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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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A big year for OC's Greg Skipper


The Oregon City High School graduate continues tough, earning USATF All-American honors

by: RYAN KANG/EMERALD MEDIA GROUP - Wiith at least two years of athletic eligibility remaining, Greg Skipper has high aspirations as a hammer thrower for the University of Oregon. He says he believes he has a shot at the American collegiate record, held by former Duck and Olympian Ken Flax (1986), before he graduates.Greg Skipper has had quite a year in track and field.

The 2011 Oregon City High School graduate threw the hammer at the recent USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships in Sacramento and placed seventh, with a throw of 227-7, earning USATF All-American honors. Skipper entered the event with the 11th-best mark and wasn’t expected to make the finals.

Skipper’s performance at the USATF Outdoor Championships earned him a spot on the U.S. Under-23 Team, and he’ll represent the U.S. at the NACAC (North America, Central America, Caribbean) U-23 Championships in Kamloops, Canada, Aug. 8-10.

Skipper has also been invited to throw at a high performance meet, scheduled for the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, on Aug. 2.

As a sophomore in athletic eligibility, Skipper also had a great spring competing for the University of Oregon, helping the Ducks gain their first national championship in men’s track and field since 1984. His effort of 229-3 in the hammer at the 2014 NCAA Championships earned Skipper fourth place among collegiate athletes for the second year in a row, making him a two-time NCAA All-American.

The high finish at the 2014 NCAA Championships followed on the heals of a runner-up finish, with a hammer throw of 225-2, at the Pac 12 Championships.

Skipper’s Oregon teammates and coaches this year honored him by naming him one of three team captains for the Ducks’ men’s team. He was also honored by his team as recipient of the Dow Wilson Inspirational Award for the second year in a row. The award is made annually to the Oregon male track and field athlete “whose athletic achievements and leadership provide inspiration to his teammates.”

“For my teammates and coaches to give me these honors means a lot,” said Skipper. “I try to lead more by example than by what I say. And it shows that they’ve noticed all of the hard work that I put in.”

by: COURTESY U OF O - GREG SKIPPERIn April of this year, Skipper launched the hammer a personal best of 231-6 at a dual meet with Arizona. The mark set a meet record and moved Skipper up to No. 2 on the University of Oregon’s list of all-time best hammer throwers. Skipper trails only Ken Flax at Oregon. Flax competed in the Olympics in 1988 and 1992, and in 1986 he set an American Collegiate hammer record, at 262-6-2/5. Flax’s American Collegiate record still stands.

At the Husky Classic in February, Skipper launched the 35-pound weight 68-3, setting a new University of Oregon school record in that event. The old mark was 68-0-1/4, set by Brian Richotte in 2007. Skipper threw the 35-pound weight 67-3-1/2 at the 2014 Pac 12 Indoor Championships, placing third.

“For me, my biggest accomplish this year has been breaking the 70-meter barrier (229 feet, 8 inches) in the hammer,” Skipper said. “It’s a barrier which is a huge barrier for guys in the throwing events, and especially the hammer. Even in high school, when I used a lighter weighted hammer, I was never able to throw 70 meters. Doing it with a college weight was a big accomplishment for me.

“Winning the NCAA championship with my team was also big for me. It’s something they hadn’t done since 1984 on the men’s side. It was an awesome experience!”

Skipper placed second at the Pac 12 Outdoor Championships in 2013, with a then lifetime best throw of 222-6.

In 2011, his senior year at Oregon City High School, Skipper finished state runner-up to Barlow’s Ryan Crouser (179-1) in the discus with an effort of 165-9, and he placed third at state with an effort of 56-9-3/4 in the shot put, finishing back of Crouser (65-7-1/2) and Thurston’s Javan Cray (57-1).

Skipper left Oregon City High School as school record holder in the shot put (58-11), and second all-time in the discus (169-5-1/2). He was also the state record holder in the high school hammer (229-5). His high school hammer record still stands.

Skipper has ambitious goals.

“I’m looking at [breaking] the school [hammer] record at Oregon,” he said. “If I keep going up two meters a year, as I get a little stronger and my technique gets a little better, I think it’s a goal that I can accomplish. Right now, it’s my main goal.”

Long term, Skipper says, “I want to keep throwing after college. I’m looking at the 2016 and maybe the 2020 Olympic Trials. I think I have a decent shot at top four or top five in the U.S. in 2016.”

Skipper explained his initial attraction to the hammer as a youth: “It’s kind of following in my brother’s footsteps. My brother started throwing his freshman year and I thought it looked cool. It’s stuck with me as my favorite event. It kind of chose me....

“I like the speed and how technical it is. You have to keep striving for perfection to throw farther. That attracted me.”

A general sciences major with a focus on business and economics, Skipper is the son of former Oregon football player Scott Skipper and the nephew of Oregon five-time NCAA pole vault champion Tommy Skipper and 1992 NCAA javelin champion Art Skipper Jr.