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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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Stafford group pushes for county vote on UGB


Residents want advisory vote on November ballot

by: VERN UYETAKE - Mike Miller of the Stafford Hamlet board has long lived and worked in the 4,000-acre area between Lake Oswego, Tualatin and West Linn, and lately he has been involved in a planning effort aiming to ensure Stafford is developed as a unit rather than piecemeal. A separate group has now formed and is advocating for a countywide vote on what should happen in Stafford in the future.A group of Stafford residents is pushing for a countywide vote this year on whether the area between Lake Oswego, Tualatin and West Linn should be brought inside the urban growth boundary in 2016.

The group, called the Citizen Coalition for Self Determination, made the request of county commissioners during a July 9 town hall meeting in West Linn. Although the group is not linked with the Stafford Hamlet’s board of directors, Dave Adams, an original petitioner during the hamlet’s formation years back, said the coalition includes at least eight other former or present board members.

Adams said an advisory vote would show the board of county commissioners how constituents feel about the prospect of future development in Stafford ahead of the next round of discussions on which lands to bring inside of the urban growth boundary.

“Given the impact development out here will have on this community, it seems that might be a fundamental first step the county and cities should do,” Adams said. “If it’s not politically feasible, if there is no real support to do that, you’ve got a lot of people spinning wheels and spending money they shouldn’t spend.”

The roughly 4,000-acre Stafford area between Lake Oswego, Tualatin and West Linn is one of the region’s “urban reserves,” the first places planned for new development once existing urban areas are built out. Every five years, the Metro Council reviews whether the boundary should move to accommodate demands from projected population growth.

The Stafford Hamlet board serves in an advisory capacity to the county, and the county provides information to Metro, the regional government, when it comes time to consider whether more urban land is needed.

“On one hand it appears as though we have a seat at the table, but we’re really kind of in the second row of seats,” Adams said.

He acknowledged that the county’s formal recognition of the hamlet gives the residents a collective voice. But he worries some people come across louder in that process than others.

“If you are amongst the very, very few in the area who actually stand to benefit by developing Stafford, you have a strong voice because you either are a professional or you are a member of a group of landowners who have hired professionals to lobby the county, to lobby the cities, to lobby ... county commissioners and write checks to those people,” he said. “If you’re one of the thousands and thousands of people who live in West Linn or Lake Oswego or the hamlet, who will be shouldering all of the burdens of development, we have a minor voice.

“The vote is the only way to inform county commissioners, to inform Metro and jurisdictions around us (of the opinions of) those of us who will be shouldering these burdens.”

To come inside of the urban growth boundary, an area must have a form of governance, whether it becomes its own city or is brought inside of a neighboring jurisdiction. To date, the cities of Lake Oswego, Tualatin and West Linn have taken positions against urbanization in their backyards.

Planning process underway

Mike Miller, the Stafford Hamlet’s present chairman, said the local board is more concerned about what its residents want than the opinions of those in surrounding cities.

“We’re not interested in a countywide vote,” he said.

Instead, he said, the hamlet is continuing a process to map out how residents think their neighborhoods should look if or when the area comes inside the urban growth boundary.

“That’s what we’re interested in,” Miller said, noting the mapping process could wrap up by the fall. “We’re talking about decades into the future — not tomorrow.”

The planning process began earlier this year and aimed to bring together longstanding opponents. Conflicting views of how the Stafford area should grow go back years, typically pitting conservationists and owners of smaller parcels against developers and owners of large tracts of land. The longstanding divisions are even reflected in the makeup of the Stafford Hamlet’s board, which includes three owners of large properties, three owners of smaller amounts of land and four members elected at-large.

After gaining recognition from the county, the hamlet approved a vision that calls for focusing any dense development near freeway interchanges and keeping many large lots in pastoral settings. The planning effort now underway is supposed to delve deeper into how that vision might look if achieved. Organizers of the work have said they hope to facilitate development of the area as a whole rather than allowing a piecemeal approach.

Commissioners don’t take action

At the Clackamas County commissioners’ recent town hall meeting, county board Chairman John Ludlow acknowledged the ongoing planning process. He said he appreciated that the hamlet’s board and other community members are working to build consensus and voiced some apprehension about Adams’ idea for a countywide advisory vote on bringing Stafford inside the urban growth boundary.

“I’m concerned a vote would occur in the Stafford triangle but (would) include the city of West Linn,” Ludlow said. “I don’t know how that relates. That’s not exactly self-direction.”

Commissioner Tootie Smith also voiced some trepidation about the prospect of a countywide vote on the issue. To Adams, she said, “If we were to take that action right now you have asked for ... it would be viewed very aggressively.”

Commissioner Jim Bernard, however, said he’d support holding an advisory vote. Still, he added, while he isn’t a fan of the regional government in many regards, Metro does offer certain advantages.

“Stafford is the way it is today, thankfully, because of Metro,” Bernard said. “A lot would have happened here in Stafford that many of you would not have liked had Metro not been around to protect many of the communities.”

According to county officials, commissioners have not made a move to consider holding a vote on the issue in November.

Past coverage:
Stafford residents begin planning for growth