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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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Tankers shine at Nationals


West Linn's Sonja Skinner is a national champion in Masters swimming

by: SUBMITTED - Oregon City Tankers display their hardware from the United States Masters Swimming Spring Nationals. Among those vying for the Oregon Masters Team at the nationals were: (front, from left) Alex Crooks, Tim Waud and Tessa Reeves; (back) Sonja Skinner, Britta Daubersmith, Tom Phipps and Jose Bolivar; and (not pictured) Byron Olsen and Melissa Arata.Oregon City Tankers masters swimmers did themselves proud at the United States Masters Swimming Spring Nationals, held this month in Santa Clara, California.

Ten members of the local club were a part of the 53-swimmer Oregon Masters Team that made a strong showing at the event, finishing second only to Puget Sound Masters. Puget Sound scored 1,530. The Oregon Masters scored 1,174-1/2; Colorado Masters were third, with 900-1/2 points.

Oregon City Tankers earned top 10 placements in 19 individual events and they were a part of three Oregon Masters record swims.

Oregon City Tanker Sonja Skinner of Milwaukie was the top performer from the local club. Skinner, 37, was part of a relay team that won a national title in the women’s 200-yard medley relay (1:55.03) for the 35-39 age division. She swam the butterfly leg in the women’s medley relay.

A 1995 graduate of West Linn High School, Skinner had been away from competitive swimming for 14 years before joining the Oregon City-based Oregon City Tankers masters swim team a year and a half ago.

Skinner said of her being part of a national championship team: “It’s a little weird. I guess it’s more surreal than anything. It’s hard to believe I’ve done it. I was happy with all of my swims. I had PR’s in all but two events.”

Skinner top ten

in eight events

by: SUBMITTED - Milwaukie 37-year-old Sonja Skinner excelled at the recent United States Masters Swimming Spring Nationals, placing top 10 in eight events and winning a national title.Skinner placed in the top 10 in eight events at the national championship meet. She placed third in the 35-39 100-yard butterfly (1:02.72), fifth in the 50-butterfly (28.54), seventh in the 200-individual medley (2:22.59), ninth in the 50-freestyle (26.64), ninth in the 100-freestyle (57.56), and she was part of a women’s 200-freestyle relay team that finished national runner-up (1:43.11), and a mixed 200-freestyle relay team that placed ninth (1:41.70).

Skinner’s time for the 100-yard butterfly and the time of her 200-yard medley and 200-freestyle relay teams were all Oregon Masters Swimming records. The record in the 200-freestyle relay was in the 18-plus age division.

The 35-39 mixed 200-freestyle relay team that placed ninth was an all Oregon City Tankers team. Joining Skinner on the team were Tankers Tessa Reeves, Jose Bolivar and Byron Olsen.

“The highlight for me was the 100-fly,” said Skinner. “It was my event back in the day. I dropped time and I placed third. I was happy with that.”

Skinner says her Oregon City Swim Club records from her youth for the 50 and 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly are still on the record boards at the Oregon City Municipal Swimming Pool.

“I’m three seconds off my all-time best for the butterfly, but I’m chipping away,” said Skinner, whose maiden name was Sonja Lewis. “My goal is to defy my age and swim as fast as I once did.”

Oregon City Tanker Amanda Metz, 33, placed third in the 30-34 women’s 200-breast stroke (2:43.77), fourth in the 100-breast stroke (1:15.59), fourth in the 50-breast stroke (34.57) and eighth in the 200-individual medley (2:35.27).

Oregon City Tanker Tom Phipps, 60, placed fourth in the 60-64 1,650-freestyle and sixth in the 200-butterfly (2:44.80).

Oregon City Tanker Byron Olsen, 35, placed seventh in the 35-39 50-backstroke (27.61) and seventh in the 100-backstroke (59.93).

Tessa Reeves, 35, of the Oregon City Tankers placed eighth in the 35-39 500-freestyle (6:09.07).

Oregon City Tankers head coach Tim Waud, 46, placed 10th in the 45-49 50-breast stroke (31.52), 10th in the 200-breast stroke (2:27.85) and 10th in the 1,650-freestyle (19:11.68).

Waud was also part of an Oregon Masters 45-49 men’s 200-medley relay team that placed sixth; Olsen and Bolivar were part of a men’s 200-freestyle relay team that placed eighth (1:35.89); and Reeves was part of a 35-39 women’s 200-freestyle relay team that placed ninth (1:49.74).

Tim Waud to coach

FINA World Masters

Waud was head coach of the Oregon Masters team and he’ll be the U.S. head coach for the FINA World Masters Swimming Championships, which are scheduled for Montreal Aug. 2-10.

Waud said of his experience as Oregon head coach at this year’s Spring Nationals in Santa Clara: “I’m just beyond excited! This was my 13th nationals [coaching an Oregon Masters team] and it was the most fun we’ve ever had. We had a really, really good time.... And with the number of national and zone and personal best and top 10 swims that we had, it was our best showing we’ve ever had.

“Out of our 53 swimmers, there was only one swimmer that did not have a PR; Oregon Masters swimmers set 44 Oregon Masters records, 19 Northwest Zone records and six national records.”

The FINA World Masters competition will feature over 10,000 athletes from around the world, competing in swimming, water polo, diving, open water swimming and synchronized swimming.

Besides coaching the U.S. Masters Team at FINA Worlds, Waud will compete in several long-course events, including the 3-kilometer open water swim.

“I swam well at nationals, so hopefully I can get top 10 at World’s,” said Waud.

Waud says he swam at a world championship in 1994, at age 27, and placed 11th in the 100-breast stroke.