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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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School districts forge path on safety


Oregon City School District Superintendent Larry Didway’s poignant and heartfelt words at last week’s School Board meeting (transcribed below) show that there’s a way forward to improve school safety that doesn’t involve the National Rifle Association’s ridiculous suggestion to arm teachers.

North Clackamas and Gladstone school districts have a decades-long relationship with Oregon City schools for crisis response.

We would only add to Didway’s announcement that we hope state and federal lawmakers show the courage to aid in local efforts by passing a ban on the future sale of assault weapons and making other reasonable restrictions on weapons sales, such as banning sales to felons through background checks.

Some of the initial reactions out of this country to last month’s tragedies were outlandish and out of proportion with risk to children. We do not want to turn our schools into prisons.

We look forward to watching the Tri-District Safety Task Force’s work take shape.

Here is Didway’s statement:

As a parent and an educator, I know we’re all forever changed with the recent tragedies at Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook Elementary.

That kind of random violence and gore, really—it’s incomprehensible for us, and it absolutely is appropriate for us to respond to that, to really focus some attention on the safety of our children and schools. So I wanted tonight to share with you a little bit about what we have done in response to this and then what is coming.

So our efforts to provide safe learning environments throughout the Oregon City School District really are seeking to prevent what’s in our control and then to prepare to respond to what’s outside of our control. And to provide a safe learning environment, we have provided and developed emergency procedure manuals; we have buildings develop emergency plans for fire, earthquake, lockdown and other kinds of safety threats; we have a well-developed system for risk and threat-of-harm assessments; we have security cameras, although not enough of them; Sonitrol Building Security Systems; well-trained and prepared Crisis Response Teams; and we have a School Resource Officer thanks to and made possible by the city of Oregon City. And we maintain a very close working relationship with our public-safety officials.

But prior to the winter break and in response to these incidents, principals worked to reinforce some standard district safety protocols by ensuring all staff remain on high alert and exercise an increased sense of awareness; that all of our visitors are to sign in at the main office and receive a visitor’s name tag; that all front entrances be monitored and that all auxiliary doors be locked; that all staff wear their district ID badges; and that our principals review with key staff safety plans and protocols, including lock down and emergency response. We also wanted students to be reminded about the importance of immediately reporting to an adult any possible threat to school safety. And then finally just working to increase visibility of supervising adults at school entrances before and after school.

So we know that the very best thing that we can do to reassure students about their own safety is to remind them that school violence is still an extremely rare occurrence, even though it doesn’t feel that way when it’s on the front page and in your living room. But statistically schools still remain, by far, the safest place for kids.

I am very grateful for the professionalism of all our district staff, who really modeled calm and protective demeanors in the aftermath of the traumas that were suffered in December. However, we really know that we cannot be complacent in our efforts to protect our schools and our students, and we have to continually work to assess risks and escalate our responses accordingly.

So in response to these latest events, we’re endeavoring in a partnership with Gladstone and North Clackamas school districts to build upon our long-term relationships that we’ve developed as a Tri-District Crisis Response Team. Superintendents, municipal police chiefs and a representative from Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office will be forming a Tri-District Safety Task Force...and the purpose of that is for us to really conduct security reviews of each and every school and building, and then recommend any changes like entrance security, door locks, window coverings...and then to evaluate our emergency plans. While we have plans, they are not consistent...these three districts share a lot of emergency responders, so it makes sense for us to attempt to do that.

And then we want to identify, as we know there will be, training needs and resources to meet those training needs.

So we hope to have the work of that task force completed prior to spring break, and then turn over the implementation tasks to

local school-district teams that will be developed.

I thought it was important to share an update with not only the board but the public, that this is how we’re responding to this incident and to remind everyone that it is still very much in the front of our thinking.