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

Local surgery center inspires legislation


Sen. Jeff Merkley likes to understand how things work and what challenges businesses and organizations face, so when he visited the Eye Health Eastside Surgery Center in Clackamas on Dec. 2, he wanted to chat with both staff and patients.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Sen. Jeff Merkleys wife, Mary Sorteberg, a registered nurse at the Eye Health Center, interacts with a patient who just had surgery.He was especially interested in seeing how an ambulatory surgery center operates because, he said, “a lot of people rely on them, and it was good see the full-service medical, surgical and routine vision care they provide to children, adults and seniors.”

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Cherie Shevlin, ASC director at the Eye Health Eastside Surgery Center, takes Sen. Jeff Merkley on a tour of the Clackamas facility.The Clackamas facility is an ambulatory surgery center, or ASC, which means that after procedures the patients go directly home and do not stay overnight, said ASC Director Cherie Shevlin, a registered nurse. She has worked at the Eye Health Eastside Surgery Center in Clackamas for five-and-a-half years, and the facility itself was founded 10 years ago. Twelve doctors who work at the surgery center own the site with 20 staff members and 16 total doctors.

“We specialize in eye surgery here. This is all we do, and we do it well,” Shevlin said.

Merkley originally was scheduled to tour another ASC several months ago, but Shevlin said she pushed to change it to the Clackamas facility, where Merkley’s wife, Mary Sorteberg, is a registered nurse who works in pre- and post-op at the surgery center, and also functions as medication nurse for the operating room.  

Shevlin said, “We invited Sen. Merkley to visit because he was concerned about the fact that the facility is physician-owned, but we won him over.”

“It was incredible to see how efficient the ambulatory surgery center was and how many patients they can see in one day. It was also nice to visit with a few of the patients and hear about their experiences at the center,” Merkley said. “The Eye Health Eastside Surgery Center is a great resource for residents in Clackamas County who are looking to get comprehensive vision care.”

Merkley’s visit and his subsequent support for the Clackamas ASC is significant, Shevlin said, because he is a co-sponsor of a bill called the Quality and Access Act of 2013.

Currently there is a disparity in funding for eye surgeries: Medicare pays more for patients having surgery in a hospital, while paying less for patients receiving the same services in an ASC, Shevlin said.

The bill that Merkley is co-sponsoring will address that disparity, with the outcome of federal funding being the same for patients no matter where they are treated.

Results of a new study published in September at the University of California-Berkeley Nicholas C. Petris Center on Health Care Markets and Consumer Welfare found that ASCs provide billions of dollars in savings to the Medicare program and its beneficiaries, Shevlin said. The study concluded that ASCs have the potential to save the Medicare system an additional $57.6 billion over the next decade.

“It is safe, what we do here, and the quality is excellent,” Shevlin said, noting that she has been a registered nurse for 28 years; more than 15 of those years were spent managing specialty ASCs.

ASCs offer savings, benefits

The surgery center is in Clackamas, Shevlin said, because it is the midway point between East Portland and Oregon City, but the facility has more advantages than a convenient location just off of Sunnyside Road and near I-205.

She said an ASC is noted for its significantly lower co-pays, efficiency and high patient-satisfaction ratings. Open Monday through Thursday and this year saw 4,500 cases, the Clackamas center has two operating rooms, a Lasik operating room and a laser-procedure room, along with five pre-op chairs and three post-op chairs.

“We have a patient-satisfaction rating of 98 percent because we are blessed with a wonderful, personable staff who interacts well with the patients,” Shevlin said. “Patients come directly to us and we give them a thorough assessment. They get their eye drops, an IV and anesthesia, and then we walk them into the operating room for the procedure, and we walk them out.”

The efficiency of the process keeps costs low, she said, adding that the facility never cuts corners on equipment and is stocked with state-of-the-art lasers and microscopes.

Range of services

Cataract surgeries make up the bulk of the operations done at the facility, followed by cornea, eyelid and glaucoma procedures.

“We recently purchased a new laser called the Select Laser Trabeculoplasty, which gives glaucoma patients an option to having to take medication for life. It opens up the mesh work in the eye, giving good fluid drainage, and patients are thrilled to have it,” Shevlin said.

The center also offers a five-minute laser procedure for cloudy vision after cataract surgery, and Lasik refractive corrective surgery on younger patients, who then will not have to wear glasses or contacts.

Doctors and nurses at the surgery center also offer free care to patients from the Lions Club Sight and Hearing Foundation, Shevlin said, adding that Alcon, the facility’s main supply vendor, reimburses the surgery center for supplies for these patients. Emerald Anesthesia also provides free services.

Some of the doctors and nurses at the ASC also do mission trips to other countries, providing free eye care.

“Good people gravitate to this kind of clinical setting. It is a good work environment. We love taking care of our patients. They come in with cataracts, and when they go into post-op they say ‘I can see!’ We take satisfaction that we helped them,” Shevlin said.

The Eye Health Eastside Surgery Center is at 12050 S.E. Stevens Road, Suite 400, in Clackamas. For more information, call 971-206-6100 or visit ehnpc.com.