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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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Projects aim to relieve growing road congestion


Local elected officials are pushing for new state transportation projects throughout the region to fight increasing congestion.

They include a freeway widening project in Clackamas County, the rebuilding of a busy freeway interchange in Portland, and yet-to-be identified transportation improvements in Washington County.

Funding for these project still has not been identified. But the push for them is raising the stakes even more for supporters of the Columbia River Crossing. They hope to revive some version of the $3.5 billion project if Gov. John Kitzhaber calls the Oregon Legislature into special session this summer.

by: 2009 FILE PHOTO OF GREEN LINE - Congestion along Interstate 205 is the subject of Clackamas County commissioners' letter this summer to the state advocating for widening.Because Washington refused to fund its share of the Interstate Bridge replacement and freeway improvement project, that’s considered a long shot, at best. If some form of the CRC cannot be salvaged, a number of smaller projects related to it eventually may be proposed. But they likely will have to compete for funding with other projects that have been on the drawing board for a long time, along with the new ones that are beginning to gain support.

One proposed project would widen Interstate 205 from four to six lanes between the Highway 99E and Stafford Road interchanges. The Clackamas County Commission sent a letter to Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett on June 25 calling for the widening project. The rest of the 37-mile freeway already is six lanes wide.

According to the letter, the five-mile, four-lane stretch is a chokepoint that will only grow worse as the region’s population increases.

“Attention to this issue is needed if we are to preserve the reliability of the regional highway system for businesses, industries and residences,” according to the letter. Garrett has not yet responded to it.

Solutions study

A highway project in Clackamas County also will need more state money to be completed. Ground was broken on the first phase of the Sunrise Corridor on July 31. Using $130 million approved by the 2009 Legislature, ODOT is building a new two-lane state highway from I-205 to Southeast 122nd Avenue. Some of the money also will be used for county road improvements related to the work. The full project calls for completing the highway to 172nd Avenue and reconfiguring I-205 for better access. Those funds have not yet been secured.

Another new proposal would rebuild the busy Broadway/Weidler interchange on I-5 in Northeast Portland. Mayor Sam Adams worked with the Oregon Department of Transportation before he left office to draft a plan to ease the congestion and improve safety there. It calls for the reconstruction of both I-5 and city streets in the area. No budget or schedule has been set for it yet.

The Legislature already has agreed to help Washington County seek solutions to its growing congestion problems. The 2013 session approved $1.5 million for the Washington County Transportation Solutions Study, an idea first proposed by the Hillsboro City Council late last year.

At the time, alternative transportation advocates accused the council of trying to revive the Westside Bypass, a plan to build a new freeway from I-5 near Wilsonville to U.S. 26 at Hillsboro. Mayor Jerry Willey responded that the council was only calling for a study of the worsening traffic situation. For example, high-tech manufacturers in Hillsboro like Intel and SolarWorld are finding it increasingly difficult to get their goods to the Port of Portland, especially during rush hour.

State Sen. Bruce Starr of Hillsboro convinced lawmakers to give the county enough money to get such a study started. County transportation officials now are holding discussions with potential partners and stakeholders to determine the scope and schedule of the study. Future legislatures will decide whether to fund any of its recommendations.

Oregon-only bridge?

All of these projects must be included in the Regional Transportation Plan approved by Metro for them to be funded. That is where they eventually may compete for funds with remnants of the Columbia River Crossing.

Kitzhaber declared the CRC dead when Washington House Republicans refused to fund their state’s share of it. At the time, Kitzhaber directed ODOT to recommend smaller projects to reduce congestion and improve safety on I-5 from Hayden Island to the Washington side of the Interstate Bridge.

The 2013 Oregon Legislature agreed to sell $450 million in bonds to fund the state’s share of the CRC. That commitment expires in September. If Kitzhaber calls lawmakers into special session before then, the deadline could be extended if the CRC is reconsidered as an Oregon-only project. If not, the commitment likely will lapse because ODOT has not yet begun the process of identifying the smaller projects.

Based on the problems identified during the lengthy CRC planning process, they could include reinforcing the existing I-5 bridge to better withstand earthquakes. The project also called for rebuilding the interchange to Hayden Island. State transportation officials might agree to that if the city of Portland annexes West Hayden Island so that the Port of Portland can develop it. That decision will not be made for several months at the earliest, however.