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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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It's not your grandpa's Elks club


by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Mary Anne Paradise, former Exalted Ruler of the Milwaukie Elks Lodge, stands next to the swimming pool that she hopes to see open for members in June.For Mary Anne Paradise, past Exalter Ruler of the Milwaukie Elks Lodge, her yearlong reign was all about reaching out to the community. And as she passed her title along to Kurt Selvig on March 30, she feels that she reached her goals of community involvement and facility refurbishment.

In mid-April a new partnership with the Clackamas YMCA will bring classes for children and adults to the lodge, and in June a milestone will take place when the pool behind the main building will re-open after being closed for 12 years.

Although the YMCA classes and many other activities are open to the public, this year the pool will only be open to members and area swim team practices. Paradise hopes the pool will be open to the entire community in 2014. She also is proud to show off the interior of the Elks Lodge, which members have painted and redecorated.

Community partners

Jennifer Lawrence, program director for the Clackamas YMCA, contacted the Elks Lodge about holding classes at the facility, and “we decided to try it, because there are times when nobody is using certain parts of the building,” Paradise said.

Because the Clackamas YMCA does not have a facility of its own, “we are always looking for places to do our programs. I live in the community, and I thought the community would benefit from these programs — it is a perfect fit,” Lawrence said.

The YMCA is dedicated to presenting programs for youth development and healthy living, so the classes that will be offered at the Elks Lodge dovetail with those goals, Lawrence said.

Classes for children ages 4 and up will include Lego Engineering, Dr. Seuss’s World, Zumbatomic and Mini-Ballerinas, while classes for older children will include Ultimate Sports and Zumba. Adults also are welcome to take the Zumba class.

Lawrence is hoping to expand the class offerings in the future, and added, “I would love to see community input on what they would like to see.”

Public responds

Paradise said the Elks Lodge leadership is grateful for the support the community showed a year ago when it looked like the county was going to purchase the lodge, tear it down and build affordable housing on the site.

“People contacted us, supported us and joined us, so the county decided it would not be a very popular decision to tear down the building,” Paradise said, noting that the Elks Lodge has occupied its current spot on Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard since 1957.

Milwaukie Elks members want to reach out to the community “to say thank you for supporting us,” Paradise said, adding, “And we want to introduce young families into the lodge.”

The Saturday before Easter saw the grounds of the Elks Lodge swarming with children hunting eggs and watching bunnies hop through obstacle courses, while at the same time the second annual Red Cross Blood Drive took place.

There are plenty of other activities at the lodge that are open to the public, Paradise said, including the eight-lane bowling alley, open the first and third Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. A jazz event is open to the public on the third Sunday of the month from October through May, and the lodge hosts a haunted house in October.

Milwaukie High School’s winter formal was held at the Elks Club, and the site was easily able to accommodate the 250 students who attended. Paradise said she would love to hear from more school representatives.

Fundraiser and raffle

A vintage fashion show and dessert is scheduled for April 21, and is open to the public, Paradise said

“We wanted something different,” said event Chairman Janet Blaschke, noting that the event is a fundraiser for both the swimming pool refurbishment and for the Elks National Foundation, the charitable arm of the organization.

The fashion show will feature vintage wear from AlexSandra’s Vintage Emporium in Portland, and Blaschke promises the event will be fun and eye-catching.

“I have attended quite a few of these events. AlexSandra normally hosts them at Tony Starlight’s in the Hollywood District. It is something that people of all ages enjoy, from young girls to senior ladies, and their husbands love to accompany them because they dress up and look so glamorous,” Blaschke said.

When the models take a break to change clothes, Elvis, in the form of Rayvis, an Elvis impersonator, will entertain the audience.

Another ongoing fundraiser is the raffle of a gold-mining pan, like the one used by the miners in the Discovery Channel’s show “Gold Rush.”

Blaschke’s son Mitch is a cast member, and when a reunion show was recently filmed in Portland, Blaschke was able to get all of the cast to sign the pan. Raffle tickets are being soldng for $5 apiece, or five for $20, and a drawing will be held in May.

Blaschke said she knows she could get more money for the souvenir by auctioning it off, but it is important to her that everyone has an equal chance at acquiring the pan.

She added, “Whoever wins it can do anything they want with it, but I wanted it to be an equal playing field.”

Fast facts

Milwaukie Elks Lodge 2032, 13121 S.E. McLoughlin Blvd., in Milwaukie.

Call the main office at 503-654-9588 to book a spot in the facility or to purchase raffle tickets for the gold-mining pan. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

To register online for the YMCA classes, visit ymcacw.org or call Jennifer Lawrence at 503-654-7950.

To book tickets for the vintage fashion show and dessert, held on Sunday, April 21, from 1 to 3 p.m., call the lodge at 503-654-9588; tickets are $15.