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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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OC's ministry of 100 bunk beds


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Left to right, bunk bed builders, Jerry Cook, Bert Cranston, Ed Minster, Joe Sawtell and Arnie Anderson get ready to enjoy a piece of bunk bed cake.Joe Sawtell blames his wife, Yvonne, but only in a good way, for getting him started building bunk beds for needy families in Clackamas County.

Back in 2006, Yvonne volunteered her husband to make one bunk bed for a family that was in desperate need. Fast forward to 2013, and the Prince of Life Lutheran Church’s Bunk Bed Ministry is going strong. In fact, the organization threw itself a party at the church on April 7, to celebrate the 100th bunk bed.

“Following the service we made a presentation and handed out cards of appreciation to all the builders and the donors,” Joe said. Pride of place was on display with a colorful cake in the shape of a bunk bed, made by Oregon City’s His Bakery.

The 100th bed, that was delivered to an Oregon City family with four children, was also special. Engraved upon it were the words “I will lie down and sleep in peace,” a line from Psalm 4:8. This will be a feature of all the bunk beds that are built from now on, Joe Sawtell said.

“We are a ministry of the Prince of Life Lutheran Church — we are a small church, but we do a lot. The women of the church make the quilts that go on the beds, the Sunday School kids make the pillows, and a group of dedicated volunteers makes the beds,” Yvonne Sawtell said, noting that not all the volunteers are members of the congregation.

The Sawtells added that they are grateful to T.R. Cauthorn, who provides all the lumber for the beds, and to John Lacey of North America Mattress Corp., who donates the mattresses.

“We pay for the foam batting at cost, and he furnishes all the labor at no charge, including the cutting and sewing and the materials for the covers,” Joe Sawtell said.

One thing the ministry needs is money, he added, saying that people started out donating tools, but now the volunteers need to replace those with new ones, including sanders and other pieces of equipment.

Yvonne Sawtell emphasized that the families who receive the beds all come from referrals from the Department of Human Services, based in Oregon City, and sometimes from the Clackamas County branch of a nonprofit organization called Love In the Name of Christ, or Love INC, a group of churches dedicated to helping the needy in their communities.

Foster kids benefit

Many of the families who benefit from the bunk beds have taken in foster children, Yvonne Sawtell said, noting that she works mostly with Vicki Pearse, a volunteer coordinator for Clackamas County with the Oregon Department of DHS, and Dan Minne, who supervises the Foster Care Certification and Adoption Unit of DHS. 

“We have been working with the Bunk Bed Ministry for at least six years. It has recently become much more accessible, due largely to Yvonne’s good work, and our foster children benefit greatly from this resource,” Pearse said.

Many times foster parents or relatives are willing to take in another child or children, but then they need additional beds for them, she added. “The Bunk Bed Ministry can make it possible for our children to have a safe place to stay with a bed of their own. These children have been impacted by abuse and neglect, so a safe place is priceless for them. Coming into state care is very stressful for children, so this security is extremely important for their well-being.

“These volunteers take on this mission with both compassion and care. The beds are carefully constructed to be safe and practical for the children. The group also delivers them to the families in need, since many of these families do not have the means or vehicles to access them otherwise. This is a service that would not exist in our county without the good hands and hearts of the Bunk Bed Ministry and its outstanding volunteers.”

Although Minne has only worked with the Bunk Bed Ministry for the past year, he said he knows a number of families who have benefited from the beds and added, “The folks at the Bunk Bed Ministry are so gracious.”

Payback is happy kids

Yvonne Sawtell remembers the smile on her husband’s face after he made the first delivery of a bunk bed seven years ago.

“He was hooked. That’s what has taken him through the 100 bunk beds; that’s our payment,” she said.

“Once I saw those kids, I realized we needed to make some more. They were pumped up, and we were pumped up,” Joe Sawtell said.

The couple says they have seen some pretty sad situations, with two and three children sleeping in a bed, if they even have a bed.

“I can’t praise these guys enough. They are diligent in their commitment and show up every Tuesday morning. They have worked to get 200 kids off the floor,” Yvonne Sawtell said.

Her husband added: “That’s my compensation at the end of the day, when they climb up that ladder and get in bed. At that one moment, they are a happy family and everyone is smiling.”

Fast Facts

To donate money to support the Bunk Bed Ministry, send checks to the Prince of Life Lutheran Church, 13896 Meyers Road, Oregon City 97045, with a note that the money is to go to the Bunk Bed Ministry.

In addition to Joe Sawtell, the men who have built the bunk beds include Arnie Anderson, Jerry Cook, Ray Cooper, Bert Cranston, Ken Dahl, Lowell Gere, Dan Leeper, Ed Minster, Rollie Packer, Ray Renken and Curt Robinson.

Volunteers who have helped deliver the beds include Jerry Cook, Harlow Jacobson, John and Ben Mohlis, Ray Renken, Kevin Rodway and Joe Sawtell.

T. R. Cauthorn supplies all the lumber for the beds; John Lacey, of North America Mattress Corp., supplies the mattresses; and Skip Swyers, of Miller Paint, provides the paint at a significant price reduction.

Ruth Woodbury, the coordinator of quilting, has overseen the making of more than 200 quilts, and Prince of Life Sunday School students and teachers make the pillowcases.