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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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Councilors reflect on Milwaukie service


by: PHOTO BY RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Joe Loomis and Greg Chaimov meet every Friday over coffee at Bob's Red Mill in Milwaukie to discuss a large range of topics.When councilors Greg Chaimov and Joe Loomis reflect on their service representing the city of Milwaukie, their minds don’t go to baseball, photo-radar vans or sewer negotiations with Clackamas County.

They certainly discuss those types of issues over coffee at Bob’s Red Mill, where they’ve met every Friday morning to keep each other informed of city happenings, ask after their families and root for Oregon State’s Beavers. Even after they retire from City Council after their last meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 18, the friends plan to continue their regular engagement at Bob’s.

City councilors, including Scott Churchill and Mark Gamba, who were elected Nov. 6, met last week to reassess city goals that ended up focusing on familiar initiatives. Although concerns about removing Kellogg Dam have the project to restore a Coho salmon run on the back burner until more information can be obtained, their top-five goals for 2013 include maintaining funding to prevent loss of services while completing Riverfront Park, Adams Street, a library expansion and railroad quiet zones.

But recent work at the city hasn’t resulted in monumental changes that Chaimov and Loomis can put their fingers on as symbolizing a new direction. Perhaps the most telling change: City Council now holds an extra monthly study session to discuss more in-depth issues facing Milwaukie. A communications agreement signed by all five city councilors on Jan. 18 strove for mutual respect and guaranteed access to city information to ensure “healthy debate” about competing ideas.

“I don’t think back on the past four years in terms of the specific substantive issues that we’ve worked on so much as the improvement in Milwaukie’s responsiveness to its citizens,” Chaimov said. “We talk more than we used to, and as a result we make better decisions.”

Loomis, who’s served on the elected body for nine years, said councilors no longer take split decisions personally. They’re able to talk about issues “civilly and politely and not embarrass the city,” which in the end, he thinks, helps them to make the best decision in best interests of all Milwaukians.

“I don’t know why strategy is a buzz word that always gets to me, and getting in disagreements always gives the impression that government behaves badly,” Loomis said. “We always felt like we were in the back of the bus, but now we’re the decision makers.”

Informed council

As a result of City Council’s discussions with staff, almost all issues are now brought forward to a public vote at councilors’ request. In the past, according to Loomis and Chaimov’s impression, councilors likely wouldn’t have asked the staff to look into replacing street lights with LED, for example, and then report back, as Gary Parkin did on Nov. 27.

A couple of years ago, they complained that staff would give information passively, rather than engaging the opinions and direction of City Council. City Manager Bill Monahan’s 15-minute report replaced what would have previously been content during work sessions.

“In the past, the entire discussion would take place at the council meeting where the decision was going to be made, and we wouldn’t have had the opportunity beforehand to discuss among ourselves,” Chaimov said. “Sometimes before you make the decision, you can iron out all the problems, so our decisions are better.”

Loomis credits Monahan with being “very good at keeping the council informed on everything going on in the city” and giving them a chance to weigh in on it. In 2010, Monahan replaced Mike Swanson, whose contract was not renewed.

“The previous city manager was a great city manager, but he just got tired — it’s a demanding job, and it wears on you,” Loomis said. “The other thing that Bill’s been able to do is that the five of us in the past have never been a cohesive unit, and he’s been able to make the five of us work as a team and make us feel like all our opinions matter. With the addition of Bill and the others council members, we’ve achieved openness and transparency.”

Milwaukie city councilors are unpaid, elected volunteers, and all five have had kept full-time or more than full-time paid jobs, so they saw having a city manager who can help them make informed decisions in a limited time as “really important.” City councilors believe a new tradition has been established in city management.

“Some communities need a visionary city manager who’s going to re-imagine the city in 20 years, but what we have needed, and what Bill has helped supply, is better decision making,” Chaimov said. “We finally got to the point where we were well enough informed that I think it’s going to be an institutionalized process. Whenever someone in the city does something that a citizen doesn’t agree with, it’s now always because City Council told them to do that, so it’s our fault.”

Monahan served as city attorney focusing on negotiations with Clackamas County over sewer rates prior to taking the city’s top job. The city and county came to a wastewater agreement this year after decades of bickering.

“There have been a lot of meetings about sewers, and sure, some of them have been held in private about dealing with negotiating terms, but it’s a good example of going forward and dealing with the issues of our constituents,” Chaimov said.

Photo radar, baseball

Loomis said that the first night officials voted on extending a contract for the photo-radar van last year was the “most enjoyable on council” for him because photo radar was dead for two weeks.

“It was proposed as a way to decrease accidents, but there were other means of accomplishing the same goal that are not so punitive,” he said.

But the issue came back to a largely supportive City Council, and Chaimov and Loomis still faced each other as friends on the following Friday at Bob’s. Loomis thought perceptions outweighed the value of the van, but other councilors disagreed.

“I think it’s a very valid point that you don’t want Milwaukie to be perceived as a place you don’t want to go because you always get a speeding ticket,” Chaimov said.

Although the friends shared in recent disappointment over dashed baseball dreams, they’re both now looking to a bright side.

Efforts to attract a baseball team at the ODOT site on McLoughlin Boulevard failed earlier this year as Hillsboro slid its offer ahead of Milwaukie. But Chaimov saw the effort as a success for the community in “an absolutely fabulous job” predetermining the community’s wishes and making sure that that project could succeed.

Chaimov said the effort garnered “far more positive comments from outside of the city” that will help the city for any future projects.

“We learned a lot about how to run a first-class process,” Chaimov said. “If you look at how Hillsboro accomplished it, what they did was they had all sorts of negotiations, and then they had one public meeting. We had residents involved heavily, but our long process didn’t cause us not to get our team.”

Loomis agreed that the baseball project “really resonated” by getting people excited and enhanced the city’s credibility with the region with “far-reaching” other benefits.

“From the beginning, we said we’re going to have to do it the right way, and going to the baseball task force meetings were some of the proudest moments I’ve ever had in getting consensus and bringing new people to the table in my tenure on the council,” Loomis said.

Send-off party

Deborah Barnes, city councilor from 2003-10, will be among those wishing Chaimov and Loomis well after the City Council meeting on Dec. 18. An after party takes place at Odd Fellows Hall, 10282 S.E. Main St.

Although she had disagreed with them on Swanson’s firing, Barnes said she had “great respect” for their opinions.

“We always listened to each other and worked together to make the best decisions for our city,” she said.

Swearing in and reception for new councilors Churchill and Gamba is scheduled on Jan. 2 to correspond with the first City Council meeting of 2013.