fifth grade, said she likes communicating with the seniors and doing art with them.

She was sitting next to Olivia, 9, and resident Jean Gammon, who were painting bubble wrap to make jellyfish.

“I have grandchildren this age, and just coming down helping with their projects gives me ideas for working with my grandchildren,” Gammon said.

“It is wonderful to have two generations working together; we each see how much the other can do,” said Marjorie Kaufman, another resident, who was helping Jimena, 10, with her jellyfish.

The three elementary school boys, Chase H., Chase W. and Jesse, were having a ball daubing paint onto Bubble Wrap and drying it with a hair dryer, before cutting it into tentacles.

Watching the process was Irene Anderson, who said, “I’m 93, and it’s good that the kids realize I can still do things. Art keeps us active, and I consider that a bonus, and the instructors are wonderful.”

Generation collaboration

At the beginning, Larsen and Giles were not sure how to structure the sessions with the students and seniors, but it has gotten easier, Larsen said.

“The kids challenged some of my assumptions; they are more interested in the seniors’ lives than I thought they would be, and having the healthy community theme has made it easier for people to connect,” Larsen said.

The eight fourth- and fifth-grade students go to Willamette View four times during a two-month session, spending an hour and a half at the facility. Although there is no art teacher at Oak Grove Elementary, the teachers do art in the classroom and the afterschool CAFÉ program does have an art teacher, so the 80 students in that program have artistic opportunities every other day, Lamb said.

The program is grant-funded through the end of the school year, she noted.

Larsen described her job as an art therapist as her dream job, and said she and Giles developed the studio where the collaborative program takes place.

She added, “Not many facilities have two full-time art therapists who run a program. In this community, many residents lead workshops; we incorporate a lot of talent that is here.”

When the collaboration is finished for this school year, Larsen noted, the finished reef, complete with anemones, jellyfish and other sea creatures will be displayed at Oak Grove Elementary in May, as part of an art showcase event.