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

Swimming at the crack of dawn - and loving it


Oregon City Tankers are making waves in Oregon Masters Swimming

by: JOHN DENNY - Assistant coach Bryan Watt (back, left) and seven of his stronger swimmers on the Oregon City Tankers Masters Swim Team take a break at a recent practice to pose for a group photo. Pictured with Watt are (front, left to right) Sonja Skinner, Amanda Metz, Britta Daubersmith and Tom Phipps; and (back, left to right) Alex Crooks, Byron Olsen and Jose Bolivar. Skinner, Metz, Daubersmith, Phipps, Crooks, Olsen, Bolivar and Tankers swimmers Tessa Reeves and Tim Waud will be headed to Santa Clara, Calif., in early May for the Spring Short-course Nationals.The Oregon Tankers, Oregon City’s Masters Swimming program, is growing like gangbusters.

The club started in 2011 with just a handful of swimmers, according to Bryan Watt, who first put the team together under the name “Tankers.”

Today the Tankers have 52 registered swimmers. They get up before the crack of dawn and meet at the Oregon City Municipal Pool for workouts from 5 to 6 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from 6:30 to 8 a.m. on Saturdays.

“We average 26 swimmers at practices,” said Tankers head coach Tim Waud. “It varies, depending on schedules.”

They come from as far away as Sherwood and Newberg, and they come for a variety of reasons. Some come just to keep in shape; some come for the camaraderie; and many come because they’ve still got their competitive juices flowing.

And they are competitive. Very competitive.

They took a team of 23 swimmers to the recent Oregon Association Masters Spring Short-course Swimming Championships at the Mt. Hood Aquatic Center and made huge waves, capturing state age-group titles in 34 individual events and in three relays.

The Tankers scored 932 points and placed second only to the Multnomah Athletic Club in the Medium Division (ages 19-to-29) of the state meet, and third overall, trailing only Large Division (ages 30-and-over) champion Oregon Reign Masters (1,817 points) and Multnomah Athletic Club (1,035 points). Twenty-one Masters teams from around the state participated.

“Wow! It was exciting!” said Waud. “Everybody had personal records, in every event. Some even beat their personal records from years ago.... It just goes to show that hard work pays off....”

The Oregon City Tankers have nine swimmers who have met national qualifying standards and will make the trip to this year’s Spring Short-course Nationals, which run May 1-4 in Santa Clara, Calif. Training hard and planning to make the trip are: Waud, Alex Crooks, Byron Olsen, Tessa Reeves and Britta Daubersmith from Oregon City; Sonja Skinner from Milwaukie; Jose Bolivar and Tom Phipps from West Linn; and Amanda Metz from Lake Oswego.

“We’re excited!” said Waud. “I think it’s going to be interesting at nationals, because we have a lot of swimmers who, if they swim the same times they swam at state, will be top 10 at nationals.

“Top 10 means you’re in the finals and when you’re in the finals you can score points. It’s going to be an amazing week of swimming. Everyone’s all fired up and training hard, and ready to go.”

Waud took part in the Masters National Short-course Championships last summer and placed in nine events.

Winning titles in individual events for Oregon City Tanker women at the recent short-course state meet were: Reeves. in the 35-39 200-freestyle (2:16.63); Daubersmith in the 45-49 100-backstroke (1:17.37) and in the 200-backstroke (2:43.35); Skinner in the 35-39 50-freestyle (26.10), 100-freestyle (57.42), 50-butterfly (28.76), 100-butterfly (1:03.36), 100-individual medley (1:07.27) and 200-individual medley (2:24.67); Metz in the 30-34 50-breast stroke (34.75), 100-breast stroke (1:15.31), 200-breast stroke (2:43.18) and 100-butterfly (1:09.94); Katherine Tilton of Oregon City in the 35-39 100-backstroke (1:10.54); Melissa Arata of Lebanon in the 35-39 200-backstroke (2:37.23); and Renee Rother of Oregon City in the 25-29 50-backstroke (29.91), 100-backstroke (1:04.29), 50-breast stroke (32.82), 100-breast stroke (1:12.34), 50-butterfly (28.00) and 100-butterfly (1:03.72).

Winning state titles in individual events for Oregon City Tanker men were: Waud in the 45-49 400-individual medley (5:04.43); Phipps in the 60-64 500-freestyle (6:05.72), 1,000-freestyle (12:34.31), 1,650-freestyle (20:49.09) and 200-butterfly (2:49.76); Bert McVay of Newberg in the 55-59 200-freestyle (2:18.45) and 500-freestyle (6:17.08); and Robbert Van Andel of Sherwood in the 35-39 500-freestyle (5:14.13), 1,000-freestyle (10:51.99); 1,650-freestyle (18:14.82), 50-breast stroke (30.70), 100-breast stroke (1:06.93) and 200-breast stroke (2:23.81).

Van Andel teamed up with Bryan Watt of Oregon City, Rother and Metz to win state in the mixed 25-and-up 200-medley relay (1:57.30).

The team of Skinner, Reeves, Rother and Metz won the 25-and-up women’s 200-freestyle relay (1:48.32); and the team of Skinner, Reeves, Metz and Tilton won the 25-and-up women’s 200-medley relay (2:02.13).

“I started the ‘Tankers’ in early 2011 with about 10 or so participants,” Watt said. “Before that time it was a group of dedicated swimmers working out without being organized as a team.

“We had our first competition as a team at the 2011 Association Championship meet at Mt Hood Community College. In late 2011, I recruited Tim Waud to join the team and the result has been fabulous. With Tim carrying most of the load of coaching and recruiting, we have gone from 10 to 12 swimmers in 2011, to over 50....

“I chose the name Tankers, because of the early AAU team that began almost coincident with the building of the pool in 1965. The local newspaper, the Enterprise-Courier, coined the term ‘Oregon City Tankers,’ when referring to the kids’ swim team back in the late 60s/early 70s. I thought it would be a great name that spoke of the swimming legacy that Oregon City offers. Bert McVey (late 60s) and myself (early 70s) are two of the “original” Tankers that the newspaper wrote about, and we both continue as “Tankers” to this day, as Masters swimmers.”

Several of the Tankers took a few moments during a recent workout to share the reason why they are willing to get up before the sun rises to take part in a vigorous swim workout.

Tessa Reeves, 36, said, “For the exercise, of course. But also to get back to being involved with a team. I swam age-group here at this pool. I came back a year ago. I hadn’t swam since I was 17, and it’s been awesome!”

Sonja Skinner, Tessa’s 38-year-old sister, said, “I’m a hair stylist and a stay-at-home-mom. I do it because I love it. It keeps me in shape and I get the competitive edge that I need to be nurtured.... It’s been a long time since I swam for the Oregon City Swim Team. I do have a few records that are still left on the board, but this is the first time I’ve made it to nationals. I never made it to nationals [as a youth].”

Bolivar, 44, who works as a juvenile specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice, said, “I like to challenge myself. I like to take it to the next level. And I do it to be a society role model, to encourage those in need to have a healthy lifestyle.”

Phipps, 60, a neurologist with offices in Oregon City and Tualatin, said, “I do it for the company, mostly. For the people. They’re all great people and we have a lot of fun.”

Phipps added, “I swam two years in college for the University of Oregon, but I quit because I wasn’t very good.”

Olsen, 36, said, “I swan when I was younger, growing up. But I’d been out of the pool until two years ago, when a friend told me about this. I love getting up and swimming and hanging out with friends. And I like to compete too.”

Metz, a 34-year-old stay-at-home mom, commutes form Lake Oswego for the break-of-dawn practices.

“I do it because I love it,” she said. “Two of my mom friends, Sonja and Tessa, were doing it, so I joined in. I started swimming at age 8 and went to Cal State Northridge on a swim scholarship.... I’ve got two children, 4 and 6, and this gives me some mom-only time. You get used to [the early hour], and I get to see my friends without the kids tagging along.”

Daubersmith, 49, a teacher at Marylhurst Elementary School in Oregon City, said, “I joined here three years ago. I hadn’t even been in a pool for 25 years. It’s a lot of fun, especially at this hour. I’ve got a daughter in kindergarten and it’s the one free time that I can carve out.”

“It’s really the only time I can come,” said Crooks, 39, a financial planner. “I’ve got young kids and other obligations.... I do it to stay in shape. It feels good, and it’s a fun group of people.”

Crooks, who swam when he was young, says that when he joined the Oregon City Tankers three years ago, it was his first time swimming competitively since 1995.

“I was here at the pool for the lap swim, working out for a triathlon, and I got here a little early,” he says. “I had been looking for a Masters team. “It’s great to be back.”

Crooks has ambitious goals.

“I’d like to keep improving my time,” he says. “It would be really cool to get down to my high school times. I don’t know if it’s possible. But I’m getting closer every year.”

Waud, 46, an Oregon City businessman who first started competitive swimming with the Oregon City Swim Club as a 9-year-old, says, “Swimming’s always been a part of my life. I swam in college for Oregon in 1991. I’ve been coaching in Oregon City since 1991, from USA swimming to a number of Masters teams. Swimming is a lifetime sport. It’s one of those sports you can do for the rest of your life, and I love it!”

Waud coached the Oregon Masters Team to a runner-up finish at last year’s summer nationals. He has been named the Oregon Masters head coach again for this year’s nationals. He’s also been selected as the U.S. Masters coach for this year’s FINA World Championships, which take place in Montreal, Canada, in late July and early August.

Waud said that anyone interested in joining the Oregon City Tankers should contact him at 503-341-3152.