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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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City mulls expansion of police force, boundary lines


Milwaukie public-safety advocates expressed their anger last week about having not enough replacements in sight for retiring police officers in the wake of the city’s potential acquisition of the Three Creeks neighborhood and a consultant’s study of police staffing that would be needed to cover criminal activity in new city territory.

Citizens appointed to advise elected officials are concerned that a Milwaukie police captain is being asked to cover duties of a nonuniformed clerk in the department who’s retiring after 33 years of service. Milwaukie Police Department Capt. David Rash is expected to fill in for Jill Tate, the retiring confidential secretary to Police Chief Bob Jordan.

In response to the city’s policy to delay replacing positions to help pay off the rest of its $5 million light-rail obligation, Milwaukie Public Safety Advisory Committee members arrived in force at City Hall on Thursday evening to show their support for a unanimous letter of concern to the City Council. Committee Chairman Don Wiley, a representative nominated by the Linwood neighborhood, warned the City Council that the police department already is down two full-time officers, and it takes at least 18 months to hire new officers and train them to the point that they can patrol on their own.

“With the light rail coming in, we need to have a police department that is fully staffed,” Wiley said. “If an officer were injured or resigned, in addition to those we know of who are retiring, we could be in a difficult position even if we didn’t have light rail or any expansion.”

Councilor Dave Hedges said he was the angriest that he’s been since he was elected to the City Council in 2010, saying “the lunatics are running the asylum” if the city can’t replace people in the police department, but can find money to employ consultants to study staffing there.

“That is disgusting to do that to the police department,” Hedges said.

Mayor Jeremy Ferguson noted that the annexation of the Three Creeks area is only in its initial review. Chief Jordan has expressed his opposition to hiring nonweapon-carrying officers, but Ferguson wanted a review to look at the possibility of community resource officers and reassigning Tate’s duties.

“I understood this to be the track that the city manager’s office was asked to perform,” Ferguson said, referring to a previous meeting of elected officials on June 20. “From my understanding of that individual’s role, I would question whether we should rehire that position one-for-one.”

Every time a position comes open, the city “steps back” and assesses the necessity of the position, said Teri Bankhead, assistant to City Manager Bill Monahan, who was on vacation until Monday, July 29. Ferguson noted that his “first order of business” when Monahan returns will be to discuss the police department.

Annexation considerations

City officials were interested in annexing the Three Creeks area to gain control of land where Clackamas County had wanted to build the controversial extension of Harmony Road.

But of foremost concern for Milwaukie is money to pay its light-rail debt to TriMet, staffing cuts and a potential library expansion. Light rail will cause an estimated $40,000 to $50,000 hit to Milwaukie’s property-tax rolls due to properties TriMet acquired and took off the tax rolls. Property owners in newly annexed areas would see a tax increase of $3.51 per $1,000 assessed value.

Annexation of 14 homeowners would cause about a $700 annual tax increase in a typical $200,000 home. Clackamas Community College wants to annex its Harmony Campus there into the city, but as a governmental agency, it wouldn’t have to pay for any tax increase.

Consultants recommended capturing a section of the Three Creeks area that already is considered by many to be a portion of the city. Increased police presence needed for the area would put the city an estimated $770,000 in the hole initially before tax revenues start coming in to reverse the funding gap.

Business analyst Pat Mobley, whom the city hired in January to look at annexation and police staffing, recommended that the City Council consider the double-majority option to annex. Under state annexation laws, the city would be able to proceed if more than 50 percent of the approximately 80 registered voters and half of the 53 landowners in the geographic area consent in writing to the annexation.

Police staffing

Mobley said, based on initial crime data, five to seven additional officers would be needed to cover the annexation at roughly $120,000 per recruit for training, salary and benefits. Chief Jordan indicated back in April that he would be comfortable with five officers.

Presented with Mobley’s findings in June, Councilor Mark Gamba suggested rather than expect the “worst-case scenario,” the city, which has a higher number of officers than comparable jurisdictions, should simply continue to make sure that its police coverage remains better.

“What if we bring on police officers we’d like to have more slowly?” Gamba said. “If we can see a way to feather that in as the income comes in, then I’m more interested.”

Hedges argued it’s not just the extra time that police take to respond to calls. He noted that Gladstone is too far away, and CCSO is spread too thin.

“We only really have Portland for backup,” Hedges said.

Ferguson suggested “expending some of our political capital” to get Milwaukie excused from responding to calls in Portland and unincorporated areas of Clackamas County.

Last month Monahan noted it might not make sense that a MPD sergeant currently coordinates maintenance of vehicles, and a full officer isn’t always needed to act as a resource for students at a city’s high school.

“We have a really high call volume compared to similar jurisdictions,” Monahan said.

Hedges blasted Monahan’s perceived need to get past the “big hurdle” of a proposed light-rail and library ballot measure first.

“One is bringing money in because we don’t have it, and the other is spending money that we don’t have,” Hedges said.

It appeared last week that Hedges could be outnumbered on the City Council when it comes to looking at possible ways to shake up the police department. Certain types of consultants add value to city governance, argued City Council members Gamba and Scott Churchill.

“Having an outside perspective is valuable when you’re analyzing an entire department,” Gamba said.

Hedges countered that it didn’t make sense to fund light rail through police department cuts, especially if it led to increased crime or the department losing the state accreditation it worked so hard to obtain this year.

“If we weren’t short of money then it would make sense to bring in a consultant to study the police department,” he said.