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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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Pepper & Salt delivers fresh, local soups and more


When is a bowl of soup more than just a bowl of soup? If that soup comes from Pepper & Salt, then it can be lunch, dinner, a snack, or an entree.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Tre Seibert, a classically trained French-pastry chef, stirs up a batch of green-garlic, thyme and millet biscuits.In fact, one of the things owner Josie Rankin-Lary likes best about her customers is that they tell her how they use the freshly made soups she delivers to them.

“They will stretch the soup by using it like a sauce, putting it over rice or over chicken,” she said.

Jody Schreffler, one of Rankin-Lary’s customers, prepares an after-school snack for her daughter by heating up a small bowl of soup and giving her daughter a bit of fruit to go with it.

“One container of soup can last all week. It’s a way for entire families to have healthy snacks,” Schreffler said.

Nutritious, convenient

The company does not have a brick-and-mortar space. Instead Rankin-Lary and her two fellow chefs, Tre Seibert and Vanessa Lombard-Hunter, prepare small batches of soup, salads and biscuits using the commercial kitchen at Oregon City United Methodist Church, and deliver the goods to customers.

“Our goal is to provide nutritious food using local produce. It is all about convenience and nutrition, and I love that we make the soups freezer-friendly,” Rankin-Lary said.

Because she collaborates with Schoolyard Farms and The Urban Farm Center, both in the Milwaukie area, Rankin-Lary can get almost all her farm-fresh ingredients locally.

She gets some onions from Idaho, and when she makes her Thai Tom Khaa soup, she buys ingredients from Asian grocery stores, but otherwise she can tell customers exactly where the produce is sourced.

That includes vegetables and herbs from her own garden. Last year she harvested 800 pounds of tomatoes and 300 butternut squashes to put in soups.

Rankin-Lary encourages customers who work together or live near one another to form “soup groups” of at least six, so she can deliver her product for free.

“People can sign up at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I will send them next week’s menu on Thursday. They have a couple of days to think about it, and then they place their orders. We spend six hours on Wednesdays delivering,” she said.

Currently, her customer base is 75 percent teachers in the North Clackamas and Oregon City school districts, but about 40 people pick up their orders from Rankin-Lary’s front porch, near Schoolyard Farms.

“We target a broad customer base of teachers, working people, single people, and busy heads of families,” she said, adding that meals range in price from $10 to $12 and typically serve two to four people.

In addition to delivering to schools and other businesses, Pepper & Salt has four pick-up sites: Eastham Community Center and the Marylhurst School in Oregon City; the Warrior Room kettlebell studio in Milwaukie; and Mix ‘n’ Match Creamery in Oak Grove.

The individually labeled soups and salads go into refrigerators at those sites and the secretaries collect the money, Rankin-Lary said.

Pepper & Salt

Although her background is as a culinary marketing consultant, Rankin-Lary has never been a chef, but she has always been around a kitchen.

She came up with the concept for her business several years ago, and found a good test group for her product among her fellow kettlebellers at the Warrior Room in Milwaukie.

In September of 2012, Rankin-Lary began making soup in the commercial kitchen at the Eastham Community Center, but in July of 2013 moved to the much larger kitchen at the church in Oregon City.

She and Schreffler came up with the name Pepper & Salt in a brainstorming session, she said, adding that the first year she made 40 different soups.

“Now we make well over 130 soups, with 30 that are particularly well-received. During our peak season we make 150 to 200 quarts of soup,” she said. Now with the school year coming to an end, and with warm weather in the forecast, Rankin-Lary is adding freshly made, layered salads and biscuits to the mix.

Last week, Rankin-Lary made a huge batch of Mellow Yellow soup, while Seibert, a trained French-pastry chef, put together green-garlic, thyme and millet biscuits.

Mellow Yellow is one of Pepper & Salt’s most requested soups. It is a mild curry soup, made with yellow curry, organic yellow lentils, organic yellow squash, fresh ginger, onions, garlic, lime, turmeric, coconut milk and organic vegetable stock.

Meanwhile, Lombard-Hunter was filling the kitchen with the aroma of a fresh lemon-basil vinaigrette dressing, made to accompany the salad that Rankin-Lary was creating.

The salad is made with black rice, wheat berries, organic fingerling potatoes, organic asparagus, organic cherry tomatoes, organic carrots, a variety of freshly harvested greens from Candy Lane Farms, and multicolored radishes as a garnish. Customers also may request that chunks of roasted chicken be added to the salad.


One of the secrets to Rankin-Lary’s soup recipes is that “each ingredient is cooked separately, so each has its own flavor profile.”

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Josie Rankin-Lary, owner of Pepper & Salt, shows off a layered salad, with many local, organic ingredients.All her soup stocks are made from scratch, and she always has vegetarian options and often a vegan one; all the soups are gluten-free since there is never any flour used in them.

In addition to Mellow Yellow and Tom Khaa soup, a rotating menu of soup choices might include chicken tortilla, lemon tarragon chicken with wild rice, roasted pepper bisque with smoked chicken and quinoa, Moroccan lentil soup with curry turkey meatballs, and smoked salmon chowder.

Other sides available include Asian lettuce wraps and spinach or roasted red pepper hummus with pita bread.

Rankin-Lary hand-labels each product. She wants customers to know specific nutrition information, what the ingredients are, and where they are sourced because she wants them to almost be able to taste the dish, just from reading the label.

Speaking of tasting, Pepper & Salt and Schoolyard Farms will be offering tastes of their made-from-scratch foods on June 6 at First Friday in downtown Milwaukie.

To find out more, send an email to Josie Rankin-Lary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.