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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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Opportunities excite McLoughlin communities


Communities of Jennings Lodge and Oak Grove have come a long way since I last wrote to you.

Planning organizations and local business leaders discovered ways to work closer together by sitting at the same table, frankly discussing, and then prioritizing issues to respond to. Our marching orders are contained in the McLoughlin Area Plan and together with the North Clackamas Planning Organization form the MAP Implementation Team or MAP-IT.

While the entire area of the MAP is under scrutiny by the 15-member team, we have been concentrating on McLoughlin Boulevard or Highway 99E, mostly because it has the furthest to go in the opinion of just about anybody you talk to. And I do not use the term loosely: We are a team, with new relationships developing that would have not been likely otherwise.

This is an important consideration, for at this point in history we as a community are under enormous political pressure to incorporate into a city. However, the last poll clearly indicated that the majority of those polled were very much not in favor of incorporation, so the case for that clearly has yet to be made. The question that the MAP-IT wrestles with is: Can we democratically govern our future as citizens of North Clackamas, Oak Grove and Jennings Lodge within the political framework provided by the county? MAP-IT may be one answer to that question and we have demonstrated noticeable improvements already, even if we have ruffled a few feathers.

Beside more dialogue among ourselves, we now have unprecedented connections to staff and officials at both the county and state levels. Even so, MAP-IT is only an advisory body to the Board of County Commissioners, our de facto city council, whom quite frankly have more than enough on their plate, and so we can only make requests to further the vision of the MAP. Fortunately for the community, we had the foresight to specifically spell out the “what” in the MAP, for this is our vision, and expected that the “how” would somehow be negotiated.

We have made progress on the signs cluttering up 99E, even adding some of our own in the form of tourism banners on existing wood poles. Perhaps more significantly, we seem close to launching an initiative to install uniform street lighting. From Glen Echo Avenue at our southern end, to Park Avenue at our northern end, some 62 fixtures were replaced. There is little doubt that with the increased illumination the corridor will be safer for pedestrians, bikes and cars. And people may start to notice all the new little restaurants opening up, and feel safe enough to stop in for a bite. I have been surveying them and they are all quite good and very reasonable.

So there is positive change in the air and now we are gifted with perhaps the last opportunity for a community park in Jennings Lodge. As has been reported elsewhere, the circa 1905 Jennings Lodge Retreat Center is up for sale. This 16.67 acre campus of historic structures has over a hundred trees, some of which could be 100 years old or more. The internal roadway system makes it feel like you are in a time capsule when walking through the campus. There is some speculation that the whole campus would be a great film set, it has “Grimm” written all over it. The complex of 13-deeded properties can be easily partitioned into two blocks: a Park Block and a Village Block that could be entirely redeveloped into a themed housing and service destination, or housing development themed around the history of the park. Using the county’s own numbers, the market value of the campus is $4.9 million. The 5.7-acre park block is estimated at $800,000, leaving the $4.1 million 10.1-acre development that would go onto the tax rolls, some of it for the first time since 1905.

Of course, this is just speculation because since the property was not being assessed for taxes all of these years, the property values are probably not up to date. We have heard that the JLRC trustees will be reviewing an appraisal of the campus at their February meeting. Much depends on the results of the appraisal and the trustees. Meanwhile, we are out working to make this project happen because it is clearly indicated in the MAP that the community is expecting us to not let this opportunity slip by.

So you can see that we have come together as something approaching a recognizable community, even if we are not a city. It would have made the JLRC project much easier, but we are not going to dwell on what is not working; we are acknowledging what already does work and moving forward from there. That is MAP-IT.

Thank you for providing this opportunity to say thank you to all of the volunteers in our community. We would not be one without you.

Terry John Gibson, a 24-year resident of Jennings Lodge, is chairman of the environmental subcommittee of the McLoughlin Area Plan Implementation Team.