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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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Farmers markets benefit from New Seasons


Corporations usually don’t give cash to their competition, but New Seasons Market handed out checks last week to support more than three dozen regional farmers markets.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: JACKIE HAMMOND-WILLIAMS - Crowds pack the Oregon City Farmers Market, which is open year round downtown on Main Street.The Portland grocery store group provided $91,000 in grants to 36 nonprofit organizations to support small farmers and increase access to food for people in poverty, which set a funding record since the annual program launched in 2007.

A majority of the grant funds will match Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars at 29 of the 36 grantees that are farmers markets throughout the Portland-Vancouver area.

Also known as food stamp multipliers, the extra dollars will make it easier for low-income shoppers to stretch their budgets by buying fresh produce.

By putting the federal government’s funding back into the pockets of local farmers, New Seasons also benefits by fostering good sources for natural food, says Oregon City Market Manager Jackie Hammond-Williams.

“They get that big picture, and that’s just astounding,” Hammond-Williams said. “It blows me away that a grocery store would do this, and it shows that they really walk their talk in terms of serving the community with good-quality products and reaching out to local organizations that do good things.”

New Seasons spokeswoman Claudia Knotek said her company has always wanted to help Oregon’s regional food community thrive. Since its founding 14 years ago, New Seasons has had the twin goals of strengthening neighborhoods and helping family farmers connect with the community, and the grant fund that has distributed a total of $538,650 to date has become a way to achieve these goals.

“The steady growth of the fund has meant New Seasons can work with even more great organizations,” Knotek said. “Farmers markets to us are an incredibly vital part of the community where farmers and consumers can get that face-to-face connection.”

Farmers often are invited to offer samples at New Seasons, which carries s number of natural products so its stores can be WIC certified, meaning low-income parents shopping there have access to another state-sponsored program. New Seasons annually donates 10 percent of its after-tax profits to local nonprofits, in part with this special fund to organizations helping promote food security, nutrition and economic stability. In addition to farmers markets, New Seasons awarded funding to nonprofits working to improve the viability of small local producers through mentoring and education.

Hammond-Williams said that New Seasons was the first to approach her OC market five years ago, and the program has since benefited more than 2,000 shoppers.

New Seasons started with a $1,500 match and has increased its annual contribution incrementally over the years to $3,000.

When its matching funds have run out for a given year, Oregon City’s Rotary Club Foundation and Providence Willamette Falls have stepped up with supplemental donations the past few years.

“By New Seasons stepping up, it opened the door for other organizations to also be a big help,” Hammond-Williams said. “Oregon City has many income-challenged families living on a very thin budget, and it’s a powerful thing to consistently hear that people are able to feed their families better and healthier food because of the matching-dollars program.”

Every year, dozens of low-income shoppers at the OC market submit thank-you comments for the program. New Seasons employees have enjoyed receiving comments from farmers-market customers appreciating the fact that they’re able to buy more fresh food on a limited income.

“It definitely affirms our belief that the program is really valuable,” Knotek said. “It’s a win-win in our mind, and we are so amazed at the creativity of the markets.”

Oregon City Farmers Market shoppers will often ask when New Seasons is planning to open nearby. Knotek always lets neighbors know “never say never,” but the New Seasons “sustainable” expansion plan has already allocated its two stores for 2015 elsewhere.

New Seasons grantees

Camas Farmers Market - $1,500 toward their Fresh Match


Cedar Mill Farmers’ Market - $3,000 for Adelante Agricultura subsidies and one student intern

Chefs Collaborative Portland -$2,500 sponsorship of the 2014 Farmer-Chef Connection

Cully Community Market - $1,000 toward SNAP Match program and subsidizing underrepresented and emerging vendors

Damascus Fresh and Local Market - $500 toward cooking demos

Farmers Market Funds - $13,000 toward programs allocating SNAP match and advertising brochures

FoodWaves Apprentice Program - $1,650 to provide support for two high school interns; $675 to build four educational beds at the farm

Friends of Family Farmers - $1,000 to sponsor their fundraising dinner

Grain Gathering - $2,500 sponsorship of their conference

Hillsdale Farmers Market - $500 to purchase starts to hand out on the first May market day

Hollywood Farmers Market - $3,000 to contribute to the Fresh Funds program in the 2014 market season

Lake Oswego Farmers Market - $1,500 toward SNAP match


Lents International Farmers Market - $5,000 towards SNAP match

Lloyd Farmers Market - $1,500 to continue the $10 voucher


Mercy Corps Northwest - $4,000 dollars to provide program participants with training and support in direct marketing and retailing

Milwaukie Sunday Farmers Market - $2,500 to SNAP match

Montavilla Farmers Market - $3,500 to SNAP match

Moreland Farmers Market - $3,000 to SNAP match

Oregon Farmers Market Association - $500 for sponsorship of annual meeting

OHSU Farmers Market - $2,100 to SNAP match

Oregon City Farmers Market - $3,000 to SNAP match

Salmon Creek Farmers Market - $750 to SNAP match

St. Johns Farmers Market - $3,500 to continue voucher program to initiate SNAP match

Tigard Area Farmers Market - $3,500 to SNAP match

Vancouver Farmers Market - $2,000 to continue Healthy Families produce program

Village Gardens/Food Works - $1,500 to support the Village Gardens Farmers Market

Washington County - a total of $22,500 for Market Sprouts programs and summer food drives at Beaverton, Forest Grove, Hillsboro and North Plains farmers markets

Wilsonville Farmers Market - $1,000 to continue food pantry

Woodstock Farmers Market - $3,000 for SNAP match

Zenger Farm - $3,000 for expanding intern-training program