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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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Clackamas County targets roads, Metro


Hundreds of leaders converged on the Monarch Hotel last Wednesday to hear all five Clackamas County commissioners wrangle with local issues — and occasionally wrangle with one another — during the Business in the County Forum.

Co-hosting with the Oregon City Chamber, North Clackamas Chamber Chief Executive Officer David Kelly introduced his board’s chairman and former Happy Valley Mayor Rob Wheeler to moderate the discussion, noting Wheeler had just successfully moderated the Damascus disincorporation debate this month.

“If he can keep those people in check, then he ought to be able to keep our county commissioners in check,” Kelly said.

County commissioners openly sparred over issues during the Oct. 23 forum while promising to keep Clackamas County’s economy a priority. Last year’s election of County Chairman John Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith made the board more conservative, but new political divisions have emerged.

“We are a decidedly pro-business commission,” Ludlow said, “(but) it’s tough aggregating all the opinions and getting it into a decision.”

Commissioner Paul Savas noted that citizen resistance to urban-renewal financing and tax incentives has helped encourage businesses to locate elsewhere.

“Washington County has the ability to make an adjustment when a prospect comes forward,” he said, adding that Clackamas County also should emulate its ability to build and maintain road systems.

Despite historic resistance to tax measures, Ludlow announced that “within the next 30 days” commissioners will consider placing a $15 million annual fee on the May ballot for road maintenance. He and Savas disagreed whether it would be just for maintenance after Savas pointed out critical needs identified in the county’s Transportation System Plan.

Bottom line, Smith said, commissioners will ask voters to “give us a try” for five to seven years of improved road services. Clackamas County is responsible for 1,400 miles of road that are on average decreasing in quality.

“If we wait too long,” said Commissioner Jim Bernard,” we’re going to fall further and further behind.”

Tension also was in the air over renewing American Medical Response’s contract for ambulance services, when just the day before, commissioners decided to delay any authorization for another 30 days. Local AMR General Manager Randy Lauer and staff members attended the event sponsored by competitor MetroWest. Lauer said he appreciated Clackamas County’s due-diligence efforts in understanding contractual complexities before the April deadline.

Metro bogeyman

Commissioners unified when they discussed their common political enemy, the Metro regional government, and especially its continued support for the Columbia River Crossing project.

On behalf of the commission, Ludlow is sending letters bemoaning Clackamas County’s proposed subsidy of the new Interstate 5 bridge when its tolling would increase traffic on Interstate 205. Even commissioners Bernard and Martha Schrader, who have historically been in favor of working with Metro for projects such as light rail, had no kind words for the agency during their remarks.

“This board is committed to letting Metro know, ‘Hey, you forgot Clackamas County,’ ” Schrader said, referring to its limits on development outside of the urban growth boundary.

Bernard called Metro’s latest report on the availability of developable land “somewhat dishonest” because it didn’t include all of the properties that the county has identified outside the urban growth boundary. Ludlow added that “the problem is the lack of flexibility that we have as a sovereign county” and promised that Clackamas County will be asking the Oregon Legislature to pass laws to allow more development in outlying areas.

As for Metro’s promise to re-examine rules, Ludlow said developers “can’t wait five years for the next opportunity. ... We’ve got to take care of ourselves.”

Savas, who is Clackamas County’s representative on Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, expressed frustration about being “on the treadmill” with the agency and called for a “timeout” to see what is working.

Ludlow eventually paid the regional government a compliment, though he acknowledged saying anything nice about the agency was “hard for me being Metro.” He called Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette a “tireless advocate” on behalf of their partnership with the Oregon City-led effort to revitalize the area around Willamette Falls after the loss of hundreds of paper-mill jobs there.

Commissioners mourned that Eclipse Development missed its Oct. 11 deadline to purchase the 23 acres for $4.1 million and hoped that another buyer would come forward. They even talked about purchasing the site themselves for the right price, and Ludlow chastised Bernard for mentioning $1.5 million outside of a closed-door meeting.

News from Clackamas County Tax Assessor Bob Vroman (“Property taxes going up,” Oct. 23) gives commissioners more funds to work with in the upcoming budgeting cycle. While Bernard looked forward to advocating expansion of sheriff and community-corrections services, Savas warned that the county will be “still losing ground on service levels” due to costs of labor.