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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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Clackamas County’s greater susceptibility to landslides is back in the spotlight with storms hitting the region over the weekend.

by: KOIN 6 NEWS - Rescuers look through the rubble of a home swept away by a massive landslide near Oso, Wash., March 22.Oregon City officials shut down the popular Waterboard Park last week after a boulder toppled off a hillside and stopped just shy of two homes. Meanwhile, the massive mudslide March 22, in Oso, Wash., Saturday, caused more deaths than any Pacific Northwest landslide in the past 100 years.

by: KOIN 6 NEWS - Oregon City closes Waterboard Park after a boulder tumbles in the popular spot for runners.According to geological experts, those deaths may have been preventable if Snohomish County had invested in more maps that assess landslide risk using Lidar technology. Portland’s West Hills and the area surrounding Oregon City are particular hotbeds, according to official warnings.

As particularly hazardous, recently Lidar again targeted Oregon City’s Newell Creek Canyon, where the Forest Edge development was built for hundreds of residents in 1994 amid expert testimony about the apartment complex’s effect on the movement of an ancient landslide.

Landslides in late 2010 again alarmed Forest Edge residents after the area moved substantially in 2006 following heavy rains, forcing the evacuation and subsequent demolition of two buildings. The property owner had to pay to relocate a sewer-pump station and stormwater piping systems, and made surface repairs while regrading driveways and landscaping.

Maps from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) show landslide risks in the northwestern part of Oregon, but Snohomish emerged a symbol of disparities among counties after government cutbacks prevented updating maps in the area where search teams are still looking for survivors. Due to the many local landslides, Clackamas County was in 2009 declared a national disaster area, which opened up funding from FEMA used to create a new set of maps to show where landslides have occurred in the past, and where they might occur in the future.

Most counties don’t look as extensively at natural hazards, but the Salem and Portland areas have up-to-date maps documenting past landslides as well as thousands of potential risk areas, said Bill Burns, a DOGAMI engineering geologist. He and other DOGAMI experts are saying that the saturated soil conditions caused by spring storms could lead to additional landslides, especially in the Northern Oregon Cascades, Coast Range and Columbia River Gorge.

The Troutdale formation on top of the Columbia River basalt is especially susceptible to the slow-moving larger landslides such as is occurring at Forest Edge, Burns said. But flood deposits from the historic Missoula flood tend to blanket slopes with silt and sand that creates shallower — and potentially more dangerous — soil under homes.

“These are relatively younger, looser materials than the Columbia River basalt,” Burns said. “It covers most of Northwest Clackamas County, and the type of material that it is makes it much more susceptible to landslides. We’re concerned about those yellow areas as well, because we don’t want people to think, ‘Oh, these are safe areas.’”

According to DOGAMI, the most dangerous places throughout the rainy season are below steep slopes and near the mouths of canyons. You can learn more about landslides and debris flows and how to prepare for them at oregongeology.org.

by: KOIN 6 NEWS - Dozens of people remain unaccounted for after a massive mudslide Saturday in Arlington, Wash. The search is still on for survivors.

OC homeowners ‘caught unaware’

Average annual repair costs for landslides in Oregon run more than $10 million, so potential homeowners should look at these maps to decide whether or not to apply for landslide insurance (which is difficult to obtain) or whether to live in the area at all.

Oregon City police said the boulder dislodged around 6 a.m. and toppled down a bluff at Waterboard Park just off Promontory Avenue and stopped just before hitting two homes with families sleeping inside. Steve Shirley lives near Waterboard Park and shuddered at the thought of what could have happened after the boulder came tumbling down the hill with a trail that’s popular with runners.

“If this hillside comes down, it could be bad. I’m hearing about the stuff in Washington right now with all the rain we’ve had, and there’s some people running up the trail up there, and you can see where it’s already washed off,” Shirley said.

Police put up signs, blocking off all entrances to Waterboard Park, which used to serve as a thoroughfare for traffic before mudslides and geological activity shut it down.

Neighbors and park goers told KOIN 6 News that they are hoping for a solution, but with some $1.2 million in unfunded projects, fixing the historic park could prove challenging, according to Oregon City’s Public Works Director John Lewis, who is bringing in experts to assess the danger.

“It’s too early to tell, I don’t know what the plan is there. Obviously, the city has funding for basic repairs. This could have much bigger implications to it,” Lewis said.

Unincorporated Oregon City resident Christine Kosinski has frequently testified to what she fears would occur after the city approved concept plans for South End, Park Place and Beavercreek Road, where she said landslides and hazardous geological issues would pose serious threats to life and property. In the absence of regulation, she hopes new homebuyers ask the right questions and become aware of environmental issues surrounding the purchase of certain properties.

“Taxpayers will want to ask themselves if certain developments may pose increased risk which may equate to the taxpayers picking up the tab for such disasters,” Kosinski said. “Once landslides occur, the property owner is caught unaware and left with sometimes huge debt to either rebuild or repair damages to their homes or property.”

If you are in one of these areas that have higher risks for landslides, there are many things you can do. “Risk-reduction activities” include controlling the stormwater or hiring a geological engineer to give you recommendations, which range from a simple retaining wall to a more complicated drilling rig to examine what type of materials lie underneath a site.

“Most of the communities down there are still absorbing this material and deciding what to do about it,” Burns said. “Our part of this process is to get the science out there, and the next part is taken on by other folks like consultants to make a recommendation to a developer.”