Featured Stories

INSIDERS (Sponsored Content)

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


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

At-risk youth south of OC see power of giving


by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Xerox employee Garry Jones, left and former Xerox employee Dick Spence, right, assemble a new bed for the Parrott Creek Ranch. It’s a story that has grown familiar in contemporary America.

With public funding locked in a downward spiral due to the Great Recession, private nonprofit organizations that work with public agencies have time and again been forced to look to private donors to keep their work alive.

Parrott Creek Ranch near Oregon City is no exception. Formed in 1968 to provide residential services to what were then labeled “delinquent” boys, the ranch now contracts with the county and the Oregon Youth Authority to provide residential services to boys caught up in the juvenile justice system.

“It’s an alternative to incarceration,” said Neil Davies, Parrott Creek’s director of residential services. “It’s an intervention before that need; and for a lot of our youth it’s an opportunity to transition back home from McLaren or Hillcrest (youth correctional facilities).”

Youth offenders ordered to the long-term residential side of the facility typically stay nine months to a year while undergoing therapy, counseling and working toward their GED or other academic qualifications. Short-term residents usually are sent there by county authorities for stays of 30 to 90 days.

Last year, Parrott Creek served more than 1,000 youths and their families with an all-funds budget of some $1.8 million. But it wasn’t nearly enough to cover the cost of needed supplies or undergoing expensive maintenance on the aging facility.

“The cost of doing business, just the costs of heating and food, are continuing to go up,” said Linda Winnett, Parrott Creek executive director. “There’s a gap and we appreciate our community partners in helping us to fill that gap and meeting the needs of these kids.”

In this case, it is the Xerox Community Involvement Program that has stepped up to the plate and delivered in the clutch. Through the program employees recently donated $5,000 to Parrott Creek.

The money was used to purchase 19 wooden single beds from Murphy’s Furniture in Cornelius. The beds replace old metal-framed versions that were well past their prime and featured sagging mattresses that provided little support.

“I wish you’d seen the old beds,” said Davies. “It’s been a need for a long time and really hasn’t been something we’ve been able to afford to address. So seeing someone jump on that is really gratifying; to see that others have some consideration for the youth here — they’re not a cuddly population, though a lot of why they’re here is because they haven’t had that consideration and it’s always amazing to see that.”

Full-service nonprofit group

Until the late 1960s, boys in Clackamas County who committed crimes were returned home or sent to a state training school. Today, they often are sent to Parrott Creek.

Like the rest of Oregon’s corrections system, Parrott Creek has experienced a steadily climbing demand for its expertise at the same time as public sources of funding have traveled in the opposite direction.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Xerox employees, Parrott Creek staff and Parrott Creek board members gather at the ranch last week. From left, front, are Linda Winnett, Neil Davies, Donna Bane, Dick Spence, Kathy Jones, Garry Jones and Diane Adams.“It’s a constant,” said Parrott Creek Board Member Donna Bane. “And the contracts do not cover the full cost of the program.”

That need is what helped catch the attention of Xerox employees Diane Adams, Kathy Jones and Garry Jones, each of whom were on hand Sept. 18 to finish up assembly of the beds and accompanying matching night stands.

“Things that rely on volunteers or donations, we try to help,” said Adams, listing off a host of beneficiaries of the Xerox Community Involvement Program that include Wilsonville Community Sharing, Dogs for the Blind, Dress for Success, the Tualatin Riverkeepers, the Portland VA Hospital and many more.

“It’s a full-time job,” said Adams.

“We collect books for children, even a painting and bunk beds for a shelter in Mount Angel,” added Wilsonville resident Dick Spence, a former Xerox logistics auditor who still works with the community involvement group. “They visit patients at the Portland VA hospital, and we’ve done a tremendous amount with the food bank in Wilsonville.”

When it comes to teenagers still in school, something as simple as a sound bed makes a huge difference, Winnett said.

“It’s very important to their ability to turn their lives around, to get good sleep, good nutrition, therapy and counseling,” she said. “It’s all a part of the big picture.”

And for a group of teens unused to enjoying positive attention, it’s yet another part of their ongoing therapy and transition back into “normal” society.

“It’s a difficult group to engage people with,” said Davies. “But I think once you see the need it’s compelling. These guys, they really have the need of outsiders being interested and supporting them in what they’re going through.

“This is a painful experience for the kids,” he added. “It’s difficult to do treatment, and having a bed to sleep in that doesn’t fall apart or bend or break or is held up by bricks is a really good thing for them and you can’t put a price tag or value on that consideration.”