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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 Just a Bite Cafe now open in two locations


The cafe is called Just a Bite, but customers receive a lot more than one bite. In fact, they receive all the affection that owner Lori Reyes and her family can serve up.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Lori Reyes, left, and daughter, Liz Reyes, make a point of hand tearing freshly cut lettuce, before using it in salads and sandwiches.And then there are the soups, sandwiches and pastries, all homemade, and, of course, gallons and gallons of coffee.

There are now two Oregon City Just a Bite cafes — the newest one just opened in February inside the Clackamas County Development Services Building, 150 Beavercreek Road. The original site is located across the street from the Oregon City Post Office on Molalla Boulevard.

The Reyes family bought the first site two years ago from Jack Robeson, the original owner of His Bakery. He had moved to the Molalla Boulevard space in November of 2011, and still partners with the Reyes family.

“He does all the baking, the cakes, pastries and bread, while we do all the rest,” said Liz Reyes, 23, Lori’s daughter.

“And he mentors us, since we are first-time business owners,” she said, adding that her first job was at His Bakery, when she was 19. Robeson still owns a His Bakery location at Southeast 72nd Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard in Southeast Portland.

All of this goes toward explaining why the space on Molalla bears two names: His Bakery and Just a Bite.

Clackamas County hookup

It was Robeson who suggested that Liz and Lori Reyes connect with the county. A short time later they filled out a 25-page proposal to open a cafe at the DSB site. The county also made it clear they were interested in a cafe that could supply gluten-free food and other healthy options.

“They also wanted to know our sustainability and recycling policies,” Liz Reyes said.

In November 2013, the two women found out they were chosen to move into the DSB space, which they did last month.

The enterprise is a family effort: Lori mostly works at the original location, while her son, Erik, 19, and Liz run back and forth between the sites.

“We are lucky to have Patty Mouser as our manager at the DSB cafe. She is so dependable, while Erik and Liz are both strong baristas, and Liz is a rock-star sandwich maker,” Lori Reyes said.

She added that her other son, Robbie, who is in the National Guard, helps out when he can, as does her husband.

There has been a learning curve, figuring out how to keep two cafes running at the same time, and has been more work than they thought it would be, Liz Reyes said.

“Our first week at the county we blew a fuse, since we had too many things plugged in,” her mother said.

“But everyone has been so patient with us as we get used to a new kitchen,” Liz Reyes said.

Because workers at the DSB location have short breaks and are always busy, the hardest thing to get used to was the “grab-and-go mentality,” Lori Reyes said, adding that the atmosphere at the original site is much more laid-back and relaxed.

But then again, the busy customer base has allowed the two women to come up with new options like yogurt cups, fruit and vegetable plates and a protein plate, complete with a hard-boiled egg and cheese slices. They also serve pre-made sandwiches, with chips and a cookie, in addition to sandwiches made to order.

The two women knew they would be serving a lot more coffee at the DSB location, so they held a coffee tasting, and Bridgetown Coffee was the big winner. Even people who were not coffee drinkers participated in the vote, they said.

Another difference between the two sites is that at the DSB location the two women serve scones, muffins and cookies, while the original site is known for its homemade pies and fancy decorated cakes.

The chow

Customers who come into the original Just a Bite Cafe will immediately notice that there is a corner with comfy chairs, dedicated to Lori’s mother, Betty Hiltz, who died two years ago.

“Betty taught my mom to cook, and mom taught me,” Liz Reyes said, adding that the two women use family recipes, especially when they make soup from scratch.

Favorites include an Irish chicken soup with cabbage, a cheese chowder and an autumn bisque with a pumpkin base.

The most popular sandwich at either location is the gobbler, with turkey, bacon, cranberries, cream cheese, lettuce and tomato.

In addition, the two women are very aware of food allergies, so they partnered with a gluten-free bakery and nearly all their soups are gluten-free.

What Liz Reyes likes best about her job is working with customers and getting to know the people who come in.

“There is such a community in Oregon City and everyone is so nice,” she said.

Her mother agrees, adding that she appreciates the way her regulars support the cafes and each other. She returns the favor by making a point to use local businesses for banking, and purchasing appliances and produce.

She also provides day-old pastries to the Pioneer Center, Teen Challenge and to several local churches.

Liz Reyes pointed out they are grateful for the support of the county.

She added, “It has opened the door for catering orders.”

Her mother noted that the cafe will supply the pastry and fruit trays for 250 people for an upcoming county-employee appreciation day.

And for those wondering what the sandwich special is for March, that would be a Reuben sandwich that would make St. Patrick happy.

Just a Bite Cafe

What: Just a Bite Cafe opens second location

Where: DSB site, 150 Beavercreek Road, Oregon City

Hours: 6:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday

Original site: 19273 Molalla Ave., Ste. C, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Contact: Call 503-518-0110 (Molalla Boulevard location), 503-742-5330 (DSB location) or visit the website at justabitecafe.com for menus and prices.