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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


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Letters: Film festival; annexations; AMR contract


Milwaukie’s 3rd Annual Watershed Event abounded with satisfying film and a significant, vocal audience.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: GREG BAARTZ-BOWMAN - Crowds pack the Milwaukie Masonic Lodge for the third-annual film festival celebrating and encouraging healthy watersheds.We laughed, we cried and we all had a good time. I believe, we left the Masonic Lodge inspired to do good for our local watersheds. Thanks to Clackamas County Tourism & Cultural Affairs, Celebrate Milwaukie Inc. and Charles Rea, secretary of the Milwaukie Masonic Lodge #109. Also, thanks to the Clackamas Review for taking the time to tell our story. The good people of these organizations help make the Milwaukie Film Series prosper. Thank you all.

The Milwaukie Film Series continues Feb. 15 at the Masonic Lodge.

Visit milwaukiefilmfestival.com for details.

Greg Baartz-Bowman

Festival director

Annexation program seeks volunteers

In response to the letter “Cities’ annexation overtures fall on deaf ears” Feb. 5, the city of Happy Valley acknowledges the opinions of Pat Russell, but would like to clarify some statements that are not true.

The city of Happy Valley is not “avoiding” or “bypassing problem properties, such as ugly storage yards, etc.” The method that properties south of Sunnyside are annexed is by request of the property owners through a petition for annexation. If a property owner of a storage property petitions the city, the city will then process the application and annex the property.

Camp Withycombe petitioned the city and was annexed, as all properties, including single family residences that petition the city and were granted annexation. Happy Valley is not “bypassing” any properties “because of their inadequate property tax-revenue stream.” The reason any property has not been annexed, is simply the property owner has not made the request nor petitioned the city to annex. If they submit a petition to the city, the properties will be annexed.

Property owners petition to annex into our city for a variety of reasons, most of which are the excellent customer services that are provided by the city of Happy Valley. That is one of the reasons Happy Valley continues to be the fastest growing city in Oregon, our parks, schools and quality of life make the city of Happy Valley a desirable place to live.

City Council

Happy Valley

Someone call an ambulance!

Recent Clackamas County Commission meetings have been dominated by the expensive controversial process for awarding a contract for providing ambulances and other critical medical services. Since 1991 American Medical Response (AMR) has provided exceptional service to the county’s citizens. In 2012 the previous commission authorized a process known as a “request for proposals” because the existing contract was being renewed one year at a time.

In 2013 Commissioner Jim Bernard and others modified the bidding criteria to place more emphasis on lower cost. As the deadline for submitting proposals approached, only AMR and Metro West Ambulance were in the running. AMR presented a bid that provided cost savings that some claimed were over-estimated. Its major competitor, Metro West Ambulance, failed to submit a proposal by the deadline. County Chair Ludlow expressed concerns that the AMR contract was incomplete, but if there was a substantial reason for rejection, it should have been addressed immediately after the deadline.

AMR appeared to be legally deserving of a new four-year contract, however, after a lengthy review process, Bernard, County Chairman John Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith voted to reopen the bidding. Their proposal for a short term one-year extension of the existing contract was met with a notice that AMR was prepared to file a $20 million lawsuit.

The media coverage intensified when Chair Ludow commented that the county was prepared to fight the lawsuit. Increasing numbers of local citizens joined with senior citizen advocates and AMR employees to testify in favor of keeping AMR. As the days rolled by, Commissioner Bernard finally decided it would be best if he changed his vote. On Tuesday, Feb. 4, he joined Commissioners Savas and Schrader in support of the four-year extension. Bernard’s decision was difficult, but correct. Bernard is running for re-election this year, and some citizens are troubled by the financial impacts created by the Milwaukie light-rail line being built near his numerous downtown properties.

The final negotiations on the ambulance contract are expected to be completed in a few weeks. Although it has been a cumbersome process, hopefully the commissioners will not allow the anxiety of this situation to affect their teamwork on the next major issue.

Les Poole


Good chance for new leadership

In regards to the letter sent by Mr. Bellamy of Oregon City last week, I wonder who he’s kidding. Political games? I’m no expert on the AMR contract, but the light-rail proposition is another story. That was no “political game” as the headline read.

The vote on 3-401 was 51,267 for (60.2 percent), 33,883 against (39.8 percent). That’s not a “joke” That’s reality. Turnout was low (39.2 percent) because it was a special election, but there was a time element involved as the project was in the process of beginning construction.

It’s no secret how little support the Portland-Milwaukie light-rail line has among residents. How many people in the Bluebird Street area want that light-rail line? Or those of us who worry what the rail station will do to the character of downtown Milwaukie? At least the Green Line by the Clackamas Town Center follows existing transportation infrastructure. I for one would have been less irked if they simply extended that line down the Interstate 205 corridor.

For those in favor of the PMLR line that say it will ease congestion (which we all support!), then let me remind you of what 3-401 doesn’t do. It does not forbid light-rail construction! It simply requires a vote. Projects of this size are not inconvenienced by the time it takes to have a vote. The cost is not a factor when one considers overall costs, public trust and satisfaction with local infrastructure decisions.

Overall, let me say that if Mr. Bellamy doesn’t like certain members of the Clackamas County Commission, then he should remember that the next regular election cycle. Recall is not appropriate in this instance. That is something he himself admits in his letter. Election results for Positions 1 and 4 were fairly close in 2012. I’m sure those in favor of new leadership have a good chance next time.

Samuel Dickerson-Edgington



In the Jan. 29 story, “Mayors: Aggressive agenda for 2014,” Oregon City Mayor Doug Neeley meant to convey that current county commissioners were easier to work with on the broadband issue, as shown by the resolution of the city’s disagreement over franchise fees soon after the new commissioners took

office. We apologize for the