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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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Seeing Orange


Progress on the light rail line is visible in spots all along the route in Clackamas County

Orange is fashion’s hottest color right now, but Clackamas County residents are already starting to get a close look at the color, as construction on the new Milwaukie MAX Orange Line inches toward the city.

During a tour of the construction, Claudia Steinberg, Orange Line project manager, and TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch, answered questions and offered insight into what was happening in the county as MAX makes its way here.

Steinberg attended Milwaukie Elementary School and Rex Putnam High School, so she knows that Milwaukie has a “strong sustainability group.” Tree removal and other environmental concerns top the list of citizen concerns, followed by what is happening along McLoughlin Boulevard, safety measures and impacts on property owners along the route.by: PHOTO BY RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Local residents often stop at the southernmost end of Main Street in Milwaukie to watch the construction of a light-rail bridge across Kellogg Lake.

Question: What is happening with tree removal?

Answer: About 780 to 830 trees will be removed along the alignment, but Steinberg wants county residents to know that nearly 2,000 trees will be replanted along the route; and yes, those trees will be native species. Fetsch added that TriMet is already purchasing the trees, so they will have at least two years of growth when they are planted.

Other trees will be planted for mitigation in riparian and natural areas in the county.

Steinberg also noted that not one twig, leaf or branch will be wasted; some material will be turned into compost; some wood will go to the Milwaukie Center for seniors to use as firewood; and some will go to artists, who will create art to be displayed along the Trolley Trail (not at the stations, as a previous version of this story stated).

In addition, large woody debris from the trees will be used in stream restoration projects along Johnson Creek, and to improve fish habitat, Steinberg said.

She added that tree removal along the Trolley Trail, on the east side of Southeast 27th Avenue, begins in early September. The Island Station Neighborhood Association will hold a small ceremony to honor the trees, before cutting begins.

Q: What other environmental concerns are being addressed?

A: TriMet is partnering with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, which is raising money to build a viewing area along the creek at the Tacoma site. The organization will also have educational signs there, Steinberg said.

Work is going on at Kellogg Lake, but federal law requires that the equipment “has to be out of the water by Aug. 30, to protect migratory fish,” Fetsch said.

Other environmental measures include a new culvert for Crystal Springs Creek and installation of bioswales along the light-rail route, Steinberg said.

In addition, a federal wildlife biologist has been checking to ensure that the project is in compliance with federal laws protecting birds, especially during nesting season.

Q: What is happening along McLoughlin Boulevard right now? What is all that equipment for?

A: A lot is going on along that corridor, is the short answer.

“The pillars that are visible at McLoughlin and Tacoma are supports for the bridges that will carry light-rail trains over the on/off ramp for northbound McLoughlin and over Johnson Creek,” Fetsch said.

The large, white trailer mounted on about 12-foot supports saying “Stacy and Witbeck Inc., General Engineering Contractors,” near the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, is a water tank for use along the project. That site is also used for storage, including rocks, rail piles, cranes and rebar cages for drilled shafts. The contractor has also set up a carpentry area and holds safety meetings on-site.

“There is lots of work here along Mailwell Drive in the industrial area, including moving tracks around and installing and protecting sewer lines and water lines,” Steinberg said.

Q: What businesses and private homes will be affected?

A: One thing Steinberg said she wants people to know — the downtown Milwaukie Post Office will be staying where it is. When one home near Lark Street and 27th Avenue was demolished, Steinberg said, the Rebuilding Center took out fixtures and hardwood floors for reuse. In the North Industrial Area, the only business being relocated is Beaver Heat Treating, she said. The River Road House and DaVinci’s on McLoughlin Boulevard have been demolished.

Steinberg said that the Portland-to-Milwaukie light-rail project website, at trimet.org/pm, is the best source for information on the project.

Q: What new infrastructure will people see along the route and what safety features will be put in place?

A: “One of the city’s key projects is to improve salmon and fish habitat,” Fetsch said, while Steinberg added that “the MAX project is paying for improvements to streets, waterlines, bike lanes and sidewalks.”

The bridge over Kellogg Lake will also include a pedestrian bridge that the Island Station neighbors are excited about, Steinberg said.

The project’s park-and-ride lots will all be secure and have cameras, Steinberg said. Retaining walls will be put in place for erosion control, and water and sewer lines will get protective casings, she added.

The area near the Portland Waldorf School will be upgraded to a quiet zone, so trains will not have to sound their horns as much as they do in other areas, Fetsch said. That same area will get “quad gates with digital bells for pedestrians,” Steinberg said, noting that quad gates are four gates that will completely close off the road when a train is coming through, and the digital bells will further alert walkers to the train’s passage.

Washington Street will also get quad gates, but Monroe Street is too narrow for quad gates, so a median will be installed on both sides of the tracks, so cars cannot go around the two gates that come down.

Q: What’s going to be happening during the next phase of MAX construction?

A: The southern end of Main Street, near Dogwood Park, will soon close for more than a year, until Kellogg Lake bridge construction is complete, Steinberg said. People can still deposit mail at the post boxes, and the postal department will still have access to the boxes, she added.

People will start seeing bridge construction, columns rising, road work and trees being removed, Steinberg said. Tracks will not be put in place until much later and landscaping work is set for 2014, she noted.

Fast Facts

For information about the Portland-to-Milwaukie light-rail project, visit trimet.org/pm.

To contact the Citizens Advisory Committee, call TriMet Community Affairs, 503-962-2150.

Contact Mary Fetsch, 503-962-6403, or email her at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Contact Claudia Steinberg, 503-962-2154, or steinbergc@