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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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Experts say: Make way for BEAVERS


At first, John Young thought the debris on Kellogg Creek, which runs through his backyard, was just a logjam, so he broke it up. The next day he broke it up again.

by: PHOTO BY: JON HOUSE - John Young shows where a beaver (or beavers) have constructed a dam behind his property in Milwaukie.On his third try, he realized he was fighting a losing battle; the logjam was really a beaver dam.

“My son, Tom, who is a marine biologist, said, ‘Dad, how long do you want to battle with a rodent? You aren’t going to win.’ That’s when I stopped,” Young said.

by: PHOTO BY: JON HOUSE - Freshly gnawed wood by beavers in the back of John Young's property.So in mid-November, Young called Chris Runyard, the restoration contractor for the North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council’s Streamside Stewards Program. Young signed up for the program in 2011, and Runyard removed the invasive blackberries and ivy on Young’s Parmenter Drive property, and then planted water-loving native species.

When Runyard returned to Young’s property late last November, he determined there indeed was a beaver dam on Kellogg Creek. At that point, he and Tricia Sears, the NCUWC coordinator, decided to hold a neighborhood meeting in January to discuss the situation and address concerns.

“We had Susan Barnes, who is with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, at the meeting, because she has a great deal of knowledge about beavers. Neighbors voiced their concerns, and we determined that there will not be a lot of detrimental impacts because the houses around the beaver pond are set back,” Sears said.

Neighbors were concerned about tree loss and the change in water levels, but their eroding stream banks should reverse and actually fill in a bit over time, Runyard said, adding that he and another man made a video from a raft in the pond and showed the residents what their new pond looked like from the water.

“The neighborhood meeting helped answer many of the questions about the possible benefits of the beaver dam. We also learned that their appetite for trees might not be limited to just those along the creek bank, and we may need to put up fencing to protect them from these night-time chewers. In the meantime, the ducks certainly like the expanded water areas, which makes things more scenic,” said Steven and Marsha Morasch.

Alice Szanto has lived in the area for 20 years, and her grandparents lived there before she did. None of them had ever seen the creek rise like it did in November. When she found out about the beaver dam, like the other neighbors, she was worried about trees falling and damage to the hillsides.

At the meeting she learned that “the beaver might chew a substantial amount of trees, but the county can keep planting them, and there are ways to protect the trees we want to keep. We have a living National Geographic series in our backyards. I consider myself lucky,” Szanto said. 

Linda Burgard said it was helpful to have someone from the ODFW at the meeting to answer questions, and, like the other neighbors, was worried about trees disappearing. But now that she knows how to protect trees on her property, she feels more positive about the beaver dam.

“The pond in the backyard is great now. We have more ducks, and yesterday our beloved heron returned. The grandkids also love all the new wildlife,” she said.

The beaver dam is certainly a positive for the watershed, said Mike Pinker, who lives in the neighborhood.

“Beavers provide good environmental services. They help cool the water temperature and create habitat for other animals. A beaver community on Kellogg Creek is the sign of a healthy watershed; beavers are our partners, and they are able to do a much better job than we can,” he said.

Beavers pose no danger to humans and pets, subsisting only on a diet of tree bark. However, “humans should observe, but not disrupt the beavers. The dams should be left intact, and the beavers should not be fed human food. It is very rare to actually see a beaver; they are pretty sneaky and avoid human contact,” Runyard said.

Dam’s advantages

Runyard argued that the wetland area of Kellogg Creek between Thiessen and Rusk roads was perfect place for the new beaver family to move in, because the pond just replaces the soggy bottoms of the existing wetlands.

by: PHOTO BY: JON HOUSE - Tricia Sears, coordinator for the North Clackamas Urban Watershed Council, looks at a trail caused by a beaver between a newly dammed lake, and an older man-made lake.As far as he can see, the only drawback, so far, is that some vegetation may die.

“There is some skunk cabbage that will probably die, as well as quite a few ash, alders, willows and cottonwoods. Most of these are far enough from houses and structures to not have any damage concern,” Runyard said.

There are now two smaller beaver dams at the same site, and he said that “the new beaver dams will improve salmon, bird, amphibian and mammal habitat. The dams will retain mud and sediment in the pond, slow down the waters and infiltrate more water into the ground. This will benefit the creek and residents downstream.”

Runyard added that studies of streams with beavers show that the salmon are bigger and more numerous than in streams without beavers, and salmon can navigate creeks that are dammed by beavers, just as they have done for thousands of years.

“Beavers are one part of a healthy salmon watershed. Imagine watching the salmon spawn from the bridge at Southeast Thiessen Road,” Runyard said.

Public education needed

NCUWC had done a lot of native tree and shrub planting in four of the properties along this section of the creek; all are part of the Streamside Stewards Program.

“A lot of our plants are now underwater. Some of them will still make it, as this has always been a very wet site. Of course, some will die, but we will still be able to plant higher on the banks where it is drier. We are still talking to more neighbors around the pond, and as the beaver makes more dams downstream, we will be talking with more people,” Runyard said.

To continue to educate the public about the beaver dams, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife has produced a document called “Living with Wildlife: American Beaver,” posted to both the ODFW and NCUWC websites.

Runyard added, “If we are going to bring strong salmon runs back into the Kellogg Creek watershed, we have to re-create their habitat. The beaver can help engineer that change and create a healthy place for the coho to thrive. The challenge is to identify locations for this to happen without impacting property owners.”

To find out more about beavers, visit the ODFW home page at dfw.state.or.us, click on Living With Wildlife, then click on beavers, or visit martinezbeavers.org or beaversolutions.com.

To learn more about the North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council, including the Streamside Stewards Program, visit the NCUWC website at ncuwc.org, or call Tricia Sears, coordinator, at 503-550-9282. 

Biologist fields concerns about dam

When neighbors near Parmenter Drive in Milwaukie learned that a beaver was building a series of dams in their backyards along Kellogg Creek, they were quick to voice their concerns.

“The biggest issue by neighbors was loss of trees. Neighbors were encouraged to protect the trees that they absolutely were not OK with beaver chewing with properly installed hardware cloth/wire fence,” said Susan Barnes, Northwest regional conservation biologist, with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“The other solution is to give the beaver other alternatives by continuing to plant native shrubs and trees in the riparian area. Also, it was pointed out that many of the shrub and tree species that the beaver is chewing on or felling won't actually be killed," she said.

"Herbivory action stimulates plant growth so trees and shrubs may look dead, but many will actually send up new shoots/stems at the site of chewing,” Barnes added.

As for the positive effects of beaver dams, Barnes said that the dams are “highly productive ecosystems for fish and wildlife, like birds, bats, mink, weasel, raccoon, coyote, shrews, frogs, salamanders, turtles and snakes.”

In addition, beaver dams create wetlands, which are a high-priority habitat. 

“Even though we have laws that protect them to some extent, most wetlands have been lost. They are critical for storing water, cooling water, releasing water and reducing flashy flows typical in urban streams, like Kellogg Creek,” Barnes said.

She also noted that beaver activity at small sites is usually temporary, with access to food being a limiting factor for the beaver. 

Barnes added, “Beavers are habitat changers and creators. We humans often have trouble with change, and we want to or need to forecast future events to some extent, because we have put roads and houses too close to streams and installed undersized culverts under roads.”

Contact Susan Barnes, ODFW conservation biologist, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..