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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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Water fight on Clackamas continues


A state agency’s decision to let Lake Oswego and other municipalities renew their water rights on the Clackamas River lacks the teeth necessary to protect threatened salmon and steelhead runs, an attorney argued before the Oregon Court of Appeals this month.

by: LAKE OSWEGO REVIEW - Construction is now underway on Lake Oswegos water intake facility on the Clackamas River in Gladstone, shown here in a 2010 file photo. Over the next couple of years, the old facility will be replaced with a new one capable of serving both Lake Oswego and Tigard.The environmental organization WaterWatch wants the Oregon Water Resource Department’s decision reversed and remanded to correct what it sees as errors in the orders allowing Lake Oswego and others to extend water rights they haven’t yet fully tapped on the river.

WaterWatch attorney Lisa Brown said the department’s orders “aren’t supported by substantial evidence.”

And while they identify river levels necessary to protect fish, they don’t require permit holders to take action when water levels drop below those targets in the summer months, Brown said. She said water levels would be inadequate in other seasons, too — running counter to fish protections required under a state law approved in 2005. Permit conditions wouldn’t be reviewed for decades.

“This is it for fish,” Brown said during oral arguments in Salem on Nov. 15. “This is the one time to get it right, and the state hasn’t done that here.”

The case has made its way from the Oregon Water Resources Department and an administrative law judge to the Oregon Court of Appeals, where attorneys made their arguments before Judges Rex Armstrong, James C. Egan and Lynn R. Nakamoto.

Defendants include the Oregon Water Resources Department, which administers water rights permits; the South Fork Water Board, which serves Oregon City and West Linn; and a group of municipal water providers that includes Lake Oswego, with Tigard signed on as an intervener.

Because these permits are the first to come up for renewal since fish protections became a required part of the process, the court’s decision now could set the stage for how similar cases are handled on rivers across Oregon in the future.

Under a law approved by the 2005 Legislature, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife gives advice on how to maintain “fish persistence,” or how to protect species on rivers, before water rights for utilities are approved. The Oregon Water Resources Department can restrict water rights based on ODFW’s input. Before 2005, fish persistence wasn’t a required factor in the process.

The standards apply to new water rights as well as unused portions of longstanding water rights up for renewal. Because water providers consider projected population growth when applying for permits, they typically don’t use all of the water they’re allotted.

Environmental groups have argued that if all of the utilities with rights on the Clackamas River took the entire 100 million gallons they’re allowed each day, there might not be enough left to support the habitat needed by threatened and endangered fish when water demand is highest.

Lake Oswego needs to renew its water rights to upgrade and expand its facilities to share drinking water resources with Tigard. The city plans to fully develop its rights on the Clackamas River, taking up to 38 million gallons each day.

Attorney Jeff Ring represents the joint municipal water providers, including Lake Oswego and Tigard. The cities joined forces in 2008; Lake Oswego, in exchange for sharing its water, has a partner to take on some of the burden of planned facility upgrades. Tigard, meanwhile, will no longer have to rely on Portland for its water.

Ring said the final water resources department’s orders imposed multiple limits on the cities’ water use: Municipalities are limited in how much water they can take, they must monitor flow levels and, if the seven-day average flow falls shy of targets, they have to reduce how much water is drawn. Those limits all aim to keep enough water in the river for fish.

“That’s mandatory,” Ring said. “It’s not discretionary.”

Another condition requires an annual meeting with ODFW “to devise a strategy” for ensuring fish runs are protected. The strategy would go beyond water agencies scaling back their withdrawals from the river to include summer “augmentation” through releases from Timothy Lake, a body of water located near Mount Hood that is managed by Portland General Electric and feeds into the Clackamas River.

If the involved parties couldn’t agree on a strategy for managing water levels, it would be up to ODFW to determine the best approach. But it’s unclear whether ODFW would have the leverage needed to make sure the strategy was implemented.

In that case, WaterWatch contends, action to boost river levels to protect fish would essentially be voluntary for the municipal water providers.

Judge Armstrong questioned whether a condition requiring the groups to settle on a strategy and implement it was different than one that would only be implemented if all of the groups agreed.

“It has kind of a hollow quality,” Armstrong said.

Denise Fjordbeck, representing the water resources department, acknowledged there might be years when Timothy Lake doesn’t have enough water to share. She contended that the hot summer months, when Timothy Lake might be looked to as a source to supplement river flows, aren’t ideal for salmon in the Clackamas River anyway.

“Those are months when water in that section of the river would be warm, and the fish would not use it,” Fjordbeck said. What would the fish do instead? “They go somewhere else.”

In that case, she said, falling below target flows “would not be a biological problem.”

The Oregon Court of Appeals decision is expected in one to two years.

Meanwhile, the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership faces additional legal challenges with a project in West Linn, where residents have challenged approval of a new, bigger water treatment plant.

Construction has already started on some of the partnership’s projects, which are estimated to cost more than $200 million and span four cities. They include a new intake building on the Clackamas River in Gladstone, the new plant in West Linn, a reservoir in Lake Oswego, a pump station in Tigard and pipelines running between the facilities. The system is expected to be serving Tigard by 2016.