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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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Help arrives for addicts of state-run gambling machines


Bingo became “a very addictive gambling gateway” for Damascus resident Janet Demoret and started all her problems.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Damascus residents Paul and Janet Demoret supported each other through Janet's gambling addiction, but the issue takes its toll on families and is the subject of proposed reforms in the Oregon Legislature.Demoret, 47, then found video-poker machines sponsored by the state and became hooked on all their “bells and whistles.” She quickly got in a lot of debt with friends and family members.

“I call it my junkie that sits on my shoulder and keeps saying, ‘One more time’ over and over,” she said. “At the beginning, it’s more of an excitement thing, and then it becomes about pounding that button and getting numb.”

Demoret’s only luck was that she never committed crimes to support her habit. She told her father-in-law that she had misplaced $500, and then she cried, so he gave her money. By the time her husband found out about her addiction, she had taken $16,000 out of their shared bank account.

“I always curse the day that gambling got out of Nevada and Atlantic City,” said her 50-year-old husband, Paul Demoret. “This is the toughest addiction that’s out there — worse then it was for my friends who fell into methadone, oxycontin and alcoholism.”

Janet Demoret had been thinking that she’d need to open another credit card to support her habit, but then she thought that it would be much better to enter treatment, so she went for a 30-day stay at Bridgeway, the state’s residential facility in Salem for gambling addicts.

Demoret thought she had her problem licked until she went with a friend to a bar “where it seemed like everyone was winning,” and she returned to her downward spiral. Although her husband took her off all their accounts, she opened up her own personal mailbox to get more credit cards and returned to gambling.

Fed up with trying to keep her addiction secret again, she started meeting with counselors and support groups at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare’s facility called the Clackamas Gambling Clinic, 15630 S.E. 90th Ave., the only state-approved problem-gambling treatment provider in Clackamas County, which alone had an estimated 12,000 people suffering from the illness. Since graduating from the program more than a year ago, she says she hasn’t touched a gambling machine.

Cascadia Program Manager Philip Yassenoff says his team is happy to help people like the Demorets, although he notes that many people don’t relapse once they enter treatment. He and other Cascadia counselors view relapse as a chance to learn and figure out what other steps to take to have a lasting recovery.

“The motivation to change is a complex thing,” Yassenoff said. “Some folks are motivated to change for their families, and that works for them. Other folks get to a place where they really need to own the motivation — and just do it for themselves, because the consequences of gambling have become way too high.”

A serious issue

Demoret may have erred in first attempting to treat her addiction at Bridgeway. All gambling addicts should begin treatment at an outpatient treatment program such as Cascadia and only commit themselves to a residential facility as a last resort, Yassenoff argued.

“The way gambling treatment is structured allows us to do more in outpatient treatment than most people realize,” he said. “We provide intensive outpatient treatment. The advantage of this is that clients have very regular contact with the support system we have set up. They get to follow their normal routines, and, meanwhile, they are getting individual, group and relationship counseling on a very frequent basis. This form of treatment has a solidly good track record.”

Gambling addiction is a serious public health issue, but at least treatment is free, and counselors have indentified certain ways of thinking and behavior that go along with addictive gambling. Many gamblers become increasingly isolated by trying to keep their addiction hidden.

“When they come into treatment they come to realize that the personal hell they’ve been experiencing is a shared experience,” Yassenoff said.

Just about everyone in the support group has regrets about their behavior connected to the addiction, but counselors try to expose the big picture: How can this person recover from the addiction? How can they stop gambling, make amends if appropriate, and how can they build a quality life after gambling has been so destructive?

“The path is challenging for the addictive gambler and for their significant others, but healing is very possible,” he said.

Reforms on the way?

Elected officials also are addicted to the more than $1 billion in annual revenue that state-run gambling machines bring in for schools, parks and other services. But Oregon House representatives tried to send help to addicts last week by voting to pass House Bill 4040, which will require the Oregon State Lottery Commission to adopt a comprehensive responsible gambling policy.

This policy, championed by state Rep. Carolyn Tomei (D-Milwaukie) for years, will create an Oregon Lottery code of conduct, require lottery decision-makers to consider the best available research on gambling addiction, and will require the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Lottery to report annually to the Legislature on their problem-gambling policies.

“This bill sends a clear message that the lottery must examine the effects of its decisions on vulnerable players,” Tomei said. “My hope is that the lottery’s comprehensive responsible gambling policy will set a positive precedent for years to come.”

House Bill 4028, co-sponsored by Tomei and Rep. Bill Kennemer (R-Oregon City), also passed to give the Oregon State Lottery statutory authority to use its administrative budget to advertise the availability of problem-gambling addiction treatment programs. It also instructs Oregon Lottery officials to collect data about vulnerable players and to work collaboratively with the Oregon Health Authority to lessen the harmful impacts of problem gambling.

“We’ve finally reached a point where we, as a Legislature, can start to have open and honest conversations about the negative effects of problem gambling on Oregon families and communities,” Tomei said.

Cascasdia has supported both of the bills that just passed.

“Each of these bills, in its own way, makes a statement that problem gambling is an issue worthy of prevention and treatment, and that the public can benefit from increased awareness about both responsible gambling and the treatment of problem gambling,” Yassenoff said.

Divorce, prison time common

Demoret is thankful that her husband recognized her gambling as an illness.

“He says, ‘Honey, we need to get some help,’ but he’s rare, and I know a lot of women who have lost their husbands,” she said.

Paul Demoret’s parents never divorced, so he was predisposed against cutting his wife out of his life.

“Because the suicide rate is high among gambling addicts, it was never a choice for me to leave her,” he said. “With a lot of luck, she did it on her own, and I supported her constantly, and I never had to give her any tough love. The fact that she came clean was her saving grace to me. Until they want to get help, there’s nothing you can do.”

Yassenoff says Cascadia pays special attention to the negative impacts of gambling and works diligently to build in a viable support system, deals with potential safety concerns, and offers tools that lead to recovery.

“We focus on strengths, accepting the persistent nature of the addiction, and on building a new set of skills that are not just going to help a person stop gambling — but also help them live a more meaningful life,” he said.

In honor of National Problem Gambling Awareness Month in March, the Clackamas Gambling Clinic is hosting a 5:30 p.m. event March 4 with talks by a few folks, including Demoret, who have been successfully dealing with problem gambling after their treatment.

“It’s not something I want to keep secret, because then it can get to you,” she said. “Your story doesn’t seem so awful when you hear a lot of other people were doing similar things. I think most people who are playing those machines have problems with gambling, because they just sit there with glazed looks on their faces. I go and watch them once in a while because it make me sick and keeps me from being tempted to restart.”