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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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OC student raises psoriasis awareness


August is officially National Psoriasis Awareness Month, and Oregon City resident Danielle Bolton has a message for all psoriasis sufferers: “You don’t have to be afraid to have it, and even if you do have psoriasis, you can always be beautiful.”

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Danielle Bolton, 14, will celebrate her 15th birthday a day early by taking part in the Portland Walk to Cure Psoriasis on Sunday, Sept. 22Danielle, 14, is a youth ambassador for the National Psoriasis Foundation, based in Portland, and will be taking part in the Portland Walk to Cure Psoriasis held on Sunday, Sept. 22. She did the 5K walk last year as well, and raised $600 for the foundation. She is hoping to raise that much or more this year.

Danielle will be a freshman at Oregon City High School this fall, and was diagnosed with plaque psoriasis in September 2011, just as she was set to attend Ogden Middle School.

Plaque psoriasis is a skin disease where something in the blood “causes skin cells to grow too fast for the body to process, so they build up on the skin, causing itchy red patches to form,” Danielle said.

Her doctor told her it was probably something in the environment that triggered the psoriasis, since genetic factors were ruled out in her case; she has flare-ups in the fall and winter, when colder weather comes along.

Because she had noticeable red patches on her face on the first day of school in 2011, she “was nervous that people would judge me or come up to me and ask me questions.

“But when I told my friends, they totally accepted me. Some people did ask me what was on my face, but I learned to be more confident and learned that I was not the only person to have psoriasis,” Danielle said.

What she wants people to know first and foremost about psoriasis is that it is most emphatically not contagious, and it does not have to stop anyone from living a normal life.

“I play sports, I go swimming, I don’t let it affect what I want to do,” Danielle said.

No cure, but tanning helps

When she was diagnosed with plaque psoriasis, she was told two things: There is no cure, and she was too young to take any prescription medications. She was given a host of topical creams and ointments, but nothing worked.

A turning point came for Danielle when she attended a dance competition and “a girl told me her brother was using a tanning bed” to control his psoriasis.

She began to use a tanning bed for three minutes two or three times a week during a flare-up, and that worked to control her psoriasis.

Danielle’s father, Ted Bolton, said he had always been opposed to tanning beds, because of the danger of skin cancer, but was sold on the process when “my daughter started getting relief after just four visits.”

He wants parents to know that many tanning salons will give student discounts to young people trying to get their psoriasis under control.

“I want to do anything I can to help her; children are most precious,” he said.

Getting the word out

As a youth ambassador, Danielle has several goals.

“I want to get the word out about psoriasis as much as I can. I go to elementary and middle schools and talk to them about psoriasis. I tell the students it is not contagious, and they should not judge people by their appearance.”

Last year several of her friends joined her for the Walk to Cure Psoriasis, and she gave a speech at the event. Because this year’s event is the day before her 15th birthday, she is inviting friends to come and help her celebrate.

She has become pro-active, seeking support for the Portland-based national foundation, asking the Oregon City Kiwanis Club and neighbors to donate to the organization. She also is looking for sponsors for this year’s walk, and said people could go to the NPF website, click on donate, type in her name and donate money on her behalf.

“We are very proud of her,” her father said, adding, “She has always had good self-esteem and she is so beautiful. We didn’t want that taken away. I’m proud that she is so self-confident and wants to help other children.”

Disease has host of triggers

“Psoriasis is a chronic disease of the immune system, where the immune system overreacts to faulty signals to the brain, causing skin cells to grow too fast,” said Noe Baker, the public relations manager for the NPF.

“Psoriasis is the most common auto-immune disease in the country, with 7.5 million sufferers nationwide; there are 89,000 in Oregon,” she said.

The disease has triggers, such as stress, strep throat, medications, smoking and alcohol use, Baker said. The most common form is plaque psoriasis, like Danielle has, and the second is gutate psoriasis, triggered by a reaction to strep throat, she said.

The foundation was formed in 1968, when the founder’s husband placed a classified ad in a newspaper, seeking a support group for his wife. When hundreds of people replied, the foundation was formed and is now the “world’s largest nonprofit organization for people with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis,” Baker said.

The NPF has a number of missions, she said, including funding research grants for scientists in the field and fellowships in medical research for up-and-coming doctors studying psoriasis.

“We sponsor walks in various cities to raise awareness about psoriasis and raise funds. We also support medical education and encourage advocates around the United States to lobby for more federal funding and to make access to care easier, along with improving insurance coverage for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis,” Baker said.

Walk to Cure

For more information about psoriasis, visit psoriasis.org or call 503-244-7404. The Portland Walk to Cure Psoriasis will be held on Sunday, Sept. 22, at the Rose Quarter Amphitheatre. Check-in is at 8 a.m. Register online at the above website.