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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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College classes at a bargain rate


Paying for college — it’s something many families start to plan for, save for and worry about almost before their children are born. At Wilsonville High School, where 78 percent of 2013 graduates said they planned to enter college this fall, the costs loom large.

by: KATE HOOTS - Lyndi Tucker smiles as she looks at a chart showing steady increase in the number of Wilsonville students earning college credit through CCC each year.Lyndi Tucker has just the program for families wanting to take a bite out of those costs. She is the college and career coordinator at WHS as well as the administrator — and a big fan — of the Advance College Credit program offered through Clackamas Community College. Under ACC, high school students in Clackamas County have the opportunity to earn college credit at a fraction of the cost CCC students pay, just $10 per credit instead of more than $90.

Dollars and time savings

Offered at more than 20 high schools in Clackamas County, ACC saved Wilsonville students a potential $144,207 in the 2011-12 school year, the latest period for which data currently is available. According to CCC, 172 Wilsonville students earned 1,962 credits. by: KATE HOOTS - Lyndi Tucker, Wilsonville High School's college and career center coordinator, works with staff at Clackamas Community College to help WHS students enter college with credit already on their transcripts.During that same period in West Linn, 219 students participated, earning a combined total of 2,249 credits and saving a potential total of $165,301. Sixty-five students from Lake Oswego High School took part in the program in 2011-12, earning a total of 556 credits and saving a potential total of $40,866. The biggest savings came at Canby and Oregon City high schools, where 384 and 415 students earned 3,595 and 4,507 credits, respectively, potentially saving $264,232 and $331,264.

“It is a fantastic way for students to hit the ground running with a college transcript in hand,” Tucker said. “I’ve been responsible for the program at WHS for five years and have experienced the growth and success firsthand.”

Her experience with ACC is personal as well as professional.

“My daughter, Caitlyn, graduated in 2007 and because of AP test scores and ACC credits (she) entered UO with 39 credits,” Tucker said. “After her first term at UO, she had sophomore standing, which is very beneficial when it comes to choosing and registering for classes. That advantage aided her in finishing her bachelor’s in four years.”

The cost savings can be dramatic too. A yearlong ACC course translates to 12 college credits, costing $120. At CCC, tuition currently runs $84 plus $6.50 per credit, for a total of $90.50 per credit or $1,086 per yearlong course, according to Cheryl Tallman, ACC coordinator at CCC. The real savings for high school students are even greater, she said, because high-schoolers don’t pay for textbooks, housing and incidental fees college students pay.

College credits transfer

Credits earned through ACC are transferrable to community colleges and state schools in Oregon. Out-of-state and private colleges and universities may or may not accept them. The CCC website lists schools that are known to have accepted the credits in the past, without guaranteeing future acceptance. That list includes local schools like University of Portland, Linfield, Willamette and George Fox as well as out-of-state schools like Boston University, Gonzaga, Stanford and Whitworth.

Tucker compared the ACC program favorably with AP courses that also offer the opportunity to earn college credit.

“More colleges will accept AP credit,” she said. Yet the AP program has some drawbacks. Students who hope to earn AP credit must take an AP test, paying $87 per test. Earning credit depends upon the test score.

“There is no guarantee with AP, and you don’t know until July,” Tucker said. Additionally, AP credit posts to college transcripts as “AP credit,” while ACC credits post as regular college credit.

The ACC program offers one distinct advantage: Students apply for the program in November and again in April, with registration spanning a five-week period. That means students can wait to register until they are sure they are doing well in the class.

“We really do encourage students to carefully consider whether to register for the college credit and to only do so when they expect to do well in the course,” Tallman said.

“If you’re below a C, don’t take the class,” Tucker said.

Once students decide to enroll in the program, they apply to CCC and then receive a student ID and email address. Tucker even has fee waivers available for students experiencing financial need.

“CCC makes it so easy for us. There’s not a reason not to (participate),” she said.

Teachers, courses screened

Nine WHS teachers offered ACC classes last school year, including advanced French and Spanish, pre-calculus, an art studio, graphic arts and English literature and composition. Instructors at CCC approve both the teachers and their teaching plans.

“They submit their curriculum, their syllabus, examples of exams and they also submit their credentials, a resume and transcripts,” Tallman said. “Those are reviewed by the department of the course they’re covering. Are they assessing in a similar manner? Are the instruction hours and student learning objectives being met?”

“I think that the Advance College Credit through CCC is probably one of the most beneficial programs that we offer that students can take advantage of,” WHS Spanish teacher Brittany Armstrong said.

She has offered ACC classes at the high school for the last three years. Currently, she teaches Spanish 4, and her ACC students earn 200-level college credit.

Armstrong described a past student who had ACC credits and was able to avoid a number of classes that typically tie up college students’ schedules for the first two years.

“She had enough time to double major in four years,” Armstrong recalled. “She obviously saved a lot of money, and she was able to register earlier. She was able to get those core classes done earlier and focus more on her major.”

Working with CCC has not been difficult, and participating in the ACC program has not required much extra work on her part, Armstrong said.

“They provide us with pretty specific requirements for the syllabus,” she said. “A lot of that, I already had in some way or another; I just had to reorganize it to follow their guidelines.”

‘Gung ho’ for savings

At CCC’s cost of $90.50 per credit — credits cost more than twice that at four-year public universities and are even higher at private schools — the $10-per-credit ACC fee seems like a real bargain.

“I think we’re fortunate, especially with the cost of higher ed now, that we can give these kids a leg up on their education after high school,” Tucker said. “When I’m telling (students) the cost savings, that sometimes doesn’t click for them. If I can get to the parents, they are gung ho.”

“Within education there is a challenge to help students achieve degrees within appropriate timelines,” Tallman said. “This is one strategy to help students get there. Students and families are also seeing rising costs for education. This program can be viewed as another form of financial aid.”

She added that administrators at CCC have noticed a rising trend.

“Many more students are choosing to attend Clackamas for their first two years and then transfer to a college or university. Whether students come here or to a four-year school right after graduation, we’re all in the same boat of wanting to see students succeed,” she said.

To learn more about Clackamas Community College’s Advanced College Credit program, or to learn what courses are available at your local school, visit depts.clackamas.edu/acc or contact your high school.