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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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Giving thanks for the wisdom of the elders


Blue Heron Beginnings: Commentary on the Willamette Falls Legacy Project -

Of all the varied and interconnected aspects of the Willamette Falls Legacy Project (WFLP), one stands out in my mind as particularly significant and deserving of thanks this holiday season: namely, the outreach effort to the Native American community that holds the Falls sacred and that has gathered there for millennia.

Lead WLFP consultant Walker Macy’s initial proposal stood out from its competitors for several reasons, including its strong emphasis on such outreach. Some proposals did not mention it at all; others made only passing reference. Not only did Walker Macy make it a central focus, the firm listed five specific Tribal Nations with historical association to Willamette Falls as invitees for project consultation and engagement: the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Siletz, Warm Springs, Umatilla and Yakama. Furthermore, the firm noted its track record, and the relationships it had developed with tribal nations, on similar past projects.

Here’s hoping that this conversation will develop into something fruitful and long lasting.

In my professional life I have had the privilege of coming to know three recognized Elders of their respective Native American communities. Johnny Jackson is a hereditary chief of the Cascade Tribe. Wilbur Slockish is a hereditary chief of the Klickitat/Cascade Tribe. These tribes and 13 others came together to negotiate and sign a treaty with the United States in 1855, and formed what is now known as the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama Indian Nation. Chiefs Slockish and Jackson are both descendants of Hereditary Chief Sla-kish, one of the signatories of the 1855 Treaty. Carol Logan, a native traditional cultural practitioner, traces her lineage to several Indian Nations, including the Clackamas, Kalapuya and Chinook, and served for years on the Cultural Committee of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

They have shared with an eager listener stories from centuries of oral tradition. For example, how present day U.S. 26, the Mount Hood Highway, traced the route of the pioneer Barlow Trail, which, in turn, traced the route of an age-old Indian trail. That trail connected places like that lost major native trading center and gathering place of Tribal Nations, Celilo Falls, with that other trading and gathering place of Tribal Nations, Willamette Falls, which we fortunately still have. The trail further continued down into the Willamette Valley and its abundance of the food staple camas. Traveling such great distances by foot meant that not only campgrounds but also burial grounds dotted the length of the trail: As people died, their families would bury them in trailside graves marked nearby by identifying cairns, stone markers and stone monuments.

Knowing them has provided me brief glimpses of the extremely rich cultural life of their communities. The Yakama have annual First Salmon, Root and Huckleberry Feasts. Tribal members first gather in a longhouse to participate in ceremonies of chants in the Sahaptin language accompanied by the Seven Bells of the Washat religion. An outdoor community-wide salmon feast follows the ceremonies. Along a river in the foothills of Oregon’s Coast Range, I once witnessed Carol and some of her fellow tribal members participate in a Sacred Waters ceremony, in which people would silently release into the water palm-sized rafts laden with symbolic offerings. In the contemplative silence, the little rafts would drift peacefully down the stream, some catching after only a short distance on branch clusters, others dipping over ripples and drifting on and on until they slowly disappeared out of sight around a bend in the stream. Both of these ceremonies gave me a deep, profound sense of how these cultures view the earth, the air, the water — and the creatures that inhabit them — as sacred, and worthy of human stewardship.

The sacredness and interconnectedness of nature are themes explored by authors David Suzuki and Peter Knudtson in their book “Wisdom of the Elders: Sacred Stories of Nature.” Suzuki, a geneticist who once hosted a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation series on science called “The Nature of Things,” recounts how over the span of his career he became disillusioned that while traditional Western, Newtonian science could reduce nature to its atomic and genetic basics, and create powerful technologic and economic achievements, it could not by itself address the ecological consequences of these achievements.

Then he got involved in campaigns with First Nations peoples in British Columbia who were fighting clearcut logging on their traditional lands, because it would destroy the ecology that was the base of their culture and economy. “The land and all the creatures that inhabit it represent their history, their culture, their meaning, their very identity.” He began over time to learn how native cultures around the world have developed sophisticated, holistic understandings of ecosystems, based on millennia of observation, and passed down through the generations. This is the “Wisdom of the Elders” that Suzuki and Knudtson argue must complement Western “reductionist” science to achieve an ecologically stable planet.

Western, Newtonian science led to the Industrial Revolution, then Imperialism, which in its American form of Manifest Destiny marched out the Oregon Trail, down the Barlow Road, and ended up right here, at Willamette Falls; culminating in the massive industrial complexes that bookended the Falls. These complexes yielded extraordinary achievements like the first long-distance transmission of electricity, from Oregon City to Portland. But they also generated environmentally consequential impacts such as the untreated discharges of sulphite pulp processing during the early and middle decades of the 20th century. These discharges, along with others up and down the Willamette, almost killed the river off, and led to Oregon’s landmark water-quality laws in the 1960s, prior even to the federal Clean Water Act of the 1970s.

The industrial development at the Falls over the past 150 years, though, is not even a blink of an eye when compared to the timeless presence of Native American communities at the Falls. The industrial complexes also severely impaired — to put it mildly — the access to the Falls of the Native American communities, who have nevertheless with resilience and tenacity asserted their rightful claim to a presence at the Falls: for example, the effort in the early 1990s of the Yakama to erect traditional fishing platforms at Willamette Falls pursuant to their 1855 Treaty rights to fish in their “usual and accustomed places,” or the annual lamprey harvest still undertaken at the Falls by members of numerous tribes.

The significance of WFLP’s outreach to Native American tribes lies in its providing even the possibility of a long-term dialogue and reconciliation of these two powerful historical forces that have met at Willamette Falls. Perhaps attaining Suzuki and Knudston’s ideal of a grand synthesis is a lofty ambition. But even the tentative initial steps at trust, confidence, and vision-building plant the seeds of hope. Willamette Falls and the Blue Heron site could be a place for a restored physical and cultural presence of Native Americans as part of our community, which will profoundly enrich our community. A place to impart the wisdom of the Elders.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oregon City resident James Nicita is a former city commissioner.