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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 just says no to Sandy plan for buffer zone


The Clackamas County Commission last week voted unanimously to effectively take away the hammer the city of Sandy had held over the Boring community for years.

Twice (in 1998 and 2011) Sandy garnered support from Metro and Clackamas County to require a 50-foot-deep visual buffer of tall trees on the south side of Highway 26 in the Boring area. The idea was to shield development from the view of passing drivers.

But recently, people in the Boring area have spoken loudly through the area’s Community Planning Organization (CPO).

The commission heard the issue at a meeting last Thursday and decided to withdraw from the agreement with Sandy and Metro, effectively killing it.

After the meeting, Sandy Mayor Bill King said he was disappointed with the commission’s action.

“I believe they acted in error,” he said. “(Their knowledge) of what the agreement meant to everyone was based on misinformation.”

Boring CPO Chairman Steve Bates reminded the commissioners they have been in violation of state law since they moved ahead with an agreement that affected people who weren’t notified of the pact.

He also emphasized the literal meaning of the way the agreement was written.

“It is believed by many that these agreements (1998 and 2011) reassign the constitutional rights of your constituents to other jurisdictions without due representation,” Bates told the three commissioners present: John Ludlow, Martha Schrader and Tootie Smith.

When Bates mentioned that the 2011 agreement was formed without notifying anyone from Boring, Schrader reacted by blaming the county for not getting involved in that notification.

“But the piece of involvement should have come from the county, quite frankly, because we are your commissioners,” she said. “I don’t know what happened because I wasn’t here (she recently took office), but it is the commission’s job to work with other entities to ensure that you get full representation.”

Answering a question from Schrader, Bates said, “The (main) issue is property rights.”

“We have nothing against a green corridor,” Bates said. “We have everything against taking property from people without paying them for it.”

Commissioner Smith agreed with Bates on the property rights issue, speaking against what she said would definitely be the taking of private property by government, if the agreement becomes active.

But King spoke after the meeting, saying that false information affected the way the commissioners acted.

“Nobody is taking anything from anybody,” King said. “Nobody has to plant trees in front of their property until development comes through. It’s not going to stop a farmer from putting up a barn or keep anyone from staying in their house.”

King says the agreement was meant to be effective in the future — not now.

“All the people who would be affected (about 20 properties),” he said, “would end up selling to a developer down the line, and the developer would be the one required to plant trees. That’s a common condition of development.”

Sandy City Attorney David Doughman suggested there have been misunderstandings, and he contradicted Bates’ literal interpretation of the affected area.

Doughman said the agreement applies only to a short section of Highway 26 extending westerly from Highway 212 part of the distance to Gresham, and only on the south side of the highway.

Doughman encouraged the commissioners to slow down and allow negotiation to occur between the parties before taking action. He asked formally that the hearing be continued, but Chairman Ludlow did not respond to that request.

Bob Skipper, who has lived in the Sandy area for 68 years, agreed with Smith, saying, “It’s a fairness issue.”

“I believe I have the pulse of the community, having lived there that long,” Skipper said, “and they feel like it is being jammed down their throats — and that is not the way government should operate.”

Commissioner Smith said government should not take property without payment. In this case, she said it looks like government is imposing its view of what it thinks the world should look like.

Chairman Ludlow said he is a real estate broker and knowledgeable about property rights.

“These people were not (notified they were about to lose some rights to their property),” he said, “and that is just flat wrong.”

Schrader said she wants to hold a meeting of the minds between the Boring CPO and the city of Sandy.

“I still think we can work through these issues,” she said.

When withdrawing from the 1998 agreement came to a vote, it was a unanimous 3-0 tally, with two absent.

Another 3-0 vote set the 2011 agreement aside, but since 60 days’ notice is required, the motion was to “initiate a plan to terminate the 2011 agreement.”