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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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Metro to see grant fight on OC, Happy Valley avenues


Oregon City is not giving up on its bid to get Metro’s $4.58 million for Molalla Avenue projects.

Although Mayor Doug Neeley was voted down 8-1 at an initial Metro grant committee meeting, he and other Oregon City leaders hope the project from Beavercreek Road to Highway 213 will address travel safety and connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists with modified lane configurations, new curb alignments and median treatments.

Committee members last month favored Happy Valley’s bike-lane and sidewalk project on Southeast 129th Avenue to provide safe connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists between Mountain Gate Road and Scott Creek Lane. Happy Valley’s 129th Avenue project is only asking Metro for $2.72 million. Jason Tuck, city manager for Happy Valley, said he would be very surprised if JPACT were to flip-flop on a Clackamas County committee’s decision after Metro indicated that it wanted to have more input from the local jurisdictions.

“Decisions get made, and you suck it up and proceed,” Tuck said. “Sure, anything can happen, but what has happened in the past is that JPACT affirms the C4 decision, and to change that would be a significant deviation.”

Ted Leybold, Metro transportation planning manager, said “it will be interesting to see what happens” when citizens rally behind various projects at the full county committee meeting on Sept. 5, but Neeley had a bit more hope for when the regional transportation committee starts reviewing plans on Sept. 12.

Across the Portland region, Metro is preparing to give out $94.58 million this year in “flexible” funding to jurisdictions promising to spend the federal dollars on bicycle, pedestrian and/or freight transportation projects in the next three to five years. The Metro Council is scheduled to hear regional transportation committee recommendations on Oct. 10.

“We’ll take our arguments forward, and unless they find our arguments very persuasive, it’s hard for me to imagine that both JPACT and the Metro Council will ignore Clackamas County’s recommendation,” Neeley said, noting that Oregon City has spent about $10,000 so far on $1 million in expected design costs.

Both projects will help out low-income populations, leaders say.

Oregon City Police Chief Jim Band has emphasized, as criteria for the grant, the underserved populations in that area that the Molalla Avenue project would serve. There are three assisted living facilities along this stretch of roadway whose residents frequently walk, scoot or wheel themselves to the Fred Meyer, Goodwill, BiMart and post office that also are along that corridor.

“I think these populations are more defined as underserved than Happy Valley, which is an affluent neighborhood,” Band said. “There are also several apartment complexes and a huge trailer park (I think about 200 homes) behind 1840 Molalla Avenue; lots of foot and bike traffic.”

Tuck strongly disagreed with Band’s assessment, saying that Happy Valley, indeed, has low-income populations on opposite ends of 129th Avenue who have no way to walk along the important thoroughfare.

“The reality check said that Oregon City already had these sidewalks,” Tuck said. “We have these large populations centers on either side of 129th Avenue, and they can’t get to the other side by biking or walking.”

Other Metro grants

Oregon City and Happy Valley projects were among the recipients of the third round of Community Planning and Development Grants that Metro Council approved on Aug. 15.

Happy Valley got $53,100 for its Rock Creek Employment Center Infrastructure Funding Plan, and Oregon City's Willamette Falls Legacy Project got $300,000.

Happy Valley will create an infrastructure funding plan to encourage “development ready” sites in what's identified as a Regionally Significant Industrial/Employment Area with approximately 200 buildable acres.

The purpose of Oregon City's grant is to complete a master plan and rezoning of the former Blue Heron paper-mill site.

This planning project aims to respect the history and nature on the 23 arces while providing needed certainty to developers by removing or reducing barriers to construction projects.

"This project also complements nicely the city of West Linn’s grant award for a master plan and financing strategy for the Bolton area on the west end of the Arch Bridge," said Metro spokesman Ken Ray.

Twenty projects across the region received funding for a total of $4.2 million. Metro targets these grants at projects to assist cities and counties in getting specific areas ready for development. Governments identify these areas to bring increased housing options and more jobs for their residents.

Created in 2006, the program distributed a total of $9.9 million in the Metro region in its previous two grant cycles. Funding for these planning grants comes from a regional excise tax on construction permits.

A screening committee of development professionals, architects, planners and Metro Chief Operating Officer Martha Bennett evaluated 26 grant applications from local governments. Councilors reviewed the funding recommendations and made the final funding decisions unanimously.