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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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Project expands students' knowledge


They interviewed more than 20 business owners, toured the historic spots in Oregon City, learned to identify trees, wrote poetry about those trees, made a three-dimensional model of the city and a trifold brochure to illustrate their knowledge with a public presentation to family members about what they learned.

And all of this was done by kindergartners in Jessica Bernert and Anna Shapiro’s class at The Marylhurst School, a primary school in the historic Barclay Building on 12th Street in Oregon City.

Neighborhood study

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Aidan, 6, left, tells Hudson, 7, that OC firefighters taught him how to drop and roll to get away from a fire.The public presentation was made in early June, right before the end of the school year, but the project itself was the result of a yearlong study about tradition and stories in the community, Bernert said.

“We wanted to walk around and get to know the people in our neighborhood,” but it evolved into so much more, she said.

Bernert graduated from OCHS in 2005, and began working at The Marylhurst School in 2009. She also grew up in Oregon City, so she was able to share her own childhood experiences with her students.

She spent her spring break talking to business owners to see if they were willing to participate in the study, and after they recovered from the initial shock of finding out that the students were in kindergarten, “they were excited and honored” to be part of the project.

Students then toured sites in the city; as a class they toured the Oregon City Library, the fire station, the Clackamas County Courthouse and Mi Famiglia, and then individual students chose other businesses and sites to visit.

It was also important to Bernert and Shapiro that their students familiarized themselves with their natural environment, so when they toured the neighborhoods, students learned to identify different species of trees, like cherry, maple, Douglas fir and sequoia.

Then “it was fun for them to go out into their own yards and identify the trees,” Bernert said.

Awareness grows

The project really began to take shape as students built a big, three-dimensional model of Oregon City, researched the city’s history, made a piece of art to represent the tree they researched, wrote poetry to honor that tree and prepared to present their findings to an audience.

Students created posters and stood in front of them on presentation day, answering questions about the business they researched and the trees they identified.

Britta Daubersmith, a first- and second-grade teacher at The Marylhurst School, brought her students to the presentation.

She said it was important for the students to learn the names of the trees, because it broadens their knowledge of their community, in the same way that learning the names of streets does.

“They start to look out. It’s like a pebble thrown in a pond — kids’ awareness expands out and they are ready for it,” she said.

After the students and guests had looked at all of the posters, the kindergartners recited their poems in front of the audience, took one more tour of the city and ended up eating pizza at Mi Famiglia.

Real community interest

“They connected with their community and got a sense of belonging here. Instead of just going to school and going home, they can walk down Seventh Street and talk to the firemen and the owners of Singer Hill Cafe. Nothing is more important than being part of a community and feeling good about the community,” Bernert said.

What surprised her about the project?

“Their investment in it — where they took it. We heard the stories behind the McLoughlin House, and I was surprised by all their interest in the minutiae of it.”

The students’ “excitement and joy” was palpable as well, she said, noting that when they were walking back from the Clackamas County Courthouse, the students knocked on the window of Mi Famiglia and the owner came out and talked to them.

“They were so excited to know someone,” she said.

Bernert added: “It is fun to see how aware of things they have become. They are now global citizens and local citizens.”

Marylhurst School

The Marylhurst School is a 40-year-old, nonprofit school housed in the historic Barclay Building of Oregon City since 1986, when it moved from the Marylhurst College Campus. To learn more about the school, visit themarylhurstschool.com.

Participants in the neighborhood-study project include: Barclay Park, Barclay School, Bigfoot Bakery, the Carnegie Library, City Hall, the Clackamas County Courthouse, Coin Corner, Dutch Bros. Coffee, the End of the Oregon Trail Museum, Friends of the Oregon City Library Used Book Store, the McLoughlin House, Mi Famiglia, the Oregon City elevator, firehouse, pool and train station, Singer Hill Cafe, Spicer Brothers Produce, the Stevens-Crawford House, Super Torta and You Can Leave Your Hat On.