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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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Mayor lines up goals for term's final nine months


Don’t call it Oregon City Mayor Doug Neeley’s last State of the City Address, said mistress of ceremonies and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amber Holveck on Friday.

Although the mayor would have to take at least two years off from public office due to term limits, Neeley had several big initiatives he hopes to wrap up before his term expires at the end of this year, including a new police station, a renovated/expanded library, and development in the downtown urban-renewal area.

Neeley began remarks with a moment of silence for fallen OCPD Reserve Officer Rob Libke, who was shot by a suicidal arsonist in November. A round of applause followed for Libke’s wife, who just gave birth to their son last month.

Only two other cities in the state have Oregon City’s recently obtained AA credit rating, and Neeley celebrated the effort to reduce the amount of interest paid through public funding. Using that better credit rating, a ballot measure will appear on the May ballot to authorize Oregon City to sell the bonds to expand and renovate its Carnegie Library, built to serve 5,000 people and now serving a population of 54,000.

“Tremendous work has been done in terms of our fiscal management,” Neeley said.

He obliquely referenced the city’s (now resolved) dispute with Clackamas County over franchise fees that Neeley said had caused some controversy but were necessary to pass for the city’s credit rating. All entities, whether they are public or private, are now “paying their fair share” to obtain right of way for construction in the city, Neeley said.

More work still needs to be done, Neeley argued. Although voters prevented the water-rate rollback last year, the public-works department has identified “critical facility” needs that will threaten the quality of drinking water if voters don’t allow more than 3 percent per-year rate increases. City commissioners also have made it a goal to address more than $1 million in deferred maintenance for parks. By 2022, Oregon City is required to build a seismically sound police station and is in negotiations with the school district to identify a central location. (See below for more info.)

Efforts are underway to increase the city’s population, tax base and number of opportunities for economic development. Earlier this month, the City Commission voted 3-2 to approve the South End Concept Plan to guide growth in the area, but a second vote on the controversial plan is necessary this Wednesday before it becomes the law of the land. On the other end of the city, the approximately $40 million Clackamette Cove project soon will begin construction of garden apartments after years of languishing in the declining condo market.

PGE officials said the city has displayed “great leadership” in creating new potential jobs and a thriving economic potential in the former Blue Heron paper mill next to Willamette Falls. A developer still needs to be identified, but the effort has designated a section of the 23-acre site for buildings, while the area inside the floodplain is reserved for public access.

Neeley saved his “political” comments for the question-and-answer period: “We had a period of time where voter-approved annexations weren’t passing,” but that was just during the recession. After the recent passage of smaller annexations, Neeley is looking forward to more annexations passing to allow the development of the Beavercreek plan. Neeley also argued that the 2010 City Commission election eventually derailed the Rivers shopping-mall project for the Rossman Landfill.

“That gave us, Oregon City, a black eye,” Neeley said, suggesting that his potential successor’s support for development would be a major consideration for him in making his endorsement. He said that he doesn’t know who plans to run in November, but he sees a “need to hold the candidates’ feet to the fire” on the issue.

City's elegant solution?

The city of Oregon City and the Oregon City School District have reached a tentative agreement for the reuse of school district property that would eventually allow the city to construct a new police station and other administrative city facilities at the former Mt. Pleasant Elementary School property.

Both the City Commission and the School Board must ratify the proposed deal. Specific terms for the transaction have not yet been released to the public.

Pursuant to the agreement, the city would purchase the former Mt. Pleasant Elementary School property from the district. Leaders say the proposed purchase challenges for both organizations. The city is in dire need of a new police station and OCSD needs capital improvement funds and a clear title to another property — the former Barclay Elementary School. Barclay was closed in 1985 and subsequently used by Oregon City Community Education and partially leased to Marylhurst School.

In 1875, the city of Oregon City donated to OCSD part of the land upon which Barclay Elementary School was constructed. Research recently revealed a reversionary clause in the deed to return the property to the city, should the district no longer operate a “free and public school” at that location. As part of the proposed transaction to purchase Mt. Pleasant from OCSD, the city of Oregon City will release all claims to the Barclay property.

OCSD closed Mt. Pleasant Elementary School in 2012 as part of a greater restructuring that was in response to declining enrollment and budget shortfalls.

“This is really an elegant solution to what could have been a messy problem,” said Oregon City School District Superintendent Larry Didway. “The proposed deal is an example of how organizations can collaborate and find solutions that are mutually beneficial for a shared community.”

The city plans to renovate the Mt. Pleasant site, but retain historic features of the building in its redesign.

“The law requires that the Oregon City Police Department be relocated to a seismically approved public facility no later than 2022,” said City Manager David Frasher. “Thanks to the thoughtful collaboration between the city and the district, we have a common-sense solution that benefits both organizations and the people they serve.”

Both the city and school district intend to present the proposed land sale to their respective governing bodies for approval in a public meeting at the earliest opportunity.