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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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Local director builds song bridge to Estonia


When Lonnie Cline heard the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir sing in 1993, the music spoke to him, and he was hooked.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Lonnie Cline, conductor and artistic director of Unistus Chamber Choir, conducts the group during a recent concert.Now Cline, the conductor and artistic director of the Unistus Chamber Choir, invites members of the community to get equally hooked on the music and, at the same time, say bon voyage to the choir as they prepare to attend Laulupidu in Tallinn, Estonia, in early July.

Unistus will present the 2014 Estonian Tour Concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 15, at Milwaukie Lutheran Church, 3810 S.E. Lake Road. A $10 donation will help defray travel costs for the group.

The concert will feature a sampling of what the group will sing in Estonia, along with a smattering of other pieces, Cline said.

“This is our way of saying thank you to the Portland Estonians and all the donors who helped us,” he said.

He added, “People who love choral music should attend. This music is intended to make them think about the future possibility of peace and understanding.”

Tulehoidjad, a group of Portland Estonian dancers, also will perform at the concert.

Colossal song fest

The word Laulupidu means song festival in Estonian, and the event, held every five years, is the largest event of its kind in the world, Cline said.

How big is it?

“Close to 70,000 singers auditioned and 25,000 to 30,000 were chosen. Picture Providence Park with 20,000 seats — that is the choir, and they are performing in an arena that is 10 times the size of the Hollywood Bowl. There are half a million people in the audience, so when you are in the choir, you can see people almost to the horizon,” he said.

Cline added that the singing culture is so strong in Estonia, a country in the Baltic region of northern Europe, that in a population of 1.5 million people, one out of every two sings in a choir, and whoever is left over is in a dance group.

Laulupidu takes place on July 4, 5 and 6, in Tallinn, which has a Friendship City relationship with Portland, and all the music is sung in Estonian, mostly without accompaniment.

After two days of intensive rehearsals, the 25 members of Unistus will perform in four singing ensembles during the event, including the general choir, a select choir and a female and male choir.

Before Laulupidu, the group will participate in a concert and cultural exchange tour, performing in churches and other venues throughout Estonia, Cline said.

Singing to freedom

This marks Cline’s fourth time participating in Laulupidu with Unistus.

He formed the group in 1999, and in 2000 they began rehearsing together at the Niemeyer Center at Clackamas Community College, where Cline was the conductor of classical and choral music for 33 years. He retired from CCC in 2013.

There are 30 members in Unistus, and at least 75 percent of them are former CCC students. The other 25 percent come from the community, and they auditioned to be part of the choir. The group has performed all over the Portland metro area and beyond, Cline said.

The word unistus means fantasy or daydream in Estonian, and Cline chose it because in 1991 the Estonian people literally sang themselves to freedom from Soviet Russia.

In that year, Soviet tanks attempted to stop the progress toward independence, but people, singing forbidden Estonian patriotic songs, acted as human shields to protect radio and TV stations from the Soviet tanks. The tanks turned back, and Estonians were able to realize their dream of freedom without any bloodshed, Cline said.

“They were ordered to stop singing, but they did not, and their peaceful singing led to a resolution of conflict, and we want to carry that forward in our own group and repay Estonia for opening our eyes to that,” he said.

In fact, the mission statement for the Unistus Chamber Choir is to “exemplify peaceful solutions to prejudice, bigotry, greed, hatred and violence through the art of singing.”

Cline encourages members of the community to come to the 2014 Estonian Tour Concert to hear “singers who are trying to say love one another, and who want to confirm their belief in the goodness of people through performing music.”

Sing for peace

What: Clackamas County’s Unistus Chamber Choir presents its 2014 Estonian Tour Concert

When: 3 p.m. Sunday, June 15

Where: Milwaukie Lutheran Church, 3810 S.E. Lake Road

Details: A $10 donation will help defray the choir’s travel expenses as they travel to Estonia on a concert and cultural exchange tour June 25 through July 8. They will perform at Laulupidu in Tallinn, Estonia, on July 5, 6 and 7.