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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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Pickathon fest: Organically grown


Feist, Sallie Ford, Felice Brothers among nearly 50 artists at 15th musical bash

by: COURTESY OF PITCH PERFECT PR - Pickathon features a lineup of new and established artists.Dale Watson sings with a deep, Texas-bred drawl and shies away from neither twangy guitars nor heartbreak-themed songs.

Just don’t call him “country.”

“I play ‘Ameripolitan Music,’ ” Watson says. “Original music with prominent roots influence. I do not play country music.”

Watson is not one of those musicians who finds labels restrictive or without merit — when properly applied, that is.

“I like labels and categories. The push has always been to not have labels, that music is music. But that’s like going grocery shopping in a store with no certain aisles or sections,” he says. “There are some things that are good in modern country, but they are the exception and not the rule. In Ameripolitan music, integrity and quality is the rule.”

Much the same could be said for Pickathon, the rootsy, yet wide-ranging music festival held Aug. 2 to 4 at Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley. Watson, whose latest album, “El Rancho Azul,” was named after the Willie Nelson studio where it was recorded, will perform in Pickathon’s Galaxy Barn at 3 p.m. Aug. 3 and again at 4:20 p.m. Aug. 4 at The Woods Stage.

Pickathon day ($130, $25 parking) and weekend ($260, $65 parking) tickets were still available at www.Pickathon.com. Camping, but not parking, is included with the weekend pass.

by: COURTESY PHOTO - Just don't call Dale Watson a 'country' musician.Featured on five separate stages, this summer’s Pickathon lineup may boast fewer obvious big names than in recent years, although anyone who’s been near a radio or TV in the past half-decade, however, should recognize enigmatic Canadian chanteuse Feist, who broke through in 2007 with the relentlessly catchy hit “1-2-3-4.” Portland’s own Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside also will likely draw a healthy chunk of Americana fans from near and far, as will the heartfelt songwriting and sultry voice of North Carolina’s Tift Merritt.

The Relatives, a Texas-bred outfit that formed in 1970 but didn’t release an album till this year, will bring scorching psychedelicized soul to the Clackamas County countryside. Fronted by the Amy Winehouse-esque pipes of singer Rachael Price, Boston’s Lake Street Dive blends jazz, 1960s mod pop and classic rock a quirky amalgam, while Bradford Lee Folk & the Bluegrass Playboys will help Pickathon live up to its earliest, string-music-based origins.

Musical curation

Regardless of how famous an artist may or may not be, Pickathon founder Zale Schoenborn believes quality and musical integrity are at the heart of the festival’s soul. The process begins with a “playlist” featuring 800 to 1,000 artists who’ve released a new recording in the past year or so.

“We’re curating,” he says. “We look at the lineup each year as a new contemporary snapshot of artists who are kings of their own musical world. We go to as many music lovers we can think of in our inner and outer circles and collect their favorite bands.

“They may not have a (large) draw, but when you’re listening to them, you get that essence of their musical world that moves you. We put it all together in a collection. I’m confident it’s the most amazing music we’ve ever assembled to date.”

On a less harmonious note, Schoenborn, who works as a principal architectural engineer at Intel Corp., says he’s aware not everyone is comfortable with Pickathon’s weekend ticket prices jumping from $190 to $260 since last summer. Key reasons he cites include keeping crowd density lower, audience and artist amenities high quality, while creating a more realistic financial structure for the festival’s long-term health.

“It’s a big leap,” he admits of the independently run event that started as a fundraiser for radio station KBOO. “It’s our responsibility not to exploit people (but) the responsibility to do things correctly is not cheap. We were under where we needed to be by a lot.

“We’re going from doing something for the love of something to what it really costs. I don’t see our ticket prices going up forever.”

by: COURTESY PHOTO - Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside is a highlight of the Pickathon.

Woodstock west

Changes in the Pickathon experience this year include eliminating the beer garden to allow suds consumption throughout the main stage bowl area, and transforming the shower area by the Pickathon Cafe into a fifth stage area.

For the second year in a row, the wooded camping area will feature a “front desk,” complete with a concierge and scouts seeking out suitable camp sites and assisting with special needs or problems.

“We won’t have as much stress because of these guys,” Schoenborn says. “The camp scouts will help place you and fine-tune your site. It makes for a very graceful entry.”

Watson, who credits Nelson’s “Willie vibe” with making

“El Rancho Azul” an album he’s happy about, picks up a similarly zen-like feeling from Pickathon.

“I’ve played Pickathon before and find it a very different type of festival,” the veteran musician says. “It’s a bit like a mini-Woodstock. It is a beautiful area and, quite frankly, a pleasant change from the Texas heat.”

Endorsements like that make all the toil leading up to the event worthwhile, Schoenborn says.

“We’ve had artists crying on Sunday night. It turns into a very emotional affair for a lot of people. We design it to be like that.”