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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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Milwaukie Museum receives $30K city grant for revamping exhibits, cataloging local artifacts -

Walk into the Milwaukie Museum and you’ll see a dizzying variety of historic objects from the city’s storied past, everything from original City Council gavels to an alligator skin left over from its now-defunct amusement park.

by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Milwaukie Historical Society Vice-President Greg 'Frank' Hemer looks forward to help from consultants funded with $30,000 in city funds to help organize exhibits at the Milwaukie Museum.You’ll see the nationwide influence of the 5,000-seat Milwaukie Arena, which was located where McLoughlin by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - A writing desk at the entry of the Milwaukie Museum holds a variety of artifacts from the city that goes back to the beginning of Oregon's pioneer history.Boulevard and Harrison Street now intersect, in a pair of Everlast boxing gloves autographed by 1920s cultural icon and World Heavyweight Champion William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey. In the arena’s biggest and most controversial fight Jan. 6, 1922, World Colored Heavyweight Champion Harry Wills fought Ben Tate, Dempsey’s sparring partner. The governor also had to intervene in Milwaukie by calling in the militia 1921 to raid the Frier Club, a site notorious for hosting both gambling and prohibition-era alcohol.

You’ll also see that Former “Maverick” Mayor Bill Hupp donated a clock to the Milwaukie Museum that came from the old library in downtown Portland, but no one knows how Hupp got a hold of it. All members of the Milwaukie Historical Society know is that the Multnomah County library system doesn’t want it back.

There are literally tons of other “curiosities” in this museum that was formerly the George Wise family farmhouse, built on Lake Road in 1865. Avocado-seed dolls by the dozens, racks of vintage clothing, boxes of black-and-white photos and a large collection of antique tools currently have no known connection to Milwaukie’s history specifically.

Later owners of the house, United Grocers, donated the structure to the historical society, who moved it to Adams Street with the help of many other community volunteers and a bicentennial grant. Dedication took place June 7, 1975.

Madalaine Bohl died May 17, 2009, after running the museum almost single-handedly for over a decade. With her went much of the expertise that she had been keeping in her head, although she also kept extensive records in binders that fill an entire small room. When these binders are digitized, said Milwaukie Historical Society Vice-President Greg “Frank” Hemer, much of the origins of the museum’s collections will be revealed to the world on the historical society’s website.

“It’s just so overwhelming, and we don’t know where to start, and that’s one of the things we really appreciate about having the curators,” Hemer said.

Those curators are the fruits of efforts by Hemer’s “younger generation,” now in their 40s and 50s, who have joined the swelling ranks of historical society membership in a now-or-never effort to preserve the city’s past since Bohl’s passing. Milwaukie’s City Council joined the effort this year by donating a one-time grant of $30,000 so the historical society could hire Alder LLC, a group of three people from different backgrounds. Val Charles Ballestrem, a Milwaukie resident who is the education manager at the Architectural Heritage Center, has the most experience as a historical researcher, and his partners at Alder LLC have more experience as an archivist and curator.

“It was very helpful, not only for us to choose them among more than a dozen applications, but also for us to put together something for the future,” Hemer said. With their five-year plan, they’ll also set us up for putting us in the position to figure out what grants we could get to continue the museum’s revitalization.”

by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Michelle Hemer stands in front of the Milwaukie Museum's impressive collections of period dolls, furniture and tableware.

Return of city’s ‘golden age’

Mayor Jeremy Ferguson cited Bohl’s death as the City Council’s wake-up call to focus on the museum’s historical preservation and fiscal responsibility. If the museum were to go under, Ferguson pointed out, the city would take it over, but city staffers would be ill-equipped to keep it open and reorganize its contents.

“Milwaukie has a significant place in Oregon’s history,” he said. “It felt like the right thing to do to help preserve Milwaukie’s history with all those irreplaceable documents and artifacts.”

Hemer agrees that preserving Milwaukie’s history for future generations should be every citizen’s concern. In the version of Milwaukie’s history as Hemer tells it, the city is trying to rediscover its “golden age” of vitality that it enjoyed during the 1920s through ‘50s, when the trolley line closed down. Those efforts include its economic development plans to correspond with the opening of the light-rail line in 2015.

“We want this museum to be a place that citizens can come and understand their history to serve as unifying force in pride,” Hemer said. “By our community knowing our past, it will strengthen our development moving forward.”

With 500 strong population, Milwaukie had a flourmill, sawmill and boat launch at the beginning of the 1850s. Lot Whitcomb had great vision for the bright future of Milwaukie, but the city of Portland threw ship ballasts into the river at Ross Island to make it impassable, and Milwaukie became a stopping point between Portland and Oregon City. Milwaukie nevertheless persevered on its rich agriculture.

“We sold celery all the way out to Kansas City, and we still have a truck farm and nursery to this day,” Hemer said.

In 1903, the “frontier” city became incorporated, and one of the first City Council’s first rules was against the storage of explosives, a common rule throughout the more civilized portions of the Wild West. The city constable had to buy his own badge, his own gun bullets, his own car’s gasoline and had a volunteer force. He made his salary as a percentage of taxes he collected.

Crystal Lake Park, currently the site of apartments, was a dance hall, zoo and amusement park from about 1906 through the ‘50s. In 1918, Milwaukie passed a law against dancing closer than a foot from people of the opposite sex, so people did their close dancing on the side of the dance hall that was outside of the jurisdiction of Milwaukie’s dance enforcer in Clackamas County’s side of the line. In the 1960s, under the jurisdiction of Mayor Joe Bernard, repealed this law and many others such as against walking a donkey across a city street.