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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 'compels' 2014 run for Savas


by: FILE PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Commissioner Paul Savas and John Lee, chairman of Clackamas County's Republican Party, shake hands on election night in May 2011 to support funding for local infrastructure as an alternative to the Sellwood Bridge fee.In the political imbroglios that have characterized Clackamas County lately, Commissioner Paul Savas has found himself in the thick of them — a position in which he likely will remain by formally announcing his campaign for re-election in the coming months.

Savas, 56, an Oak Grove resident and business owner, is the only current commissioner who lives in the populous North Clackamas area. He won a close election in 2010, and then placed third in a bitter four-way primary campaign for the county’s chairperson position last May.

Two camps of solid opposing votes have emerged since the election of three county commissioners in November, and Savas often is the swing vote in 3-2 decisions. He sided with commissioners Jim Bernard and Martha Schader to support exiting Administrator Steve Wheeler and to fund a major repair of crumbling public housing. He has voted with new Chairman John Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith to send questions to voters about Milwaukie light rail and the Columbia River Crossing project. In his first couple of years as a commissioner, Savas emphasized his goals to reduce deficit spending and debt-service costs. He tried to demonstrate the need for balanced funding between rural and urban areas, often on the losing side of 4-to-1 votes.

But Savas would like to focus on the county’s economic prosperity rather than politics.

“I just put that aside — I know it’s relevant, but the partisan bickering is really a distraction,” Savas said. “We need to get to the business of the county, and I think that’s what the citizens want and expect us to do.”

Savas measures the success of his time serving Clackamas County using his experience as an elected member of governing boards in Oak Lodge service districts. He’s not satisfied with the progress the county has made over the past few years, nor with its image.

“I want to leave organizations in a better place than when I found them,” he said. “I did that with the water and sewer districts, and that’s what compels me to move forward with my 2014 re-election campaign.”

To delve deeper into Savas’ priorities and the reasons behind his support for various initiatives, this newspaper sat down with him for an extended interview.

Question: What would it take for you to feel comfortable taking a strong stance on the CRC project as proposed?

Answer: The CRC is not our project; we have no intimate knowledge of it. Simply put, I believe in making informed decisions on projects of this magnitude. ODOT should pitch this project to us and answer our questions; they have over 10 years of history with it.

When any project is proposed, I expect an in-depth work session with the project team. After reviewing the material, the work session would include a question-and-answer period. It is customary to receive material on a Thursday and have a work session on the following Tuesday. On complex issues it is quite common to have several work sessions over a period of months. Code enforcement is just one example of that.

I typically rationalize my position whether I am in support or opposing. Should I oppose something, I often include solutions that could garner my conditional support. I realize it is easy to just say no, but that is not a responsible approach for an elected decision-maker. Too often, political motivations lead to exaggerations and disinformation. I believe government has an obligation to be informative and factual. After all, our citizens expect the truth.

Q: What’s left to do with Easton Ridge, and why do you think it is important for the county to provide quality public housing?

A: The Easton Ridge structures have some water damage and mold issues. Unfortunately, circumstances such as the recession prolonged adequate financing opportunities to repair the lemon we inherited. The good news is rent monies are expected to fully fund the repairs, and those repairs will be under way soon. I was successful in getting full board support for a performance audit of the Housing Authority of Clackamas County, forming a new advisory committee, and bringing in experts in building maintenance and repair to look over the housing inventory of the HACC.

The county does not provide public housing nor do we fund public housing, the county commissioners essentially sit on the HACC board, which owns the housing and implements the federally authorized program. If the county chose not to be in that role, another group would be.

Q: How have your views on Portland-Milwaukie light rail changed since you first ran for commissioner in 2010?

A: My position on PMLR has not changed. My financial concerns have not only been reinforced, but are more serious than I was led to believe. TriMet’s financial outlook is grave.

Q: Why do you think it’s important for voters to weigh in on the Trolley Trail with regard to light rail?

A: The language and spirit of Measure 3-401 (which passed overwhelmingly in September) requires a vote on resources used for light rail, and it just so happens that the park district is obliged to transfer resources to TriMet. The Trolley Trail property is a large part of that.

What I am concerned about now is that many citizens have high expectations that 3-401 would stop PMLR. However, if the prevailing legal opinions stand, there will be some disappointment. It is very clear now that the legal challenge initiated by TriMet will put this matter in a court where a judge will ultimately decide.

Q: What other challenges and opportunities do you see for the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District in the future?

A: The NCPRD is facing similar financial pressures that numerous government entities face — basically expenses are outpacing revenue. The district advisory board will be exploring options that could improve their financial status, efficiencies and park facilities. We have many citizens that care deeply about our parks.

Q: What can Clackamas County focus on in the next few years to maximize local commercial and industrial potential?

A: The county must first prioritize economic development in its top tier of goals. Then we should align our land-use and transportation plans to position our employment lands to a status that will attract new business. Infrastructure is a vital component of that, and it is one of our key responsibilities. Clackamas County has a major shortage of employment land inside the urban growth boundary. Traded-sector businesses often pay above-average wages and stimulate other industries. We are now inventorying all of our employment land and seeking ways to maximize underutilized properties. We are also looking outside the urban growth boundary for typical rural industries such as our lumber mills, farming, food processing, nurseries and other suitable employment opportunities.

Q: Why do you characterize the county’s road system as failing, and how would the county readjust its priorities to address the problems?

A: Our road condition-testing program has identified the roads in jeopardy. The county must maximize every dollar we currently receive for roads.

The remaining shortfall is significant, and the commission must wrestle with ways to address it. The cost to maintain roads is far less than rebuilding a road once the roadbed deteriorates. Our last survey indicated this is a high priority with our citizens. I take that very seriously, and I believe my fellow commissioners will, too.

As the county’s representative on JPACT, transportation is a key responsibility. The Phase 1 Sunrise project is facing a legal challenge partly due to the unfunded Tolbert overpass.

We are hopeful the state can find an additional $25 million. Myself and Commissioner Schrader have been engaged in lobbying efforts for those extra dollars both in Washington D.C., and Salem. Meanwhile, ODOT has indicated the project is going forward. The Highway 212/Sunrise Corridor is home to the largest economic engine in Clackamas County.

The other major transportation issue is Interstate 205 where it bottlenecks from six lanes to four lanes. The Abernethy Bridge over the Willamette River is part of that, and we currently have rush-hour traffic congestion and frequent accidents. It is important to get this identified as a needed project and a priority. Commerce is dependent upon a functioning transportation system where freight can move efficiently.