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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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If only we could spend another night at Pope's Hall


Blue Heron Beginnings: Commentary on the Willamette Falls Legacy Project

The Blue Heron Mill site’s significance in the origins of Oregon City includes its role in our town’s cultural life. Amidst the mills, flumes and water wheels, Oregon’s first newspaper, the Spectator, began publishing in the neighborhood in 1846. Stores like Charman & Warner, and inns like the Cliff House, dotted the original street grid. An early mint produced the Beaver Coin.

By the late 19th century, Pope’s Hall, later referred to also as the Pope Opera House, became perhaps the center of Oregon City’s cultural life. Built in 1873 at the northwest corner of Main and Fourth streets, the hall stood on the second floor of the Pope’s Hardware Store building. It lasted over a century.

Like virtually everything else within the Blue Heron site, the paper-making operation engulfed even the Pope building. For example, the Oregonian reported on Oct. 4, 1931:

“The Hawley Pulp & Paper Company has just installed a new 42-inch paper towel converting machine, and operations are expected to start soon, Manager Kelly announced today. The machine, which is located in the old Pope building at Fourth and Main streets, has a capacity of 200 cartons of paper towels a day.”

Sadly we lost the Pope Opera House within recent memory, around 1980.

It probably goes without saying that the legacy of Pope’s Hall should inspire a vision of a performance space within the Willamette Falls Legacy Project, whether that might be an amphitheater constructed within the massive riverfront clarifier structure, or an auditorium in the well-proportioned and open-spaced No. 1 Paper Machine building at the foot of the basin, or a new structure that becomes the pride of Oregon City and the state.

The author of this column recently came across the following story, which vividly brings to life a glimpse of Oregon City’s 19th-century cultural life. So, without further ado, “Blue Heron Beginnings” proudly presents, courtesy of the Oregon City Enterprise of Nov. 5, 1875, page 3, column 1, a Night at Pope’s Hall:

THE CONCERT. Successful in Every Particular.

Perhaps never before has Pope’s Hall held a larger or more select audience, than was assembled there on the occasion of the concert in aid of the Congregational Church, on Saturday evening last. The music was entirely the work of amateurs, each of whom, we are proud to say, belongs to this city. The different ladies and gentleman participating acquitted themselves, not only with credit, but with unequivocal, pronounced skill; and though the applause and enthusiasm were great, to have redoubled such manifestations of pleasurable approbation would have been no more than the deserts of this musicale. In order to do justice to the several debutantes it will be necessary to pass through the programme, briefly noticing each singer, that those of our readers who were not so fortunate as to be in attendance may form some limited idea of this very enjoyable entertainment.

An English adaptation of “The Conspirator’s March” from the opera bouffe “La Fille de Madame Angot,” called “Sweet Dawn Awakes,” was sung by four very fine voices, and was received with rounds of applause. Miss Nettie Post, Miss Pet Miller, W.C. Johnson, Esq., and Mr. E.T. Hatch composed this quartette.

Miss Nettie Post followed with the charming little ballad “Fly forth Gentle Dove,” which was executed most delightfully.

The next was a duet by Miss Caufield and Miss Pet Miller, entitled “Go Where the Mists Are Sleeping.” This was a most enjoyable morceau. The sweet voice of Miss Caufield and the clear notes from Miss Miller blending in the completest harmony.

Mr. E.T. Hatch followed this duet with “By the Blue Sea,” a song most judiciously chosen and most admirably rendered. This gentleman is possessed of a deep basso, well under control, and a vocal range apparently running the gamut beyond what is known as the baritone. His hearty applause was well merited.

Decidedly the gem of the evening was that dear old song of Tom Moore’s, and the favorite of Parepa Rosa, “The Last Rose of Summer.” This was rendered by Miss Emma Miller. It has been our good fortune to have been present at many soirees musicales, and to have heard many prominent amateur sopranos, and as far as reaches our limited knowledge of the “art divine,” and our perhaps not over-educated taste, we most unhesitatingly say that from a non-professional, we have never heard sweeter strains, or witnessed more patent evidences of vocal cultivation than exhibited by Miss Emma Miller on Saturday evening last. This young lady’s voice is rich with silver, swelling forth at times with a cadence truly grand. Possessing what many a public emtatrice would envy — volume, harmony and tenderness — is it any wonder that her audience of home-friends was entranced? Applause, if not as great, at least as hearty as the bravas of La Scala, brought Miss Miller twice before the footlights, and thus, amidst loud plaudits, ended the first part of the concert.

Variety being the spice of life, the second part of the entertainment began with a most creditably selected and well delivered recitation, by Miss Kate Frazer, the subject being the well known “Sleeping Sentinel.”

Sweetest arias from “Ernani” were then most brilliantly executed by Miss Emma Miller. Her trills were very creditable, and the high notes well taken and firmly held, showing a confidence in her powers rarely found among amateurs. At the close of this operatic cavatina, the encores were so great, and so long persisted in, that Miss Miller was compelled to come again before the audience. She sang “Home, Sweet Home” — than which no more appropriate ballad could have been selected. Having been away from this city at the Musical Conservative at Boston for several years, she seemed to throw pathos into Hayne’s poem, of which even he, poor fellow, could scarcely have considered the words susceptible. The demonstrations of delight at the close of this song were of such a nature as to show the thorough appreciation of their audience, and the high estimate which it naturally formed of the institution from which this young lady has just departed.

The duet of “The Forest Birds” was sweetly sung by Miss Nettie Post and Miss Pet Miller.

Following this came the “Tempest,” a good song for a good voice - which was not wanting in Mr. Hatch.

The climax was reached when the Misses Miller and Messrs. Johnson and Hatch sang “Moonlight on the Lake.” Had we not already awarded the palm to the “Last Rose of Summer,” we should feel constrained to announce this quartette as the master-effort of the evening — suffice it to say it was a fitting close to a delightful entertainment.

To Miss Lovejoy, of this place, and Mr. DePrans, of Portland, especial thanks are due, and praise should be given, for their very able accompaniment at the piano.

We have but one fault to find, and that complimentary in its nature — the programme was too short.

Oregon City resident James Nicita is a former city commissioner.