Featured Stories

INSIDERS (Sponsored Content)

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


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

NCSD may close Riverside Elementary


Alternative high school would also have to relocate students and programs

by: PHOTO BY: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Riverside Elementary School third graders count down from three before heading inside after recess. The school's days may be numbered since a proposed closure will send students to Oak Grove, Concord and the El Puente bilingual program.Riverside Elementary School is under the budget axe to save $450,000 in what promises to be another tough budget season, as announced Thursday at the North Clackamas School Board meeting.

Superintendent Matt Utterback acknowledged that it would be a “hard decision” for the School Board on March 21 to merge Riverside Elementary into neighboring Concord and Oak Grove elementary, sending Riverside’s bilingual program into El Puente Elementary.

The Rex Putnam High School feeder area is being targeted for a school closure, noted Assistant Superintendent Aeylin Summers, because all of the elementary schools in the region between Milwaukie and Gladstone have less than 400 students. Summers tried to put a positive spin on the district halving its number of bilingual opportunities.

“This is a nice opportunity to mass resources for supporting the bilingual model,” she said.

Two years ago the district closed Campbell and Clackamas elementary schools to howls of community protest.

Board member Sam Gillispie said that the district learned from the painful process of closing Campbell and Clackamas to get as much input as possible. Vivian Scott added she didn’t know how else to minimize the pain beside communicating as much as possible.

• A March 6 community meeting is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. at Riverside, 16303 S.E. River Road, Oak Grove. In addition, district leaders will also hold a meeting on Tuesday, March 12, at noon at Riverside for parents and community members who can’t attend a meeting at night. Childcare and Spanish interpreters will be available at both meetings.

• Parent meetings about the proposed plan for school consolidation are planned for 6:30 p.m. on consecutive Tuesdays, March 5 and 12, at New Urban, 1901 S.E. Oak Grove Blvd.

• A public budget hearing takes place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, in the commons on the south campus of Sabin-Schellenberg Center, 14450 S.E. Johnson Road, Clackamas. There will be an opportunity for individuals to address the board regarding the proposals.

• The School Board meeting at Rex Putnam, 4950 S.E. Roethe Road, Oak Grove, with a likely School Board vote on the proposal, is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 21.

Fate of New Urban

New Urban High School would also move to the Sabin-Shellenberg Professional Technical Center under the district’s plan to save another $540,000. There, district officials say that students who are in danger of dropping out would have access to programming that shows them a path to productive careers.

The proposed move is similar to the “co-location” of the Sojourner Elementary magnet program at Linwood Elementary that was part of the district reconfiguration two years ago. The buildings in Oak Grove that once housed Sojourner and New Urban would be vacant this summer if the board accepts the latest district plan. The cost savings would come from cutting New Urban administrative staff and building maintenance.

School Board member Kyle Walker suggested that the board should consider imposing a fee on art classes to help generate revenue.

Other cuts possible

District officials are fairly confident that classroom cuts would be avoidable during this budget cycle. The district faces a $7.5 million shortfall next year, assuming the governor can apply savings on public-employee retirement plans to the total.

Hundreds of participants in recent budget forums said they wanted to avoid increasing class sizes, affecting technical education, or art and music classes. Elimination of textbook purchases was a popular option for cuts, as were school consolidations for parts of the district not affecting their family’s own schools.

NCSD officials plan to look under their figurative couch cushions for opportunities such as sale of district property, which was the most popular option in the community survey. One-time transfers from Medicaid and rebates could shore up $1.6 million, and the district could also take out a line of credit for “unforeseen expenditures.”

Open enrollment

On the eve of a state-mandated decision, School Board members voted 6-1 on Thursday to open NCSD borders to Gladstone, Oregon City, Lake Oswego and Riverdale school districts.

Only 50 slots for freshman or sophomores will open, equally divided between Milwaukie and Rex Putnam high schools. Students from West Linn High School boundaries, and the southern parts of Portland Public Schools and the David Douglas School District, will also be invited to apply for the slots.

Utterback called the open-enrollment plan a “conservative approach” to bringing new revenue into the district. He spoke with superintendent in Oregon City and Gladstone for advice and found that they did not see an influx of high-cost, disabled students.

“They were both very clear that the students they received through open enrollment matched their current demographics,” Utterback said.

“There’s a certain amount of risk involved, but I will support this,” said newly appointed board member Daryl Dixon.

Kyle Walker said she voted no because she thought that the district had been rushed to make a decision without enough data to determine whether revenue benefits could outweigh the increased staff time for logistical issues.