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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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JUST ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW: You know how much I hate all this change

Mikel Kelly is the former managing editor of the Beaverton Valley Times, The Times as well as the Lake Oswego Review. He is now chief of the central editing and design desk for Community Newspapers and the Portland Tribune, and he contributes a regular column.This has been a rough summer for me.

Ann Curry was dumped by the “Today” show — primarily, if we are to believe the scandal sheets at the grocery checkout (and I do), because Matt Lauer is an egotistical pig — so I can’t watch that show anymore.

Not that it matters that much, because, since Charlie Rose came to the CBS morning news, I get my morning TV fix from the Big Eye network. (I gave up on ABC way back in the Diane Sawyer days because her over-emoting was way too creepy.)

Still, Ann Curry was my favorite one on the NBC program, and it isn’t only because she went to the University of Oregon, which does make her stock go up in these parts. I just liked her (OK?), and that was no way to treat such a classy lady.

My other morning routine has been ruined by the retirement of half of the Mark & Brian Show which originated in Los Angeles but was carried for many years by KGON, the classic rock station at 92.3 on the radio dial. Mark Thompson, the one who quit, was so enamored with “The Andy Griffith Show,” he moved to North Carolina, for cryin’ out loud, and apparently plans to live out his days in Mayberry, following his beloved Cam Newton-led Panthers.

This has also been the summer that we learned Click and Clack, the goofballs on public radio behind the “Car Talk” show are hanging up their microphones — and then, speaking of public radio, they banished Terry Gross, host of “Fresh Air,” to 7 at night only, which for me is the same as pulling the plug completely. All kinds of public radio shows have been moved lately to nighttime, including “Snap Judgment,” another show I’ll probably never hear again.

I hate change.

I didn’t like it one bit when, many years ago, Gary Larson decided to retire and stop drawing “The Far Side.” Come on, he was like in his early 40s or something. Who retires before they’re 45? He’s several years younger than me, and this was almost 20 years ago.

And I really didn’t like it when “Lassie” stopped starring Tommy Rettig (Jeff), who was replaced by the goody-goody Jon Provost (Timmy). Those kind of switcheroos almost never end well.

Speaking of change, I went to the Social Security office in Beaverton a couple weeks ago, because my 65th birthday is sneaking up on me and I keep getting these hysterical-sounding letters about Medicare and health insurance, trying to scare me into doing something. When I went to see the man, however, I learned that if I was not planning to retire soon (I’m not), and if I have full insurance benefits (I do), then I don’t need to do anything right away.

All that mail, by the way, is from insurance companies attempting to trick us into buying something from them, and in hopes of confusing us, their mailings always look like it came straight from the U.S. government — quite similar in appearance to the draft notice I got from Uncle Sam back in ‘65.

I know what you’re going to say. I should get used to change. It isn’t my enemy.

Well, guess what? I already know that. I started a new job six months ago, doing entirely different things here at the newspaper company — using new computer programs, new procedures, new equipment and new everything — and it hasn’t killed me yet. I’m still here.

So what if I don’t have Ann Curry to watch first thing in the morning, or Mark & Brian to listen to on the way to work or any of the other things I used to like but which no longer exist?

I can’t even burn a CD at work because my new computer doesn’t have a CD player on it, but that won’t get the best of me either. And don’t you start yapping about how CDs are a thing of the past and pretty soon they won’t even be making them. I don’t want to hear it.

In the 1950s I began with 45 rpm records, and I had quite a collection of them (still do, in fact) when long-playing records took their place. I have quite a few of those left, too. What’s more, I collected a good number of cassette tapes in the ‘70s and ‘80s before that medium ran into the ditch. Fortunately, I didn’t bother to keep as many of those.

But, to put things in perspective, my parents had a whole record cabinet full of actual record albums — big, heavy books each containing a half-dozen 78’s (hence the name “album,” get it?) — and only real record-collecting nuts go down that road anymore.

I have to draw the line, though, at the point where you purchase something but don’t actually have any “thing” to show for it — you know, as in downloading music out of thin air? That’s just plain crazy.

Former managing editor of the Beaverton Valley Times, The Times as well as the Lake Oswego Review, Kelly is now chief of the central editing and design desk for Community Newspapers and the Portland Tribune, and he contributes a regular