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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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Yard to Table event fun, family friendly


Greg Baartz-Bowman loves living in Milwaukie, and he wants to keep spreading the love. That’s why he founded the Milwaukie Film Festival several years ago and the reason he wants to keep bringing fun, family-friendly activities to the city.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Donna Smith, middle, tells Greg Baartz-Bowman and Robyn Streeter about the benefits of growing kale.From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 19, the Milwaukie Film Festival will present Yard to Table, showing attendees how to dig, plant and harvest during a series of afternoon workshops. That evening will bring Community Film Night to town, featuring a group of short films around the theme of yard to table. All the Saturday activities will take place in the Milwaukie Masonic Lodge, across the street from Milwaukie City Hall.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Karin Power holds Louisa Lim, one of her chickens named for female NPR correspondents.The fun continues from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Easter Sunday, April 20, with Tour de Coops, a tour of Milwaukie-area chicken coops.

“This is the town I want to live in, and I want it to have culture and livability. I also want to help the community have an active Main Street. This is the type of event the city deserves,” Baartz-Bowman said.

Although the entire day’s events are free, donations are always welcome, and they will help fund similar activities in the future, he said.

Grow a garden

The first workshop starting at 2 p.m. will feature Donna Smith and Robyn Streeter who own Your Backyard Farmer.

“Someone who has not had a garden space or has a current one that is neglected, we will show them how to get one up and running so they can grow their own vegetables,” Smith said.

The two women will talk about the differences between growing produce in raised beds vs. in-ground beds.

Baartz-Bowman said that he met Smith on a bike ride for Bike Milwaukie, a group he co-founded with Matt Menely in the summer of 2011.

The biking group rode to Smith’s home at Harvey Street and Southeast 37th Avenue in Milwaukie, where the participants saw the Urban Farm Center in action.

“A lot of people walking through the neighborhood want to know what this is about. It looks residential, but in the back it is all farmed, and Robyn and I do it together,” Smith said.

The two women said Your Backyard Farmer has four purposes.

“We teach classes and do home consulting, and we also have a Community Supported Agriculture program,” Streeter said.

“Along with our CSA we sell produce to restaurants, including Cha Cha Cha in Milwaukie,” Smith said.

What Streeter likes best about an event like Yard to Table, is the fact that it is something for the entire family to do.

“Kids can be involved and, after all, everybody eats. Food is the one thing we all have in common,” she said.

Check out their website at yourbackyardfarmer.com.

Planting tips, seed exchange

Next up on the agenda will be a workshop taught by Sarah Smith, a landscape designer based in Milwaukie.

Her talk will focus on growing “ornamental edibles,” which she described as “plants that are not necessarily grown just for their calorie and vitamin content. My talk will appeal to the novice gardener just getting started with growing their own food, all the way through to an experienced gardener looking for a way to squeeze even more edibles into their existing gardens.”

She also will offer tips on lower-maintenance edibles, and growing veggies and herbs where one would traditionally grow annual flowers. She will share her favorite shrubs and trees with delicious fruits, and give tips on how to choose what to grow.

Smith added, “Growing vegetables and edible plants can be a lot of work. I want to share my experience with making the growing of food easier and help new gardeners to be more successful and experience the true pleasure in growing, harvesting and eating homegrown fruits, herbs and veggies.”

Read her garden blog at gardendogs.blogspot.com, and visit her community garden website at campbellgarden.org.

Gwenn Laubach Alvarez will present a workshop about harvesting at 4 p.m., speaking about planting native species and environmental harmony, Baartz-Bowman said.

Several activities will be concurrent with the workshops, including a seed share and seed exchange from 2 to 4 p.m. and weeding and planting veggies in the raised bed under the flagpole at City Hall.

“We need lots of kids and young people to show up for the planting,” Baartz-Bowman said. He added that local artists have donated artwork that fits with the theme of yard to table, and he will be selling raffle tickets for those artworks throughout the day and into the evening.

Film festival

The evening portion of Yard to Table will offer short films at the Masonic Lodge. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the free film festiva begins at 7 p.m.

The highlight of this event will be the debut screening of a 20-minute portion of “Plant This Movie,” from Portland filmmaker Karney Hatch, and featuring Smith and Streeter.

“He traveled for two years all over the world, brought the imagery back, and put the film together to show what urban agriculture is in all countries. This is a very important film, as he shows people working in urban agriculture, from rooftop gardens to full-fledged farms like ours,” Smith said.

She added, “People need to see that this is really happening. When we started our farm in 2006, people thought it wouldn’t last.”

“And the reason it has lasted is because people like you wouldn’t stop,” Baartz-Bowman said.

Tour de Coops

Karin Power is the host for the community film night and said she was thrilled when Baartz-Bowman asked her to emcee the event.

“One of the things that drew me to Milwaukie was our large yard sizes, perfect for gardening and growing your own food, yet only 15 minutes to downtown. I’ve just started a backyard garden this year, so I’m looking forward to learning more from our resident Milwaukie pros, Donna, Robyn, Sarah and Gwenn, and then getting together in the evening to watch ‘Plant this Movie’ and other shorts,” she said.

Power is also behind the Tour de Coops, taking place Sunday, April 20.

“We’re excited to feature some terrific neighborhood chicken coops across town. Our tour will feature a range of coop types and sizes — everything from small backyard coops to larger coops and chicken runs that supply multiple neighbors with a steady stream of eggs. If you’re looking for inspiration, you’ll be sure to find it,” Power said.

Power grew up in a family that preserved fruits and vegetables, so she is no stranger to the world of yard to table. She also has some advice for beginning gardeners.

“Go with things that are exceptionally tasty fresh from your yard that you and your family love to eat. Think strawberries, blueberries or raspberries, as well as cucumbers, tomatoes or peas. Then work your way up from there. It’s great fun to watch your strawberry patch ripen a little more every day in June. And you don’t necessarily need a raised bed or anything fancy — all you need is some good dirt,” she said.

The map to local chicken coops is available online at milwaukiefilmfestival.com/coops.

Yard to Table

What: Farming/gardening workshops and films hosted by the Milwaukie Film Festival and sponsored by the Milwaukie Masonic Lodge

When: Saturday, April 19; 2 to 4 p.m. workshops;

7 p.m. film festival screenings

Where: Masonic Lodge, 10636 S.E. Main St., Milwaukie

Details: Free; suitable for ages 12 and up. The event is made possible by a grant from Clackamas County Tourism & Cultural Affairs.

More: milwaukiefilmfestival.com

Plan ahead: “Upriver Downtown,” the Milwaukie Festival of Short Films will take place Saturday, May 10. A family-friendly screening is at 7 p.m., followed by a showing of films for mature audiences from 9 to 11 p.m.