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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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Local seeks help for women with cancer


Women of Wonder supports those in last stage of illness

Death is one thing Carolyn Hammett says she knows how to deal with really well. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 1997 and had a full hysterectomy, and then in 2006 was told she had stage-four lung and thyroid cancer.

“When they told me I had stage-four cancer, I didn’t even know what that meant. I asked how many stages there are and the answer is four. They told me I had one year to live, but here I am,” said Hammett, a Milwaukie resident.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Carolyn Hammett, above right, the director of Women of Wonder, prepares for takeoff on a Harley Davidson.After treatment, her cancer stabilized for awhile, but this past summer the cancer worsened, and she now is facing a higher-dose series of radiation treatments.

Through it all, Hammett is still thinking about the future, but not just her personal future. Instead she is focusing her energy on letting the community know there are women with stage-four cancer who need help.

Support group forms

For seven years, Hammett has been a member of an all-female support group, Making Today Count, consisting of women diagnosed with stage-four cancer, which meets every Wednesday at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Pam Bisson, left, and Carolyn Hammett display a poster with photos of WOW events, and a scrapbook depicting past WOW members.“We get a sense of a whole room of people who know what you are feeling. We are all living under a death sentence,” she said.

About three years ago, she and Kari Misgades, another member, started treating each other to breakfast out. Soon other members of the support group asked to be included.

“Then people began to not be able to join us because they couldn’t afford to. Any extra money you have goes away when you have stage-four cancer,” Hammett said.

So she and Misgades founded WOW, Women of Wonder, a separate organization from the Providence St. Vincent group, “to support women with stage-four cancer and to help them live the most full life they can. And it’s also to have fun. We allow them to get out from under the umbrella of cancer,” Hammett said.

They set out to raise funds to pay for outings for the women in WOW, or to help their families with meals and other expenses.

They then chose to become an outreach ministry, supported by Hammett’s church, University Park United Methodist Church in Northeast Portland, so that the church’s bookkeeper could handle all the donations and keep records of the money coming in and going out.

“The church covers our liability when we go on trips, and we are covered under their insurance. The church does get a portion of our funds, but this is a fabulous way for people to get a tax deduction,” Hammett said, noting that WOW is independent of church rules.

“Our funding comes completely by word of mouth, and any of the various fund-raising events during the year. WOW pays for any of the women who cannot afford to participate,” she said.

Over the last couple of years, the group has taken the train to Seattle, gone horseback riding at the coast, enjoyed high tea at Lady Di in Lake Oswego, taken an excursion on the Mount Hood Railroad, and more.

Gift-card drive underway

Hammett has experienced a number of losses over the years, including WOW co-founder Misgades, who died in 2011. She also has lost more than 70 friends who were part of the Providence St. Vincent support group.

Her concern now is to keep WOW going, while she undergoes a series of treatments for her own cancer.

“My hope is somebody who has the ability and energy can take over running WOW,” she said.

WOW has 20 members, most of whom have cancer, but anyone with a connection to someone with stage-four cancer can be a member, as well.

“We would like more members. Our goal is to let people know we are here and to let women with stage-four cancer know we are here for them,” Hammett said.

WOW is holding a gift-card drive, hoping to collect cards to give members so they can purchase Christmas presents. Gift cards can be sent to the church or to Hammett.

Visa gift cards are the most versatile, she said, adding that even a $5 card to Subway is much appreciated. Cash donations must be sent to the church to go through the bookkeeper there, Hammett said.

Another way to help the group is through donations of time or services, she said, noting that two pilots in the community have given plane rides to WOW members, and a Harley-Davidson group took some of the women on motorcycle rides.

Hammett invites anyone to send her a letter, telling what they might want to do to help WOW members. Salons might consider donating manicure and pedicure services or haircuts, for example.

Group supporters

Last January, Hammett’s friend Pam Bisson became a WOW board member, and although she works as a marketing assistant in financial planning, finds time to volunteer with the group.

“She has always been a constant supporter,” Hammett said, adding that Bisson is one of two people who accompanies her to every doctor appointment.

One of her first activities with the group was the train ride to Seattle, where Bisson pushed a woman in a wheelchair around Pike Place Market, and then treated the entire group of eight women to lunch on the waterfront.

“They are a really fun group, and what they are going through puts everything into perspective,” Bisson said.

The whole purpose of WOW is to alleviate the stress and pressure of having cancer, and Hammett and Bisson know that the stress has an impact on family members as well.

“We like to include family in our activities, so they can see us all out having fun,” Hammett said.

Bisson added, “It helps them feel normal in an abnormal time, when they are thrust into the medical world.”

Cash and gift card donations are crucial to WOW members, “because medications cost so much at a time when their ability to work or cook meals goes away,” Bisson said.

Hammett added, “We want to do things that bring a little joy into their lives.”

Be a WOW supporter

Send gift cards to support women with stage-four cancer to Carolyn Hammett, director, at 4993 S.E. Logus Road, Milwaukie, OR 97222.

Tax-deductible cash donations may be sent to University Park United Methodist Church, 4775 N. Lombard St., Portland 97203. Put WOW in the memo line.

Contacts: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; womenofwonderwowblogspot.com; and facebook.com/Womenof Wonderwow.