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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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These wriggly leech-like creatures not parasitic


Pacific lampreys are passing over Willamette Falls this month, and are entering streams near you.

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Carson McVay, a resident of Oregon City and a biologist with the Warm Springs Tribe, is participating in a study to measure the abundance of Pacific Lamprey passing Willamette Falls.Lampreys are like nothing else you’ll ever see. Lampreys are a unique class of ancient animals that pre-date the dinosaurs. They lack bones, paired limbs and jaws. The young ones are blind and burrow in the mud where they filter feed on algae. Some lampreys are anadromous, migrating between freshwater streams and the ocean. Some of them are ecto-parasites that cling to the skin of their hosts by their jawless sucker mouths and suck blood. They are very slimy and wiggly. When people get to know them, most will agree that lampreys are rather macabre.

Every June and July, Pacific Lampreys return from the ocean to their spawning grounds in Oregon. Back in the 1800s, historians described the annual spectacle at Willamette Falls when abundant lampreys filled the chutes until “...at a short distance the rocks appeared to be covered with a profuse growth of kelp.” Today, Pacific Lampreys have become rare or extinct throughout most of their historic range. While abundance has severely declined in the Willamette River, it remains one of the most important lamprey spawning grounds on the West Coast.

Lampreys have long been harvested by people as a traditional food and as a source of natural medicines, including essential oils, vitamins and anticoagulants. Native Americans along the Oregon Coast and in the Columbia Basin added lampreys to their diets because the species were a rich source of nutrients that were not readily available in other local foods. Today the only harvest of Pacific Lampreys occurs at Willamette Falls, under a permit from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, because the species is too rare in other rivers. Tribal people from the Oregon coast to the Snake River gather at Willamette Falls in June and July to collect lampreys, alongside a handful of nontribal fishers who also enjoy a lamprey dinner. Lampreys are also important in the diet of other native species, such as sturgeon, marine mammals, fish and birds. Like salmon, adult lampreys die after they spawn, contributing rich nutrients to rivers and streams. The decline of the historically abundant lampreys has likely contributed to ecological imbalances and disruptions in natural predator-prey systems and nutrition cycles. A stream that cannot support lampreys is impoverished for other species, including for humans.

Pacific Lampreys are one of four species of lampreys in the Willamette Valley. The River Lamprey is also anadromous and parasitic and lives in the main channel of the Willamette below the falls. The other two species are small, resident brook lampreys that live in tributaries and filter feed on algae throughout their lives. The Western Brook Lamprey occurs throughout the Willamette Basin, while the endemic Pacific Brook Lamprey is apparently unique to the lower Clackamas River. All the species are now rare, protected species in Oregon.

Development in the Willamette Valley, and elsewhere, has been hard on lampreys. Passage barriers, caused by road culverts, water diversions and dams block migration routes that lampreys need to move through their habitats. Toxins from industry, urbanization and agriculture have poisoned their water and the mud they burrow in. Lampreys are sucked up by dredges, diverted into fields, and stranded when wetlands are drained. Loss of stream-side vegetation causes summer-time water temperatures to heat up to lethal levels. The gentle backwaters that lampreys call home are lost when meandering side channels and streams are channelized, drained and buried in box culverts. After living on earth for 500 million years, lampreys are finding life with humans to be a struggle.

In recognition of the Willamette Basin’s value to lampreys, and of lamprey’s value to our ecosystems, the Greater Oregon City Watershed Council recently adopted lampreys as their mascot. This summer, take a moment to take care of the streams in your neighborhoods because lampreys live in a stream near you. (And don’t worry! Willamette River lampreys are not parasitic when they are in fresh water!)

Kathryn Kostow is biologist at ODFW and a member of the Greater Oregon City Watershed Council.