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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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Fair winners savor victories


At the Clackamas County Fair and the Oregon State Fair this summer, two local women, Clarice Jones and Lisa Halcom, were both recognized for excellence in their respective events.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Clarice Jones accompanies herself on the piano as she sings a sample of the gospel song that impressed the judges at the Clackamas County Fair in August.Jones, an Oregon City resident, won first place in the adult category of the gospel-singing competition at the county fair, and Halcom, owner of Gladstone’s Happyrock Coffee Co., saw her Blend No. 5 named one of the 10 best espresso blends at the state fair.

Clarice Jones

Jones auditioned for the county fair in August and was chosen as one of 12 singers to compete in the adult gospel category.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Clarice Jones plays a tune for Pastor David Shankle; Jones sings at the OC Church of the Nazarene on Wednesday nights.On Aug. 15, she performed Mahalia Jackson’s “Soon I Will Be Done with the Troubles of This World,” and was thrilled to win first prize and $300.

“I heard a lot of great music that day, and I was very honored to be there,” Jones said.

She comes by her talent naturally, she said, noting that her father, the Rev. Asbury Paul Jones, was one of the first blacks to graduate from Julliard School and the first black chaplain for the California Senate.

“I have nine sisters, and we all sing and have CDs out. We can blow the heck out of a song,” Jones said, adding that she has a degree in musical theater from Sacramento State.

After college, Jones went on the road, touring with a band whose other members were all white. She appeared in “Godspell” on Broadway, where she sang “Day by Day,” and was in “Jesus Christ Superstar” in California.

She was a backup singer for B.B. King, Van Morrison, Stan Getz and Kenny Rankin, among others, and opened for Lou Rawls in Las Vegas.

Jones has toured in California, and that is where her family is, so what is she doing in Oregon?

“I’ve been here a year and eight months, waiting for a kidney,” she said, noting that her doctors told her that Oregon had good kidney doctors, partly due to the proximity of Oregon Health & Science University and Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital.

Jones has been diabetic for 12 years, and her mother died from kidney failure related to diabetes. Her own condition has worsened recently, and she is hoping a new kidney will be available soon.

Although she has health issues, Jones does not let that stop her from leading a normal life. She attends the Oregon City Church of the Nazarene, where she sings on Wednesday nights and some Sundays, and is working on a new CD, “Still Singing the Gospel.”

The pastor, David Shankle, and the congregation at the Nazarene Church have been very welcoming to her, Jones said.

“People see something in me, and I am so grateful for that. And I love my pastor; he is so sweet spirited,” she said.

“We like her gentle spirit and her heart, and she always brings us something inspired by the Lord,” Shankle said. “Her music ministry always touches the heart of the people.”

Lisa Halcom

At the Oregon State Fair on Aug. 24, a panel of six judges — restaurateurs, specialty coffee retailers and executive chefs — sampled a total of 90 coffees in three categories: signature blend, single varietal and espresso. All were presented by competition-level baristas to ensure maximum extraction per entry, Halcom said.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Lisa Halcom, owner of Happyrock Coffee Co., hands out coffee samples at this summer's Oregon State Fair.At the end of the competition, her Blend No. 5 was named in the top 10 of the espresso category.

“Blend No. 5 is both bright and smooth. This three-bean blend contains equal parts coffee from Indonesia, Central America and South America. Roasted to a point between medium and dark, it has hints of citrus, touches of cacao and a clean finish,” Halcom said.

Placing in the top 10 was “huge,” she said, adding, “Oregon is a coffee-drinking state, and coffee is the second most-traded commodity in the world, second only to oil. There were many large companies in the championships, including Portland Roasting, Stumptown, K&F, Boyds, McMenamins and Public Domain.”

Competitions of this sort are not new to Halcom. She also won an award in the 2010 Best Coffee in Oregon Competition at the Oregon State Fair with the blend Storm of the Black Bear, and again in 2011, for the blend Darkness of Divinity.

In 2012, Blend No. 5 was in the top-16 finalists in the America’s Best Espresso Competition at Coffee Fest Seattle.

Happyrock Coffee Roasting Co. was built in 1999 in historic downtown Gladstone, and the name comes from what the locals call the town: Gladstone, aka Happyrock. Halcom has been the owner and roaster since 2009, and has more than 14 years of coffee experience.

“I love roasting coffee. It gives me the control to roast beans the way that I think they taste best. I love to play with blending the beans as well as offering single origins. Currently we offer Kenya Nyeri, and I am working on getting some Organic Peru directly from the farmer,” she said.

“Whenever I meet others in the coffee industry, whether it’s other coffee roasters, baristas, importers or farmers, everyone on every level is very happy with what they do.”