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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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Tis the season for local holiday giving


Clackamas Fire is preparing for several upcoming events to help those in need this holiday season.

Since 1974, Clackamas Fire has been organizing an annual Operation Santa Claus toy and food drive to help support our community. Each year we collect new unwrapped toys and canned food through our parades, donations by businesses, and dropoffs at our community fire stations.

This year, we have added an additional three parade routes for a total of 15. When you hear the sirens and see lights of our fire apparatus and do not smell smoke, we are stopping by to collect food and toys for those less fortunate. Please visit us at clackamasfire.com for more details.

We are also supporting two community-based organizations through an internal coat, blanket, hat, and glove drive. Our employees and volunteers are working together to help support the Feed the Hungry, Inc. program in Milwaukie and the Clackamas Service Center in Clackamas by donating new items for those in need.

Last year, we collected over 100 coats and blankets for the Feed the Hungry program, and this year we have added the Clackamas Service Center.

Chief Fred Charlton

Clackamas Fire

Donate a bike for a local child

Throughout the year our Police Department responds to dozens of calls about abandoned bicycles.

Each found bicycle’s serial number is checked to determine whether the property had been reported stolen. Milwaukie’s Police Department must hold the abandoned property for a designated period of time.

The police property room is commonly overflowing with unclaimed bicycles. With no known owners, the bikes must eventually be discarded. Two years ago Officer Billy Wells suggested that the unclaimed children’s bikes could be taken to a local school and given to children who might not otherwise get to own a bike.

A small project has grown into a bigger one; last year, four Milwaukie elementary schools and Rowe Middle school each received 10 bikes. Not all were from the property room; thanks to some kind donations we were able to buy bikes from Walmart, who lets us have them for the price they pay for them. The department cannot continue to spare the time to organize the Bike Giveaway for 2014, so the Milwaukie Public Safety Foundation has taken the project on. As the good weather days come to an end and bikes get put away for the winter, if you have a child’s bike which will be replaced as your child grows would you please consider donating it to the foundation for use in this program.

The schools select which children receive the bikes, and the Police Department will continue to give the bikes to the children. Any help you can give will be really appreciated by the kids.

If you have a bike but need it collected, please call me at 971-222-5299; otherwise bikes can be taken to the Public Safety Building, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dave Hedges

Milwaukie councilor

Fix website immeadiately

The implementation of Oregon’s health insurance marketplace has been abysmal. The current situation is completely unacceptable, and I expect much more from a state with a reputation for being an innovator in the field of health care.

Catastrophic technical failures, insufficient forethought and the complete absence of effective leadership and accountability at Oracle and Cover Oregon have resulted in our state being ranked dead last in enrolling folks in new health insurance plans, which is the heart and lifeblood of the health care law and the only way Oregonians are going to receive better, more affordable care.

I am committed to holding Oracle and Cover Oregon to their word that the Cover Oregon website will be up and operational by the middle of December. Until then, I demand that Congress see Oregon’s enrollment benchmarks for January and March, as well as weekly progress reports of applications submitted, eligibility for subsidies determined and people enrolled.

After hundreds of millions of dollars put into this marketplace, Oracle and Cover Oregon must accept responsibility for their failures and owe the people and State of Oregon an explanation and apology. Oracle and every board member at Cover Oregon should be also prepared to work around the clock to get this right, or step aside and allow professionals who can get the job done to do so. Oregonians deserve better.

U.S. Congressman Kurt Schrader


Fix your own website

In an interview with Laural Porter about the disastrous roll-out of ObamaCare, Congressman Schrader was asked explicitly about the president’s line, “if you like your health care plan you can keep it,” which millions of Americans are learning is not true.

Interestingly, this was Schrader’s response:

“I think the president was grossly misleading to the American public...So I think the president saying you could stay with it and not being honest that a lot of these policies were going to get cancelled was grossly misleading to the American public and is causing added stress and added strife as we go through a really difficult time with health care.”

But it wasn’t just the president who was “grossly misleading.” On Kurt Schrader’s OWN WEBSITE, he carries the president’s water and parrots his false rhetoric:

“If you are insured and are happy with your current coverage, nothing changes. You will still benefit from all the efforts to drive down the overall costs of health care. The ACA has many tools in place to help develop a more efficient health care delivery system focused on quality of care, not quantity of care.”

After it was revealed that Schrader mislead voters about their ability to keep their health care plan, it seems his team promptly removed the page in question from the congressman’s website. But wait, there’s more! In 2010 Kurt Schrader posted a summary of the health care law where he said:

“Individuals and families are required to have health care and pay a part of their premiums and co-pays unless they are very poor and qualify for Medicaid as outlined above. If individuals like their current plan they may keep that plan for as long as they would like under the final proposal. These grandfathered plans will have most of the same consumer protections added as in the newer qualified plans.”

After being a loyal Obama- Care foot soldier for years, Kurt Schrader is blatantly misleading voters in the face of changing political winds and the law’s botched rollout. Maybe next time Schrader will read his own website before such an obvious attempt to deceive voters.

Alleigh Marré

Republican spokeswoman

Editor’s note: Congressman Kurt Schrader voted on Friday for the Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013 to allow health insurance companies the option to continue offering all individual-market plans that were in effect as of Jan. 1, 2013, through 2014. Schrader also introduced legislation to delay penalties for noncompliance until healthcare.gov and other applicable state health insurance marketplace websites are certified as being fully operational by the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Not the car again?!

The last couple of days have been tough on me and my car. First, I was towed out of an unmarked private lot while attending a Chamber meeting in Hillsboro. The following day, I was in a low-speed crash on 82nd Avenue, while trying to get a late lunch. Both incidents were extremely frustrating, but brought out a couple of good lessons.

Lesson number one: No matter how good your intentions and planning, you can’t prevent the unexpected. In fact, I recall several management gurus who said you should plan on it. Their theory was that every day at work some emergency will inevitably pop up, so time should be built into one’s schedule to deal with it. Both of my car incidents kept me from doing what I had planned for the day. Because I hadn’t planned in any time for “the unexpected,” that meant I got behind.

Lesson number two: No matter how much has been done to promote mass transit and bicycling, we’re still very dependent upon our automobiles.

Safe travels everyone!

David Kelly

North Clackamas Chamber

True patriots

Several weeks ago we were having lunch at a restaurant in Carver. While we were there a group of soldiers came in to eat. Seeing this, another couple in the restaurant went to their table and thanked them for their service. later, as the couple left, they paid for all the military lunches and instructed the waitress not to tell them until the couple had left.

After inquiring, the waitress told us that it was the second time that day that someone had paid for the food of servicemen. It is so good to know that some people are willing and able to go the extra mile for these brave men who put their lives on the line for us. We need to let them know, as Americans, that we appreciate them for what they contribute to our country and for the freedoms that we are able to enjoy.


Jim and Lila Elliott

Oregon City

We welcome submissions from readers on local issues for our Opinion page. Please send your thoughts by noon Friday to Raymond Rendleman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Keep Letter to the Editor submissions under 400 words; longer submissions will be considered for Community Soapboxes. Submissions may be edited for length, grammar, libel and appropriate taste. Letters must be accompanied by a full name, a telephone number and street address for verification purposes. Readers are also invited to call 503-546-0742 with story ideas and comments.