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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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Student art show takes over OC coffee shop

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - 'Better Late Than Never,' a painting by OCHS Art Club member Maggie Atchley, is on display now at Big Dog Coffee Shop in Oregon City.Art is usually an individual creative effort, with ideas working their way through the brain onto canvas or paper.

But the showing of art should be a community event, noted Oregon City High School art teacher Nicholas Jay Liebrecht.

Nineteen of his extracurricular Art Club students are showing their work at the Big Dog Coffee Shop on Molalla Avenue, now through the first week in March.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Beth Murphy, a senior at OCHS, shows off her painting, entitled 'Wonderland.' The art exhibit at the coffee shop was part of her senior project.Calling the show a “real-world application,” Liebrecht said it is important to share student work with the community, to generate awareness about the art program.

“For a school like ours, with a vibrant art department, we want to remind people that we exist,” he said.

Another goal was to get some foot traffic into Big Dog Coffee Shop, and expose people to that, as well.

“Not a lot of teens knew about the coffee shop, which replaced one that closed, and the shop has this great upper room. Matt Perry, the owner, told me that the weekend after we installed the art show was their busiest ever,” Liebrecht said.

The formal name of the art show is “Inspired by Comics and Cartoons — a show paying tribute to childhood inspirations and influences.”

The 33 pieces, mostly paintings, interspersed with pencil and charcoal drawings and photography, reflect student interest in a variety of cultural influences, from anime to Disney and beyond.

Art Club member Beth Murphy came up with the idea for the show as part of her senior project, and she also was instrumental in hanging it at the coffee shop.

Her piece, titled “Wonderland,” depicts Alice in silhouette form, surrounded by brilliant colors.

Art is important to retain in a school’s curriculum, because it allows for creative expression, and “if people aren’t creative, how are we going to get new ideas for products and for our economy?” she said.

“Kids at school don’t get the chance to appreciate art, and this show also helps support a local business,” Murphy added.

Wyatt Hinze, a junior, said his drawings are usually inspired by music, and he described art as “a good outlet for emotions and a good way to think.”

Art should be shared with the community, he said, adding, “Most people at school won’t appreciate art, since they are running from class to class. But a stranger may see a deeper meaning in it.”

Junior Rachel Madison said her two charcoal pieces, “Kiss the Girl” and “Kiss the Bride,” were inspired by Disney movies she saw when she was a child.

“Kiss the Girl” is her imagining what Ariel, from “The Little Mermaid,” would look like now, she said.

“Drawing is soothing and cathartic; drawing makes me feel better. Art is helpful to children when they are going through a tough time — it helps get emotions out. Art is good for the brain and helps you learn,” she added.

Drake MacFarlane, a senior, noted that his piece, “Adventure Wars,” is the result of mixing cultural genres together; in this case, he has re-imagined the classic “Star Wars” poster with Darth Vader to include characters from “Adventure Time,” a popular TV cartoon show.

He has shown his work publicly before, and said it is important to have art shows because “it gives our students validation for their work, to have others look at it and appreciate it. It makes it really special, being an artist and being seen.”

Fellow senior Emily Leonetti agreed, saying, “I love showing my art; it shows what I’m thinking without using words. It is a reassurance that your art is good enough to be displayed.”

Her piece, “The Happiest Cage Owner,” portrays Minnie and Mickey Mouse, dressed in their traditional Disney garb, as test mice in a cage.

“I brought in the irony of Minnie and Mickey as real mice in a cage, and combined that with the Disneyland slogan as ‘The Happiest Place on Earth.’ It is an ironic contrast,” she added.

Community support

Liebrecht said that the community support for the art show has been positive, and many of the pieces have been sold.

It is exhilarating for the students to make $25 from their pieces; it is money “generated by something that you love to do,” he said.

There is no budget allocated for Art Club, so all the pieces in the show were made with supplies that the students could afford. Some students could not participate, because of economic reasons.

Liebrecht has never had a problem getting enough students to be members of the club, he said, because the creative culture is “engendered in the culture” at OCHS.

There should not have to be an explanation for why art should be in the curriculum, Liebrecht said, noting, “Art helps you think creatively. It is critical thinking and problem-solving.”

On a practical note, he added that most universities require a fine-arts credit in order to be admitted.

Looking ahead to June, Liebrecht said that the OCHS Art Club already is planning a photography show, and he hopes the community will be as supportive of this endeavor as it has been of the current show.

Fast facts

See the OCHS art show upstairs at Big Dog Coffee Shop, 107 Molalla Ave., in Oregon City. The coffee shop is open 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; and 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Call 503-655-3200.