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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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Vintage trolley almost ready to roll in Lake Oswego


by: VERN UYETAKE - Gage Geist, of Milwaukie, on the right, and Itamar Reuven, who lives in California but used to live in Lake Oswego, stand in a vintage trolley that arrived in Lake Oswego on Tuesday. The two 18-year-olds are among about 20 volunteers who help operate the Willamette Shore Trolley.Several years after the old Willamette Shore Line trolley sputtered to its final stop, a new car is nearly ready to roll down the line between Lake Oswego and Portland.

The vintage trolley, a replica of the Council Crest streetcars that ran in Portland a century ago, arrived Tuesday in Lake Oswego.

by: VERN UYETAKE - The newly leased trolley car, a replica of Portland's Council Crest cars from a century ago, seats 40 people in wicker seats with walkover-style backrests.Two replica cars are coming to Lake Oswego on a free lease, through 2018, from Vintage Trolley Inc. in Portland, although only one has arrived so far. They’re among four historical reproductions built in Iowa in the late 1980s. TriMet owns the other two, which still run on Portland’s MAX tracks a handful of days throughout the year.

It’s unclear exactly when Willamette Shore service will return, but Rod Cox, the trolley’s general manager, said he hopes it will come online in early summer. The schedule and fare also remain undecided at this point.

For now, workers will be testing whether the new car will work with their existing power source — there’s no overhead electrical line for the trolley to tap for power, and so instead it is tethered to a generator — and training volunteer motormen to run it.

Members of the nonprofit Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society operate the trolley, which runs on a line overseen by a government consortium including the cities of Lake Oswego and Portland, Metro, Clackamas County, TriMet and the Oregon Department of Transportation. The consortium bought the Willamette Shore Line right of way in the 1980s in hopes of preserving the historical rail line for a future mass-transit route, and its members pay dues to cover the cost of maintenance and operations.

The trolley typically travels about six miles through wooded and parklike settings along the Willamette River, over trestles, through a tunnel and past stately mansions before arriving in Portland.

“My passengers tell me this is the most scenic rail line in the Pacific Northwest,” Cox said.

Local trolley service has been on hiatus since the line’s antique trolley car broke down a few years ago. It has been a bumpy ride trying to restore service since then.

When the line eventually reopens, the trolley won’t be able to run along the full route because of construction happening at the Sellwood Bridge. Instead, it will go just under two miles, to the Riverwood crossing in the Dunthorpe area, before heading back to the depot just off Foothills Road and State Street, or Highway 43, in Lake Oswego.

In addition to the Sellwood Bridge project, trolley supporters are awaiting the completion of construction work, expected to wrap up by June, on the Elk Rock Tunnel, just north of Lake Oswego.

“We’re looking forward to having the trolley back up and running,” said Brant Williams, director of the city’s economic and capital development department. “The more historic vintage trolleys running on the line should be a nice amenity and hopefully an attraction.”

Dave Rowe has been working on the vintage trolleys since they arrived in Portland in the early 1990s. On Tuesday, looking over Lake Oswego’s new addition, he noted that the car is made of solid oak and filled with handcrafted details.

“It’s built like a yacht,” Rowe said.

The replica streetcars have red and cream exteriors with wood concealing their steel frames. Inside, each features plenty of carved oak, brass rails and leather hand grips. The wicker seats have “walkover,” or reversible, backrests, and there’s an optional dry bar that can be installed for special events. The trolley can be chartered for school tours, corporate meetings or special occasions such as weddings. It typically seats up to 40 people.

It was loaded onto a trailer for the trip from Portland to Lake Oswego on Tuesday. At 15 feet tall, it required two pilot trucks and stopped traffic at points along Highway 43, as workers had to maneuver into oncoming traffic to avoid damaging roadside trees.

by: VERN UYETAKE - Hal Rosene, superintendent of operations, and Dave Rowe, better known to some as 'Trolley Dave,' stand in the newest Willamette Shore Trolley car, which could be running between Lake Oswego and Portland as soon as June.Two of the trolley’s younger operators were on hand this week to welcome the new car to town.

Milwaukie resident Gage Geist, 18, and former Lake Oswego resident Itamar Reuven, also 18, who now lives in Cupertino, Calif., have been volunteering to help operate Willamette Shore Trolley cars for years.

“I like the complexity of it,” said Geist, who began training as an apprentice to Cox when he was 9 years old. He said working on streetcars requires “knowing the mechanics of how things work,” along with teamwork, as two-person crews operate the trolley.

“I always thought it was fun,” Reuven added. “When I went to Waluga (junior high school) there wasn’t anything to do on the weekends, so I came here one day.”

He said apprenticeship has provided an opportunity to practice customer service, discipline and multitasking, skills that could be useful in the career of which he dreams. Both Geist and Reuven hope to pilot airplanes one day.

“You have to have a passion for it, for sure,” Geist said.by: VERN UYETAKE - Rod Cox, the Willamette Shore Trolley's general manager, stands next to the line's new trolley car by the old railroad depot at 311 N. State St. in Lake Oswego. He hopes to have the line back up and running this summer.