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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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Returning vets get helping hand


by: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Beavercreek resident Barry McCain and his wife, Barbara, who's the customer support coordinator for the Army Strong Community Center at Clackamas Community College, support the Returning Veterans Project.Beavercreek resident Barry McCain returned from military service in Iraq in August 2011 with an extremely painful bulged disk from a back injury.

McCain, 49, suffered the injury while trying to move a 70-pound piece of electronic equipment onto an 8.5-foot truck. All of the platforms to help fix the trucks had already been sent home, so he thinks he might not have hurt himself if he had something better to stand on than a stepladder.

Although he had a supportive wife and no young children at home, McCain said he understood why veterans commit suicide at more than twice the average national rate, and veterans account for more than 20 percent of suicides nationwide.

“The first six months I was back, I was hurting so bad that there was no enjoyment to my life,” he said.

(McCain is a fourth cousin to U.S. Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican and former Vietnam prisoner of war, and the two don’t have a personal relationship.)

But McCain found relief through a nonprofit organization called the Returning Veterans Project that coordinates 144 mental and physical health care practitioners donating services throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Located near the Veteran’s Affairs clinic in West Linn, the Vermillion and Bloom chiropractic office started by realigning his back twice a week, along with providing weekly physical therapy and massages.

McCain went from taking muscle relaxers and “eating a lot of Advil” to working in his garden and some days forgetting about the pain.

“That was so wonderful that the chiropractors and the Returning Veterans Project were so dedicated to soldiers coming back,” McCain said. “The VA is wonderful, and the people there are great, but they just can’t see all the veterans that need medical care.”

McCain’s wife, Barbara, the customer support coordinator for the Army Strong Community Center, said she sees a lot of folks come in who need to be referred to the project.

“Without the Returning Veterans Project, you never would have made the progress you’ve made, because the VA is so overburdened,” she said.

The Returning Veterans Project is also trying to address the fact that Oregon’s Army National Guard and Reserves was tied with Minnesota’s for having the highest rate of suicides in the nation. The nonprofit works to de-stigmatize mental health services for veterans. The group has reduced the wait for services, provided for holistic care and expanded services to include military families, by leveraging private resources to deliver a high standard of free, confidential care.

One of the soldiers that McCain worked with in Iraq recently sent him a text saying, “Sarge, I need to talk with someone.” McCain persuaded the soldier to visit a psychologist through Returning Veterans Project.

After Veterans Day

Clackamas Community College will commemorate Veteran’s Day with a special reading of words of war and peace from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, in the Literary Arts Center, room 220 in Rook Hall at the Oregon City campus. Participants are encouraged to share writings that describe a veteran transitioning to civilian life, an event that happened in wartime, or a letter to or from a veteran.

Even after all of the Veterans Day events, the Returning Veterans Project will continue to provide services for Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, Guard/Reserve and active-duty service members and their families.

CCC will help in the effort to keep those services going to those veteran families that need them through its Army Strong office on the Oregon City campus, the first such center west of the Mississippi River.

During 2011, these volunteers gave 2,638 hours of counseling and health care services to 230 war veterans and 134 military family members: spouses/partners, children, parents and other relatives affected by their loved one’s military service.

Among those the Returning Veterans Project helped was McCain’s son, Spc. Cody McCain, a 21-year-old combat medic with the 82nd Airborne who returned Nov. 1 to Fort Bragg after deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Cody McCain had graduated from CCC in 2008, and with the intermediate EMT training he’s received in the military, his parents expect he could return home in a few years and be immediately qualified to work in an ambulance.

McCain (the father) decided to re-enlist in the Army in 2008 with his son, even after serving from 1984 to ‘87 watching the East German and Czechoslovakian borders. The age limit to enlist is generally 42, but as a veteran, he found a loophole in the rules.

“The recruiter said, ‘Subtract your active-duty years from your age, and you’re eligible,’ so if I could keep one soldier from having to go back, it was worth it,” he said.

Due to ongoing troop withdrawals, the Returning Veterans Project expects a surge in service demands next year and is trying to raise $42,000 by Dec. 31 to support its free, confidential health services.