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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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McCall's message starts in Carnegie Library


Years ago, in my wastrel and wanderlust 20s, I camped along Fish Creek in the Mt. Hood National Forest. One morning I met an intense man combusting on the unmistakable fuel of malt liquor and methamphetamine. He introduced himself by yelling, “Hi! My name’s Todd. I was born by Todd Lake, Oregon! I live in Oregon City and I love Oregon! Don’t get no more Oregon than that!”

by: RENDERING COURTESY: CITY OF OREGON CITY - Pictured is an architectural vision of the Oregon City Carnegie Library praised by leaders last month. Matt Love read a longer version of this Community Soapbox on June 22 at the 100th anniversary party for the Cargenie building.At the time, I had no rejoinder for Todd, nothing to compare to his awesome self-appointed awesomeness.

But I had grown up in Oregon City, birthplace of hackey sack and the coolest municipal elevator in the world, my last name was Love, and I had always wanted to become a writer. It was just back then, I didn’t have a subject, a voice, or a passion.

I do now, and when I look back at my subject, voice and passion as a writer, and let’s face it, my teaching, too, it all comes down to Oregon. And I know it all began here, in Oregon City, in this very Carnegie Library some 40 years ago, around the time I started reading all the histories I could find in here because I loved history and in this town, history suffused the landscape. It was the landscape. It is the landscape. History remains the city’s greatest asset and always will be unless its leaders forget that and grasp for something shinier, trendy.

Eleven or 12 years ago, I was living near Pacific City on the Oregon Coast and serving as caretaker of the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I hadn’t published a book, although I was investigating the tale of Vortex 1, the notorious 1970 free rock festival held at McIver Park that still has the distinction of being the only state-sponsored event of its kind in American history. It was a bona fide Clackamas County legend, and I was just beginning to realize how far out this story really was.

I was probably thinking about Vortex, when, one rainy afternoon at a garage sale in Cloverdale, I came across a Feb. 25, 1974, edition of the New Yorker. To my astonishment, it contained an article titled, “Letter from Oregon,” written by E. J. Kahn Jr.

A few sentences in the second paragraph caught my attention: “In the last seven years, they have become accustomed to all sorts of innovative and bizarre goings on. They have laws so progressive that, by comparison, many other states look doddering...the Oregon Legislature, which unblinkingly confronts social and environmental issues from which many state (and national) legislators would recoil...”

Some 6,000 words later, I had read Kahn’s lively account of the state’s unprecedented governing initiatives under the leadership of departing Governor Tom McCall, then near the end of his second and final four-year term in office because the state’s constitution prohibited a governor from serving three consecutive terms.

McCall called the initiatives, collectively, The Oregon Story, and the national media, including the Washington Post, New York Times, Newsweek, PBS, NBC News and “60 Minutes” had paraded to the Pacific Northwest to cover it and profile McCall. He even traveled to New York and appeared on “The Today Show!”

Remember that era? Remember McCall’s extraordinary gift for language and candor? Vintage lines:

Oregon is an inspiration. Whether you come to it, or are born to it, you become entranced by our state’s beauty, the opportunity she affords, and the independent spirit of her citizens.

The interests of Oregon for today and in the future must be protected from the grasping wastrels of the land.

If the salmon and steelhead are running, then as far as I am concerned, God knows that all is well in his world...the health of the environment is good if the salmon and steelhead are around. It is that simple.

Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say: This is my community, and it is my responsibility to make it better.

We want you to visit our State of Excitement often. Come again and again. But for heaven’s sake, don’t move here to live. Or if you do have to move in to live, don’t tell any of your neighbors where you are going.”

In the New Yorker article, McCall described The Oregon Story as one of “innovation and regeneration that can actually be used anywhere. We’re trying to export the hope and the formula.”

By 1974, Oregon could boast of many recent political innovations, most of them nationwide firsts: protection of ocean beaches from privatization and development, a law dedicating 1 percent of highway funds for bicycle and pedestrian paths, a mandatory five-cent deposit on returnable cans and bottles, an effort to clean up the polluted Willamette River, a government open-meetings law, visionary land-use planning to preserve farm and forestland, a forest practices act, a state-sponsored rock festival to forestall violence, decriminalization of marijuana, penal reform, and an astonishing level of voluntary energy conservation promoted by state government that seems unthinkable today.

In effect, these initiatives led Oregon to become within a generation one of the most desirable places to live in the country, if not the entire world.

Kahn quoted McCall: “America is beginning to open up. We’ve got an inherently good system. We’ve just got to get the right people to make it work. If I had to run for president to sell the Oregon message — to encourage more innovative and daring actions, that is — I would do it. But that will depend on a lot of things, and in any event the message is more important than the messenger.”

That message, the Oregon political message heard round the world in 1974, in my youth growing up in a mill town overlooking the Willamette Falls, I had heard it. It must have imbued me, somehow.

Others must have heard the message, too, including politicians from both parties, because by the mid-1960s Oregon was culturally and environmentally exhausted, intransigent, and needed modernizing in body, mind and spirit. The Lewis and Clark and the Oregon Trail stories weren’t enough to move us forward.

The message that Tom McCall sent was, and I think it’s high time the residents of this state recognize that, and that’s why I’m helping gather signatures for a ballot initiative to establish Tom McCall Day. (see Tommccall.org)

After reading “Letter from Oregon,” I suddenly became seized by one of those purely clarifying moments some of us are lucky to experience. It occurred to me, right there at the garage sale. It was: I think I live my life reflexively as a direct consequence of The Oregon Story’s message.

How? I wear a sweater inside the house to save energy. Wherever they lie, I pick up discarded cans and bottles, redeem them, and pocket the beer money, just as I did as a student at Mt. Pleasant Elementary and Gardiner Junior High, to pay for the sodas my mother refused to purchase. How else? The notion of buying bottled water repulses me. I bicycle to work and for recreation. I obey the speed limit. I teach McCall’s message to every student who enters my classroom, regardless of the subject. I try to conserve Oregon’s natural world and once had a hand in planting nearly 25,000 trees in Oregon’s denuded coastal watersheds. I could care less if people smoke marijuana in my presence. I visit Oregon’s publicly-owned beaches two or three times a day, never pay a cent for the privilege of doing so, and my frequent time romping there with my dogs bears a strong resemblance to a religious practice.

I have never forgotten Todd’s immortal phrase and often ponder it when I discover a fascinating Oregon story that qualifies for the immortal don’t get no more Oregon than that! category. Over the years, I’ve written a lot about them and wish I could somehow meet up with Todd, probably now in jail, or dead, or sober, and deliver my rejoinder to him, because now I have one.

Here it is:

Well, Todd, I think it does, brother. It does get a lot more Oregon than that. My name is Matt, I grew up in Oregon City and went to Oregon City High School, I live at the Oregon Coast, I love Oregon, my last name is Love, I’ve driven alone the distance to the moon and back all around Oregon to dig up lost stories, I once played in a band that covered “Louie Louie,” I wrote a book about Vortex, the 1977 NBA Championship Portland Trail Blazers and the Yaquina Bay Bridge, I play hackey sack with my students, I swim naked in the ocean in broad daylight, I drink rain, and I’m gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to establish Tom McCall Day as an official day of commemoration. Now Todd, let me tell you something...it don’t get no more Oregon than that!”

Note: A teacher at Newport High School, Matt Love grew up in Oregon City and is publisher of Nestucca Spit Press. He read this at last month’s 100th anniversary party for the Oregon City Carnegie Library.