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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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Reisner looks to 'vibrant' Gladstone


ReisnerGladstone City Councilor-elect Neal Reisner plans to use the momentum of his involvement with a political action committee to find another solution for the city’s library.

“This wasn’t all about just the library — it’s about making Gladstone better, more vibrant and more livable, and that’s why we’ve been attending work sessions on the City Hall building,” he said.

Reisner is part of the core group of a dozen most active members of Save Gladstone, which started out with people concerned about the $12.6 million proposed library. On Nov. 6, Reisner defeated Councilor Walt Fitch, who was appointed in April, by a 61 percent to 38 percent margin. A library measure on the same ballot, which Save Gladstone opposed, failed by a 44 percent to 56 percent margin. The measure would have authorized the city to incur up to $7.5 million in debt to build the library.

Reisner, 52, is a former Gladstone School Board member who is a substitute teacher in Portland Public Schools and in several Clackamas County school districts. He noted that the members don’t always agree on the goals of Save Gladstone’s direction.

“I appreciated their endorsement, and I feel like that was a help in my election, and my thoughts are aligned with theirs when it comes to the library,” he said. “The library building itself is in need of some repair; it’s small and it doesn’t have the adequate ADA accommodations, but neither does the City Hall or the police station, which I think in the scheme of things are a higher priority than the library.”

Another high priority for Reisner is sewer systems, since Gladstone experienced a raw sewage overflow into the Clackamas River last week from heavy rains overloading an intersection point of its wastewater and storm water systems.

Lincoln City, which has its City Hall and library in the same location, could be a model for Gladstone, Reisner said. The old Clackamas County Elections building at Gloucester Avenue is vacant, so Reisner also sees some possibilities with that site.

Developers proposal

As announced in the City Council meeting on Nov. 13, Gladstone property owner and longtime resident Dennis Marsh has some investors who are interested in working with the city to redevelop the current City Hall/police station site and lease it to the city with provisions that the city would own it at some point in the future. A smaller, new library could also go in the redeveloped site.

“There are a lot of possibilities, and I’m willing to listen to any of the ideas,” Reisner said.

Marsh said that he came up with the idea after touring the police station, where he felt sorry for the state of the facilities. Within 45 minutes of sharing his general concept over coffee with Gladstone councilors Len Nelson and Tom Mersereau, who both ran unopposed this month, they secured a meeting with City Administrator Pete Boyce, who also found the project to be promising.

“I thought of this, and then everyone thought it was a good idea, so as soon as they figure out what they need, I’ll get a more specific proposal together,” Marsh said.

Retail businesses on the first floor, with city offices above, would add to the city’s downtown vibrancy, Reisner argued. Current code only allows for 35-foot-high buildings of three stories, but that limitation was put in years ago when the Gladstone Volunteer Fire Department didn’t have a 100-foot ladder truck.

“I’d be willing to go up to four floors, but I think anything higher than that would be out of place in our city,” Reisner said. “In getting there, we’re going to have to look at our codes, and see where different changes need to be made.”

Gladstone’s comprehensive plan hasn’t been updated since 2006. But that wasn’t at issue when the city’s approval of library plans went to the state’s Land Use Board of Appeals.

“One thing I learned from the LUBA appeal is that we can, within limits, set our own rules,” he said. “If we have problems with vehicle access, let’s change the off-street parking requirements in front of the City Hall.”

But if it’s more than $1 million for the new city building, voters would have to approve the building after the new rules passed by citizens on the May ballot. Reisner wouldn’t want to see City Council shortcut that voter mandate by contracting a private developer, or by spending less than $1 million on buildings over the course of several years.

“If we’re going to be spending that amount of money over a long period of time, then my feeling is that we should ask voters for more input than just showing up at City Council meetings,” he said.

The proposed library site north of downtown Gladstone was also a sore point for Reisner. The current chairman of the city’s Planning Commission, he also voted against the library plans last year because he saw the building’s proposed footprint as less-than-ideal.

“Portland Avenue isn’t as vibrant as it could be, and taking the library out of that area would only take away from that,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to see the City Hall, police station and library move out of the Portland Avenue area,” although he could see them move from their current locations at the same intersection.