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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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Putnams Bella Geist to compete with the best in collegiate soccer


The Kingsmen standout goalkeeper inks with OSU

by: JOHN DENNY - Friends and family joined Rex Putnam senior Bella Geist at the high school on Feb. 5 to celebrating Geists signing of a letter of intent to play soccer at Oregon State University. Pictured are: (front, from left) Elliot Bixby, Caprial Sides, Bella, Daniel Gilbert and Joey Cardinal; and (back) grandparents Lee and Sally Creech, and parents Alyson and Dean Geist.Rex Putnam High School senior Bella Geist made it official on Feb. 5, signing a letter of intent to play soccer for Oregon State University.

“I know I have to earn my spot and compete and show them I’m ready for that level of play,” said Geist, who verbally committed to OSU as a junior. “But I’m excited to see what I can do.”

“Her potential, as it has been in youth soccer, is what she decides to do with it...,” said Angela Harrison, Geist’s goalie coach who has worked with her since age 12. “But her coaches and the people she works with at Oregon State will give her every opportunity to earn it. They don’t recruit a kid like Bella to sit on the bench. She’s a tremendous athlete. She’s very driven and yet humble....”

Harrison noted that it’s a tremendous compliment to be recruited by OSU to play women’s soccer.

“They’re in one of the top two conferences in the country,” Harrison said. “They’ve had the last two national champions, UCLA last year and Stanford the year before. It’s a conference for the elite players in the country.”

“Bella is a fantastic goalkeeper,” said Oregon State goalkeeping coach Michelle Boiland. “She’s got height; she’s strong, which is always an advantage when playing in-goal; and, on top of that, she has great technical ability and a tremendous competitive spirit.... She’s a team player who works really hard, and she doesn’t like to lose. It’s very exciting to have her join this goalkeeping crew.”

Boiland says that Geist has the potential to challenge returning junior goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme for playing time as a freshman.

“Sammy Jo is a great goalkeeper and she’s got the advantage, because she’s got the experience,” Boiland said. “But I can tell you right now there’s going to be some serious competition. We’ve got two highly skilled, highly competitive, very talented goalkeepers.”

Boiland added, “If there’s one advantage Bella has over Sammy Jo it’s in her kicking game. Bella can crush the ball. She can drop-kick the ball past the half line.”

But Boiland said that her returning keeper won’t yield playing time to Geist without a fight.

“Sammy Jo does not like to lose — anything,” Boiland said. “Even the toss of a coin at the start of a game.”

Geist has had a phenomenal run as Putnam’s starting goalie throughout her high school career, leading the Kingsmen to the Class 5A state quarterfinals the past three seasons.

Last fall Putnam’s girls soccer team tied for second place in the Northwest Oregon Conference and made the quarterfinals, despite graduating 11 seniors from 2012 and experiencing a run of injuries. Geist was instrumental in that success.

Geist has also excelled as the kicker for Putnam’s varsity football team for the past three seasons, splitting the uprights on 89-of-96 PAT attempts (93 percent) and on two of three field goals. Her 40-yard field goal as time ran out in regulation in a game with Wilsonville helped propel the Kingsmen to a 28-26 double overtime upset of the then fourth-ranked Wildcats.

Geist this fall was honored as the top goalkeeper in the state in Class 5A high school girls soccer. A three-time first-team all-conference selection, Geist was NWOC girls soccer “player of the year” in 2012 and again last fall.

She was also honored last fall as the NWOC’s top PAT kicker, earning a spot on the first team of football all-stars.

Geist says she was surprised both by the all-state honor in soccer and the all-league honor in football.

“There are so many great goalkeepers in Oregon doing ODP [Olympic Development] that I wasn’t expecting to get it,” Geist said.

Geist was named to ODP regional teams four times before becoming too old to be a part of the ODP program. Her club teams won Oregon Premier League State Cup championships in 2009, 2011 and 2012, and her club team [Crossfire Oregon ‘95 Blue] was a state finalist in 2013.

Geist said of the NWOC football honor: “I was surprised my name even came up, let alone that I made first team. I’d never done a field goal before this year. I think it was my field goal in the game with Wilsonville that put me out there in the coaches’ eyes.... It’s nice that a girl kicker can get recognized not just because she’s a girl kicker, but because of her talent.”

A 3.97 student, Geist’s scholarship at OSU is a combination athletic/academic scholarship, for her achievements in the classroom as well on the athletic field.

Geist plans a pre-veterinary major.