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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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Water stars in film fest


Greg Baartz-Bowman wants to bring people to downtown Milwaukie not for one night, but for five nights. And he expects them to be entertained and educated by what he has planned for the third-annual Watershed Event, hosted by the Milwaukie Film Festival, starting with four films to be shown at the Masonic Lodge on Saturday, Jan. 25.

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUE LEGACY/ALI SANDERSON - Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau, discusses watershed issues on the Mississippi River on a ride-along with John Chick, right, field station director of the Illinois Natural History Survey.  The four movies include “Backyard,” by Deia Schlosberg; “Coal Resolution,” made by Baartz-Bowman; “Walk On Water,” by Portland filmmaker Andy Maser; and “St. Louis: Upstream America,” from Blue Legacy International.

The last film features Alexandra Cousteau, the granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau, famous underwater explorer, researcher and filmmaker.

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUE LEGACY/ALI SANDERSON - Alexandra Cousteau chats with Steve Black, a fifth-generation farmer whose work is now implementing eco-solutions into industrial-scale agriculture.  Over the next four months, a series of films, based on themes of community, the environment and more, will be shown at the Masonic Temple, Baartz-Bowman said, usually on the third Saturday of the month.

These free films are suitable for children ages 12 and older. A $3,000 grant from Clackamas County Tourism & Cultural Affairs made the film series possible.

Mark Gamba, a Milwaukie city councilor and Baartz-Bowman’s co-filmmaker, will host the event in January. First up on the agenda will be a celebration of the fact that citizens united to keep the county from cutting down historic oak trees and building a road on the outskirts of the Three Creeks Natural Area.

“We are going to update folks on the status of the natural area and the Sunnyside West extension, and celebrate the fact that the road has been removed from the transportation safety plan,” Baartz-Bowman said.

He added, “It’s pretty incredible that two years ago Chris Runyard sits high up in an oak tree at Three Creeks, saying we were going to stop the road, and now that is happening.”

Runyard is the leader of a dedicated group of volunteers, called the Tsunami Crew, that worked for years pulling ivy and removing blackberries and other invasives from that site, located behind the North Clackamas Aquatic Center, just off of Southeast Harmony Road.

The Tsunami Crew, along with a huge group of concerned citizens protested the construction of the road, and Baartz-Bowman documented part of that struggle in his film, “Lonely Tree — Old Growth in Peril at 3-Creeks,” shown at the first Watershed Event in 2012.

Last year’s film that headlined the second Watershed Event was based on another local issue, the removal of

the Kellogg Creek Dam; it was called “Un-Dam It!”

‘Coal Resolution’

“Coal Resolution,” the third film from Baartz-Bowman’s company, Strawbale Films, will debut at the event; it is 16 minutes long.

“It is a look back at the citizens of Milwaukie’s grass-roots effort to take on a controversial subject — coal transportation by train through Milwaukie. Because of their efforts, the Milwaukie City Council voted to ban coal transportation through the city,” he said.

Making this film was “really rewarding,” he said, adding that now the film is available to other groups in the 1,300 other communities along the rail line where coal may be transported.

“This film will be a little guide for them, and the citizens of Milwaukie can have a sense of accomplishment about what they did for their city, and how they can do the same for other communities with similar concerns.”

Visit strawbalefilms.com for more information.

‘Walk On Water’ and ‘Backyard’

Maser’s six-minute film, “Walk On Water,” which Baartz-Bowman described as “a wonderful film,” is based on a Portland athlete, paralyzed from the waist down by a skiing accident.

The young man, named Greg Mallory, looks for another outlet for athletics and finds himself involved with kayaking.

“The film is about the transformation of Greg. It is very moving, very uplifting to watch as he turns a negative into a positive,” Baartz-Bowman said.

The film is “beautifully shot and directed” by Maser, who works full time now for National Geographic. “Andy is one of the top-10 documentary filmmakers in the country,” he said.

Learn more at maserfilms.com.

“Backyard,” the next film to be shown that night, is a 28-minute look “at the underbelly of hydrofracking,” Baartz-Bowman said.

In the fracking process, high-pressure hoses inject water and a mix of chemicals into a well, going down a mile or two. This causes rocks to crack and release propane and natural gases.

But when the companies take out the natural gases, the process leaves behind the fracking chemicals, contaminating people’s wells, so they cannot drink the water or use it for bathing, Baartz-Bowman said.

Directed by a scientist from Montana, the title of the film comes from the fact that most of these wells are in people’s backyards. People can only own the surface of their land, and don’t own what’s underneath.

“This film pulls no punches,” Baartz-Bowman said.

Find out more by visiting facebook.com/deia.schlosberg.

‘St. Louis: Upstream America’

Baartz-Bowman found Blue Legacy International, a Washington D.C.-based organization “that calls attention to endangered watersheds around the world,” as he was researching other organizations that are dedicated to what he is interested in.

“These folks are at the forefront of watershed awareness and protection,” he said, noting that Alexandra Cousteau is a founding member.

“I’m super excited about what they are striving to do — focusing on cleaning up local watersheds in crisis, just like we are focusing on the Kellogg-Mt. Scott watershed.”

Cousteau is the narrator of “St. Louis:Upstream America,” a seven-minute film about the largest watershed in the United States — the Mississippi River.

“The film takes a really hard look at the river in Iowa and then all the way downstream to New Orleans. Eighteen million people get their water from the Mississippi and 41 percent of the rivers in the lower 48 states drain into it,” Baartz-Bowman said.

Learn more at bluelegacy.net.


The film series will continue on Saturday, Feb. 15. All the films that night will revolve around the theme of how “individuals can stand up in a community and make a difference,” Baartz-Bowman said.

March 15’s films will be bike themed, he said, while on April 19, the films will all focus on food, especially growing your own and going from “yard to table.”

The May 10 event will feature short films fitting under the theme of upriver/downtown.

“These are the type of events that need to be supported. People need to come out to the whole series,” Baartz-Bowman said. “The response has been great so far. It was standing room only the last two years.

“These events play a role in building a better community. Supporting film nights is a way to keep the momentum growing for the city that we want; the city worth fighting for,” he said.

Watch the watershed

What: Watershed Event 2014, hosted by the Milwaukie

Film Festival

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25; doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Masonic Lodge, 10636 S.E. Main St., Milwaukie

Details: Free; suitable for ages 12 and up. The event is made

possible by a grant from Clackamas County Tourism & Cultural Affairs.

More: Visit milwaukiefilmfestival.com for details.