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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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Happy Valley author reaches out to Clackamas High


Some people reach for the stars, but characters in a local author’s book reach for the sun, the moon and the stars, with an altruistic purpose — to give them a mighty good scrubbing.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Author Marilyn Lawrence offers advice to Brianna Gelow, left, and Liana Tarasenko. And because the author, Marilyn Lawrence, feels that her life’s work is to support young people, she asked art students at Clackamas High School to enter a competition to illustrate her children’s book, “I Gave the Sun a Bath.”

She calls the book “an environmentally conscious motivational book for children,” saying she feels her calling is “teaching young children that they can do anything they want to do. This is a hugely important message.”

The lesson in this book is that if “we work together and give the sun, moon and stars a bath, then we can give the world a bath,” Lawrence said.

by: ELLEN SPITALERI - Zoe Clegg re-thinks how to arrange her illustration.Lawrence has lived in Happy Valley for five years, so she felt it was a natural fit to contact Bonnie Kayser, the art teacher at CHS, to see if students would be interested in a competition to illustrate the book.

“Bonnie was excited to incorporate this into her classroom work. I appreciate her eagerness for this opportunity for her art students,” Lawrence said.

She added, “Sometimes parents say that art is not going to pay, but I’m glad to show students if they love something they should stay with it.”

Earlier this year, Lawrence paid a visit to Kayser’s classroom and read the book to her students. Twenty-five students signed up for the competition; 13 have stayed involved.

The art students have until the end of April to finish their entries. Then Lawrence and a panel of judges will select three winners, who will get cash prizes. The first-place winner will have the opportunity to illustrate “I Gave the Sun a Bath.” All the winners will be announced during an assembly in June.

“This is a real-world opportunity for students. It is one of the ways that art can be applied to real life and you can earn a living in a viable way,” Kayser said.

“It is so exciting. The art world is changing, and we are becoming more and more of a visual culture. The opportunities to make a living in art are expanding.”

Personal styles emerge

The students were given the criteria for the competition, and Kayser helped them get started.

The students are coming up with their own interpretations of the book and using a variety of mediums, such as pastels, pencils and watercolors.

Nine of the 13 students in the competition were hard at work last week in one of Kayser’s art classes.

Zoe Clegg, 17, working on an intricate, multicharacter design in colored pencil, was told by Lawrence and Kayser that she needed to be aware of the placement of her illustration on the page.

“I wanted to do a playful scene with a lot of things going on at once, but there is some concern about the gutter” that goes down the center of the page, she said.

Thinking about what it would be like to give the sun a bath, where there is no bathtub, led Harley Elliott, 17, to engage her imagination.

“I always thought about illustrating a children’s book, and this is a great opportunity to see what it would be like,” she said.

Brianna Gelow, 17, was excited to enter the competition, noting that “all my work is bright and cheerful, so the colors related to my style.”

Working in watercolors and crayon, Johanna Hausmann, 17, said, “It has always been a dream of mine to illustrate a children’s book,” and Tessa Layton, 15, added that the competition “opened a door to what the adult world looks like, with real responsibilities.”

Carly Musser, 17, said she usually is not a person to go out on a limb, but thought it “would be cool to do an illustration giving the sun a bath,” while Alexa Short, 18, said it was “always a good experience to try new things, and it is fun.”

Liana Tarasenko, 16, said she has always loved children’s books, and said the competition is giving her “real-life experience.”

Hannah Tubbergen, 16, said she entered the competition because “illustrations in a children’s book are crucial to the story and make the feel of the story come to life.”

Gabrielle Gray, Tina Kuang, Rachel Norton and Jessaly Riggins also are participating in the competition.

More books in works

“I Gave the Sun a Bath” will be Lawrence’s third book, when it comes out at the end of this year.

Her first, “From Pink to Blue,” is written around the theme of supporting children’s purposes in life, as soon as they’re born.

“Everyone has a different colored thread, and when they are woven together, they become a beautiful quilt,” Lawrence said.

Her most recently released book, “On An Angel’s Wing,” is a collection of “real-life angel stories,” she said, adding that she is thinking about doing a second compilation of angel experiences.

Her fourth book, “A Donavan Memory,” is a bit of a departure in that it is “a spiritual romance, aimed at a really broad audience.”

The book, set for publication in 2015, is about a woman who has to reinvent her life. She relocates and meets an elderly woman who shares the wealth of her experience.

As Lawrence revisited Kayser’s classroom last week, she was impressed by the different interpretations of her book and the different styles students were using in their illustrations.

She added, “I am so thrilled to have an opportunity to do this. Anyone who is in a position to help students or children helps set the foundation for greatness to come.”

Lawrence’s books are available on her website, marilynlawrence.com, and through Amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble.