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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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Federal grant supports Vibrant Futures


Clackamas County youth deserve a positive, healthy future, and the Vibrant Futures Coalition is going to do all it can to support young people, said Tracy Hoffman, the coalition’s director.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Youth who participated in the PhotoVoice project are pictured with adult coalition members Laura MacLennan, far left, Abigail Wells, in white shirt, and Tamam Waritu, far right.In late September, Hoffman received a call from U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office, announcing that the coalition had been awarded a $625,000 federal grant, to be spread over five years in support of community efforts to reduce substance abuse among local youth.

This federal grant is funded through Drug Free Communities, part of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“Only 148 other organizations were funded, and it is a competitive grant to apply for. SAMHSA has to see that the community has buy-in; that our program is something sustainable in the long term,” Hoffman said.

Vibrant Futures started three years ago “to fill a need in the community. There was nothing out there that was dedicated to reducing substance abuse by youth,” Hoffman said.

More than 60 volunteers from a variety of sectors in the county work together and meet on a monthly basis to work on strategies and assess needs in the community, she said. The coalition is under the umbrella of Milwaukie’s Northwest Family Services, which will manage the funds, but it is the volunteer group that will choose how the money is spent, Hoffman noted.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Tracy Hoffman, coalition director of the Vibrant Futures Coalition, rolls out the Vibrant Future's banner at Northwest Family Services.Volunteers come from faith-based and law enforcement organizations or are health professionals, parents and concerned citizens. Clackamas County’s Children Youth and Families Division and the North Clackamas School District also are partners.

The grant money will be used the first year for training community members and Northwest Family Services staff on how to assess needs in the community, implement programs to reduce substance abuse and evaluate how the program is working.

“In later years, we will transition into using more resources in the community, by running alcohol stings, and supporting youth to go to training to be advocates for their peers,” Hoffman said.

Specific programs

Some of the grant money will be used to fund two specific programs that the coalition already had started, but now there is a steady funding source for the programs, so they can continue, Hoffman said.

The first one, the Positive Social Norms Campaign, takes place in all the ninth-grade health classes at Rex Putnam High School. Hoffman hopes to implement this campaign in other schools in the area.

“We want to take the negative and make it positive. Most of us choose not to get involved with substance abuse, so we have the students create posters to put up around the school to create a positive environment,” she said.

The second program, PhotoVoice, is “a social-activities program that engages youth to capture images of their community and assess the negative and positive aspects of their community. Then we talk about how they can take action and create change,” she said.

This past summer, 12 Clackamas County youth, ages 12 to 16, spent six to eight weeks taking photos. Some focused on litter and graffiti, while others took photos of community gardens and parks.

At the end of the project there was an exhibition of the students’ photos, held at Northwest Family Services.

One of the participants, Eden, 14, and a student at Milwaukie High School, said that PhotoVoice “taught her to take pictures, and she learned what her community meant to her,” Hoffman said.

Funds keep projects going

The grant money will allow both of the youth-oriented projects to continue. Volunteers and staff will focus on reducing use of alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs.

“We added prescription drugs about a year ago, because the Milwaukie Police Department said abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise. Youth will start with prescription drugs and move on to heroin. This is happening in our community, and it shouldn’t be,” Hoffman said.

In a recent news release, Police Chief Bob Jordan said, “Keeping our youth safe from substance abuse is one of our top priorities in the Milwaukie Police Department. Northwest Family Services and their Drug Free Community Grant is a valuable partner in this effort.”

Coalition gathering

Find out more about the Vibrant Futures Coalition, a group of community volunteers who work together with families to reduce underage drinking, marijuana use and prescription drug abuse in the community, at vibrantfuture.org.

The group welcomes visitors to its next meeting, held from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. on Oct. 23, at Northwest Family Services, 6200 S.E. King Road in Milwaukie.

Contact Tracy Hoffman, Vibrant Futures Coalition director, at 503-546-6377, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

n Visit nwfs.org for more information about Northwest Family Services.