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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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Ledding Forum 2014 to feature popular local authors


Looking back on the inaugural season of the Ledding Cultural Forum, which just ended earlier this month, co-chairwomen Laura Gamble and Kathy Gannett declared the event a success.

In fact, it was “an outstanding season,” with audiences that were too large for the Pond House venue in some cases.

Because of that, future presentations will take place at the 130-capacity Black Box Theater at Milwaukie High School, starting in February.

“We had standing-room-only houses for Brian Doyle and Mike Richardson, with a huge audience, spilling onto the porch and many people turning away when they saw the crowd, and also for Matt Love and Kim Stafford,” she said.

People don’t have to drive to Portland to hear authors speak, these talks “are free and just down the street, and they offer a variety of genres and topics to appeal to a broad audience,” Gamble said.

Gamble and Gannett have announced the writers and dates for the next series of forums. All of the authors are local, with most hailing from Portland. They are: Phillip Margolin, Feb. 6; Peter Ames Carlin, March 6; Sallie Tisdale, April 3; Shawn Levy, May 1; Nancy Rommelman, June 5; Whitney Otto, Sept. 4; Jennifer Lauck, Oct. 2; and Larry Colton, Nov. 6.

Phillip Margolin

Starting out the series will be Margolin, who from 1972 until 1996 was an attorney in private practice in Portland. Since 1996 he has been writing full time, and all of his novels have been New York Times bestsellers. 

His first novel, “Heartstone,” was nominated for an Edgar for best original paperback mystery of 1978 by the Mystery Writers of America, and his second novel, “The Last Innocent Man,” was made into an HBO movie. 

At the Ledding Cultural Forum, Margolin will speak about his most recent work, “Worthy Brown’s Daughter.”

He said there are several reasons he wanted to speak at the forum.

“First, I love to talk about writing, and I am especially excited to talk about my new book, ‘Worthy Brown’s Daughter,’ inspired by a real heartbreaking case that was the only Oregon case to deal with slavery, and it took me 30 years to complete.”

“Also author events are important because they give readers a chance to ask writers questions about the craft of writing, the background for a book, and other things they can’t get by simply reading a novel, and it also brings readers into local libraries,” he said.

One thing that surprised him while researching for “Worthy Brown’s Daughter,” was the difference between the way law is practiced now and the way it was practiced in the Wild West of the 1800s, Margolin said.

“I was a criminal defense attorney for 25 years. Lawyers in the 1800s had to know not only the law, but how to shoot a gun. They had to ride the circuit, which meant sleeping in the wilds, dealing with bad weather and wild animals,” he said.

Margolin will speak from 7 to 8 p.m. at Milwaukie’s Black Box Theater on Thursday, Feb. 6. Learn more about him and his books at phillipmargolin.com.

Featured authors

Peter Ames Carlin, who will speak on March 6, is the author of several books, and also has been a freelance journalist, a senior writer at People magazine in New York City, and a television columnist and features writer at The Oregonian in Portland. A regular speaker on music, art and popular culture, Carlin lives in Portland with his wife and three children.

Carlin will speak about his current book, “Bruce,” which a Barnes & Noble review calls a “sweeping biography of Bruce Springsteen, featuring in-depth interviews with family, band members, childhood friends, ex-girlfriends and a poignant retrospective from the Boss himself. It’s Bruce as his many fans haven’t before seen him — the man behind the myth, describing his life and work in intimate, vivid detail.” More information available at peteramescarlin.com.

On April 3, Sallie Tisdale will discuss her book “Talk Dirty to Me,” an expansion of her controversial 1992 Harper’s magazine essay of the same title. Visit sallietisdale.com for more information.

Shawn Levy, a well-known journalist, film critic and pop culture historian in Portland, will talk about “Paul Newman: A Life,” a portrait of an actor who was one of the most celebrated movie stars of the 20th century. Levy’s presentation will take place on May 1. For more information, visit shawnlevy.com.

On June 5, Nancy Rommelman, a Portland writer by way of Brooklyn and Los Angeles, will speak at the forum. Her website says “The Queens of Montague Street” is a memoir of growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s. It was digitally released in 2012, excerpted as a New York Times magazine Longreads Top 10 of 2012. Visit her website at nancyrommelman.com.

Whitney Otto’s website, whitneyotto.com, describes her book “Eight Girls Taking Pictures,” as a “deeply affecting meditation on the lives of women artists.” She will discuss this book at the forum on Sept. 4.

On Oct. 2, the presenter will be Jennifer Lauck, an award-winning journalist and the author of The New York Times bestseller “Blackbird.” Her website notes that the memoir is unusual, in that it is written from the viewpoint of a child, recounting Lauck’s own “childhood troubled by an unending string of upheavals and heartbreaks.” The book also is used at The Dougy Center in Portland, helping children who are grieving the loss of a parent. Visit jenniferlauck.com.

Larry Colton, who will speak on Nov. 6, was a professional baseball player and will discuss his most current book, “Southern League: A True Story of Baseball, Civil Rights, and the Deep South’s Most Compelling Pennant Race.”

Colton is well known locally as one of the founders of Wordstock in 2006; visit larrycolton.com for more info.