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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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Watershed paddle tour reveals 'gems of habitat'


Setting out in colorful one or two-person watercraft and two giant canoes, more than 60 people had one objective — to paddle down the Willamette River and check out watershed projects along a six-mile stretch from Gladstone to Milwaukie.

And what did they see on Saturday, July 20?

by: PHOTO BY: ELLEN SPITALERI - Eleanore Hunter, vice chairwoman of the Oak Grove Community Council (right), joins other local environmental leaders on Saturday July 20.“Gems of habitat” along the river, said Peter Guillozet, the tour guide on one of the canoes and an ecologist with Third Stream Consulting, who has worked on a number of the projects for Clackamas County.

Paddlers oohed and aahed as they observed herons roosting on decks, watched a gull battling an osprey for a fish, then saw two bald eagles fly by as vultures soared overhead or huddled on tree branches along the river bank.

But they also saw invasive species crowding out native plants on some riverfront properties of individual landowners.

“Homeowners along the river have privileges and rights associated with waterfront living, and they also have some responsibilities,” Guillozet said.

He understands that homeowners want to preserve their river views and have a beautiful landscape, but “they can have an appealing private landscape and at the same time have one that is beneficial to wildlife and the river.”

As an example, he pointed out that many homeowners have left invasive Himalayan blackberry on their property, thinking it provides food for birds, but that only provides “one burst of food,” while a native species would provide food for a longer period.

Although some owners may view landscaping along a riparian or river area as a problem, “I look at it as an opportunity to support multiple species and make something appealing to look at,” Guillozet added.

Connecting with nature

Like so many of the individual projects along the river, the paddle trip resulted from a collaboration among a number of different organizations, nonprofits, county agencies and individuals.

Samantha Johnson and Tonya McLean, both education team members for the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, provided the big canoes, each seating 15 people.

“This stretch of the river has not had a lot of research and planning from official agencies; instead it has been left up to smaller, local groups to get these projects under way,” Johnson said.

She introduced Tonia Burns, natural resource coordinator for North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District, who served as a tour guide in the second canoe, Eleanore Hunter, vice chairwoman of the Oak Grove Community Council, Terry Gibson, vice president of the Oak Lodge Sanitary District Board and Tricia Sears, coordinator for the North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council.

“I love looking at the things from the river view; seeing all the connections and collaborations between watershed councils, agencies and other nonprofits. It takes a lot to get anything accomplished. We each have our strengths and different roles, and we can’t do it by ourselves,” Sears said.

Hunter echoed that thought, adding that on the river “we understand the connectedness of the watershed and people.”

Gibson said the tour was an eye-opening experience for him; as the vice president of the sanitary district, this was the first time I have seen the confluence of the Willamette River with Boardman Creek, the mouth of the watershed basin that I also represent to the NCUWC.” 

For JoAnn Herrigel, sustainability director for the city of Milwaukie, the most valuable part of the trip was hearing comments from Guillozet about the biological aspects of riverfront properties.

“It is interesting how people have taken lawns and turned them into habitat along the riparian areas, and it is not that hard. We had people in our boat who live and work along the river, and they had aha moments.”

Herrigel said that in her job, “we do a lot of looking down at maps, but when I am in a boat, I feel the tangible benefits of what I am doing on a day-to-day basis.”

River tour

The 2013 Willamette River paddle trip and watershed tour of river restoration projects or potential projects, from Gladstone to Milwaukie, took place on Saturday, July 20.

The six-mile route included: Lonesome Bottom and Goat Island backchannel, Rinearson Creek confluence at Meldrum Bar, Mary Young and Turkey creeks confluence, Cedar Island backchannel, Boardman Creek confluence, Hogg Island backchannel, Rivervilla Park, Tryon Creek confluence, Spring Park and Elk Rock Island, Kellogg Creek confluence, Johnson Creek confluence and Jefferson Street Boat Ramp in Milwaukie.

The tour was presented by: The North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council, in partnership with the Big Canoes of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership and the small canoes of Willamette Riverkeeper. The Tryon Creek Watershed Council and the Johnson Creek Watershed Council also took part.