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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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Back in the Vortex groove


Photo Credit: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Oregon State Park Rangers Lauren Sinclair and Guy Rodrique talk about the original Vortex Festival, held at Milo McIver State Park in August 1970. A retrospective of the event is planned Saturday, Aug. 9 at the Estacada-area park.It’s a story that is too strange to be fiction.

A Republican governor and several conservative Portland business owners organized and funded one of the largest rock festivals in American history: “Vortex I: A Biodegradable Festival of Life,” at Milo McIver State Park near Estacada the week of Aug. 28, 1970.

Called the “Governor’s Pot Party” by locals, law enforcement was instructed to turn a blind eye to the copious public nudity and drug use at the week-long event, attended by roughly 50,000 to 100,000 people. In fact, police served as escorts to vanloads of hippies, who eventually formed a traffic jam that extended all the way to Portland’s 82nd Avenue some 20 miles away. The event itself was free and businesses donated food, outhouses and even high-quality timber and heavy machinery to build a stage.

Photo Credit: COURTESY OF MATT LOVE - Young people from across the region flocked to Milo McIver State Park for Vortex 1, the rock concert organized to avoid protests in downtown Portland. It was all a transparent attempt to draw young people and anti-Vietnam War protesters far away from the city where 25,000 American Legionnaires, a conservative veterans group, were holding their annual conference with President Richard Nixon slated to give a keynote speech.

“It’s a legend in Clackamas County,” says author Matt Love, who published “The Far Out Story of Vortex I” in 2004 and has collected thousands of pictures and stories from the event. “I still get fired up and imbued on it with the incredible risk-taking that went on.”

Love and McIver park officials will host the first-ever commemoration of Vortex I from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9. “Exploring Vortex I” offers live music, tie-dye, walking tours and a panel discussion. A scanner and recording equipment will also be on hand to collect pictures and stories from the festival, in partnership with the Estacada Public Library.

“We’re going to have different people with different views about what Vortex was out there and that makes it an exciting event,” Love says.

Wrapping up the 44th anniversary will be an historical re-enactment of Gov. Tom McCall’s visit to the park after the event to express his appreciation to volunteers who were cleaning up. McCall even consented to be part of an “om circle.”

“(Vortex I) couldn’t happen today,” says Love, “because we don’t have politicians that think as unconventionally as Tom McCall did.”

Photo Credit: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - The Clackamas River today is a big draw for people at McIver State Park. In August 1970, the river played a part in Vortex 1, the rock concert organized by public officials and Portland businesspeople who feared thousands of young people would flood the city to protest during a national American Legion conference that featured President Richard Nixon as a key speaker.

Solving a problem

The year of Vortex I, the violent conflict in Southeast Asia was beginning to be a violent conflict at home. Just months earlier, on May 4, 1970, National Guard troops shot and killed four unarmed people during a protest at Kent State University in Ohio.

The FBI had warned Oregon’s governor that violent clashes in downtown Portland were imminent with up to 50,000 members of the loosely formed People’s Army Jamboree planning several anti-war protests in opposition to The American Legion conference.

Lee Meier, who was then a conscientious objector working with the Greater Portland Council of Churches, began to be concerned that the nonviolent plan to protest the Legionnaires conference was being infiltrated by a violent subset.

“Everybody was pretty upset in the summer of 1970,” Meier says.

He and three friends met with McCall’s Executive Assistant Ed Westerdahl to discuss a way to highlight the peaceful aspect of the anti-Vietnam War effort. They threw out the idea of hosting a Woodstock-like festival out in the country.

Photo Credit: COURTESY OF MATT LOVE - Young people from across the region flocked to Milo McIver State Park for Vortex 1, the rock concert organized to avoid protests in downtown Portland. “The next thing you know, it was happening,” Meier says. “Fear is a great motivator.”

Within a week, they were given McIver, a new state park with limited access points. No permits. No insurance. No rules.

Westerdahl died in mid-April 2010 at his Palm Springs home. In a 2010 OPB documentary he explained why he took such a hands-off approach in managing the festival: “I felt it was the lesser of evils.”

Love says he continues to be inspired by the willingness for both sides to listen and work together to come up with an unconventional solution. McCall, who was facing re-election that November, was rumored to have said he had committed political suicide by allowing Vortex I, but he did it anyway to forestall violence.

“Now how many people do that?” Love says. “We don’t have people that just want to solve problems in an unconventional way.”

Telling the story

Photo Credit: COURTESY OF MATT LOVE - Teepees and tents dotted Milo McIver State Park during the late-August Vortex 1 rock concert event.Though it remains an obscure fact of Oregon history, the effects of Vortex I are still felt today.

“A lot of the people who really built the (Oregon) Country Fair, they were at Vortex, too,” says Love, adding that the worldwide Rainbow Family, who host Rainbow Gatherings, got its start there.

Love says he has wanted to celebrate the historic event for a while but in the past, park officials weren’t interested. When he was finally able to put together an event in 2004, it was canceled due to bad weather.

Photo Credit: COURTESY OF MATT LOVE - Matt Love is organizing the Vortex I retrospective for Saturday, Aug. 9.McIver Park Manager Guy Rodrigue, who started there in 2011, says the festival is living history at the park, where visitors often tell their “I was there” stories and the large grassy area is still called Vortex Meadow.

“To be able to tell the story of the only state-sponsored rock concert is pretty remarkable,” Rodrigue says. “For the government to say, ‘This is what we want to see happen,’ is pretty unique.”

Park rangers say they expect between 300 and 500 people, mostly locals reliving memories, at Exploring Vortex I. The event is part of a larger plan to increase tourism to the park, which the state hopes will help improve and develop it.

Outreach Interpretive Naturalist Lauren Sinclair has been a key figure at the park helping to organize and promote the Vortex anniversary event.

“We’re really hoping for that base group who can establish a community that’s interested in coming back here year after year.” But, Sinclair adds with a laugh: “We’re hoping for no nudity and drug use. That’s not what we’re doing.”