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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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County OKs new repairs to public housing


by: FILE PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN  - Clackamas County's largest public-housing property, Easton Ridge, has 264 units in 11 three-story buildings that are becoming increasingly dilapidated, and spots where temporary repairs have been made are visible.Divisions on the new Clackamas County Board of Commissioners first emerged last week on the issue of affordable housing near Clackamas Town Center.

Clackamas County’s largest public-housing property, Easton Ridge, has 264 units in 11 three-story buildings that are becoming dilapidated.

Sitting as the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, including appointed Housing Authority Commissioner Erica Allison, county commissioners voted 4-2 on Thursday to authorize sale of $24 million in bonds for a planned renovation. Commissioners Jim Bernard, Paul Savas, Martha Schrader and Allison voted to support the bond sale.

Approval of the bond sale before the end of February allowed the project to move forward at set bid prices, saving Clackamas County an estimated $500,000 to $1 million in cost increases for construction materials.

“Frankly, I’m not ready to kick out all those people or subject them to mold damage by living in the current environment,” Savas said, conditioning his support on several accountability measures that were adopted as part of the 4-2 vote.

Chairman John Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith opposed the project, both for its own merits and because of their philosophical skepticism of public housing.

A ‘managment problem’

During the past decade, between $150,000 and $500,000 in annual profits from rents at Easton went to offset the Housing Authority’s budget in other areas. Easton’s one-bedroom, 717-square-foot apartments have rented for $640 per month, with rent up to $740 for a 1,010-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment with two bathrooms.

“We’re in a position where we have to borrow a lot of money from the taxpayers,” Smith said at a Tuesday work session. “This property was pretty much what I consider a cash cow for the county, and during that time no deferred maintenance was done on this building to make sure that it wouldn’t dilapidate.”

Cindy Becker, director of the county’s Health, Housing and Human Services, pointed out that the county spent about $1.5 million on repairs at Easton since purchasing the building in 1996. In 2008, a financing agreement with Washington Mutual to make more repairs there fell though because of a national tax-crediting-market crisis.

Ludlow saw a “management problem” with the county’s lack of reinvestment in Easton and made clear that he would vote with Smith on the issue.

“We may have our first split vote, and that’s OK,” Ludlow said.

Smith added that she thought it might be time for the county to get out of the housing business.

“We can’t be all to everyone,” Smith said.

Bernard had advocated setting aside funds for future maintenance and argued last week that the investment in Eastham would return dividends.

“I think it is our responsibility to provide affordable housing, but I’m willing to have the discussion,” Bernard said.

Ludlow visited Easton residents who told him that they didn’t need new bathrooms or kitchens. According to county officials, Oregon Housing and Human Services told the county it would only provide funding if the project would modernize the apartments, replace most of the kitchens and 15 percent of the bathrooms.

Ludlow noted his position on moving forward with the project wouldn’t change if the county could show that all the repairs were necessary.

“This is not a good investment,” he said. “I don’t think I’m going to change my mind.”

Details of plan

Accountability measures include conducting a performance audit on the housing authority, establishing an oversight commission that includes members of the public and convening a full discussion of the county’s policy on affordable housing.

“As a commissioner in 2007, we made a policy decision to keep affordable housing, knowing we would get saddled with maintenance costs in the future,” Schrader said. “People should have their basic needs met — including decent housing and food to eat — in order to be participants in their democracy and to be healthy and happy.”

Smith said she cannot continue on any project without deciding on Clackamas County housing policy.

“It is a measure of a compassionate society that we provide housing and other services to our most vulnerable populations. However, we should first decide if we should be in the housing business before we spend $20 million on a project in which we could end up upside down,” she said.

Ludlow argued there were far too many questions about the project.

“When the housing authority found out that there were leaks and siding infiltrated by water in 2004 and did nothing about it for six years, that’s a management problem,” he said.

As questions surfaced about the mold and water-intrusion issues, Housing Authority officials say they worked to address problems as best they could under financial constraints.

The new project will replace the building’s siding, windows and doors, as well as upgrade interior ventilation and drainage.

The project is expected to start in mid-February, and county officials hope to complete it 14 months after breaking ground.