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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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One man's ripple effect touches river's life, history


Thirty pounds of smoked chinook salmon are tied to cedar planks, leaning into the fire pit.

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: NICK FOCHTMAN - Willamette Jet Boat Capt. Andy Mass leads a breathtaking and informative Discovery Cruise tour on the Clackamas and Willamette rivers.The last balls of dough have been flattened and dropped into a vat of hot oil for fry bread.

The fresh lavender whipped cream, berries, roasted corn, squash, beans and greens stand at the ready.

The Native salmon bake is a lavish yet simple feast fit for 44 hungry jet boat passengers, who’ve just been on a three-hour Willamette River cruise.

“Oh, that was absolutely incredible,” swooned one passenger last Saturday while stepping off the boat on the shore of the Clackamas River in Oregon City.

Other guests beamed as they headed up a gravel path to a rustic 3-acre site called the River Resource Museum, built 22 years ago by Jerry Herrmann and his merry band of volunteers and employees.

This summer, Herrmann will bolster his partnership with Willamette Jetboat Excursions that lets visitors see, smell, hear, feel and — yes, taste — what the river has to offer.

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: NICK FOCHTMAN - A native salmon bake luncheon awaits guests as they dock near Clackamette Park. His Discovery Cruise tour takes visitors from Willamette Falls to Sauvie Island, a 60-mile round trip that passes under the city’s 13 bridges and features a revolving cast of experts — a geologist, natural historian, artist and Port of Portland officials — who take turns narrating as the boat idles at various points along the way. (Only this particular cruise went from the falls to

Sauvie. The others go from the falls to Swan Island and from the upper falls to Champoeg-Newberg.)

“My desire is that it gives people hope and an attitude that there is a future for both people and wildlife,” says Herrmann, 67, a guide and interpreter for the Portland Spirit and Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler.

“I want to see people and wildlife coexist wherever they can,” he says.

Along with the other people enjoying the river by

jetboat, kayak and stand-up paddleboard this summer, Herrmann and his crew just want folks to get out to the water and appreciate it.

“People love nature,” says Bryan Boyce, chairman of the Clackamas County River Basin Council and Oregon City’s Natural Resource Committee, who provides the natural history narration. “When they actually get a chance to learn something about it, they’re overjoyed.”

Youth opportunities

Herrmann has been revitalizing people, places and things for decades.

With help from some of his young charges, he cleared the debris and blackberries that overran a former dump site where the River Resource Museum now stands, at the base of an old decommissioned Oregon City water tower.

The site became ground zero for Herrmann’s nonprofit Earth Crusaders Program, which rescues unwanted plants — everything from apple trees to tiger lilies — to use for sprucing up streetscapes in West Linn, Oregon City, Damascas, Estacada and Portland.

The work is done by the at-risk youth, some of them recovering addicts, whom Herrmann takes in and employs.

“If they made a commitment to be sober, I will employ them,” says Herrmann, who admits to battling a brief cocaine addiction at age 48. “I’m not going to be their baby sitter.”

Putting them to work is a fallback to the WPA days, Herrmann says, “when they get out and do stuff with the government helping to support the projects you can’t do otherwise.”

The work is supported by grants from the Clackamas County Tourism & Cultural Affairs office and the Clackamas County Arts Alliance. All proceeds from the Discovery Cruises also go back to the Earth Crusaders’ work.

Herrmann knows people can — and do — reinvent themselves. They just need a chance.

“I have a strong belief that we’re facing a huge problem in this nation and in the world, that people have very little opportunity for employment,” he says. “We have to figure out a way to get people involved in meaningful work, other than just placating them with temporary (federal stimulus) funds.”

Herrmann cites the new Portland Arts Tax, saying he’s all for it, as a sculptor and art lover himself. But he asks, “What are we doing to stimulate youth opportunities? I’d want a 1 percent set-aside for youth employment.”

He’s talking to local legislators about the idea.

This summer, the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps will support his training of eight to 10 youth, who’ll work on the cruises and go to local hotels and motels to learn how they operate.

Songs and stories

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: NICK FOCHTMAN - Jerry Herrmann's River Resource Museum pays homage to the natural history, art, native culture, geology and economic development of the site. He always looks for balance. In the case of his own addiction, Herrmann went through drug rehabilitation and redirected his energy to his activities with New Hope Church in Happy Valley, as well as the aptly named Living Water Bible Church in Canby.

At the same time, he says he had to dial back his workaholic tendencies because his stress level was too high.

So he turned to singing to relax — in a barbershop quartet. For 13 years, off and on, he’s been part of a group that calls themselves the Oregon Trail Pitchpipers.

Out of that spun a quartet called the New History Minstrels, which for the past two years has been performing on the Discovery Cruises by teaching history through song and word.

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: NICK FOCHTMAN - Discovery Tour participants eat a salmon dinner in the riverside park after a ride in the jet boat.Ranging in age from 63 to 71, the group members — Herrmann along with Steve Hurst, Bob Pearson and Ken Cox — serenade passengers on the boat rides to both entertain and inform.

“We’re opening the state fair on the 21st of August,” says Herrmann, who sings baritone. “How much more blessed can we be.”

The humor comes from the banter. One shtick tells how the Clackamas River got its name (from the “clunk, clunk, clunk” of the boats on the bedrock).Another talks about Alphonso Boone, an Oregon pioneer who was the grandson of Daniel Boone, and was the namesake for Boones Ferry.

To spread the love of barbershop quartet (and introduce it to the younger set), Herrmann and his group take their act to local schools. They will also teach songs to their summer youth corps kids.

Last Saturday afternoon, Capt. Andy Mass, owner of Willamette Jetboat Excursions, took his boat full of passengers on the first three-hour tour he’s done of the Willamette.

Usually that’s too long because people need to use the bathroom, he says. But he made pit stops along the way, and this extended tour had all the bells and whistles he’s perfected as a captain of 17 years.

He pointed out everything from the beach locals know as “Little Waikiki,” just a few miles north of Willamette Falls, to the circle-shaped petroglyphs left by Native Americans on the rocks at the falls, which marked their families’ fishing spots.

The falls — the 40-foot-high horseshoe-shaped waterfall visible from the bluffs at Oregon City — are awe-inspiring this time of year.

Part of the beauty of the urban landscape is knowing the history of the old paper mills, and the fact that it’s a major site for salmon migration.

Less than two weeks ago an Irvine, Calif., development company signed a purchase agreement for the Blue Heron Paper Mill, with the intent to develop a mixed use of office, retail and residential space.

Herrmann isn’t sure if that’s the best use of the site, but he doesn’t want the history to be forgotten.

The salmon migration should be celebrated, he says, citing Tanner Springs Park in the Pearl District as an example of a perfect mix of art, history and natural space.

Regarding the paper mill, “All the recycling techniques for the paper industry in the world happened at that site,” he says, ticking off the accomplishments of Gov. Tom McCall. “It’s a real opportunity. The question is, what do you do to celebrate the uniqueness?”

Like with everything he talks about, Herrmann takes it back full circle.

“History,” he says, “it can be revised, it can be retold, but you don’t want to forget it.”