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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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Visiting chef inspires dialysis patients


by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Chef Aaron McCargo Jr. gives dietary tips to Todd Kromer, as the man undergoes dialysis at Fresenius Medical Care Clackamas.The chief ingredient in Chef Aaron McCargo Jr.’s dishes? That would be love, said the star of “Big Daddy’s House,” a cooking show on the Food Network.

McCargo visited dialysis patients at Fresenius Medical Care in Clackamas on Aug. 10, before he headed back to downtown Portland to cook at The Bite.

His message to those patients, he said, was to tell them they have someone working on their side.

“I gear my recipes to renal diets; to patients who can’t have phosphorus, potassium or salt. I tell them you can still have a big bowl of food, if you just add the right amount of love,” he said.

McCargo said he became interested in helping dialysis patients prepare food when a family member and his pastor both asked him for dietary help because of chronic kidney disease issues.

He then developed recipes for healthy, flavorful dishes that adhere to the dialysis diet.

Soon Fresenius Medical Care, a national company, gave him the opportunity to do what he loves to do, give back to others, McCargo said.

His advice to kidney disease patients, or to anyone really, who wants to make changes and have a healthier diet is simple: do three things.

“First, you have to want to make the change; then you have to take the advice of dietitians; and finally, try out the recipes. Really try them out — I really put my heart into these recipes, and they don’t take away any flavor,” McCargo said.

Dialysis diet

“I commend Chef McCargo for coming to the forefront and cooking without salt,” said Janel Dukelow, a registered nurse, renal dietitian and Right Start case manager. “He is an inspiration to patients who watch the Food Network.”

Dukelow provides ongoing education for patients new to dialysis.

“The dialysis process mimics what normal healthy kidneys do,” she added. “Dialysis is life-sustaining; it cleans the blood of waste, removes excess fluid and balances some of the blood chemistry. And diet is so instrumental in keeping patients healthy and feeling good.”

The basic dialysis diet is low salt, low potassium and low phosphorus, she said, adding that the reason the focus is on low salt is that salt makes us thirsty, and dialysis patients are on fluid restriction.

“They are limited to 32 ounces of total fluid for a whole day, and anything that melts at room temperature is considered a fluid — like jello, ice cream or soup,” Dukelow said.

Foods such as bananas, potatoes, tomatoes or kiwi might seem bland, but they contain a lot of potassium, which can leach calcium out of the bones, she said. Star fruit can be deadly to a dialysis patient and an omelet is a dialysis nightmare, she said.

The key is moderation, Dukelow said. Every month patients get “a nutrition report so we can assess their phosphorous level. They also need to have protein to help maintain their weight.”

Eliminating dairy

“The diet goes against what a lot of people think of as necessary. You have to eliminate milk and cheese, things people use on a daily basis have a high phosphorus level, which can also leach calcium out of the bones,” said Ben Barney, 23, who has been on the renal diet since he was diagnosed with kidney disease at age 14 years.

Barney, a Beavercreek resident and 2008 graduate of Oregon City High School, has had three kidney transplants, all of which were ultimately rejected. He has no kidneys, and goes through dialysis three days a week, from 6 to 10:30 a.m.

Eight years ago, when he first had to go on the dialysis diet, it scared him so much he was measuring everything. He would go to the grocery store with his mother, and he found himself telling her, “I can’t have that anymore.”

He finally started cooking for himself his junior year in high school; recipes on the Internet have been valuable, but even they have all needed a lot modification, he said.

Stores now have products geared to a gluten-free diet, but no aisle for dialysis patients, Barney pointed out. He longs for the day when dialysis patients can walk up and down aisles and easily find food with no salt and no preservatives.

His dream is to get well enough to attend culinary school and get a degree in culinary arts and business management, he said, adding that he’d like to own his own restaurant. He also would like to develop a line of no-salt, no-preservatives, frozen, packaged meals that dialysis patients can take home and heat.

“I was surprised to hear that Chef Aaron wants to do the same thing; it is inspirational that a professional chef wants to do this,” Barney said.


Hidden population’

“We are a hidden population of people struggling with a disease that very few know about," said Troycé Crucchiola, 46, a Clackamas resident.

"Our diet translates into a great program for people to eat healthy, and much can be learned from us in diet as well as coping with life’s challenges.”

Crucchiola was diagnosed with kidney disease when he was 10, during a sports physical to play YMCA basketball.

He began dialysis in 1987 in Portland while he was in his second year of college at PCC Sylvania. He had his first kidney transplant in 1989 and had that kidney for 2 1/2 years.

He was on the dialysis diet until his second kidney transplant in 2003. He lost that kidney in 2008, and has been on dialysis at Fresenius in Clackamas ever since.

When confronted with the dialysis diet, his initial reaction was fear of not getting to eat his favorite foods, but he learned he can eat most things in moderation.

“The biggest change was reducing dairy products, beans and legumes and other foods high in phosphorus,” Crucchiola said, noting that he comes from a big Italian family, where everything was about salt for flavor.

He was the community education coordinator for the National Kidney Foundation of Oregon and Southwest Washington until 2003, when he was laid off, but is still active as a volunteer in the kidney world and works as a paid consultant.

He is an actor, a voice talent and a member of Bad Actors, a six-person band that plays at the kidney walk, kidney camp for teens and kids and the Portland kidney support group summer party.  Crucchiola also has done consulting work with The Oregon Patient Safety Commission, National Kidney Foundation, and Home Dialysis Plus, and will be presenting to the Florida Renal Network in October.

“People are shocked when they hear about our diet; for a chef to step up, that is very cool for us,” Crucchiola told McCargo. “We have so little control over our lives that it is awesome to see your emphasis on cooking fresh.”

“That’s my motivation; it is an adrenalin rush to go to a clinic and create a recipe that people can take home,” McCargo replied, noting that he emphasizes how people can go to any supermarket and buy the ingredients for his recipes, and without breaking the budget.

“Everything in moderation — it’s a process. We need to train our young generation how to eat, and exercise will fall into place. We want to end childhood obesity. I like the fact that I can keep my recipes down to earth and you can bring the family into the kitchen, and cook with love.”

Fast Facts

Chef Aaron McCargo Jr. won season four of “The Next Food Network Star,” in 2008, beating thousands of hopefuls to get his own Food Network show, “Big Daddy’s House.” His focus is on creating budget-wise, healthy and flavorful dishes anyone can cook and enjoy. All of McCargo's dialysis-friendly recipes can be found at ultracare-dialysis.com.

He works in partnership with Fresenius Medical Care, a worldwide provider of dialysis products and services. The company runs more than 1,800 kidney dialysis clinics in the United States, caring for nearly 138,000 patients. 

Fresenius Medical Care Clackamas is at 13560 S.E. 97th Ave., in Clackamas. For more information about the company, visit Fresenius Medical Care at fmcna.com.

Chronic Kidney Disease

The two main causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure.

More than 26 million Americans, one in nine adults, have kidney disease, and millions more are at increased risk for getting it, and most don’t know it.

About 382,000 Americans with end-stage kidney disease rely on some form of dialysis to keep them alive.

More than 72,000 patients are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, but only 18,000 will get a new kidney each year.

The above information courtesy of Fresenius Medical Care.