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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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Metro survey: Put money in transit, roads


Politicians are normally reluctant to raise transportation-related charges and fees, including gas taxes.

But a majority of people who responded to a recent Metro survey said they’d be willing to pay more to drive, provided the money went to fix potholes, repair and expand roads, and expand public transportation and bike and pedestrian systems.

Increasing the coverage, frequency and reliability of public transportation received the most support from the respondents, closely followed by repairing roads to improve traffic flow and connecting more places with sidewalks, pedestrian walkways and separated bike paths.

Responses differed by county, however. For example, Multnomah County respondents were most willing to pay more to drive. A majority of Washington County respondents were not, however.

It is unclear whether the results will encourage any politicians to propose increasing transportation-related costs to fund such improvements, however.

Metro sponsored the online survey as part of its Climate Smart Communities project. The regional elected government started the project in response to a directive from the 2007 Legislature to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles in the Portland area.

The Metro Council is not scheduled to complete the project until late 2014, shortly before presenting its recommendations to the 2015 Legislature. Options will be discussed with advisory committees and the public before that time. They are expected to include a range of approaches, such as encouraging more people to live closer to where they work, play and shop.

To read the survey and register to participate in future surveys, visit optinpanel.org.

Opinions differ by county

Survey results present both challenges and opportunities to Metro. For starters, only 32 percent of the respondents are familiar with the legislative requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Two-thirds are not familiar with the requirement.

Despite that, 70 percent of respondents support the goal of the Metro project. They do not believe enough is being done about climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the region. Seventy-nine percent of Multnomah County respondents feel that way, followed by 59 percent of those in Washington County and 52 percent of those in Clackamas County.

Translating concern into action is apparently difficult, however. Driving alone is still the most common way the respondents get around in the region, with nearly 80 percent doing so on a daily or weekly basis. Driving alone is most common in Clackamas County, where 88 percent of respondents do so, followed by Washington County at 86 percent and Multnomah County at 71 percent.

Three in four respondents said they would like more transportation choices, however. The greatest demand came from Multnomah County respondents at 79 percent, followed by Washington County at 71 percent and Clackamas County at 66 percent.

Most respondents also said they would use alternative transportation more, under certain conditions.

For example, 80 percent or more of respondents in all three counties said they would use public transportation more if it got them where they wanted to go in about the same time as driving.

Large numbers of people in the survey also said they would use public transportation more if it were more reliable, easier to access, and felt safer.

Three in four also agreed they would bike or walk more often if their destinations were closer to where they lived. More than half — 57 percent — said they would bike or walk more if there were more bicycle paths and sidewalks in their neighborhoods, and they knew it would be safe. There were no significant differences among the responses by county.

According to the survey, more frequent transit service would have the largest impact on reducing the amount they drive. Sixty-four percent of respondents agreed with that statement, with the greatest support in Multnomah County at 74 percent. That compares to 64 percent in Washington County and 55 percent in Clackamas County.

Paying more splits the region

A majority of the respondents said they are willing to pay more for such improvements — provided they are part of a balanced package that includes road repairs and expansions, too.

According to the survey, 69 percent of respondents support paying more for gasoline, parking and other transportation-related costs under such conditions. Support was greatest in Multnomah County at 75 percent, followed by Clackamas County at 59 percent.

Only 39 percent of Washington County respondents were willing to pay more to drive, however. Perhaps significantly, Washington County already has a countywide road tax. The other two counties do not.

When asked to prioritize spending during the next 10 to 20 years, 23 percent chose increasing the coverage, frequency and reliability of public transportation. Next highest, at 21 percent, was fixing potholes, repairing roads and improving traffic flow. That was followed at 19 percent by connecting more places with sidewalks, pedestrian paths and separated bicycle paths.

The priorities varied by county, however. Improving public transportation was the top choice for 25 percent of Multnomah County respondent. In contrast, road work was the No. 1 priority in Clackamas County at 26 percent and Washington County at 22 percent.

Pros and cons of surveys

The online survey was managed by DHM Research, a Portland polling firm. It is one of a series of Opt In surveys managed by the Portland firm for Metro and other clients. The survey was conducted between March 26 and April 8. A total of 2,835 registered Opt In panelists participated in it.

The Opt In panelists are not a scientific sample of the tri-county area. They tend to be older, better educated and more likely to live in Multnomah County and be registered Democrats.

Those who responded to the survey were similar. For example, 63 percent live in Multnomah County, 25 percent live in Washington County and 12 percent live in Clackamas County. More than 80 percent of the people responding to the survey have completed four or more years of college.

But the number who participated in the survey is far higher than those normally contacted in conventional polls. It is also more than Metro usually hears from through conventional public outreach methods, such as open houses.

The Metro Council will review the survey results and other information related to the Climate Smart Communities project later this year.

In advance of that, the survey results were presented to the Transportation Policy Alternatives Committee on Friday, April 26. The 21-member committee is comprised of technical staff from governments in the region. It advises the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, which is comprised of elected officials from Metro and other governments in the region.

The committee unanimously recommended that the project proceed to the next phase.