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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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Momentum builds for Oregon Lottery reforms

by: PHOTO BY: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT  - Dotty's helped create a niche of small 'lottery cafes' in Oregon that make their money from gamblers playing Oregon State Lottery games. Each site hosts six video lottery terminals, similar to casino slot machines.Veteran lawmakers from Clackamas County will lead the charge to reform the Oregon Lottery after new state legislators are sworn into office on Monday, Jan. 14.

Longtime lottery critics Bill Kennemer (R-Canby) and Carolyn Tomei (D-Milwaukie) have enlisted the support of Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland) and Julie Parrish (R-West Linn) for two draft bills. Larry Niswender, Oregon Lottery director since 2010, and newly appointed Lottery Commission Chairwoman Elisa Dozono, have been amenable to past reforms.

One new bill would mandate that 18 percent of net lottery proceeds go to education and 15 percent to the state’s Parks and Natural Resource Fund, with the remainder going to the Administrative Services Economic Development Fund or a new Rainy Day Lottery Fund. Another proposal would require the lottery to hire a mental health expert who would help guide policy to make games less addictive.

“The lottery has more than 400 employees, and we’re just asking that one person has mental health and addiction background to look at machines to slow them down and stop asking for more money,” Tomei said. “It takes seconds to play a full game, and it’s so mesmerizing that people can play and play for hours and hours. If you’re one number off, it gives the impression that next time you’ll win.”

Kennemer was personally “horrified” that embezzlement cases in the Estacada Fire District and in West Linn were connected to the lottery. Both he and Tomei say that these are not isolated incidents.

“I have a nephew, and most everyone else does have someone they know who’s been affected,” Kennemer said. “One in every seven people regularly play the lottery, and this is an astounding number that’s having a dramatic negative impact statewide, not just with these cases.”

“The majority of people who put money in there are big users, so I got to the point to realize that lottery addiction is difficult to treat, and it’s also hard to talk with people about,” Tomei said.

Last month, the Human Services Committee, where Tomei became chairwoman in January, introduced the draft bills. House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), who has advocated for ways to curtail Jantzen Beach’s “Lottery Row” of 12 side-by-side retailers all offering booze and state video lottery gaming, will begin assigning some of the hundreds of proposed bills to committees next week.

Exploring ideas

Tomei and Kennemer are confident that the Jantzen Beach Supercenter on Hayden Island will help persuade Kotek and other legislators to move one or both bills toward legislative votes. They say Clackamas County has its own “Lottery Row,” a miles-long stretch of McLoughlin Boulevard mini-malls between Gladstone and Milwaukie with a high concentration of strip clubs, lottery machines and fast food.

“I’m really optimistic that we can make some progress,” Tomei said.

Another initiative, which Tomei acknowledges would be the toughest to pass, would cap the amount that the Lottery would be able to raise in an effort to control its revenue. Powerball morphed into line games that Tomei says are increasingly addictive, both for players and state coffers.

“This is not a benign source of money for the Legislature, and 70,000 to 80,000 people statewide are addicted,” Tomei said. “We can’t be sending mixed messages that we want you to curtail the behavior of people who are addicted and we also want you to raise more money.”

Lottery revenue was less than $100 million in 1986. During the past fiscal year ending in June, the lottery raked in more than $1 billion statewide and gave out about $238.3 million in prizes. Not including video lottery products, Clackamas County residents play about $30 million annually, said lottery spokesman Ray Martin. A total of 332 Clackamas County outlets sold almost $102 million for the lottery last year, or 9.59 percent of the statewide total.

Since odds are calculated statewide, prize winners of more than $600 for all Oregon Lottery games fluctuate for the county between about $7 million and $20 million annually. More than $48 million went from the Lottery to fund Clackamas County school districts, parks, transportation projects and other local initiatives during the past biennium.

Tomei said that she’d be willing to negotiate with other lawmakers about where to set the statewide cap.

“If I could set that number lower I would, but as legislators we have to be pragmatic about setting a reasonable cap,” she said. “Let’s explore a number of ideas and see how they’re all interconnected and important.”