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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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Mt. Scott Creek work tries to snag big fish


by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Gail Shaloum, left, and Tonia Burns check the progress of a boulder and log arrangement that will create shady alcoves for fish in Mt. Scott Creek.A man operating a bright red excavator delicately guides the machine to pick up two massive boulders, and, weaving in and around trees, he deposits them on the bank of Mt. Scott Creek, near the Milwaukie Center.

“I call him the gentle giant,” Tonia Burns said of Kurt Hult, the excavator operator, watching as he returns from the creek with a dangling raft of logs.

Burns is the natural resources coordinator for North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District, and last week she and Gail Shaloum, environmental policy specialist for Clackamas County Water Environment Services, donned hard hats and orange vests and came to the northwest corner of North Clackamas Park to watch the Mt. Scott Creek Restoration Project unfold.

“Basically, the whole project is to revegetate and enhance the entire stream system, building in shade to improve water quality and provide habitat for native wildlife” while providing access to nature for human visitors, Burns said.

Two decks, or overlooks, also are in the works, and will have interpretive signs providing environmental education.

In 2007, after the ball fields were finished, citizens asked NCPRD to focus the North Side Master Plan on passive recreation and natural area enhancement projects at North Clackamas Park.

“Around the same time, Water Environmental Services was involved in a policy shift to watershed health through watershed action plans,” Burns said.

“WES had the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife do a fish survey, so this project started with a recommendation from them, in 2008,” Shaloum said.

In 2009, the WES action plan came out, matching some elements in the North Side plan, so it made sense for the two organizations to partner up.

In 2010, WES hired Greenworks and Interfluve to help collect data on specific project elements for the WES portion of the project. The project then qualified for an Access to Nature Metro Nature in the Neighborhoods grant, because WES and NCPRD shared goals for the site.

Those goals included: restoration of Mt. Scott Creek; removing a crushed culvert; opening Camas Creek and enhancing the riparian area; replacing a bridge over Camas Creek; and building two overlooks for visitors to access Mt. Scott Creek, Burns said.

The NIN grant for $150,000 was awarded in 2010; planning and permitting took another year and a half, and this month construction began on the restoration of Mt. Scott Creek.

NCPRD hired Aquatic Contracting to accomplish the project, and Burns said it was a pleasure to work with such professional and competent people.

Mike Herrick, owner of Aquatic Contracting, also is a fisheries biologist, so he “understood more about why they are doing this work and what they are constructing, while paying close attention to safety and public education and outreach,” she added.

Burns estimated that the entire project, with engineering, construction and permitting will cost about $500,000.

Stream restoration

The rehabilitation of Mt. Scott Creek, the first step in the plan, is moving at a brick clip. Last week, Drew Schaefer, a Happy Valley resident and project manger for Aquatic Contracting, and Josh Hughes drilled holes in large boulders, and looped cables around them in order to attach the rocks to huge logs with root wads attached.

These will be moved to the stream banks, and as the creek winds around them, the logs and boulders will form shady alcoves, perfect places for fish to take shelter. The alcoves enhance fish habitat in two ways, Burns said, noting that shaded water is cooler water, which fish prefer, and the spots also will attract insects, providing a food source.

“The other part of this is that the logs provide bank stabilization and restoration. The banks have been undercut in places, and the logs will make sure that not as much sediment gets into the creek,” Shaloum said.

She added that sediment is bad, because it settles in spawning gravel and makes it difficult for fish to lay their eggs, and also because oil, grease and pesticides stick to sediment and cause pollution.

Burns noted that workers with Aquatic Construction have implemented their own precautions in erosion control, making sure there is minimal impact on the bottom of the creek, so that very little silt is stirred up as they move the logs and boulders into place.

She also said that the logs still have massive root wads attached, which trap and slow the water, and further enhance the fish alcoves.

Protecting habitat

In the end, the project is all about education, Burns said.

“We plan to have interpretive signage on the overlooks and decks, and we want people to realize that what we do in parks is an example of how habitat functions and how they can implement these same techniques in their own backyards,” she added.

“When we did the Watershed Action Plan, we found that this watershed has seen a lot of development,” Shaloum said, noting that storm water runoff from streets and homes has negatively impacted the creeks.

“We want to educate people about storm water and what they can do personally to improve water quality.”

Dick Shook, a neighbor and member of the Friends of Kellogg and Mt. Scott creeks Watershed Council, said he attended all the public meetings as planning for the North Side Master Plan moved forward.

“All the aspects of this project came together to improve stream health, including the protection of the stream and its banks, the removal of culverts under the gravel road and the restoration of Camas Creek. This park sees heavy use of people and dogs, and this is a chance to educate the public about how important urban streams are,” he said.