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

Gladstone minister walks in footsteps of St. Patrick


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The vista of Clew Bay rewards visitors who hike to the top of Crough Patrick in Ireland.When Scott Dunfee, the pastor of Gladstone’s St. Stephen Lutheran Church, traveled to Scotland and Ireland last May, he was setting out on a spiritual journey.

He had developed an interest in the life of St. Patrick and the history of the Celtic Christian movement in both Ireland and Scotland, and that led him to follow in the footsteps of St. Patrick and St. Columba, an Irish missionary monk who brought Christianity to Scotland in the sixth century.

“I go through cycles; the spirit lays something on my heart and an area of study and focus stirs a passion in me, so I live with that and walk with that,” Dunfee said.

by: PHOTO BY SCOTT DUNFEE - This enormous statue of St. Patrick is the gateway to a pilgrimage undertaken by thousands of people on Crough Patrick in Ireland.Because the focus becomes part of his spiritual growth, and then part of his ministry, he also gave his parishioners the chance to write specific prayer requests, and he promised he would take those with him, and pray for them on his journey.

As part of his month in Scotland and Ireland, Dunfee, whose ethnic heritage is Scotch-Irish, decided to explore the “thin places,” and in two of those places, he experienced spiritual epiphanies.

There is a Celt tradition, he said, that “thin places are specific places where the veil that separates heaven and earth is thin. In those places, the awareness of God is heavy and intense.”

With that in mind, Dunfee spent a week on the island of Iona, in the Hebrides.

“Iona is the site of the first Christian community in Scotland; that’s where St. Columba landed, on his journey from Ireland,” Dunfee said.

St. Columba founded an abbey there in the year 563, and there is still an abbey on the island, which is now run by the Church of Scotland.

“As the boat approached the island, I found myself in tears. I felt like I was coming home, even though I’ve never been there; it is truly a place of refuge,” Dunfee said.

The Iona Community is an international ecumenical Christian community, “with a big focus on prayer, social justice and the environment. The community gathers for prayer there twice a day,” he noted.

Dunfee spent four hours in the abbey in prayer, and then he lit a candle for each of his prayer requests.

There are many thin places in Ireland, Dunfee said, but since his goal was to follow the routes of the pilgrimage and ministry of St. Patrick, he went to Crough Patrick, on the southern coast of Ireland, near Clew Bay, in County Mayo.

“Crough literally means ‘stack,’ so the mountain is Patrick’s stack; to the locals it looks like a haystack,” he noted.

“According to tradition and history, Patrick spent 40 days and 40 nights on the mountain, praying for the people of Ireland, before he began his public ministry in Ireland,” Dunfee said.

Hundreds of thousands of people make the trek up the mountain in the summer, eager to follow Patrick’s footsteps. As they approach the base of the mountain, they are greeted by a statue of St. Patrick, and then they must go through a gate to enter the trail that marks the beginning of the pilgrimage.

“As I passed through the gate, I had a literal physical sense of moving into this spiritual realm. The air became heavy and thick, like I was passing through a curtain; I had to stop and feel the sense of presence around me,” Dunfee said.

Traditional services

Dunfee has been the pastor at St. Stephen since 1999; before that he was based in Northern California in the Bay Area.

He and his wife love Oregon, he said. “Gladstone is a marvelous place to do ministry. There are many third- and fourth-generation families in this church, and Gladstone is a stable community.”

The church also established the first kindergarten in Gladstone, before public schools had kindergartens, so he regularly encounters people who attended school in the building.

St. Stephen also has a “disproportionally large number of talented musicians,” in the congregation, and it is the home of the Chautauqua Community Chorus, in its 12th year, Dunfee said.

In addition, the church has a choir that welcomes anyone from the community, and the bell choir has been in existence there for 30 to 40 years.

“We have traditional services with a pipe organ, and contemporary services with a praise team and a band; there is something for everyone, musically,” Dunfee said.

He has also been a chaplain in the U.S. Naval reserves for the past 19 years, and is called to duty at least six times a year. In that capacity, he has worked “taking care of folks coming back from Afghanistan or taking care of the families of those who were in Afghanistan,” he said.

He was the chaplain of a Seabee battalion in Guam and Japan, and spent time on ships at sea and in Pearl Harbor.

His job with the reserves is unique, Dunfee said, “because basically the focus for the ministry is in people’s workplace.”

He added that since many servicemen and women are in their late teens or early 20s, his work involves youth ministry as well.

Dunfee said he would welcome the opportunity to share his experiences with others, and hopes that in the future he can accompany some of his parishioners on a similar spiritual journey to Scotland and Ireland.

“I will go back, one way or another; journeys like this expose you to the next thing,” he said. “And I have to go back to Iona, as I am going to be an associate member of the community there.”

Contact Pastor Scott Dunfee at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 503-656-8194.