Featured Stories

INSIDERS (Sponsored Content)

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


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Clackamas River rules amendment vote set; cleanup volunteers sought


A 15-mile stretch of the Clackamas River is the focus of two very different entities. The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners and We Love Clean Rivers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to cleaning high-use rivers by mobilizing the river-recreation community in partnership with local environmental, recreation and educational organizations have the river in their sights.

On Thursday, Aug. 15, commissioners will vote on proposed amendments to the County Park Rules Ordinance at its evening business meeting. The amended ordinance was prompted by increased recreational use of the Clackamas River, resulting in public-safety issues and environmental concerns related to drunkenness, littering and trespassing.

by: PHOTO BY MARK GAMBA - A volunteer climbs on rocks to pick up trash next to the Clackamas River.Meanwhile, We Love Clean Rivers organizers are gearing up for the 11th Annual Down the River Clean Up. The event begins at Barton County Park, “where a flotilla of volunteers will raft, kayak, tube, canoe and scuba down a 15-mile stretch of the Clackamas, removing any trash it may encounter along the way to preserve and protect the beautiful and bountiful river,” said Andy Wuest, We Love Clean Rivers event coordinator.

Because his organization’s focus “is to turn river restoration into recreation and art,” Wuest did not wish to comment on the current proposed amendments to park rules. He was more than happy, however, to provide information about the upcoming event and the environmental impacts that result from misuse of the river.

by: PHOTO BY: MARK GAMBA - A boy sorts through beer cans at last year's Clackamas River clean-up activity.Down the River Clean Up

Wuest expects 400 volunteers to descend on Barton Park on Sunday, Sept. 8, as part of the 11th Annual Down the River Clean Up. Pre-registration is required and is open at welovecleanrivers.org/Clackamas.

“By coordinating with kayakers, rafters, anglers, scuba divers and tubers to clean up waterways, We Love Clean Rivers broadens engagement with river-restoration activities, increases the recreation community’s understanding of threats to watershed health, and provides unique opportunities for the community to give back to the incredible resources we use year-round,” Wuest said.

This is a family-friendly event, and education is key, he said, noting that the morning begins with instruction about safety on the river. All boaters are required to wear personal floatation devices at all times, and American Medical Response will provide guards to sweep the river. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office dive team also will be present on the river. 

A garbage scow will accompany the boaters to collect all the trash that is picked up along the way. Some of what is found will be thrown away, but more than half of it will be recycled.

Other pieces of garbage will be turned into art and exhibited in the annual Ripple Art Show, taking place on Thursday, Nov. 7, in the Pearl District, Wuest said.

Environmental impact

The Clackamas River provides more than 300,000 residents with fresh drinking water and is home to old-growth forests, bird species, steelhead and one of the last remaining wild salmon runs in the Lower Columbia Basin, Wuest said.

“Garbage in the river is just bad. Not only should we have a special interest in this river, as it provides many local residents with drinking water, but we are damaging critical habitat for the wildlife that has inhabited these waters long before we settled here,” he said.

“Everyone has seen many pictures of wildlife and their habitat being choked out by rubbish. They are tough pictures to look at, but it is even more disturbing to find a source of this harmful garbage and habitat damage in our very own Clackamas River,” Wuest said.

After checking data collected from the past 10 float-down-the-river events, Wuest provided statistics that put the trash problem in perspective.

by: PHOTO BY MARK GAMBA - Two scuba divers rise from the waters of the Clackamas collecting trash from the bottom of the river, at last year's clean-up activity.“We have already removed 50,580 pounds of garbage to date from our previous 10 efforts. On average, our event removes 5,700 pounds of garbage each year. I wish we could expect to pull out less garbage this year, but anyone who has been on the river this season knows that it is pretty bad this year,” he said.

“Last year we removed 2.22 tons of garbage, 58 percent of which was recycled. Of that weight recycled, there was 269 pounds of aluminum, 534 pounds of glass, 101 pounds of plastic bottles, 1,211 pounds of metal and 25 pounds of soggy cardboard.

“If it has been brought on the river, it has likely been found in or around the river at some point.”

Clean sweep

What: We Love Clean Rivers presents the 11th Annual Down the River Clean Up

When: 9 a.m. until late afternoon Sunday, Sept. 8

Where: From Barton Park to Clackamette Park

Details: For full details about the event and to pre-register, visit welovecleanrivers.com/clackamas.

There are many land and water volunteer leadership positions available. Read the complete event guide at the above website or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up.