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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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Fire Chief: Summer and safety should go hand in hand


As you prepare for outdoor activities this summer, please think about safety first. From bike helmets to life jackets, take the time to ensure you, your family and friends are prepared to have fun. Clackamas Fire will be hosting many events this summer that focus on safety to include education campaigns, fire station open houses, safety fairs, community events and much more. As a reminder, backyard burning is now closed until the fall. For information regarding public events, public education, and safety reminders, please visit us at clackamasfire.com or stop by any one of our community fire stations.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: CFD NO. 1 - Arriving in June, Truck 4 becomes the most maneuverable ladder truck in the entire Clackamas Fire District.In mid-June, Clackamas Fire received its new Truck 4, a project that has been ongoing for almost two years. This type of ladder truck is known as a Tillered Truck or a Tractor Drawn Aerial (TDA). The TDA concept has been in the fire service for over 100 years. With technology, the apparatus design has improved into the most maneuverable ladder truck in the fire service. Truck 4 is designed to meet the needs of the Clackamas Fire District for years to come. This past week, Truck 4 was put through some of the most challenging streets and complexes in our fire district and was able to maneuver with minimal challenges. We were able to do this with the instruction from a cadre of Seattle firefighters. This cadre travels around the country teaching at the highest level in this area. They were able to teach six members of Truck 4, who in-turn will teach other district firefighters the critical techniques and concepts required for a successful tiller program.

In addition to maneuverability, Truck 4 has an exceptional amount of compartment space. This allows equipment to be strategically placed for quick deployment and operation. This truck will hold a full complement of vehicle extrication equipment, rope rescue equipment, fire rescue equipment, as well as a fire pump with 250 gallons of water. The aerial device on this truck is 100 feet long and can be fully deployed in under a minute and a half from the time it arrives on scene. The Fire District is excited about this apparatus and look forward to its in-service date this summer.

Fred Charlton

Clackamas fire chief

Fund tobacco-use prevention

As a recent graduate with a degree in public health, it is upsetting to see the high amount of Oregonians still using tobacco products.

Not only is tobacco killing 7,000 Oregonians each year, it is also costing us $2.4 billion in direct medical expenditures and lost productivity due to premature death. Even though Oregon has seen a decrease in use, the numbers are still far too high, as tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death.

I have a family member that smokes on a regular basis and our entire family has been urging him to quit for the past few years without success. He has a wife, and a son in elementary school. Even though someone may have family or friends urging them to quit, that’s almost never enough.

I think many of us struggle with unhealthy choices but there is something that we can do to help others and prevent this from happening in the first place. It is important that the dollars awarded to Oregon from big tobacco companies through the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement are applied to Tobacco Prevention and Education Programs, as was originally intended.

I urge legislators to protect our community’s health by demanding the necessary funding for effective tobacco prevention programs.

Amanda Lindsay

Oregon City

Predictable is preventable

I just read the article regarding the on-duty death of our Clackamas County weighmaster.

When the incident originally occurred, I was shocked to learn weighmasters were allowed to make traffic stops of any type while in uniform.

Clackamas County deputy sheriffs as well as all law-enforcement professionals receive hundreds if not thousands of hours of officer-safety training involving traffic stops and other types of contacts before they are allowed to conduct their first solo traffic stop.

In addition they wear bullet resistant vests, carry tasers, pepper spray, impact weapons, etc. Foremost and above all, they possess experience which allows them to read situations for what they are and how to ask for assistance when they sense something isn’t right.

It has been five months, and just now Mr. Krupp, county administrator, has ordered Clackamas County weighmasters to stop pulling over commercial vehicles.

It is unbelievable the county took that long to issue that order. County leaders should take a look at all departments that are required to make authoritative contacts while wearing a semblance of a uniform.

Code enforcement comes to mind as a group that is at some of that same risk.

As an law-enforcement officer, I was required to attend many hours of training. I still remember the words from one of our instructors, “Predictable is preventable”

Yes it is.

Ed Mura


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.