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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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LO launches work on river pump station


Permit sets limits on summer water withdrawals to protect fish

The Army Corps of Engineers has issued a permit to Lake Oswego to build a new water pumping system on the Clackamas River, removing the final obstacle to start construction on a facility that will allow the city to share drinking water with Tigard.by: FILE PHOTO - Construction is now underway on Lake Oswego's water intake facility on the Clackamas River in Gladstone, shown here in a 2010 file photo. Over the next couple of years, the old facility will be replaced with a new one capable of serving both Lake Oswego and Tigard.

The water intake facility in Gladstone and associated pipelines in the Willamette River are among a handful of projects planned by the Lake Oswego-Tigard Partnership. The $250 million water infrastructure effort also includes a new reservoir in Lake Oswego, a bigger water treatment plant in West Linn and a pump station in Tigard, as well as additional pipelines. If all goes according to plan, the new system could be up and running by December 2015.

The Corps permit that arrived late last week includes a biological opinion from the National Marine Fisheries Service required under the Endangered Species Act. The agencies concluded the project, just upstream of the Willamette River, will not jeopardize the survival of five threatened fish species such as upper Willamette River spring chinook salmon, lower Columbia River coho and steelhead.

“Our action will not result in a ‘take’ of endangered species or habitat — a take being harm or harassment,” said Joel Komarek, Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership project director. “That was an important finding.”

However, the agency did find that, during certain times in the summer, when stream flows are typically at their lowest and the public’s demand for water is at its highest, Lake Oswego and Tigard’s planned withdrawals from the Clackamas River could result in a slight increase in the remaining water’s temperature, and that could pose problems for fish.

As a result, the Lake Oswego-Tigard Partnership will have to limit the amount of water it takes from the river in late summer.

The actual reduction will vary according to flows recorded on an upstream gauge, but officials believe the limit could by reduced by about 5 million gallons on some days. The restrictions will be in place between Aug. 21 and Sept. 30 each year.

Outside of that period, the facility could draw up to 38 million gallons each day to provide water to both Lake Oswego and Tigard.

Komarek said the cities have a variety of options for managing how much water they tap when limits are imposed.

“One is using water Tigard stores in its aquifer storage and recovery system,” he said. That system can store 400 million gallons of water, he said. In addition, the partnership can store at least 50 million gallons in the cities’ above-ground reservoirs, and both cities have curtailment plans in place to encourage conservation.

Other conservation and protection measures outlined in the permit call for taking extra precautions during construction, which includes building a cofferdam this summer so work can continue on the facility over the winter and in subsequent years.

Throughout the process, officials will make sure to monitor turbidity in the water and fish salvage efforts, Komarek said. Crews will also be responsible for reporting details about activities that could harm fish — for example, counting the number of blows from an impact hammer and reporting that figure to the National Marine Fisheries Service.

And any of the in-water work at the site is limited to specific time periods to protect species making their way through the river. Typically that period spans July 15 to Aug. 31.

Because the city received its permit more than seven months later than expected, crews are now making up for lost time. The city has obtained an extension to conduct in-water work through Sept. 30. It’s unclear whether another extension will be sought.

“We’re going to get construction started,” Komarek said. “Hopefully things go very well and we don’t run into any surprises that might cause a slowdown in the schedule.”

He wasn’t sure whether the delayed start to construction could lead to overtime work for the crews, which might bump up the project costs.

Last week, the Lake Oswego City Council approved selling $101 million in bonds to finance the water partnership projects, which together form its largest infrastructure investment ever. Lake Oswego and Tigard have increased residents’ water rates to pay back the bonds.

Meanwhile, Lake Oswego is defending its water rights in the Oregon Court of Appeals. The case is likely to be heard late this year, officials said.

Energy Trust incentive means savings for water partnership

The Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership has reached an agreement with Energy Trust of Oregon.

The Energy Trust of Oregon has agreed to an incentive offer to Lake Oswego to use more efficient pumps and pump drives at its water treatment plant in West Linn. The $292,000 offer represents 50 percent of the value of the cost to install those more efficient pumps and drives, according to the partnership.

Related coverage:
In midst of appeals, LOT project moves forward