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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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Clackamas County tears up planning group


Commission votes to oust environmental rep; another resigns

County commissioners, in their latest political shakeup, targeted Clackamas County’s Planning Commission last month, resulting in the dismissal of Brian Pasko, a Boring-area resident who works as Oregon’s Sierra Club director.

Disgusted with county commissioners’ seeming disregard for Pasko’s expertise by not even interviewing him, Beavercreek Hamlet Chairwoman Tammy Stevens resigned from the position that she’s held for about 10 years on the Planning Commission, the county’s most crucial advisory body.

“I’m shocked by this situation,” Stevens said. “It takes about four years to get new planning commissioners up to speed, but he was already a valuable member after two years. He didn’t vote for whatever people think would be the Sierra Club vote.”

County Chairman John Ludlow suggested that his vote against Pasko had more to do with Exclusive Farm Use advocates associated with the Sierra Club, an organization that doesn’t itself get involved with local land-use issues.

“I don’t have any particular rub with the Sierra Club, however, some of the progress that we’ve (been) trying to get, particularly on EFU lands, is stifled by some entities,” Ludlow said.

Once he heard a recording of Ludlow’s comments, Pasko noted that he has never had to make such a land-use decision as a planning commissioner.

“His assertion that I have brought a private agenda to the Planning Commission is completely without foundation whatsoever,” Pasko said. “It shows a complete lack of understanding as to what we do.”

In Pasko’s mind, the “Planning Commission serves the role of taking time to understand complex issues and thoughtfully make recommendations as a team.” When reviewing permitting and zoning concepts, its votes have been almost always unanimous and until recently were generally accepted by county commissioners.

Split decision

County commissioners appointed Jennings Lodge resident Hank Doane to Pasko’s seat on the Planning Commission on June 25 by a 3-2 vote. County Commissioners Martha Schrader and Jim Bernard were opposed.

Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith noted that Doane is vice president of operations for R.S. Davis Recycling, which runs scrap-metal facilities in Clackamas, Hermiston and Gresham.

“We’re lacking an industrial representative on this commission,” Ludlow said. “I think it’s vitally important that we have a diversity on there, so that a person is a user, so to speak, a person that pays the fees, a person is in an industry which we all think is so important be represented on this Planning Commission.”

Smith added that she hoped that Doane’s position in the metals recycling business would help the county find a site for a composting facility.

“Lord knows it’s been so hard for us to get any traction on that issue, especially in this legislative session,” Smith said. “Maybe he can offer some expertise.”

Planning commissioners didn’t have to weigh in on a hearings officer’s reversal of the Clackamas County Planning Department’s decision last year to allow a controversial composting facility in Redland. After large community protests, the officer decided such a facility had no place in the farming community.

“It’d be great to have a compost facility — where does Tootie live? Because she seems really keen to live next to a dump,” Stevens joked.

Bernard, noting that Pasko “did represent the environmental community,” argued that it was also important to retain Pasko’s representation of rural interests.

Schrader echoed concerns of Stevens in recognizing the learning curve for new planning commissioners.

“I see merit in both of these folks,” Schrader said. “I do feel more comfortable in appointing someone who’s already served.”

County commissioners also recently appointed West Linn Planning Commissioner Gail Holmes to the countywide Planning Commission. Although the county’s advisory body deals mostly with unincorporated areas, it now has a majority of folks living in urban areas, an issue that also irks Pasko and Stevens.

County Commissioner Paul Savas, however, considered a majority of planning commissioners from urban areas to be a “better mix.” Savas asked whether the Planning Commission had seven or nine members to make sure that the balance had just tipped in favor of urban areas of the county.

“It’s just unfortunate that I got in the middle of all the political finagling,” Pasko said.

Moving forward

For the new planning commissioner, it was the furthest thing from a political gamut. Working for the family business since 2007, Doane had the opportunity to apply to the county for a planning permit and looked for ways to become more involved.

“Things are always changing politically, but for me it’s about working with the county and trying to help this area be successful,” he said. “I’m not looking to do anything out of the box at this point when I’m just learning the ropes.”

Although the Planning Commission has a lot of important work on its agenda, Stevens resigned rather than face what she saw as inevitable dismissal in a couple years.

“I am not going to work my butt off just to have done to me what was done to Brian,” Stevens said. “I, unfortunately, am not going to spend my extremely limited spare time serving a county who treats people with disrespect, who make uninformed decisions, who finds citizen involvement a burden and the care of citizens less important than the almighty buck.”

At the next Planning Commission meeting tentatively scheduled for July 22, Stevens plans to testify against proposed expansions to allowable uses in industrial parks. Now that’s she’s off the Planning Commission, which has been wrangling with county commissioners and staff on the proposals for months now, she feels freer to be openly hostile to the county’s new direction.

“We undid about 75 percent of what the staff did to give an excellent balance of citizen and industrial consideration,” she said. “If they go much more liberal, then we’re going to have to file an appeal with LUBA, because these zoning changes are going to affect people who weren’t notified.”