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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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Precision Team first at roller skating nationals


Ask the coaches and some of the skaters on the Oaks Senior Precision Team, and they will tell you they have been roller skating since they could walk. All that time spent on wheels paid off in late July, when the 16-member team took first place in the national competition, held in Lincoln, Neb.

Photo Credit: PHOTO COURTESY OF CALLUM SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY - The 12 female and four male members of the Oaks Senior Precision Team execute a straight line during their prize-winning performace.Four of the skaters and both coaches live in Clackamas County, with the remaining members hailing from all over the Portland metro area. They practice for two hours twice a month at the Oaks Park roller skating rink.

Photo Credit: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Displaying their first-place medals are, left to right, Caitlin Richardson, Adelaide Holenstein and Courtney Richardson.Tiffany McKinnon and her friend and fellow coach Cindy White have been training skaters together for nearly 25 years, and have attended countless competitions, but this win was special for them.

“This was our first win at nationals coaching together,” White said. Both women work at Blount International in Milwaukie.

McKinnon, who graduated from Clackamas High School, where she was on the dance team, choreographed the team’s Latin-themed routine to the soundtrack from “Zorro” and the musical piece “Espana Cani.”

The group wore black and red costumes for their five-minute presentation.

In the precision team category, there are three divisions: junior, senior and novice, McKinnon said, adding that skaters have to be 15 years or older to qualify for the senior team.

“The skaters have to do everything as a group and in unison. They are required to do certain formations, like a circle, a pass-through, a straight line and a box,” she added.

McKinnon and White also coach a junior team, which placed ninth out of 11 teams at nationals.


What do they like best about working with roller skaters?

“I like watching them when they get it and get excited; when they get better,” White said.

“Working with the seniors is a lot of fun,” McKinnon added, noting that many adults initially were at the rink to watch their children skate.

“I told them if we could get enough people together we could form a senior team,” she said.

For both women, the biggest challenge is getting everyone together for practices and keeping them focused on learning the routine.

“I wanted to stretch them to a new level. By the end, they were all able to do it,” McKinnon said, adding that the team is at the end of its season, and now the planning begins for next year.


McKinnon’s two daughters, Caitlin Richardson, 14, and Courtney Richardson, 20, and Adelaide Holenstein, 15, took some time off from back-to-school preparations to show off their medals and talk about roller skating. Fellow team member Jordan Hess, who lives part-time in Happy Valley, was unable to attend the interview.

“I’m making friendships I know will last, and I like how you can move up in divisions and learn different things,” Caitlin Richardson said. She will be a freshman at Clackamas High School in the fall.

Her sister, who is studying forensic chemistry at Western Oregon University, said she grew up roller skating and “it would feel wrong not to do it.”

She also commented on the friendship aspect of the competition, adding, “Some friends I only see competing; I can say I am friends with a 4-year-old and a 70-year-old.”

Holenstein will be a sophomore this fall at La Salle Catholic College Preparatory, and has been competing in roller-skating events since she was 8; this is her second year on the senior precision team.

“What is best about it is you get to know everyone and work together. It is a challenge for everyone to work together in unison and stay focused,” she said.

Junior team

Both Holenstein and Caitlin Richardson also were on the junior precision team, and although they only placed ninth, that team was the crowd favorite, said Anna Steichen, Holenstein’s mother.

“It was really exciting, because the two teams were so different. The senior team looked so professional, but the junior team was so cute,” she added.

“The little ones stole everyone’s heart,” Courtney Richardson said.

What was it like having the support from the crowd?

“When we started doing our straight-line footwork, the music hit a certain rhythm and everyone started clapping to the beat — and that hadn’t happened before. Then when we finished, everyone was smiling,” Holenstein said.

Although the competitive season is over, McKinnon recommended that anyone interested in skating should visit the Oaks Park rink and investigate taking classes. She and White also offer private lessons.

For more information, visit oakspark.com, click on attractions, and then click on roller skating, or call 503-233-5777.