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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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Lottery Row gambles on security

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Reiley, a drug-sniffing German boxer, has been deployed along with several new security guards to deter crime at the 'Lottery Row' strip mall on Hayden Island.Gamblers at the “Lottery Row” on Hayden Island are encountering a new cast of characters this month at the complex of 12 lottery bars: a fleet of armed security guards and Reiley the drug-sniffing German boxer.

Under pressure from Portland police and state liquor inspectors, landlord Gordon Sondland recently ordered a 20-day blitzkrieg to reduce drug dealing and other crimes at the strip retail center opposite Jantzen Beach Center. Sondland deployed four nighttime security guards, installed bright lights in the parking lot and posted signs warning patrons against prostitution, urinating in the parking lot and other unsavory acts.

“We’ve put a lot of resources to sort of flush out these bad apples,” says Julie Ramseth, Sondland’s property manager.

Owners of the lucrative lottery delis and bars also chipped in, in consultation with Mike Leloff, Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct commander.

Dan Fischer, who owns the Dotty’s chain and six of the 12 Lottery Row businesses, deployed four additional security guards and the drug dog. “I basically committed to the North Precinct we’re going to fix the problem,” Fischer says. He also offered police access to his exterior video camera stream, which is capable of reading license plates in the bustling parking lot.

Come Friday and Saturday nights, when the place is jumping with Washington residents lured by Oregon video lottery games, nine security guards should be on duty.

“So far we’re pleased,” says Leloff, who launched a targeted crime enforcement campaign at Lottery Row a couple months ago in tandem with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. “I think the security guards are finding some of the criminal activity that we’ve been talking about,” Leloff says.

In the first two days of stepped-up private security, two drug busts were made. In the first couple weeks, 60 people have been cited for trespassing and ordered not to return to the premises, says Dustin O’Brin, head of the security company hired by Fischer.

Fischer claims most of the problems observed so far are caused by non-customers, including transients and others in McDonald’s sprawling nearby parking lot, which is largely empty during late nights.

Leloff disagrees, and says he’s concerned about the retailers' commitment to security after the 20-day blitz, which is winding down soon. Leloff also wants the retailers to provide a certified security staffperson inside each establishment, to work the door, check IDs and other tasks. Some of the lottery bars rely on only a single bartender to do that, Leloff says, and that's not sufficient.

Sondland will keep the stepped-up security “as long as it’s necessary,” Ramseth insists. “We’re not going to do all of this work and then have to repeat it at some time in the future.”

Still, she concedes the terms of the security contract are very “fluid.”

Hayden Island neighbors also offered mixed reviews.

“We certainly welcome it,” says Ron Schmidt, chairman of the Hayden Island neighborhood association. “We are grateful to see that they are getting beyond denial that there is a crime problem here.”

Neighbors worry that the attractors that caused the crime and vice problem — gambling, cheap cigarettes and booze — will still be there, he says.

“Even if you make the security top-notch, it is a blight on our community,” Schmidt says. “And when that security goes away, the problem’s going to come right back.”

Schmidt says the security blitz appears to be largely a public relations effort in response to increased heat from police, liquor inspectors and politicians. “They’re doing everything to protect a cash cow,” he says.

Last week, Mayor Charlie Hales told the Tribune he hopes that Lottery Row is condemned soon, as is projected to occur after funding is approved for the Columbia River Crossing, improvements to Interstate 5 and construction of a possible light-rail line on the new bridge.

Until recently, Sondland has largely been silent about the Lottery Row issue, avoiding media interviews and prepared statements, despite mounting public attention on the strip center, which is owned by an investment group he controls.

Last month, Ramseth said she was unaware of a drug or crime problem at Lottery Row, despite an average of three police calls a day to the immediate vicinity. Ramseth also insisted there was ample security provided by the landlord, primarily a guard who drives through unannounced every half-hour or hour.

But after police and OLCC inspectors began making drug arrests and issuing warning letters to Lottery Row retailers a couple months ago, the proprietors announced earlier closing hours starting Dec. 17 and new steps to avoid overserving alcohol to customers.

Then, after a Jan. 8 meeting between Sondland and tenants at his strip center, the retailers moved decisively.

“We walked out of the meeting with an aggressive plan,” Fischer says.

Charles Hare, a managing partner at CJs Eateries, which owns three of the 12 lottery bars and delis, estimates the stepped-up security is costing more than $30,000 a month. He says it could last indefinitely if needed.

“At this point, it’s got to be until the problems are fixed, until the outside agencies are happy,” Hare says.

If the lottery retailers survive this standoff with police and the OLCC, they face another hurdle in 2015. By then, the Oregon State Lottery Commission vows to trim the number of lottery retailers there in half. That would mean six of the 12 businesses lose their lucrative rights to host six state-owned electronic slot machines.

The ball’s in the lottery’s court, Hare says, noting the state is making a boatload of money at Lottery Row, mostly from Washington residents.

“Nine million dollars a year in revenue this parking lot makes for the state of Oregon,” Hare says, pointing to the small cluster of retail outlets. “That’s over $9 million a year in tourism dollars.”