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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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Beating the odds on addiction


More seek treatment as Clackamas County lawmakers vie for reforms aimed at slowing gambling machines

by: PHOTO BY JON HOUSE - Nate Peterson is pictured along McLoughlin Boulevard south of Milwaukie, where many cafes and restaurants advertise their lottery machines. Peterson is a former gambling addict, who now works as a counselor helping others recover.Nate Peterson still vividly remembers the moment when he tried video poker in a bar and won $200 soon after moving to the Portland area in 2004.

“That dopamine hit for me was a big one, and it was in my thoughts constantly, to the point when I stole money from work to gamble,” Peterson said.

Peterson, now 46, soon found himself playing on the state’s video lottery machines for hours almost every day to zone out, losing hundreds of dollars in most sittings and ceasing to care about anything. He lost $5,000 on video gambling in eight months before he sought treatment on Aug. 30, 2008.

“It slowly took a hold of me, and it became an escape to where I was playing more and more of my money and taking more of my time,” he said. “I was able to pay back the stolen money without any police intervention, and when they asked me about it, I said, ‘I think I’m a gambling addict.’ “

by: PHOTO BY: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Customers play state-sponsored Video Lottery machines at Cafe Del Toro, a former white-tablecloth restaurant that now makes $234,911 annually, based on 2012 funds after the state gets its approximately $1 million share, at its Lottery Row location.Now Peterson works as a counselor to help other gambling addicts recover from trying to recapture the joy of that first big win. As a former board member and vice president of Voices of Problem Gambling Recovery, he attempts to put a face on gambling addiction and testifies for reforms in front of the Legislature and the state’s Lottery Commission.

“In Oregon it’s prolific, second only to Nevada in concentration of gambling,” said the former California resident who had no problems with addiction as an occasional gambler in Reno. “It’s not for a lack of willpower or that people are morally corrupt — it’s a disease, and I wanted to bring some hope for people that recovery is possible.”

Bi-partisan bills heading through the Oregon Legislature this year promise to help the state recover for its own addiction to lottery funding (“Momentum builds for Oregon Lottery reforms,” Jan. 9). State Reps. Bill Kennemer (R-rural Clackamas County) and Carolyn Tomei (D-Milwaukie) agree that the state’s current lottery system is encouraging addicts to provide needed funding for schools and health care programs.

“It’s a self-perpetuating cycle, because people feel bad about losing, and then it just makes their depression worse,” Tomei said. “My big push is to make it harder for people to gamble, and if you’re driving along McLoughlin Boulevard there’s just place after place that provides gambling through the Oregon Lottery, and it gives the impression that if you lose at one place, you could drive a short way and win somewhere else.”

Seeking treatment

According to the Department of Human Services, more than 74,000 Oregon adults meet “problem or pathological gambler” criteria, but only 1,321 sought treatment in 2011. One percent of the state’s more than $1 billion in annual lottery revenue goes to gambling treatment at 46 providers in Oregon.

Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare runs one such facility called the Clackamas Gambling Clinic, 15630 S.E. 90th Ave., where county residents can receive family gambling therapy, couples therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, phone therapy, case management and even treatment via Skype. About 70 to 80 people are constantly enrolled in its programs, and sometimes Cascadia refers severe cases to check themselves in at the Bridgeway in-patient facility in Salem.

Philip Yassenoff, the clinic’s program manager, says that most clients in Clackamas soon discover that responsible gambling means self-imposed abstinence. The first part of the clinic’s standard program offers tips for learning the importance of avoiding video lottery machines and tips for getting out of the habit.

“Then the program focuses on how to live life and turn to family and hobbies,” Yassenoff said.

After three to nine months, clients generally “complete” the program, but are welcomed to return if they relapse or are having trouble controlling their urge to gamble. Yassenoff doesn’t expect the widespread problem to decrease much with the Clackamas County legislators’ modest reforms.

“We think of this as a public-health issue, and I don’t think that its central importance will change,” he said. “It’s important that people can receive this care, because the treatment is more cost-effective than the ultimate consequences.”

Such consequences include: Of the 1,861 gamblers who sought treatment in 2009, 38 percent admitted that they committed illegal acts in order to obtain money. Their average gambling debt was $32,000, and 48 percent reported suicidal thoughts.

“It’s pretty startling to sit in a room with someone who has a sterling reputation who says they just borrowed money without asking from the Girl Scouts or their church and thought they would pay it back,” said Mary Jayne Wykowski, a clinical social worker based in Portland.

Cocaine-like addiction

Jose Ricardo Vargas Garcia, masters-level gambling addiction adviser at the Clackamas clinic, estimates there are 12,000 problem gamblers in the county he serves, based on the 3 percent state average for population, so many aren’t yet seeking treatment. Problem gamblers can make six figures and no longer be able to support the lifestyle to which they were accustomed as they lose their jobs, or they could be making less than $20,000 annually and illegally selling use of their food-stamp cards for cash with which to gamble.

“It’s just a wide range,” Vargas Garcia said. “Their lifestyles are different, but when they talk about being addicted to gambling it’s largely the same story, just like alcoholism.”

Everyone recognizes that they should stop, but a gambler’s brain activates the same way as if they were using cocaine, he adds. If they’re winning, he observes their eyes getting wide and other signs of addiction like shortness of breath and increased heart rate.

“They say to themselves, ‘If I could win this amount and it will all be over, and I could pay everyone back, and it will all be OK,’ ” he said.

This points to the need for people who are specialists in gambling, because the types of interventions done for problem gamblers are different from anything else in mental health.

“You have to let them get upset at themselves when they try to explain how they ‘work’ the machine to cheat the state from money, which is of course impossible,” Vargas Garcia said. “Sometimes they say they played $200 and get $250, but then they’ll be omitting details like how they had just lost $400.”

Of course, gamblers are more often losing their money.

“That’s when they start getting into crisis mode and the depression sets in,” Vargas Garcia said.

He sees two main types of gamblers: more rarely “action gamblers” who enjoy being in the moment and tend to play card games that encourage “high rolling” and whose self-worth relies on their winning. Escape gamblers, who are trying to avoid something are much more common, and they tend to go for Oregon Lottery machines that are random and easy to use.

“Usually when people get into gambling, they’re trying to cope with something they don’t want to deal with directly. Some people have had previous addiction problems and they just find a new way of getting addicted,” he said.

If you minimize the availability of alcohol, then fewer people will become alcoholics, and the same is true of gambling, Vargas Garcia argues.

“People would still have issues that they had to work through like poverty or domestic violence, but then at least people wouldn’t be turning to gambling as a way to deal with these problems,” he said.

Peterson, the former gambling addict who now helps treat those afflicted, agrees that there is good a path forward.

“If I could just help one other person see that there are limitless possibilities for moving forward to a good life after addiction,” Peterson said. “I’m not anti-gambling or anti-lottery, but if the state is going to have gambling, we need to have adequate funding for treatment and I think that’s around 3 percent.”