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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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Teen parents tackle homelessness


Karina Dela Torre, 19, and Naily Cervantes, 21, have experienced what it is like to be teen parents with no place to live, and now they are dedicated to helping others in the same situation.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Meeting to put together the final details of a community event are Naily Cervantes, with her children Leylah, 2, and Alyne, 5, and Karina Dela Torre, with her children, Adan, 3, and Alayna, 1.  They, and two other young women, will host the Teen Parent Housing Solutions Community Meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 3, at Pietro’s Pizza in downtown Milwaukie.

“We want to get other teen parents informed; some feel ashamed and our organization is trying to help them. They are so used to being rejected, and we are trying to open their eyes and prove to them we are trying to do something different for teen parents in the future,” Cervantes said.

Both Dela Torre and Cervantes note that they are most emphatically not the stereotypical teen parent: both are married to the fathers of their children and both finished high school. Cervantes graduated from beauty school and works as a nail tech at a high-end spa. Dela Torre earned her GED through North Clackamas School District’s PACE program and is enrolled at Clackamas Community College in the medical assistant program.

Both credit their success to Madonna’s Center, a Milwaukie nonprofit organization devoted to serving teen parents in Clackamas County. Madonna’s Center volunteers helped the girls earn a Catholic Campaign for Human Development grant to put on the community meeting.

“The grant is designed to empower people who are disadvantaged in any way advocate for themselves,” said Monica Lodolini, a Madonna’s Center board member and director of community advocacy.

The purpose of the housing-solutions meeting is “to bring awareness to the fact that teen parents, even up to age 20, are not eligible for renting an apartment, since they have no rental history,” she said.

Describing herself as the project facilitator for the upcoming event, Lodolini added that the purpose of the community meeting was to look for ways to help teen parents connect to services to bridge the housing gap, and find other teen parents who are struggling at the same time.

HUD — the federal Housing and Urban Development Agency — “can’t help someone age 18 and younger and sometimes can’t help those 19 or 20. In all our discussions, we have determined that age discrimination is the root cause of all the problems facing teen parents; they can’t even stay in a shelter,” Lodolini said. “I had the same issues with housing 14 years ago when I was a teen parent, and these moms are still facing this now.”

“When I was a teen parent, no one wanted to house me and my husband and they didn’t want to help us with food stamps, because we lived with my mother-in-law, even though we were trying to pay our own rent and for our own food,” Cervantes said.

“I got pregnant when I was 15 and I didn’t have support from my family. I did have support from the baby’s dad, but we were couch hopping. Now we are married and have our own house,” Dela Torre said. “There are so many places that help the homeless, but they don’t help those under age.”

Community meeting

Anyone who is or has been a teen parent or who would like to help them is invited to attend the Teen Parent Housing Solutions Community Meeting; it is free and food and child care are both provided.

“We have invited agencies that help with rent and utilities to come to the meeting, along with organizations like Love Inc. and St. Vincent de Paul,” Dela Torre said.

Cervantes added that a representative from Rent Well, an organization that offers classes on how to be a tenant and then gives participants a certificate of completion to show to potential landlords, will also be there.

Lynne Deshler, the Clackamas County coordinator of the Ten Year Plan to Address Homelessness, will also attend the event.

Teen parents should come to the meeting, Dela Torre said, “because it will show them the community is with them and will help them with the challenges they face, and it will help them know their rights.”

The meeting will give teen parents “information about what they need. They are so used to hearing no all the time, but they have options and there are organizations that will help them,” Cervantes added.

Patricia Aguilera, 21, and Brittney Sparks, 20, are also members of the committee, but Cervantes and Dela Torre said they would love to have more teen parents or former teen parents as members, to keep the committee going from year to year.

Madonna’s Center

Both young women said they wanted to be on the planning committee, because they owe so much to Valerie E. Aschbacher, the president of Madonna’s Center, and the other volunteers.

“When I look back on everything I have been through, I don’t want teen moms to face the fear; I want to give hope to other teen parents,” Dela Torre said.

“I want to show teen parents that they have potential; that they can do anything,” Cervantes added.

Madonna’s Center and Aschbacher have provided enormous support to both these young women and their children, they noted.

“When I called Madonna’s Center, Valerie asked me about my situation; she pushed me to go back to school and she helped me with diapers. It is thanks to her I have my GED, and thanks to her pushing me so hard I expect to get my medical assistant certification by the end of the year,” Dela Torre said.

Both of Cervantes’ children were premature, and Aschbacher helped her with clothes and other necessities for the babies, she said, adding, “Valerie also helped me with the beauty school fees and helped me pay for my license. If it wasn’t for Madonna’s Center, I would not have had the courage to finish high school with my class, and go to beauty school.”

Lodolini and Aschbacher note that Madonna’s Center is a volunteer-run organization, with a mission to serve teens who are “with child” and without essential support; the organization always needs more volunteers.

“We are trying to get donors to focus on housing needs; we always need laundry detergent and household items. People can go to our website and donate to A Way Inn to help with rental assistance and utilities,” Lodolini said.

“We need a sponsor to print up our posters and we need some donated laptops; we also need more spaces to hold child-friendly meetings,” Aschbacher said.

But the biggest concern is housing, she said, noting that most shelters and housing schemes for the disadvantaged are not available to those under the age of 18.

Aschbacher added, “There are fair housing laws, and there are protected classes, but the laws exclude age as a protected class, so that is the reason why there is no federal help for teen parents.”

Find solutions

What: Teen Parent Housing Solutions Community Meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 3

Where: Pietro’s Pizza, 10300 S.E. Main St., Milwaukie

Details: Teen parents are invited to attend this free meeting; food and child care will be provided. Organizations that provide services to teen parents will be in attendance.

Contact: To contact Madonna’s Center, an all-volunteer organization that serves the youngest, most vulnerable, at-risk families in Clackamas County - teen parents and their children, call 503-653-1595 or visit madonnascenter.org. Send monetary donations to Madonna’s Center, P.O. Box 22368, Milwaukie  97269. Donations of household goods are always appreciated, and drop-off hours are available; call for more information.