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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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Letters: Transit service, billboard fracas


In the wake of the release of the Cascade Policy Institute Study recommending cities and counties leave the Tri-County Metropolitan Transit District (TriMet), I stand firm with the ideal that Clackamas County should create its own study to develop its own transit authority.

In 2011, I led the Boring Oregon Business Coalition through a process to withdraw the Boring area from TriMet. The businesses in Boring were giving TriMet over $600,000 a year in payroll taxes, and TriMet’s own staff admitted that Boring was getting service valued at almost half that amount.

The service was poor, and the ridership was dismal, because of the poor service.

With a countywide program, buses can be provided where they are needed and wanted, and the subsequent service known as Dial-A-Ride in several communities can be expanded and provided countywide. The Dial-A-Ride concept will give our seniors and the handicapped more flexibility and will ensure safe transportation to and from the doctor’s office or the grocery store.

Clackamas County has several cities providing their own transit services, and the county can glean data and information from these operations.

Furthermore, it may be possible that combining some of these transit services may provide additional cost savings to the taxpayers while giving additional services to those who rely on public transportation.

For these reasons, a Clackamas County study would be the smartest thing we as a county could do.

Steve Bates

Candidate for Clackamas County commissioner

Editor's note: TriMet issued the following written statement:

"TriMet is a critical public service to this region where 320,000 times a day someone boards a bus or train. We have been very open about the need to realign our cost structure to be in line with the market. The greatest cost driver for us is our active and retiree health benefits.

"The Cascade Policy Institute is a libertarian think tank opposed to light rail, and as such, their arguments are in part based on that opposition. Their recommendation to opt-out of the district would seriously impact the mobility and economic vitality of this entire region.

"On a side note, any withdrawals from TriMet must meet certain standards established by the Oregon Legislature under state law.

History books still being written

Les Poole of Gladstone offers that my thinking and writing are biased.

One of the definitions of "bias" is to cut across the grain. Based on that definition he's correct. I do have a problem with "longtime student[s] of history" who at 55 mph will drive by an attack billboard, declare it to be a "simple powerful message" and demonstrate no curiosity as to who's paying for it and what is their agenda. Les Poole writes that I fail to objectively reach conclusions and then pens this about the Affordable Care Act, "President Obama, Governor John Kitzhaber, Senator Jeff Merkley and Congressman Kurt Schrader blindly supported the law." This is an objectively arrived at conclusion? Les Poole writes that President Obama's efforts to stimulate the economy "were empty rhetoric." There will be taxpayers reporting gains of up to 25 percent on their investments this year. Oh, that we could suffer such "empty rhetoric" every year.

My interests in history, political science and sociology have led to three walks across college commencement stages. That said, it was in the freshman 101 classes I learned that students of history first put forward a statement or proposition, do their research and then draw conclusions based on their research. But history is not like math where 2+2 will always be 4. History lies on a continuum — the conclusions of history are not cast in concrete. Does anyone believe that the last book on the assassination of President Kennedy has been written? A conclusion of history is forever open to support or criticism.

Les Poole writes that "[my] use of the 'race card' to discredit the billboard was flawed." We have an American president who for six years hasn't had his full administrative team on board because Congress won't confirm his nominees. We have federal courts wanting for judges because the Congress won't confirm President Obama's nominees.

I have put forward a statement/proposition for research that this isn't politics as usual. Other possible causes include the fact that the nation is seriously polarized along conservative and progressive lines. We are evolving away from a three-class society to a two-class society of "haves and have-nots." Is there not an impact on politics when our youth graduate from college with debts and limited occupational opportunities?

Do I want racism to be another element in determining what is happening to President Obama? No! Do I think it must be? Yes! An opinion "flawed"? Time and history, not Les Poole or D. Kent Lloyd, will determine if racism has reared its ugly head in politics again.

D. Kent Lloyd