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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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Oregon City cancer survivor hopes to help others


by: PHOTO COURTESY: DEB HART - Pine Hollow Retreat, a vacation home along the Pine Hollow Reservoir east of Mount Hood, offers monthly weekend stays through October where women can share their survival stories. Nothing is worse for a parent than to experience the death a child, but Deb Hart’s breast-cancer diagnosis compounded her grief about her lost son.

Oregon City’s Kasey D. Collins, Hart’s only son, had achieved his lifelong dream at age 22 by becoming America’s youngest licensed tugboat captain. On Aug. 2, 2006, near Anchorage, Alaska, co-workers found his body aboard his ship. After two autopsies, his death certificate came back reading “inconclusive” as to why his heart had stopped beating.

“Kasey was quite the outdoorsman, always hunting and fishing,” Hart said. “He taught me that life can be very short, so you should live every day as if it is your last.”

by: 2003 PHOTO COURTESY: DEB HART - Deb Hart's breast-cancer diagnosis compounded her grief over her lost son, Kasey D. Collins, who had achieved his lifelong dream at age 22 by becoming America's youngest licensed tugboat captain. Collins died on Aug. 2, 2006, near Anchorage, Alaska.Seven months after the unexplained tragedy, she received her cancer diagnosis, followed quickly by a double mastectomy and 26 rounds of chemotherapy. Through it all, doctors would tell her, “You’ve got to have hope, and you’ve got to fight.” But she remembers spending more than two years under her covers, more because of her shame and grief than because she was bedridden with pain and illness.

After discovering that many other women experience “double tragedies” associated with their breast-cancer diagnoses, Hart, now 58, decided to open up a vacation home along the Pine Hollow Reservoir east of Mount Hood for women to share their survival stories. Pine Hollow Retreat offers monthly weekend stays through October. Hart has applied for federal nonprofit status to help cover the $149 charge, with scholarships for low-income survivors. Three weeks ago, she hosted a crafting retreat called Moms Who Get It for eight women who had lost a child to share memories.

A Pink In the Gorge walk is set Oct. 13 and a Living in Up event on June 2 will fund scholarships. From July 12 through July 14, Hart is expecting her largest group at Pine Hollow with 15 women from the Portland Young Survivors group coordinated by Cary Goldburg .

“Breast cancer is very expensive, and people often lose their jobs and their husbands bolt, so they can’t afford to go away for the weekend,” Hart said.

Continued healing

Visitors to Pine Hollow Retreat range from those who “just” had a lumpectomy to cases viewed terminal by doctors. Before going to the retreat, Nadja McConville was worried that she would just see people crying the whole time, but it turned out to be fun and healing for her. So that everything in the house has a story, its five bedrooms and 2,800 square feet are decorated almost entirely from items bought from Goodwill.

“Within a short time, since it’s such an intimate setting, everyone was put at ease,” McConville said. “They were people you could talk to, but it wasn’t like a support group where everyone’s depressed.”

A resident of Portland, McConville, 47, works in Oregon City for the Oregon Department of Human Services as an administrator of Medicare benefits to seniors in Clackamas County. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at 45, the same age that her mother was when diagnosed. McConville was 21 years old when her mother died from the cancer.

Soon after her own diagnosis, McConville had to have her first surgery and begin eight months of chemotherapy. As a side effect of the chemo, she developed a bone necrosis that required shoulder surgery a few months ago.

“You have nurses to take care of you, but then all of a sudden there’s no one, and they tell you to go out and try to have a good life,” she said. “Going to Pine Hollow Retreat was great to get away from the family and clinic and to arrive at a place where you can relax and talk with people if you want to. You realize that there’s a whole lot to live for. Even when you finish treatment and were wondering how you’re going to move on.”

Choosing to go on

Hart also has ongoing struggles surviving breast cancer. After doctors had to replace a bad set of her prosthetic breast implants on Nov. 14, kidney failure required that she get four-hour dialysis treatments three times a week until February.

During dialysis, she was laid off from a contract position as a property manager for 22 apartments in downtown Portland, but she still volunteers for the Providence Willamette Falls Hospice. However, she considers herself lucky to have a supportive husband, Steve, who works for Patriot Fire Protection Inc. in Vancouver and gets to use Pine Hollow for hunting and fishing trips.

They renovated the house in 2011, had six retreats in ‘12 and plan to expand its use each year. Its location near the Columbia Gorge also allows them to easily visit their 31-year-old daughter Molly on the way.

“I took my sadness and my grief and turned it into a healing experience for other women,” she said. “They get into the house and shed a whole layer, and when they leave, they have their windows rolled down, and they’re asking when they can come back.”