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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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Task force presents options for Blue Heron site


Project remains in limbo as environmental issues at the site are assessed

by: TIDINGS FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The city of  West Linn  hopes to  know by  July whether significant redevelopment can be  made  on the  Blue Heron property.Though still in a preliminary stage, the city’s Blue Heron project is making advancements.

A presentation at Monday’s city council meeting demonstrated progress in determining potential uses for the 39-acre site along the Willamette River. The site is near Willamette Park and is the former property of the bankrupt Blue Heron Paper Company.

After Blue Heron declared bankruptcy, Clackamas County’s Water Environment Services purchased the site last spring for $1.75 million with interest in the site’s valuable outfall permits. Those permits will allow WES to release treated wastewater into the Willamette River. WES is working on behalf of the Tri-City Service District and Clackamas County Service District No. 1. CCSD No. 1 and the Tri-City Service District provide wastewater services to most of urbanized north Clackamas County.

The purchase includes the land and environmental assets, including not only the outfall into the Willamette River but also the pipes, easements and existing environmental permits. The districts will use the site’s outfall to meet the challenges of increasingly stringent rules regulating mixing zones and heat discharges into the Willamette River.

A small portion of the site will be reserved for future use by the two districts, while the remaining acreage will be available for other public uses as determined by the city of West Linn. Working with WES, the city of West Linn has drafted a work program for the creation of a master plan for the site.

The lagoon site contains a 15-acre settling pond, which currently has between 5 and 15 feet of sludge at the bottom. Wetlands and habitat conservation areas lie between the pond and the northern edge of the property, which is steeply sloped.

Speaking in front of the council Monday, Planning Director John Sonnen, Associate Planner Sara Javoronok and members of the Blue Heron Redevelopment Task Force revealed 11 potential concepts for the site — whittled down from hundreds of ideas that had come pouring in since initial planning began.

The concepts included both passive and active parks; an interpretive learning center; a community or aquatic center; mixed income and green housing development; high-rise senior condos; high-end housing; a campground; a new public works operations facility; and commercial development.

“We’re kind of at this juncture where we’re trying to figure out what the feasibility of pursuing some of these ideas is,” Sonnen said. “And we’re just on the cusp of finding some of that out. So really the opportunity here was to explain where we’re at with the project, see if the council has any ideas they want us to evaluate — which they don’t — and then just beware of the process going forward.”

Indeed, Sonnen cautioned that the feasibility of these concepts remains to be seen, in large part because of the environmental concerns surrounding the site. The bulk of the property is contained within a 15-acre pond, which for the last 40 years has been used to treat and settle cellulose and other wastewater materials from the former Blue Heron Paper mill in Oregon City.

An environmental assessment of the pond, which was completed back in March of 2012, found about 200,000 cubic yards of sludge containing low levels of contaminants and ranging between 5 and 14 feet in depth. The next step — to be completed no later than August — is for WES to complete its remedial investigation of the site, which will help determine “the nature, extent and distribution of hazardous substances at or emanating for the site” and any “risk to human health and the environment in the context of reasonably likely future land and water uses,” according to a recent memo sent from Sonnen and Javoronok to City Manager Chris Jordan.

“To get rid of the sludge and the comtaminated material there, or render it harmless, they basically have to dry it out,” Sonnen said. “And the cheapest alternative seems to be you dry it out pretty much in place and then take the 15-foot berm that rims it and push it in on top of it. That wouldn’t provide a stable platform to do anything on.”

The hope, according to Sonnen, is to push the sludge to one smaller portion of the site and contain it, which would allow for construction on the remaining acreage.

Whether this is a viable financial option remains to be seen.

“WES has said they’ll do a base level remediation,” Sonnen said. “So we need to figure out what it’s going to cost to go beyond that, and is it going to make economic sense to make that investment to provide for one of those uses?”

Sonnen expects to have a better assessment by July, and the task force will proceed accordingly from that point.