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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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Two authors inspired by same trial


Two local authors, Phillip Margolin and R. Gregory Nokes, will discuss their books, which both relate to slavery in early Oregon, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, at the Atkinson Church in Oregon City. This free event is sponsored by the Oregon City Public Library.

Margolin, an award-winning Portland author of best-selling legal thrillers, switches to the historical setting of 1860s Oregon in “Worthy Brown’s Daughter,” while Nokes, a journalist and nonfiction writer from West Linn, looks at slavery in Oregon’s early history from another point of view with his book, “Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory.”

Both authors, who were inspired by the same legal case, will read from their works at the event, and answer questions afterward.

'Worthy Brown’s Daughter'

Margolin spent three decades researching his historical novel, inspired by a true story of frontier justice in 19th-century Oregon, Holmes vs. Ford, and the horrors the Holmes family, who were freed slaves, went through to get their children returned to them.

In “Worthy Brown’s Daughter,” readers meet Matthew Penny, a lawyer who is mourning the loss of his wife while struggling to maintain his practice, and Worthy Brown, an ex-slave whose daughter is being held captive, in unexpected and suspicious circumstances. Surrounded by love, deceit, racism and, most importantly, the law, Penny, Brown and the rest of Portland get swept away by the court case of the century.

“In order to write the book I had to learn what it would have been like to practice law in Oregon in 1860. I was surprised to learn that there were no courthouses in the state and trials might be held in a field in summer or a tavern in winter,” Margolin said.

In addition, “accommodations were scarce and the parties often shared beds in one-room cabins with families who would put them up for a fee.”

Another thing that surprised Margolin while researching “Worthy Brown’s Daughter” was the difference between the way law is practiced now and the way it was practiced in the Wild West of the 1800s, he said.

“I was a criminal defense attorney for 25 years. Lawyers in the 1800s had to know not only the law, but how to shoot a gun. They had to ride the circuit, which meant sleeping in the wilds, dealing with bad weather and wild animals,” he said.

Margolin loves to talk about writing and is “especially excited to talk about my new book, ‘Worthy Brown's Daughter,’ because it is a departure for me. My other 17 bestsellers are all contemporary thrillers, but ‘Worthy Brown's Daughter’ is set in Oregon in 1860. It was inspired by a real, heartbreaking case that was the only Oregon case to deal with slavery, and it took me 30 years to complete.”

He added, “Author events are important because they give readers a chance to ask writers questions about the craft of writing, the background for a book, and other things they can’t get by simply reading a novel.”

Breaking Chains’

“Breaking Chains” tells the little-known history of slavery in early Oregon, focusing on an 1852 slavery case, the only slavery case adjudicated in Oregon’s pre-Civil War courts.

Author Nokes will show pictures “of some of the key figures involved in Oregon’s slave story and the 1852 trial, Holmes vs. Ford, in which a former slave sued his former slave owner for the freedom of Holmes’ children, still being held by Ford as slaves,” he said.

The trial was held in Polk County, and was unusual for several reasons.

“The former slave, Robin Holmes, was illiterate, and Nathaniel Ford, his former owner, was quite prominent, recently elected to the territorial Legislature. Ford had brought Holmes and his family of six to Oregon with him in 1844 from Missouri, traveling on the Oregon Trail to Oregon City and then on to what is today Polk County,” Nokes said.

He became interested in the situation, after learning that an ancestor of his, Robert Shipley, brought a slave with him to Oregon from Missouri in 1853.

“I only discovered this a few years ago. I had not known, nor suspected, there was any slave history in the background of my family. Nor had I known there were African-American slaves in Oregon,” Nokes said.

He was most surprised during his research to learn how many of Oregon’s early leaders were pro-slavery, including Joseph Lane, Oregon’s first territorial governor and one of the first U.S. senators from the state.

“I was also surprised that Oregon, for much of its early history, had an exclusion law that prohibited African-Americans from settling in the territory, and later the state, even though these laws weren’t widely enforced,” Nokes said, adding that he also learned that Oregon voters, all white males at the time, “actually voted in 1857 on whether Oregon should be a slave state, although they voted it down.”

He added: “These events are important for getting the story of Oregon’s early slave and racial history into our public discourse. I believe we need to learn from our past to know how far we have come and how far we still need to go. It’s also especially interesting to me to know how Phil Margolin developed a fictional narrative.”

R. Gregory Nokes

R. Gregory Nokes has traveled the world as a reporter and editor. He started his 40-year journalism career at the Medford Mail Tribune. He went on to work for The Associated Press in Salt Lake City; New York City; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and in Washington, D.C., where he covered the State Department. He joined The Oregonian in 1986 and retired in 2003 to begin a second career as an author and lecturer.

He has written two nonfiction Northwest histories: “Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon in 2009,” and his newest book, “Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory in 2013,” both published by Oregon State University Press. “Breaking Chains” has been selected by The Oregonian as the sixth best on its list of 2013 top-10 books in the Pacific Northwest. It also was chosen as the fall 2013 selection for the Oregon Book Club.

Visit clackamasreview.com next week for information about Margolins upcoming visit to Ledding Library.

Listen and learn

What: Oregon City Public Library sponsors Author Night

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30; doors open at 6:30 p.m

Where: Atkinson Church, 710 Sixth St., Oregon City

Who: Local authors Phillip Margolin and R. Gregory Nokes will speak

Contact: For more information, call 503-657-8269, ext. 104, or visit orcity.org/library.