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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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364th Civil Affairs Brigade celebrates Army families


Antique hot-rods, inflatable bounce houses, motorcycles, jousting arenas and a live band entertained the crowd at Happy Valley Park, as the 364th Civil Affairs Brigade hosted its annual Army Family Day Celebration for 434 soldiers, their family members and 75 volunteer supporters on Sunday, Sept. 15.

by: PHOTO BY: MRS. LISA MARELLA - Tony's Bistro and Catering provided an abundance of food for the soldiers, families and guests of the 364th Civil Affairs Brigade during its Army Family Day Celebration last Sunday, Sept. 15, at Happy Valley Park.This event honored the dedication and sacrifices made by three units’ soldiers and their families in support of our country.

“This day is all about our soldiers and their families,” said Mrs. Lisa Marella, Family Readiness Group leader for the 364th Civil Affairs Brigade.

by: PHOTO BY: MRS. LISA MARELLA - Children line up for face painting as a clown adds finishing touches to Arina Rundgren during the 364th Civil Affairs Brigades Army Family Day Celebration at Happy Valley Park on Sept. 15.Planning for this celebration began five months ago. All of the food, drinks, entertainment and other activities were provided by organizations from the surrounding communities that volunteered their support. Since the U.S. Army Reserve prohibits Family Readiness Groups from soliciting from the community, funding to pay for non-donated items came from individual soldiers’ donations during monthly battle assemblies throughout the past year.

“I am so grateful for all of the continued support from the city of Happy Valley, and from all the businesses and service organizations that made this day successful. I could not have asked for a better day!” Marella said.

This celebration is not just a picnic; it is an opportunity to promote camaraderie among these units, and to educate families on the services and organizations who support them, and are available to them. Some of these organizations included the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Portland Veterans Center, Operation Military Kids, the Association of the U.S. Army, the American Red Cross, the Patriot Guard Riders, USAA, and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. All three units are stationed at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on Camp Withycombe, located in Happy Valley, and are part of the Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Delta Company officially moved to Camp Withycombe last November from Fort Lewis, Wash., and is part of the 364th Civil Affairs Brigade’s 448th Civil Affairs Battalion. The 320th Tactical Psychological Operations Company welcomed back 40 soldiers from the local community who recently returned from a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan.

Honored well-wishers at the Family Day Celebration included Happy Valley Mayor Lori DeRemer, who has built a strong partnership with the 364th Civil Affairs Brigade since it relocated to Camp Withycombe two years ago. State Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-Portland/Clackamas), vice-chair of the House Veterans’ Services Committee, addressed the soldiers and family members, thanking them for their dedication to our country. State Rep. Jeff Reardon (D-Happy Valley), a Vietnam veteran, also addressed the soldiers, and encouraged them to use all of the resources available to them.

U.S. senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley sent their representatives to participate in the opening ceremony. These representatives, who are former members of the 364th and the 320th, read a letter that is written and signed by both Wyden and Merkley, and specifically addressed to the soldiers and families of the 364th, 448th and the 320th.

Comments in the letter include, “Since our country’s inception, the men and women with special skills and knowledge have been the force multipliers that are often the deciding factors when strengthening our nation overseas and, as importantly, form the backbone of our communities here at home… Your commitment to preserving and protecting freedom is an important chapter in the history of our nation. While you are deployed supporting us, remember that Oregon and America support you… We also want to extend our appreciation to your loved ones and families, who have endured in your many absences, and who stand today with you… On behalf of all Oregonians, we wish you success on your missions, a secured victory and peace and prosperity here at home.”

Clowns, face painters, a fire engine from Clackamas Fire and a friendly, “Officers vs. Enlisted Softball Game” topped-off Sunday’s celebration. This carnival atmosphere is in stark contrast to Saturday’s event for all three units, which was conducting a “Soldier Readiness Process” to ensure these men and women are prepared to deploy whenever called upon.

Marella’s position as the Family Readiness Group leader is voluntary, and she spent more than 1,000 volunteer hours preparing and coordinating the Family Day Celebration.

“I have a passion for these soldiers. I know, from personal experience, what these families have to deal with when their soldiers get deployed. I wanted to make this day the best possible Family Day for everyone,” she said.