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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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Oregon City resident's crowning achievement


Miss Oregon Rebecca Anderson heads to Miss America pageant -

As she prepares to head out to Atlantic City, N.J., for the Miss America 2015 Pageant, Oregon City resident Rebecca Anderson is looking forward to the competition aspect and meeting the other contestants.

Anderson, 23, was named Miss Oregon in Seaside on June 28, and left for the national pageant on Aug. 31; Miss America airs on ABC at 8 p.m. on Sept. 14.

Photo Credit: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ELLEN SPITALERI - Miss Oregon Rebecca Anderson, paid for her Portland State University education with winnings from pageant scholarships. She vies to be Miss America, which airs Sept. 14 on KATU.While she spends two weeks rehearsing, attending charitable events and doing video shoots, she encourages folks back home to visit missamerica.org/vote and vote for her to become the America’s Choice contestant in the pageant; voting closes on Sept. 11.

Anderson added that she would love to make the top 15, so viewers can see Oregon represented nationally.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and opportunity, and I want to truly make the state of Oregon proud,” Anderson said.

Although many associate the Miss America pageant with beauty, Anderson noted that talent and the interview process are the highest-scored categories.

Photo Credit: COURTESY OF ON BROADWAY PHOTOGRAPHY - Miss America judging doesn't have much to do with beauty, says Miss Oregon Rebecca Anderson, who adds we joke that its our looks that get us in the door.“I have been studying current events and doing roundtable discussions, as well as rehearsing my talent,” she said. She will sing “Let It Go,” from the “Frozen” soundtrack for her talent presentation.

Calling the interview process “the best training for any career,” Anderson further noted that she has had to use her college education and her opinions to answer questions during preliminary rounds at Miss Oregon pageants in the past.

Anderson graduated from Portland State University in 2013 with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science and a minor in sustainability. She has been able to pay for her entire college education, using more than $17,000 in scholarship money she has won from competing in pageants.

Anderson plans to go on to graduate school and get a second bachelor's degree in atmospheric science, but “being Miss Oregon is a full-time job, and it is my duty to be the face of the state, so I must take a year off from school. While it is challenging, I have had the most magical time growing and seeing this state,” she said.

Platform, appearances

All contestants pick a platform, revolving around an issue they are passionate about, and Anderson’s is the Red Cross. She made a guest appearance, joining the firefighters of Station 22, at the Cody Hermeling Red Cross Blood Drive on Aug. 30 at Yur’s Bar & Grill in Northwest Portland. Hermeling was in a near-fatal car accident in 2010, and 187 pints of blood saved his life.

Anderson said the first event she attended as Miss Oregon was on July 1 at the grand opening of the USO at the Portland Airport.

“We haven't had a USO in Portland for over 40 years, so to be in the presence of such an important event was so inspiring. I was asked to perform the national anthem, with the color guard, members from every branch of the military, and Sen. Ron Wyden in attendance. I will always remember being a part of such a momentous event,” Anderson said.

Throughout her year as Miss Oregon, Anderson also will make appearances at schools around the state, promoting the Red Cross and STEM education, both of which are “incredibly important” to her.

Pageant program

In answering questions about the relevance of pageants in today’s world, Anderson said the Miss Oregon program has changed her life, causing her to gain confidence in herself and figure out who she is and how she fits into the world.

“It wasn't until I started pageants when I was 19 that I started to gain confidence in myself. I realized that what people say about me doesn't matter, that I am powerful on my own,” she said.

“At the end of the day, it is a scholarship program, and I will be able to put myself through school because of it,” Anderson said, adding, “I wouldn't be where I am today without this organization.”

Does the beauty aspect of the pageant send the wrong message to young women?

“Every day we are judged for our looks. In our judging process, there is one category that has anything mentioned about beauty and it is one of the lowest scores on the spectrum,” Anderson said.

She added, “Seldom is it the most beautiful girl or the skinniest who wins. We joke that it's our looks that get us in the door,” but the winner is “the woman who can articulate her passions, goals and inspirations and is driven for change.”

Watch the pageant

Rebecca Anderson, Miss Oregon 2014, will compete in the Miss America pageant at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14, on ABC.

Vote for her to be the America’s Choice finalist by visiting missamerica.org/vote or on Facebook at facebook.com/missamerica. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. EST on Sept. 11.