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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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Shooting anniversary: Police keep up vigilance at Clackamas Town Center


As 10,000 screaming people ran out of the Clackamas Town Center mall a year ago, two police officers pressed through the tide to trap the shooter in a service stairwell where he eventually shot himself.

by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - After checking for valid fare, Transit Police Officer Curtis Brown arrests Nicholas Glendon Davis on an identity-theft charge at the end of the light-rail line at Clackamas Town Center.How was it that police were able to respond so quickly last Dec. 11? Short answer: TriMet’s more than $10 million annual security budget includes extra holiday-season patrols out of the CTC Transit Police Precinct, located beneath the light-rail stop’s parking garage. Without those extra funds, those officers would not have arrived at work as the first shots were fired.

by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - CCSO Sgt. Lynn Schoenfeld handcuffs Lance Travis Hart, 26, in the JCPenney on Dec. 5 before finding out about the warrant for his arrest.Instead of a 10-second dash across the parking lot, the first-arriving Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputy would have been the district officer navigating his patrol car against the crowd rushing out of the mall. Killing Cindy Yuille of Portland and Steve Forsyth of West Linn, Jacob Roberts arrived at the mall with an AK-15 semi-automatic in his Volkswagen Jetta, so he never used transit in committing the crime.

This December, CCSO Sgt. Lynn Schoenfeld still leads CTC’s TriMet team, which is technically a division of the Portland Police Bureau with 17 partner agencies, in patrolling the mall and transit center to “catch the bad guys.” While demonstrating his five-member team’s duties on a typical weekday afternoon this month, Schoenfeld emphasized that the mall remains a safe place.

CTC’s large number of reported crimes (“Town Center crime rates on decline,” Nov. 27) stems from the “vigilance” of mall security and his deputies in pressing charges, and from the mass of people coming together and watching out for suspicious activities. Statistically, you’re less likely to become a crime victim at CTC than at smaller venues in the region.

“There’s lots of people in one spot and lots of potential for victimhood here,” Schoenfeld said. “We want high-drive personable folks on transit police to get out there and generate statistics, and they do a tremendous job in making sure that people who are threats to the system are removed from the system.”

Threats include everything from armed felons to public nuisances. As soon as the deputies stepped out of their office into the freezing CTC parking lot, they caught a man lighting up directly under the bus stop’s no-smoking sign. Since he immediately snuffed out his cigarette, apologized and cooperated with their request to check his identification, he got off with a warning. Then a 14-year-old girl from Westview High School tried to jump across to another train when she saw them checking for proof of payment. She also lacked a criminal record, but Schoenfeld gave her a stern talking-to and forced her to buy bus fare before he would return her student-ID card.

Meanwhile, Portland Officer Curtis Brown caught a spry 23-year-old man named Nicholas Glendon Davis with a suspicious Honored Citizen pass usually reserved for disabled people and seniors. In a move that defied logic, Davis told police he was Brandon Lee Mitchell, who had a warrant out for his arrest. Handcuffs came out on CTC’s MAX train platform as Brown patted Davis down, finding a marijuana pipe and a 5-inch switchblade that by itself earned Davis a 90-day TriMet exclusion. Davis has been arrested previously in 2010 for interfering with police, but he had no warrant.

by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - CCSO Deputy Steve VanMetre checks for fare violations at the Clackamas Town Center light-rail stop.Police then marched Davis down to the CTC Precinct’s holding cell to “sort things out.” His fingerprints came back from the FBI identifying him as Davis. Even though he was carrying identification, a social-security card and birth certificate with the name “Davis,” Davis continued to insist that he was Mitchell, even though he didn’t have any contact information for his “friend” named Davis.

by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Deputy Steve VanMetre leads Lance Travis Hart through the Clackamas Town Center mall to find out that the suspected fake $100 bill he passed was in fact genuine.“When people put ‘honest to God’ or something like that in front of what they’re saying, they’re usually lying,” Brown noted. “He’s also having trouble getting his words out and refusing to look us in the face as we ask him questions, which are tell-tale signs of deceit.”

Just as Schoenfeld decided to charge Davis with identity theft and providing false information to police, mall security called with a new threat: A running white male suspect had been trying to pass a fake $100 bill and eluding capture attempts. Schoenfeld, who knows CTC “like the back of his hand” after working it in the ‘90s when it had a gang-prevention unit, caught up with Lance Travis Hart in the JCPenney. It turned out that the $100 bill that Hart, 26, changed at Regal Cinemas was genuine, but he had a warrant out for his arrest. In less than two hours, police had filled both of the precinct’s holding cells.

And for the question worth at least $100: Can we expect more crime in Milwaukie and Oak Grove when the light-rail line opens there in 2015? In TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt’s view, the only difference will be a system that’s better designed to prevent crime. She expected there to be a similar jump in reported crimes with a decline in the overall crime rate, the same pattern seen over the past few years at CTC.

“Anytime you open a new line, you’re going to have an increase in reported crime,” Altstadt said. “But that crime was there before TriMet services came in, and if we weren’t there, it would just go unreported.”

Schoenfeld agreed, saying that the arrival of light rail could help the largely upstanding and vigilant Oak Grove community’s fight against its above-average rate of meth users. There were also a number of social services for addicts in the Clackamas area when trains started rolling through in 2009.

“It’s not like that drug use wouldn’t happen if TriMet weren’t here,” Altstadt said.

When Milwaukie’s line does open, Schoenfeld promises that CCSO and Transit Police will be there to read the faces of passengers for suspicious activity. He asserted this is not racial or any other type of profiling, but rather an eye to dramatic changes in people’s behavior when confronted with police.