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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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Watch D.O.G.S on campus at NCSD schools


“She was sitting all alone. The other little girls were dancing and playing, enjoying their recess. I asked her why she wasn’t participating. She told me she didn’t know anyone and had only been at the school for three days. My heart sank.”

Rather than give it another thought, Matt Shanks, a Watch D.O.G.S. dad at Scouters Mountain Elementary School in Happy Valley, brought the girl over and introduced her to the other kids.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: JOHN BURNSIDE - Watch D.O.G.S. from Scouters Mountain Elementary School include (front row) Nick Zarfas, Matt Shanks, John Burnside, Jeff Charyak; (top row, far right) Chris Erickson, Principal Kevin Spooner, Kelly Ireland and Brian Myers. “Next thing I knew, she was dancing and playing, enjoying her recess,” Shanks said.

This is just one example of the effect the nationally recognized program has had on the students at Scouters Mountain Elementary, as well as Verne Duncan and Riverside Elementary schools. Started in 1998 at a school in Springdale, Ark., WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students), has since brought hundreds of thousands of dads, grandfathers, uncles and other father figures across the country into local classrooms, hallways, lunchrooms, recesses and other school events.

According to the National Center For Fathering, “there are two primary goals for this program: To provide male role models to the students, demonstrating by their presence that education is important, and to provide extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying.”

Last year, Principal Karen Rush approached John Burnside, a father of students at Scouters Mountain Elementary, about starting the program. After watching several videos and obtaining a tool kit provided by the national site fathers.com, Burnside and his fellow D.O.G.S. launched the program at the school.

“The only expense really is purchasing the T-shirts we wear when on duty, but other than that, the program is 100 percent volunteer based,” Burnside said.

Since last fall, more than 30 Watch D.O.G.S. have signed up, and 45 days of the school year a D.O.G.S. dad was present.

“One time, once per year, per month, or per week — there is no maximum of how often someone has to volunteer,” Burnside said.

When a D.O.G.S. dad shows up, he is greeted at the main entrance of the school, where a photo is taken and posted on the wall. The dad also wears a Watch D.O.G.S shirt so everyone knows who he is.

“After the check in,” according to Shanks, “we have breakfast with our child, do a perimeter check of the campus, help open doors for the kids, help kids get off the bus, and then, of course, the teachers put us to work in the classrooms.”

One of the most influential parts of a Watch D.O.G.S day is at lunch and on the playgrounds.

“We go out to every single recess.” Shanks said. “It’s amazing what a male presence can do — it’s a natural show of strength and discipline, even though we don’t discipline kids at all. Authority just happens in a really passive way.”

And as Burnside notes, “we can have a group of kids playing basketball, with kids on the fringes. As soon as a Watch D.O.G.S. dad invites them in, everyone is happy and playing together — and there’s definitely no bullying.”

According to Kevin Spooner, Scouters Mountain’s principal, “Having dads present on campus provides a huge boost to the confidence and pride of their own children. The positive relationships they establish with other students can help in so many ways. There is a great amount of research that connects parent involvement in schools to greater academic achievement. I believe that Watch D.O.G.S plays a significant role in helping promote more parent involvement, especially that of fathers. They are a visible group that is determined to help make school and learning a positive experience for each and every child.”

“The response from the dads in the program has been unexpected,” Burnside said. “So many dads comment that being at the school has opened their eyes to what the teachers and their kids go through on a regular basis, and it definitely gives dad a sense of pride to be a guide to their kids’ day and their academics.”

“Plus, the kids think the D.O.G.S. are cool,” Shanks added. “That little girl on the playground? She came up and gave me a hug the other day; melted my heart.”


To learn more about the Watch D.O.G.S. program or to start a program at your child’s elementary school.

National: fathers.com/watchdogs

Local: John Burnside: 503-658-3138;

Attend the monthly Watch D.O.G.S. meeting the first Monday of each month at Valley Growlers in Happy Valley Town Center.

Scouters Mountain Elementary website nclack.k12.or.us (go to the Watch D.O.G.S. link)