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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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LO-based senior housing giant settles with DOJ over veterans benefit pitch


Settlement reached; wrongdoing denied

Officials with a Lake Oswego-based international senior living company have agreed to pay restitution to at least 163 Oregon veterans who were financially hurt as a result of alleged unlawful marketing of senior housing to veterans.

After a lengthy investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice, Holiday Retirement has entered into a settlement with the department that calls for the company to pay $750 to $3,500 or more to each victim.

Holiday Retirement has corporate offices at 5885 Meadows Road, No. 500, in Lake Oswego. Holiday moved its headquarters to the Kruse Woods Corporate Park from Salem in April of 2012.

There are no Holiday living facilities in Lake Oswego, although the company manages 14 locations statewide, including in Newberg, Beaverton, Roseburg, Gresham, Portland, Hillsboro, Grants Pass, Eugene, Bend and Milwaukie, two in Corvallis and two in Salem.

According to information provided by the justice department, its staff investigated allegations that Holiday made misrepresentations to prospective customers about the availability of federal veterans’ benefits.

According to a DOJ release, “some moved into Holiday facilities based on the anticipated additional income and Holiday’s offer to defer their rent. After some of these new residents failed to qualify for the veterans benefits, Holiday took aggressive actions to collect the deferred rent.”

The DOJ release also noted that “Robert E. Elhard Jr. and Fielding Financial LLC were involved with Holiday in promoting the veterans benefits. They, too, have entered into a settlement with the Department of Justice that bans them permanently from soliciting or providing financial services to Oregon veterans.

Holiday agreed to pay $200,000 to the Oregon Department of Justice Protection and Education Account and to pay $95,000 toward DOJ’s attorney’s fees. In a separate transaction, Holiday also donated $50,000 to the Oregon Veterans’ Home.

“In addition to paying the restitution, Holiday agreed to stop doing business with Elhard or any unapproved veteran financial advisers, to change its marketing practices as they relate to senior veterans and veterans’ benefits, and to stop its ‘deferred rent’ program.”

“It is unconscionable under Oregon law to take advantage of seniors,” Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said. “After the many sacrifices senior veterans have made for our country, no group is more deserving of respect and fair treatment.”

Holiday, one of the largest providers of senior housing in the country, denied wrongdoing, as did Elhard. Both cooperated with the Department of Justice’s investigation. Holiday maintains about 315 locations across the United States and Canada.

“There is more work to do,” Rosenblum said, “but I am proud we were able to remove Mr. Elhard from the Oregon marketplace and to convince a major provider of senior housing to change its practices and make things right by their customers. My office will vigilantly monitor Holiday’s reform efforts going forward.”

The investigation began after the department received complaints about Elhard from residents of  Holiday’s Rock Creek facility in Hillsboro and volunteers with the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs. DOJ’s investigation expanded to include all 14 of Holiday’s Oregon facilities. The allegations under investigation included:

n Holiday failed to disclose it had a business marketing relationship with Elhard, who represented he was a “free” advocate for senior veterans.

nElhard and Holiday failed to disclose Elhard’s objective to identify financially “overqualified” veterans and to sell them trusts and annuities as a means to divest themselves of assets and meet the financial requirements for a VA pension.

n Veterans often did not get timely VA application service. Some applications were never submitted.

n Holiday offered “deferred rent” agreements to senior veterans to induce them to move in while VA applications were anticipated or pending. Holiday thereafter insisted that some senior residents “agree” to lease changes that made the deferred rent program more onerous to consumers.

n Holiday and Elhard shared confidential financial and medical information obtained from seniors.

According to the Holiday Retirement website, the company in May announced its intent to raise $1.2 million to benefit veterans. In renewing its partnership with nonprofit Outward Bound for Veterans and Outward Bound Canada, the company said it hoped to support more than 600 veterans in the United States and Canada.

The $1.2 million would allow more than “600 veterans to participate in an Outward Bound veteran excursion program, which uses outdoor adventure to assist returning service men and women in the transition from combat to civilian life.”

According to its website, as a company, “Holiday is home to more than 12,000 veterans and surviving spouses.”

The DOJ release indicated a survey will be sent to veterans and family members who think they may have suffered financial damage because of Elhard’s or Holiday’s practices. For more information about this settlement, call the Oregon Department of Justice’s consumer hotline at 877-877-9392. For more information about veterans benefits or other related issues, call the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs at 800-692-9666 or 503-373-2085.

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs offers free, qualified advice and application services through its statewide network of volunteers. More information about veterans benefits, generally, is available at http://oregon.gov/odva/BENEFITS/Pages/index.aspx.

For more information about Holiday Retirement, call 503-370-7070 or visit http://holidaytouch.com.