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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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New judge elected, charter amendments approved


West Linn elected new judge and made several changes to its city charter during the special election Tuesday.

Out of 16,571 registered voters, just 2,952 ballots, or 17.8 percent, were returned.

With just one choice on the ballot, West Linn residents elected Rhett Bernstein as the new municipal court judge. Bernstein has been serving as the interim judge after Heather Karabeika moved to a spot on the Clackamas County Circuit Court on June 1.

Bernstein had 1,839 votes, or 93 percent, with 138 write-ins for others.

“I’m humbled and honored to take over a position filled by such capable people before me,” Bernstein said. “I will work really hard to do my best to represent the people of West Linn in the capacity of the municipal court.”

Bernstein has been a prosecuting attorney for the city since 2007, grew up in West Linn, having moved back as an adult in 2005. He will serve the remainder of Karabeika’s term, which expires Dec. 31, 2014.

“I care about this community and this is a good place for me to exercise my education and experience,” Bernstein said. “I’m very honored citizens have placed their trust in me.”

“A hearty congratulations to Rhett,” Mayor John Kovash said. “The city council knew he would do a great job as the interim municipal court judge, and the voters clearly agree. I hope Rhett enjoys his new job as our judge, and I look forward to seeing him at city hall.”

There were also four measures up for vote amending the West Linn Charter. The charter defines the local governing system and has been modified 11 times since its adoption in 1995, most recently in May 2012.

The first, Measure 3-428, amends the charter so all annexations outside the urban growth boundary will be approved by the majority of voters. The change deletes an entire paragraph from the charter, which has the caveat that property could be annexed if needed for public facilities, such as schools, road, parks and infrastructure.

The new section reads: “Unless mandated by state, the city of West Linn shall not annex any territory, by delayed annexation or otherwise, without the approval of a majority vote among the city’s electorate.”

This measure received 2,396 votes in favor (82.3 percent) and 517 votes against (17.7 percent).

Kovash said, “Measure 3-428 provides the added clarification that West Linn annexations require voter approval. We know this is a community value, and this charter change protects this value.”

The second, Measure 3-429, gives the city council clear power to hire and fire the city attorney, who, according to the current charter, already reports directly to the council.

The measure adds this to the charter: “The office of city attorney is established as the chief legal officer of the city. The city attorney shall be appointed and removed by a majority of all incumbent members of the council.”

Voters resoundingly approved this measure with 83.5 percent in favor (2,401 votes) and 16.5 percent against (476 votes).

“For too long, there has been confusion over who the city attorney reports to in the city leadership structure,” Kovash said. “Measure 3-429 clearly defines that the city council appoints and removes the city attorney.”

The third, Measure 3-430, changes the date of special elections. This measure amends the charter to fill mayor, city council and judge vacancies that have more than one year left in the term during the more popular May and November elections rather than a September or March special election, as is the current process.

In another strong favor, this measure was approved by 90.1 percent of voters (2,608 votes) with 9.9 percent (285 votes) against it.

“This election is the perfect example of why this charter change was much needed – we went to an added expense to hold this special election. And, the turnout was so low, it was a reminder that general elections yield greater voter participation. Now, with the approval of Measure 3-430, we can wait until general elections to fill vacancies in elected office,” Kovash said.

The fourth, Measure 3-431, establishes the duties of the city council and the city manager. Currently, the city council has power to hire and fire the city manager. In turn, the city manager is charged with appointing, supervising and removing city personnel.

The proposed amendment states that elected officials will not interfere with the city manager’s outlined duties, including handling personnel and awarding contracts. However, some contesting this amendment suggested it gives the city manager too much power.

With more resistance than the other measures, this measure received 2,027 votes (70.6 percent) in favor and 845 against (29.4 percent).

“Approval of Measure 3-428 is a clear indication that the West Linn community supports our council-manager form of government,” Kovash said. “By clarifying that the council will not interfere with administrative matters, we can ensure that our local government is efficiently and effectively managed by professionals.”

The new section states: “No city council member may directly or indirectly, by suggestion, or otherwise, attempt to interfere, influence, or coerce the city manager in the award of a public contract or any personnel decision.”