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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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New year: Time to 'solve hunger'


Patti Whitney-Wise has been working her entire life to eradicate hunger. As 2014 dawns, she said it is time for all of us to knuckle down and do something about poverty and hunger in Oregon.

“As we enter the new year, it is a good time to have a public conversation. There really is a role for every person to help end hunger,” she said.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - A boy snacks on a sandwich and fruit at a summer food program, made available by Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon.Whitney-Wise, a resident of Milwaukie since 1996, is executive director of Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, a nonprofit that raises awareness about hunger, connects people to nutrition programs and advocates for changes to end hunger before it begins.

The organization was founded in 2006, specifically to support and complement the Oregon Hunger Task Force, which was created by the Legislature in 1989 to collaborate with state agencies, businesses, nonprofits, public officials and local communities to end hunger statewide.

When Whitney-Wise was on the task force board, she and other members “knew we needed to have a nonprofit in place to support the work of the task force, and to support the staff with jobs and benefits. We also wanted to continue state support and fund raise on our own.”

As the name implies, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, with a staff of 12, partners with the Oregon Food Bank, the Ecumenical Ministries of Portland and community, legislative and state agencies to educate people about hunger and poverty in the state.

Although Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon is based in Southeast Portland, Whitney-Wise said the organization has worked extensively in Clackamas County, specifically with the North Clackamas School District’s summer food program.

“I’m a resident, and it bothered me that there was no summer food program, so we instigated the summer food and after-school snack programs throughout the county,” she said.

In addition, the nonprofit has developed a model summer outreach program that offers to help start after-school programs. Once these are up and running, organizations can then apply for federal funds, to keep the programs going, Whitney-Wise said.

Root causes

Although the Oregon Food Bank and other organizations do a good job addressing the need for food, “we are looking at the bigger picture. How can we provide a safety net for families when adults lose their jobs? How can we provide child care, affordable housing, health care and utility assistance? We need to move beyond the emergency food box,” Whitney-Wise said.

“To solve hunger, we have to go upstream to the root causes, and family economic stability is at the top,” she said.

Luckily, this issue has caught the eye of Cylvia Hayes, Gov. John Kitzhaber’s partner, sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Oregon.

Hayes is deeply involved with the Oregon Prosperity Initiative, Whitney-Wise said, which is committed to increasing the prosperity of all Oregonians, by ensuring that people who are currently struggling to feed and shelter themselves and their families have access to critical resources, while at the same time addressing the long-standing, systemic causes of poverty.  

“She is a wonderful spokesperson who wants to encourage involvement by communities in the big picture to make for a healthier state. Hunger is an income issue, and we need people to realize there is a cost to not addressing this,” Whitney-Wise said.

A national study has shown that by not dealing with hunger, “we lose out on over $2 billion in the cost of kids not learning at school and by the cost of emergency room visits,” she added.

Looking ahead to February, Whitney-Wise said that during the coming legislative session, lawmakers need to come up with public policy to help people earn a better living wage.

“How do we help people move forward? People are sensitive to hunger issues during the holiday season, but for us it is a time of reflecting and making plans so families don’t face this in the future,” she said.

Understanding hunger issues

This issue is something Whitney-Wise has focused on for a long time. In high school she did service projects. She has had personal experience with struggles getting by, saying her father died when she was 15, and her mother raised four children.

Whitney-Wise earned a degree in sociology at the University of San Francisco and then went on to do a national service project for Volunteers in Service to America, working with children’s nutrition programs.

“When you are in VISTA, for that year you are on food stamps, and I was on food stamps in college, as well,” she said.

Whitney-Wise is recognized as a leader in Oregon on anti-hunger legislative advocacy, as well as a national leader. She has advised advocacy groups in several states around the country and has been a keynote speaker at hunger summits and events in numerous states.

Over the past 30 years, her public service includes outreach on federal food programs for children’s rights groups and addressing poverty issues as executive director of the California Council of Churches. She also has received several prestigious awards, including the national Wellstone-Wheeler Anti-Hunger Advocacy Leadership Award.

“What is amazing about Patti is she has a deep understanding of the history of hunger and poverty issues. She understands how the policy piece works and is able to translate that to people on the ground. She has the ability to understand what we need to know to do the best work for people in Oregon,” said Sharon Thornberry, the community foods system manager at the Oregon Food Bank.

Thornberry was a member of the Oregon Hunger Task Force for 16 years, and she and Whitney-Wise touch base frequently to discuss hunger and poverty issues.

Thornberry added, “Patti is also extraordinarily good at building relationships with state agencies so we can all work together. She has been instrumental in developing relationships not only with state workers and administrators, but with the governor’s office, and that has really made a difference.”

But you don’t have to be a mover or shaker to make a difference in the fight on poverty and hunger, Whitney-Wise said.

“Anyone can become a partner. Go to our website and sign up for a variety of things. These are issues we can all work on.”

To find out more about Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, visit oregonhunger.org. To learn more about the goals of the Oregon Prosperity Initiative, visit firstlady.oregon.gov.