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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 revitalization swimming to 'home stretch'


by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Dave Stewart, a stream-restoration biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and WES's Gail Shaloum, check out the large woody debris in Mt. Scott Creek.Everyone looks forward to spring and the return of sunlight, and now Clackamas County residents have one more thing to celebrate — the completion of the Mt. Scott Creek Restoration Project at North Clackamas Park.

Most of the major goals have been completed at the park, located near the Milwaukie Senior Center, with the final touches being put on the deck overlook, at the confluence of Camas and Mt. Scott creeks. Also still to come this spring are education signs at both overlooks and volunteer planting parties, including one set for Feb. 9.

The project qualified for an Access to Nature Metro Nature in the Neighborhoods, because Water Environment Service and North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District shared goals for the site.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - David Izar, owner of Buildstrong Construction, measures the supports of the overlook, before attaching the surface of the deck.The NIN grant for $150,000 was awarded in 2010; planning and permitting took another year and a half, and in September 2012 construction began on the restoration of Mt. Scott Creek.

Large woody debris has been installed along 500 feet of Mt. Scott and Camas creeks, the culvert was removed, a new bridge was installed over Camas Creek, a new gravel pathway now leads to a gravel overlook at Mt. Scott Creek, an alcove that enhances fish habitats has been constructed and bank stabilization has been completed, noted Gail Shaloum, environmental policy specialist with Clackamas County Water Environment Services.

Last week, on the first rainy day in a while, David Izar, owner of Buildstrong Construction, was putting waterproofing on top of the main supports for the deck by Camas Creek. Izar’s company, based in Sandy, was subcontracted to do the decking by main stream-restoration contractor, Henderson LLC of Lake Oswego, Shaloum said.

The surface of the deck is made from product called Aqua Grate, a fiberglass grating often used in marine environments; it is very durable, Izar said.

It was crucial to find the right material for the decking, Shaloum said, as the structure would need to stand up to the frequent flooding of the creek in the winter.

Izar said he bought from local merchants where possible as he built the deck: “I was very much trying to get green materials, and I want to learn more about green possibilities.”

One of the sustainable features of the deck is the use of concrete pin foundations, Shaloum said.

“They do not require excavation, so we did not have to dig up soil and figure out where to put it. The pins sit right on top of the soil, and you drive poles into the soil that go down about four to five feet. They are just as strong a foundation as concrete, but you do not have to pour concrete on the site,” she added.

The overall design of the project was done by Greenworks, a landscape architecture firm.

“They just did a great job designing something simple, yet unique and beautiful, intended to inspire visitors to appreciate the natural environment. They also did a great job designing sustainable techniques and materials, and choosing materials that would be beautiful, easy to maintain and durable even under very tough conditions,” Shaloum said.

Soon, park visitors and school groups will be able to stand on the deck, look at the view and learn about the environment they are in, she added.

Cooperative effort

On the same day that Izar was working on the deck, Shaloum and Dave Stewart, a stream-restoration biologist from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, were up to their boot tops in Mt. Scott Creek, working on a habitat survey.

“This project was a cooperative effort, and we jumped in with in-kind matching funds, so we could all work together,” Stewart said.

“We are going to be documenting the changes in fish distribution and fish abundance in this area, as we build working relationships with the groups on this project and continue ODFW’s cooperative effort,” Stewart noted.

Shaloum and Stewart were checking out all the different factors in the stream and the streambed, looking at the pools created by the fast-flowing water and seeing how much silt there was in the substrate, Shaloum said.

Stewart is especially happy with the creation of the shaded fish alcove off the channel of the stream, which he called “rearing habitat for juvenile fish.”

Fish species, like coho, steelhead and cutthroat, have periods of time that they spend in fresh water, and the alcove will protect the juvenile fish from flooding conditions in the winter, and from predators and warm water in the summer.

The water in the alcove stays cool, because it is fed by a ground-water spring, Shaloum noted.

Having a pre-restoration and post-restoration survey and comparing the two will help ODFW figure out what is happening in the physical habitat of the creek, Stewart added.

Connection to environment

Now that the project is in the “home stretch,” Shaloum said, she is looking forward to “people knowing more about a healthy watershed and people being educated about and being connected to the natural environment.”

Stewart said that his department will continue to focus on the recovery of species, since the freshwater habitat is “one critical component” in the life of certain fish species. Other advantages of the project include bank stabilization and the overall improvement of water quality, he added.

Tonia Burns, the natural resources coordinator for North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District, pointed out that the park has wetlands, and the improvement of fish habitat will also improve the habitat for birds, frogs, salamanders and other types of wildlife.

WES has a responsibility to its ratepayers, so from a public health and watershed health perspective, “we are looking forward to completing this project,” noted Amy Kyle, WES community relations specialist. “This is a very popular park, and we work a lot with students and the general public here. Now they’ll be able to see and enjoy what they pay for, and this gives them a connection to the environment.”

Once the deck is completed, the last piece of the puzzle will be the installation of educational signage, at both overlooks.

Signs will answer questions about why trees were cut down, and which ones are being replaced, along with items of interest about dogs in the park.

“Off-leash dogs are not allowed in the planting area, to protect water quality,” Kyle noted.

Signage will allow visitors to learn about how to connect with and appreciate nature, and recognize the project’s overall goals of improving water quality and habitat, Shaloum said, adding, “And people will learn about how they can protect what we have.”

Both Shaloum and Stewart noted that the large woody debris installed on the banks of the creek for stabilization and fish-habitat protection will not last forever.

“The large woody debris will erode away in 30 to 50 years, but by then we should see natural-size trees shading the area,” Shaloum said.

The project will require monitoring and maintenance, but Burns said she is excited about monitoring the project over the years.

“We’ll be able to determine if our methods and techniques are working, and we’ll learn how to improve our practices and management for future projects. Our goal is to make the riparian area more healthy,” she said.

She also noted that volunteer re-vegetation efforts with SOLVE and Friends of Trees are crucial, and she is looking forward to replanting “thousands of trees.”

Fast Facts

Friends of Trees, in partnership with North Clackamas Parks and North Clackamas Urban Watershed Council, will hold a tree-planting event on Saturday, Feb. 9, to help restore native plants in Milwaukie’s North Clackamas Park.

Volunteers will meet at the park, adjacent to the Milwaukie Center, at 5440 S.E. Kellogg Creek Drive; registration will take place at 8:45 a.m., and planting will begin at 9 a.m. Be sure to dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes. Contact Andy or Jenny at 503-595-0213 for more information, or visit friendsoftrees.org.

Learn more about the Mt. Scott Creek Restoration Project by visiting riverhealth.org/mt-scott-creek-restoration.

In addition to North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District and the Clackamas County Water Environment Services, partners for this project include: Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District, Friends of Trees, the city of Milwaukie, Nature Conservancy/ PGE, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Riverhealth and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.