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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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Destination Imagination success celebrated


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Left to right are Annie Burn, Destination Imagination team adviser, LOLiPOP team members Andrea Reeves, Avery Burn and Genae Vanek and adviser Kora Vanek.Cascade Heights Public Charter School in Clackamas is celebrating its recent Destination Imagination win and is planning to honor its first group of alumni to graduate from high school. Also on tap is an ambitious summer program, announced the school’s administrator.

Destination Imagination

First up: the school’s Destination Imagination team, fifth-graders Andrea Reeves, Avery Burn and Genae Vanek, returned home from the Global Finals competition in Knoxville, Tenn., with a first-place and a fourth-place award. They competed against 55 other teams, including 15 from other countries.

“We are very proud of them,” said Holly Denman, CHPCS director.

In a nutshell, Destination Imagination is an international creative problem-solving program for students in second grade through the university level, said Annie Burn, who mentored the team, along with Kora Vanek. The two women accompanied the team to Knoxville, but were never allowed to help the girls with any task or presentation.

Teams are presented with challenges in five different categories: technology, engineering, art and language, community service and improv, Burn said.

The Cascade Heights team, called LOLiPOP, for Love of Learning Peer Outreach Project, won first place at regionals and at the state competition in April in the community service/elementary school category. They placed fourth in that category at the global level in Knoxville, with a presentation about gathering donated books for preschool children.

But it was in the Instant Challenge category that the LOLiPOP team came on strong, placing first, Burn said.

In this challenge, the girls were given a piece of newspaper, two pieces of copy paper, two pipe cleaners, four popsicle sticks, two rubber bands and three mailing labels.

“They were told to build a device to capture wind; they had to attach that device to a free-standing wheel, and when they turned a fan on, the device had to make the wheel spin,” Burn said.

They had only five minutes to complete this challenge in front of a panel of judges.

The team returned home from Knoxville “excited about Destination Imagination, and they want to make it more supported in the school,” Burn added.


Next up at CHPCS is the first alumni reunion at 6:30 p.m. June 15, which will honor the students in the first eighth-grade graduating class, who are now graduating from high school and moving on to college.

“Our plan is to track our graduating alums for 20 years. These students have already earned all kinds of scholarships and accolades, including one full ride to Franklin Olin Engineering School in Boston, one to Gonzaga and one to the U.S. Marine Corps. Their first teachers will be here, we will have dinner for them, share some memories and send them off to Wunderland to play,” Denman said.

Falcons’ Nest

Parents anywhere in the district are encouraged to contact the school and fill out applications for Falcons’ Nest, a summer day care and education program; the CHPCS mascot is a falcon, Denman said.

The program runs for 11 weeks, from June 17 through Aug. 29, and provides day care and enrichment courses for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. The instructors are all college students with special skills, Denman said.

This program is in addition to the regular summer program offered at the school, which includes spelling and speech camps and kindergarten 101, taught by regular certified staff members, Denman said.

Courses include nature explorations, French and Spanish for beginners, sports and games, sewing, upcycling, computer coding, crafts, dancing, electronics training kits, storytelling, keyboarding, Lego robotics and math amazement.

Denman said there are three levels of participation and fees. Classes are offered Monday through Thursday; there are no classes or day care on Friday.

Level one includes a one-hour class for one week, Monday-Thursday, for $30 per week. Level two includes six hours of classes and one hour of lunch and playtime for one week, for $140 per week.

Level three includes Level two, plus extended care. Students may be dropped off as early as 7:30 a.m. and picked up no later than 5:30 p.m. In addition, students may take up to six classes each day. They also may elect to stay in day care during the day. Day care will provide snacks, rest time, outside play, inside play, arts and crafts and gardening. The fee for this level is $160 per week.

Students in levels two and three need to bring a healthy lunch, water bottle and snacks, Denman said.

For more information about Falcons’ Nest, contact Georgi Brunning at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Cascade Heights Public Charter School is located at 15301 S.E. 92nd Ave., in Clackamas. Call 503- 653–1850, visit cascadeheights.org, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..