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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 notes: Polar Plunge; art class; reading volunteers; auction; state band


Gladstone’s School Resource Officer Eric Graves is a big fan of the Special Olympics.

In fact, he’s willing to dive into the frigid waters of the Columbia River next month to raise funds for the cause.

Graves, along with other officers from the Gladstone Police Department Penguins team will take part in the Polar Plunge on Feb. 8. In return, they are seeking donations to support Special Olympics, and athletic program for youths with special needs.

Donors can write checks to The Special Olympics and send them to: SRO Eric Graves; Gladstone High School; 18800 Portland Ave.; Gladstone 97027.

After-school art class begins in February

North Clackamas Schools Community Outreach Team is offering an extracurricular art course for students in grades 5 through 12, starting in February.

The 12-week class will be offered from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays at Clackamas High School, 14488 S.E. 122nd Ave., Clackamas, beginning Feb. 11. The cost to families who participate is $50.

The fee includes instruction by Nho Nguyen, a well-known artist in the Vietnamese community. Nguyen taught the class two years ago and is back to share his skills and expertise.

“We hope to have people from several cultures take this class as a way to celebrate their own culture while learning more about others,” said project coordinator Phil Phan.

Enrollment is limited to 20 students. To register or find out more, contact class coordinator Phil Phan at 503-353-5678, Ext. 3.

Volunteer creates reading program

Thanks to Nichol Holm, a Duncan Elementary School parent, several North Clackamas schools are rolling out a new reading program. The volunteer-based program will engage young learners in becoming competent readers.

“Nichol saw a need in her child’s school, and developed this exciting program,” said volunteer coordinator Kathy Harrison. “Volunteers share their love of reading and work with a small group or individual students to increase their confidence, and provide positive feedback and encouragement.”

The program is proving to be so successful at Duncan Elementary that three other schools — Bilquist, Lewelling and Oak Grove elementary — are rolling out the program at the end of January.

Register now for free Parent Power class

Unfortunately, kids don’t come with instruction manuals. Parents hoping to improve family communication, student motivation, and effective discipline strategies will learn that and more at a free four-week parent course offered in February.

Sponsored by Gladstone schools and Northwest Family Services, the Parent Power Class will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday nights, Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25. Free childcare will be provided. The class location is John Wetten Elementary, 250 E. Exeter St. Parents from any school are welcome. To register, visit lastingrelationships.org or call 503-546-6377.

Podcasts with a few lessons from the class are available at gladstone.k12.or.us/podcasts-parent-tips.

Story Hour offers free books

Come to Story Hour at the Gladstone Center for Children and Families, 18905 Portland Ave., from 4:15 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16.

The event helps children build early reading skills through shared reading, play and fun language activities. This event will feature stories by children’s author Jan Brett. Children 5 and under will receive a free book. All are welcome.

“Attending Story Hour is a fun opportunity to explore the Center and ask about our free, full-day kindergarten, Head Start preschool, and the other six programs at our state-of-the-art early childhood center,” said GCCF Director Don Brown.

Open Admission applications for the full-day kindergarten program will be accepted from families living outside the Gladstone School District boundary from mid-January through April 1. To apply, call Sandi Frohnert, 503-496-3935.

Palm Springs trip, helicopter tour draw auction attendees

Tickets are on sale now for the Gladstone Education Foundation dinner & auction, which this year has a “Country Chic” theme. The event is the year’s biggest fundraiser for school and social service programs supporting Gladstone students.

Auction items include a week at Eagle Crest, beach stays in Long Beach and Ocean Parks, a helicopter ride to wine tasting, landscaping, a guided fishing trip, ski and golf excursions, gift baskets, and tickets to local sports events or other attractions.

Call Tammy Tracy to make a donation or to order tickets ($40 per person, or a table of eight for $320): 503-655-2777.

Flutist qualifies for All-State Band

Aria Colewater, a junior at Gladstone High School, qualified to join the All-State Symphonic Band, which will perform in Eugene on Jan. 17.

“Aria is an excellent musician, and we are proud to have her represent the Gladstone High School band,” said band director David Kays.