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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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Plant sale to raise money, awareness


Mother-daughter team, volunteers key to annual event that aids homeless families

{img:12749}Tim Collier has mothers on his mind right now — and he has three reasons.

The first is the 21st Annual Annie Ross Plant Sale, taking place the day before Mother’s Day in Milwaukie. The second is the Mother’s Day donation campaign set up by Northwest Housing Alternatives, and the third is a volunteer mother-daughter team making a huge difference in helping out with the plant sale.

Collier is the resource development director for Northwest Housing Alternatives, the organization that operates the Annie Ross House, so that explains his mind-set in May.

Annual sale tied to holiday

The annual plant sale is something of a Milwaukie institution. Volunteers set up a colorful display of hanging baskets, annuals, trees, perennials and more. Proceeds from the sale go to the Annie Ross House, an emergency shelter that provides services to families to help them overcome homelessness.

The Annie Ross House, across the street from Milwaukie High School, is the only emergency family shelter in Clackamas County. It has a main shelter that houses five families, with six transitional units nearby.

For those who can’t come to the plant sale, the Mother’s Day donation campaign is an option. Visit nwhousing.org to find out how to make a one-time or sustaining gift.

The idea to tie the campaign to Mother’s Day came about since single moms with children make up 75 percent of the households helped by NWHA, Collier said.

Mother-daughter advocates

As for the volunteer mother-daughter team of Joy and Maddie Moxness, Collier said their efforts not only contribute to the success of the plant sale, but also benefit the whole organization in many ways.

For the last couple of years, Joy Moxness and her daughter, Maddie, 16, a junior at Lakeridge High School, have worked in the garden behind the Annie Ross House at least once or twice a month, nurturing the donated plants earmarked for the plant sale.

“They are out there weeding and watering to make sure the plants are as good as they can possibly be. And because they are here, the staff is freed up to write more grants,” Collier said.

“Maddie and Joy committed to this, and they add to the exposure of our organization. They advocate for us so that our volunteer pool is growing. The more volunteers we have, the more folks who are invested, then we can serve more people,” he said.

“We have 10 families here, and when they see people coming here to work, donating their time and talents, a moment happens when they see people coming out to help them succeed. They know the community is with them, and that generates positive energy,” Collier said.

National Charity League

Joy and Maddie Moxness came to the Annie Ross House through a mother-daughter program they belong to called the National Charity League. They are members of the Lake Oswego chapter.

The NCL is a national organization serving mothers and their daughters in grades seven through 12, through philanthropy and leadership training.

Part of the mission of the NCL is “to focus on giving back to the community doing community service,” Maddie Moxness said.

She first came to the Annie Ross House with a friend, and when she saw the families there and realized how the plant sale benefited them, she wanted to return.

“I enjoy gardening. It's fun and rewarding,” she said.

The organization has a program called Share Your Passion, with the idea that “when you love to do something, do it and share it with others,” Joy Moxness said.

Each chapter of the NCL “takes on about 10 to 15 charities, and the members commit to those charities only. That way we can really make an impact,” she said, noting that there are plenty of other mother-daughter teams doing volunteer work all over the metro area.

The organization shows the value of volunteering, Collier said. "The NCL focuses on giving back generation to generation. It is a great partner for us.”

Parting with the plants

“I treasure this time with my daughter, and I just love it that we can come here as a mother and daughter and give back to the community,” Joy Moxness said.

“It is a special thing and it strengthens our relationship. We work together a lot,” Maddie Moxness said.

And how do they feel about selling all those plants they have nurtured throughout the year?

“When you've put all this effort into those little plants, you have a personal interest in them,” Joy Moxness said. “One or two plants may not seem like much, but when you sell them, the money goes back into the community.”

Maddie Moxness said it is exciting to see people enjoy buying plants that she and her mother have worked on.

Once, the pair took a sad-looking curry plant and babied it all year to get it ready for the plant sale.

“It didn’t sell, and I couldn’t bear to let it go, so now we have it in our garden,” Maddie Moxness said.

“Now it's huge and smells so good. It's a fun little plant,” her mom added.

Volunteers at heart of NWA

Collier welcomes volunteers who are willing to spend time working for the organization — even a few hours can have an impact, he said.

He emphasized that the NWA program depends on community support.

“We can provide the right service at the right time. We can help the single mom fleeing domestic violence and get her into a shelter, and then into permanent housing. We are the only shelter in Clackamas County that can take in kids so they don’t have to go through the trauma of homelessness,” Collier said.

“We have the infrastructure and can grow the program to meet the need, and when the need starts to diminish, we can scale it back. We are very flexible, and it works,” he said, noting that as of 2011, 92 percent of the families that graduated from the shelter are stable and healthy a year after leaving.

“This shows that the program works. We can create long-term change. Poverty and homelessness are complex problems. This program shows that the investments people make get used effectively,” Collier said.

Fast Facts

What: 21st Annual Annie Ross Plant Sale

When: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11

Where: McLoughlin Boulevard and Southeast Harrison Street, at the Milwaukie Farmers Market site in downtown Milwaukie

More: A large variety of perennials, annuals and hanging baskets will be available. The plant sale helps the Annie Ross House and Northwest Housing Alternatives raise money and awareness for the shelter and programs.

Info: For more information about Northwest Housing Alternatives, call Tim Collier, resource development director, at 503-654-1007, ext. 113.

Send cash donations to: The Annie Ross House, 2316 S.E. Willard St., Milwaukie, OR 97222-7740.

Donations to the Mother’s Day fund may be made online at nwhousing.org.

For more information about the National Charity League and to find a local chapter, visit nationalcharityleague.org.