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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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Will the service for your drinking water suffer?


I am writing this even though merging the Oak Lodge Sanitary District (OLSD) and the Oak Lodge Water District (OLWD) has been discussed at the regular meetings of each district. I think citizens of Oak Grove are unaware of the destructive effort underway. A merger has been considered and mutually rejected by both OLWD and OLSD in the past.

The opinion I am expressing is my own and does not reflect the opinion of other Oak Lodge Water District Board members or any decision of OLWD.

In the fall of 2013 OLSD passed Resolution No. 13-08. This resolution “directs the OLSD General Manager to develop and begin a process for evaluating the potential benefits of merging with OLWD.”

Consultant Steve Donovan is in the process of conducting three feasibility studies to be completed by June. At a recent meeting of the OLSD, Mr. Donovan made a Power Point presentation to show potentially reduced increases in sanitary and drinking-water rates. The charts showing the slowing of rate increases indicated Mr. Donovan is predisposed to find justification for a merger. It is not unusual for consultants to perform studies to satisfy the predetermined outcomes wanted by the study’s sponsors.

I am opposed to a merger of OLSD and OLWD. I think the merger would result in a district that is less responsive to the public about drinking-water issues. The new board of five could not adequately review and oversee operations, services and finances of the newly merged district.

Now there are 10 commissioners, five on the OLSD Board and five on the OLWD Board. Each board has a specific focus and interest. The technology, service area and service delivery of each district is not congruent with the other. The services provided by OLSD will demand more attention by the board of the new district. Why? OLSD is more than $50 million in debt and has to deal with surface-water management’s increasing costs and new federal and state regulations anticipated to be imposed.

OLWD will be debt free this year. Some in Oak Grove believe that major projects in the OLWD should be debt financed rather than paid for from a cash reserve. They believe that rates should not be increased to support a reserve fund. I believe just the opposite. OLWD should pay-as-you-go, and have the cash reserves to do it.

Liabilities assumed by a merged district are significant. OLSD has only started to address inspection and maintenance of the wastewater collection system. OLWD has been upgrading the drinking-water piping infrastructure with an annual capital improvement program on a continuing basis. Sanitary and surface-water management have demands that will detract from the drinking-water issues. Rates to support upgrades in the drinking-water distribution system will be neglected; larger increases in rates for sanitary and surface-water management to mitigate deficiencies will be necessary.

Field personnel certifications are different for OLSD and OLWD. Equipment used in most field operations cannot be shared because of contamination between sewage and drinking water. Customer service issues are different. Significant customer relations issues will occur when customers cannot pay their monthly bill in full.

During the OLWD Board election process, the Clackamas Review on April 29, 2013, reported the following:

“Gibson also is greatly invested in the public. She hopes to create more community engagement and interest among youths in what the board is doing.

‘How do we influence our young people to do these important jobs if we aren’t out there in the schools?’ she asked.

Gibson thinks the water district lacks a sufficient disaster plan and would like to see one developed. She also believes that her knowledge of working with low-income communities and her fluency in Spanish will help her connect with ratepayers.

She also would like to emphasize Strategic Financial Planning so that incidents like last year’s 171 percent increase in the fixed-cost portion of residents’ water bills do not happen again. That was an increase (Commissioner Jim) Knapp felt was necessary since there had not been an increase for seven years.

Gray would like to see the board revisit the issue of joining with the sanitary district, an idea that the current board rejected because of the differences in the companies.”

Since Nancy Gibson and Dave Gray have been serving on the OLWD Board they have learned that: 1) there is a strategic plan, 2) OLWD through its membership in the Clackamas River Water Providers does have an outreach to the public and schools, 3) OLWD does have a disaster plan, 4) the OLWD strategic plan avoids mistakes of the past and provides for needs of the future.

With Nancy Gibson on the OLWD board, Terry Gibson the chairman of OLSD and Dave Gray wanting to “join with the sanitary district,” what are the real motives of OLSD and the newly elected OLWD board members regarding the merger?

The Oak Grove Community is best served by keeping drinking water issues closer to the people and keeping OLWD a separate entity. Separate boards allow commissioners to concentrate on issues that are significantly different in each enterprise and allows each one to specialize in efforts to maximize service while minimizing costs in each of their districts.

The effort to merge OLSD and OLWD is misguided.

Myron Martwick is chairman of Oak Lodge Water District Board of Commissioners.