Featured Stories

INSIDERS (Sponsored Content)

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


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Making ripples about watershed health


Ask Tricia Sears to describe her duties as the new coordinator for the North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council, and she will smile. It would be a shorter list to describe what she doesn’t do.

And she only works part-time as the coordinator, along with working part-time for the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District, while also doing some environmental consulting.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Tricia Sears, coordinator for the North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council, loves handing out signs to participants in the Streamside Stewards Program.The watersheds council was established in 2009, with a goal to “advocate for and implement improving watershed health,” Sears said, adding that the urban watersheds council works specifically with Rinearson, River Forest, Boardman, Kellogg and Mt. Scott creeks in the North Clackamas watershed.

Her responsibilities as coordinator include working with 20 “very energetic and dedicated” board members, coordinating site visits with a contractor who works with property owners in the Streamside Stewards Program doing the on-site restoration, applying for funding, updating the website, creating handouts, tracking data and doing public outreach.

Sears has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, a master’s degree in environmental management, and a post-graduate certificate in the study and management of geological risks. She has extensive experience working with local, state and federal agencies, nonprofits, neighborhood associations, industry, business and other stakeholders.

“Through my professional, educational and volunteer work, I have gained a passion for multidisciplinary relationships and integration of science and policy. I have worked in the Portland metropolitan area for many years, focusing primarily on environmental planning and hazard management,” she said.

Streamside Stewards Program

Sears is pushing hard to get more public awareness of the Streamside Stewards Program, which provides eligible property owners along prioritized reaches of Boardman, Rinearson and River Forest Creeks with free weed control and tree planting.

“I do an initial site visit, along with Chris Runyard, our restoration expert, and we see what is going on with the site. We check for beaver activity, invasive plants and erosion,” Sears said, adding that she also works with the concerns of the homeowners, who might want to keep their view of the water intact.

A major goal in the program is educating homeowners “to raise awareness of what they have, so they can make changes as they can to improve watershed health,” she said.

Sears emphasized the fact that homeowners who join the program incur no expense, even to the point that they are given native plants and trees at no cost. NCUWC is able to offer this program as a result of funding sources that include Water Environment Services, Oak Lodge Sanitary District and Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District, she said.

“People get in the program and make lots of progress. We connect them to resources and encourage them to continue in the program. Part of our goal is to help property owners to become self sufficient. We teach them how to care for their plants, so we can move on and help others,” she said.

Everyone lives on the watershed, Sears said, adding that even people who don’t live directly on or near a stream can help make positive changes in the environment.

“Everyone is connected; everyone can make a difference. It is hard to recognize the overall impact when you don’t put toxic chemicals on your yard and when you don’t plant invasive plants. You might not see the changes, but your neighbor might see it,” Sears said.

Community outreach

Sears and a group of volunteers recently identified 300 properties on or near the targeted streams in the Oak Lodge Sanitary District, and went door-to-door in an effort to recruit people for the stewards program.

“While we didn’t get to everyone, I’m in the process of tallying up the results and can say that people were very responsive, and the number of people in the program has increased substantially as a result,” she said.

“We provided them with options and opportunities, with things they didn’t know they could do themselves. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing people get excited about something they didn’t know they could do themselves to make a difference,” Sears said.

“The benefits to making the changes to the property are that native trees and shrubs provide habitat for fish and wildlife; erosion is reduced; and increased canopy along the stream provides shade that reduces water temperature of the creek and helps fish thrive,” she said.

“We love working with partners,” Sears said, noting that two recent events, a July 20 tour of the Willamette River and having a table at movie night at Risley Park on July 2, generated lots of positive comments.

“We wanted to be there to engage folks about watershed health. In particular, we shared information about what NCUWC does. We are actively looking for property owners interested in our Streamside Steward Program,” Sears said.

Two board members will have a table at the Clackamas County Fair from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, to educate visitors about the watersheds council and recruit homeowners for the streamside program. Interested homeowners can call or email her or visit the website for information about upcoming events for tree planting and more.

Sears said there are many opportunities for volunteering with NCUWC, even for people who don’t want to do outdoor work. Sears always is looking for people who are interested in writing articles or taking photos for the website or who have graphic-design skills, along with anyone interested in doing data input and updating.

She added, “I am eager to improve and revise some of our processes, documents and website, and to put into play innovative ideas. It’s a challenge to improve our existing situation and to expand in a manner that we can support effectively.”