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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: Global warming; Deborah Barnes; Paul Savas; OC's TriMet opt-out


Thank you, Cristina Case-Gabbard, for expressing what many of us feel ("Let's clean up some industrial-age detritus," Letters, March 19).

The Willamette Falls Visioning revealed that 82 percent of us want redevelopment of Blue Heron to take place away from the riverfront, preferring habitat restoration and public access near the river and the waterfall. Seems like a sensible approach, since we've had severe flooding below the falls seven times in the past 150 years. You can count on it happening again. Yet the Master Plan does allow redevelopment within the floodplain.

Unfortunately, nature may not conform to the flood lines we've drawn on our maps. The hydrologic cycle is global in scale, and it's speeding up, as it's fed by more moisture in a warmer atmosphere. This means we can expect high magnitude rainfall events more frequently. In 2013 alone, there was massive flooding across Europe and India. The most expensive flooding hit Germany in May and June, causing more than $16 billion in damage. The catastrophic floods in Alberta, Canada, resulted from 36 hours of constant heavy rain, and far exceeded any on record in the province. Authorities admit that damage from flooding was exacerbated by the extent of floodplain development. Here in the U.S., 21 inches of rain fell in Colorado in one week in September, leading to what experts are calling a "1,000-year flood." These types of storms may be the new normal.

The reality of global climate change calls for "a new relationship between humankind and the natural environment." The U.N. has urged countries to make management plans to adapt to the growing risk of extreme weather. The rezoning of the Blue Heron site presents us with an opportunity to do the right thing, and minimize risks to life and property from inevitable future floods. The first Planning Commission hearing concerning the rezoning is scheduled for 7 .m. Monday, April 21, at City Hall, and will be open for public comment. This unique and sacred site deserves to be honored and restored to a more natural state within the floodplain.

Janine Offutt

Oregon City

Barnes for state rep

We are lucky to have great educators here in North Clackamas, there is one that gets special recognition from our family. Deborah Barnes is my daughter's Digital Broadcast and Media teacher at Sabin-Schellenburg.

For two years, Deborah has challenged and encouraged Katie to step outside her comfort zone and reach for heights I couldn't imagine. Her class finished a full-length remake of "The Breakfast Club" this year, a tremendous feat taken on by the students and only accomplished with such professionalism that Deborah helped them develop.

Every parent wants to see their kids' dreams come true, but Deborah really goes above and beyond to help them realize those dreams by pushing them to work smarter not harder. When Katie got an email from one of the colleges she applied to, saying a piece of her application was missing after the deadline, Deborah immediately got on the phone to the university to help calm her nerves. She makes every student feel special and understand their skills and strengths, understanding what makes each one tick, she magically gets to a place and motivates them in ways parents wish we could emulate.

If every student had a teacher like Deborah Barnes once in their life, this world would be a different place. We can use people like her in the Oregon House of Representatives.

Kristin Yates

Oak Grove

Re-elect Savas

Once again we would like to thank County Commissioner Paul Savas for his outstanding work for the citizens of Clackamas County.

Just about one year ago, several concerned citizens of Clackamas County signed a thank you honoring him.

Commissioner Savas was presented a plaque for his offfice by Shirley Soderberg one of those concerned citizens.

Commissioner Savas serves all people equally in Clackamas County, and that's why he is so respected.

Because of all this, it is vitally important to keep this man in office. So please join me in re-electing Paul Savas for county commissioner.

Ginny Davidson


OC could opt out of TriMet

l want to make it perfectly clear that my opinions expressed in this letter do not represent the opinion of any groups, committees or associations l belong to. These are strictly my personal opinions.

Recently the Oregon City Commission tasked the City Manager David Frasher to look into an alternate public transportation system than TriMet. Several other cities have opted out of TriMet and have formed their own transit systems such as Canby, Sandy, Wilsonville and Molalla.

On March 5, Mr. Frasher reported that this subject was discussed at the recent Regional City Managers Meeting. Most of those in attendance considered their transit systems to be more efficient and offer better service than TriMet had. For example: TriMet charges employers $7.237 per every $1,000 of payroll. Sandy and Canby charge $6 per $1,000 of payroll, and Wilsonville and Molalla charge $5 per $1,000 of payroll. This amounts to a considerable saving for the employers in those cities.

The construction and operation of TriMet’s Westside Express Service is a good example of TriMet continuing to operate a very expensive system with low ridership. WES had a pre-opening expected daily ridership of 2,400 in February 2010. The actual ridership averaged 1,260, and even in by June of 2012 only averaged 1,639 riders per day. TriMet even had to financially bail out the manufacturer of the rail cars they bought for WES before they could even take delivery. lf TriMet can offer that losing operation to the west side, why can’t it offer Oregon City better

bus service?

TriMet says ridership is important in establishing routes. That puts everyone in a Catch 22: Without the riders TriMet won’t provide the service. Without the service, the citizens can’t provide the ridership.

Considering the terrible lack of service which TriMet offers to the citizens of Oregon City in comparison to theamount of taxes the employers pay, wouldn’t a more comprehensive study of opting out of TriMet be appropriate? in Mr. Frasher's words, it was a consensus to take a "wait and see" attitude to see what TriMet might come up with, in spite of the concerns of their long-term financial situation. l, for one, like the idea of better service for less money and think the citizens deserve a better look, and the City Commission deserves to be able to look at some hard figures and alternatives. Rarely do you get an opportunity for a win-win for both citizens and businesses alike.

Bob La Salle

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.