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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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Fair proved fun for the herd


Although the Clackamas County Fair is finished for this year, with its mix of midway rides, food, crafts and animals, it lived up to its theme of “Fun for the Whole Herd.”

by: ELLEN SPITALERI - West Linn residents Lauren True, 10, left, and Holly Jones, 10, pose with Olympe, Hollys standard llama at the recent Clackamas County Fair. Both girls are members of the Spring Creek Sproingers. In the huge craft area, members of the Portland Lace Society were on hand Wednesday, Aug. 14, to demonstrate forms of lace making.

Joanne Meier of Oregon City was learning a technique called knotted lace. Her teacher was Elena Dickson, who hails from Adelaide, Australia, but who spends summers in Oregon. Her hometown lace society has paired up with the Portland chapter as a “sister” society, she said.

She also said that “knotted lace is one of the oldest forms of lace making, dating back to the ancient Greeks.”

What would any county fair be without animals, and cute animals at that? Rabbits, llamas and alpacas seemed to hit the top of the cuteness scale, with both their handlers and passersby as well.

Three young ladies, all members of the Rabbit Wranglers Club, spent some time grooming their bunnies outside of the livestock area, and everyone walking by wanted to pet the furry critters.

by: ELLEN SPITALERI - Holly Jones, 10, West Linn, tells a group of children that it is OK to pet her llama, Olympe. She won a Clackamas County Fair red ribbon in the handling division with Olympe. Gretchen Pauli, 10, an Oregon City resident, said she likes rabbits because “they are cuddly and nice,” while Ingrid Bartlett, who lives in Sellwood, said that rabbits are sweet and have a “nice perky attitude that makes me happy.”

Another Oregon City resident, Hannah Ziettlow, 12, showed two rabbits, Momo, a mini-rex, and a much bigger bunny, Baxter, who is a Flemish giant.

“I like cuddling with them, and it is fun to show them. It is funny to watch them; they do such cute things,” she said.

Daniel Villarreal, 16, is a member of the North Clackamas FFA chapter, and attends Rex Putnam High School. This is his first year showing rabbits at the fair, and he ended up with a blue ribbon for showmanship.

He chose rabbits, he said, because he wanted to start small, before moving up to bigger animals.

Llamas, alpacas and more

Talk about drawing a crowd, when members of the Spring Creek Sproingers bring out their llamas and alpacas, a flash mob of kids shows up to pet the irresistible creatures with melting dark eyes.

Lauren True and Holly Jones, both 10-year-old West Linn residents, put their llamas on leads and led them out into the livestock area, where they had a bit of trouble navigating the 300-pound creatures through the crowd.

Holly, who won a red ribbon for handling, said that llamas are “so sweet and cute and energetic; they calm you down.”

When Emily Walsworth, 10, from Lake Oswego, and Kaci Spain, 12, from West Linn, added their alpacas to the mix, even more people showed up to enjoy the spectacle.

Alpacas are pack animals and you cannot bring them to an event alone, said Nancy Breen, one of the group leaders. She added that the animals are bred for their fleece.

But for Emily and Kaci, the appeal is somewhat different.

Emily won a red ribbon for handling with champagne-colored Bentley, a suri alpaca. She likes alpacas because “they are really cute, and they hug and kiss you.”

by: ELLEN SPITALERI - West Linn resident Kaci Spain, 12, brought Dynamite, her black Suri alpaca, to be a companion animal for Bentley, seen in the background with Emily Walsworth, 10, a Lake Oswego resident. Bentley was shown at the recent Clackamas County Fair.Kaci brought along ebony-colored Dynamite as a companion animal for Bentley, and added that she is attracted to the animals because “they look like big stuffed animals.”

Some people may not find steers cute, but Kaitlyn Vander Pas, 18, a graduate of Rex Putnam High School, said “steers are more exciting than sheep or goats. I have a thing about cows, and I love their noses.”

Her love of animals will take her to Oregon State University in the fall where she plans to study to become a large-animal veterinarian.

And no county fair would be complete without a visit to the poultry area.

Danielle Buss, 16, is a member of the North Clackamas FFA and attends Rex Putnam High School. She raised several Cornish-cross broilers from day-old chicks to their present age of six weeks.

“This is my first year, and I wanted to start off small,” she said, adding that she received second place in market show and fourth place in showmanship with her chickens.

For more information about the fair, visit clackamas.us/fair.