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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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Kellogg Dam's watershed moment


by: PHOTO COURTESY: MARK GAMBA - City Councilor Mark Gamba (left) and Greg Baartz-Bowman hope their film, 'Un-Dam It! The Story of Kellogg Dam,' will generate more momentum for removing the dam after the Jan. 12 Watershed Event in Milwaukie.Greg Baartz-Bowman and Mark Gamba hope their film, “Un-Dam It! The Story of Kellogg Dam,” catches a few eyes during Milwaukie’s Jan. 12 Watershed Event 2013.

But they also want people to realize that “this will be a community event to learn about and increase awareness of our watershed. It will be a great all-ages experience,” Baartz-Bowman said.

“People should come and learn, and then express their opinions to the City Council,” said Gamba, who was elected in November to the Milwaukie City Council.

“Our film is Jan. 12, and the next council goal-setting session is Jan. 22,” added Baartz-Bowman. “We’d really like to have the Milwaukie city councilors attend, and see what that can generate.”

The two men conceived the idea for their film at the same time they were making their first film, “Lonely Tree — Old Growth in Peril at Three-Creeks,” which Baartz-Bowman called an “advocacy documentary” about the county’s plan to cut 200-year-old oak trees and build a road through the Three-Creeks Natural Area, near the North Clackamas Aquatic Park. “Lonely Tree” was shown at the first Milwaukie Watershed Event in April of 2012.

“I’ve been actively pushing the city to stay on the project to remove Kellogg Dam, and when Greg suggested we do a film about that, I said this is a film that I’m all about,” Gamba said.

They started filming in March 2012, and finished filming in December.

Why make this film?

“We as a society have been doing irreversible damage to our own environment, and I hope people will start to understand that environmentalists are not just trying to protect a tree or an owl, they are trying to protect where we live,” Gamba said.

As Baartz-Bowman researched the history of the environment in Oregon, he realized that it all started with former Gov. Tom McCall.

“He said, ‘When we have steelhead and Coho in our streams, the environment is healthy. When we don’t have these fish in our watersheds, something is wrong.’ That was eye-opening,” he said.

And the fish have not been able to use Kellogg Creek for 160 years, Gamba said, since the dam, first built in 1858, “has kept yet another salmon-bearing stream from functioning the way it is supposed to function.”

Last year, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife counted 336 salmon in the Kellogg Creek and Mount Scott watershed, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated that 98 percent of the time, the fish can’t use the ladder at Kellogg Dam, Gamba noted.

If the dam comes out, “we hope to see 30,000 fish coming through,” Baartz-Bowman said, noting that that figure is the historical number of fish that came through before the dam was put in.

“I wanted to learn more about Kellogg Dam, and I thought this was a great way to use film to advocate and create awareness about why the dam should come down,” Baartz-Bowman said. “We haven’t heard anyone say this is a bad idea or that they love the lake.”

Among the people the two men interviewed for the film were Kenny Asher, former Milwaukie community development and public works director; Steve Berliner, a North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council Board member; Milwaukie Mayor Jeremy Ferguson; Jim Labbe and Bob Salinger, with the Portland Audubon Society; Carol Murdock, from Water Environment Services; Chris Runyard, a land steward and head of the Tsunami Crew, a volunteer group dedicated to the restoration of Three Creeks Natural Area; Shirley Stageberg, a member of the Milwaukie Presbyterian Church, who has worked on a restoration project on Kellogg Lake; Portland Audubon’s Nicole West, a former city of Milwaukie employee who compiled the document “An Oral History of Kellogg Lake,” available on the city’s website; and Willamette Riverkeeper’s Travis Williams.

Kellogg Lake

Joseph Kellogg built a mill on the site in 1858, damming the creek to power his mill, and creating the lake, when there were only about 20 people in Milwaukie. As more people moved here, the lake became part of the landscape, Baartz-Bowman said.

“If that is what you see, you accept it,” he added, so it took knowledge and reflection to recognize that now it is time to take the dam out.

The mill functioned for 30 years and then closed. According to “An Oral History of Kellogg Lake,” children could swim in the lake or skate on its frozen surface.

“But no one can use the lake now, because it is polluted,” Gamba said.

So what is holding up the removal of the dam? Money. The project is likely to cost $15 million, and Gamba believes there could be opposition from a few homeowners who live on the lake, and fear that their privacy will be compromised.

There is hope, however, in that a company called Wildlands Inc., which establishes and manages wetlands and wildlife habitat through mitigation banking and public and private restoration projects, will pay $15 million of its own money to restore the area, once Oregon's Department of Transportation removes the dam and rebuilds the bridge, Gamba said.

The city of Milwaukie will only have to spend money on lawyers’ fees to negotiate the contract, and there will be some staff time involved, he added.

“We could be inking this deal in two to three months; this is like a gift from heaven, with ODOT removing the dam and building the bridge and Wildlands doing the restoration,” Gamba noted.

He also added that there was fear that the lake was so heavily polluted that this would add to the cost of restoration, but a recent Corps of Engineers sample showed that “there is pollution in only the top four feet; the bottom showed no pollution, so we won’t have to deal with the larger tonnage of contaminated soil; we will just need to find someone to take it away and treat it.”

Parks and pathways

There could be several benefits of removing the dam.

“It is important that the young fish will be once again able to rest there, and that will give them a better chance of surviving, while adult salmon and other fish will be able to spawn there,” Gamba said.

“The icing on the cake is that we will go from having a fetid mud puddle choked by blackberries, to a free-flowing stream, surrounded by a beautiful park in our downtown. And there will be access to Riverside Park, without having to cross McLoughlin,” he added, noting that access to the park will be through an underground tunnel.

“Walking paths will lead to Riverside Park and people will be on the bridge watching salmon — no one knows how cool that will be,” Baartz-Bowman said.

“Water quality and river health are our obligations to the planet. If we all cleaned up our watersheds, what an amazing planet we would have. This film is just our part.”

“The salmon throughout the West have had their natural systems so degraded, that the population of natural salmon is probably one-one-thousandth or less than what it used to be. We should be doing this as a species, to restore as much as we can of the natural infrastructure,” Gamba said.

Milwaukie’s Watershed Event 2013

An evening of short documentary films and the premiere of local filmmakers Greg Baartz-Bowman and Mark Gamba’s “Un-Dam It! The Story of Kellogg Dam,” from Straw Bale Films takes place on Jan. 12 at the Milwaukie Masonic Lodge, 10636 S.E. Main St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the films begin at 7 p.m.

A pre-event will be held at Milwaukie Kitchen and Wine, 10610 S.E. Main St. at 5:30 p.m., and an unofficial after party will take place following the showing at Wine:30, 10835 S.E. Main St.

Films will include: “Unexpected Things Come Together on the River,” “Huck,” “Year of the River” and “Freeing the Calapooia,” in addition to “Un-Dam It!”

A question and answer session with the filmmakers will follow the showing.

RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve a seat at the event.

To see a clip from “Un-Dam It!” visit strawbalefilms.com.

To read “An Oral History of Kellogg Lake,” by Nicole West, written for the city of Milwaukie in 2009, visit ci.milwaukie.or.us/communitydevelopment/oral-history-kellogg-lake.

To learn more about Wildlands Inc., visit wildlandsinc.com.