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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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Declaring victory on Clackamas County's 'bully pulpit'


UPDATE: Damon declines to comment until ballot-fraud investigation is completed

by: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Oak Grove Elvis Ray Herrera congratulates John Ludlow after his victory became apparent in the Nov. 6 election for Clackamas County chairman as Republicans celebrated on election night at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas.“He’s OUR bully!” declared the Oak Grove Elvis, Ray Herrera, of John Ludlow after the candidate’s victory became apparent in the Nov. 6 election for Clackamas County chairman.

Republicans cheered Elvis’ remark as they celebrated on election night at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas. By early Wednesday morning both Ludlow and fellow challenger Tootie Smith had commanding leads of more than 52 percent over their opponents, switching the commission’s make up to what they call a “new direction.”

But not so fast on that bully comment, Ludlow said. He told Elvis that he still felt wounded by the signs that a supporter of his opponent, incumbent Chairwoman Charlotte Lehan, put up all over the county.

Also a former mayor of Wilsonville, Ludlow had spent the last few weeks of his campaign explaining to voters that there would no way he could have continued to receive awards for his work with youth, mothers and seniors if he were a bully.

Ludlow has announced Wilsonville High School football and boys basketball games since the school opened 17 years ago, and played Santa since 1988 for the Gladstone Senior Center, Alzheimer’s centers, fundraisers, local Ronald McDonald Houses and schools.

But Elvis explained to Ludlow that he considered the candidate to be “his bully” because, to steal a phrase from President Teddy Roosevelt, the chairperson’s position could be called Clackamas County’s “bully pulpit.” Ludlow liked how Elvis co-opted the phrase and wrote “To Elvis, From the ‘Bully’ (signed) John Ludlow” on one of his campaign signs.by: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - John Ludlow signs Elvis' campaign sign 'From the 'Bully.''

Clackamas County, under supervision of Secretary of State elections monitors, has identified six ballots that were potentially altered by the accused temporary county elections employee. Lehan’s campaign said on election night that it would challenge the results if they within a few hundred votes, but Ludlow had a more than 6,000-vote margin with 98 percent of the votes counted.

by: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Incumbent Clackamas County Chairwoman Charlotte Lehan worries about election results on Nov. 6 with political consultant Jeremy Wright (left) at the Highcliffe Restaurant in Oregon City.


With a fairly narrow margin of victory, Ludlow told this newspaper that he did not feel that he had a mandate from voters to stop dealings with Metro, TriMet or other organizations he feels represent “Portland creep” into Clackamas County. However, he’d plan to go to voters for approval of any future regional plans such as the controversial light-rail line through Milwaukie.

“Stakeholders shouldn’t speak for the will of the people,” he said. “County commissioners paid that $20 million to TriMet four days before the rail-vote election, and that was their undoing.”

Ludlow said that the county’s own polls have shown that locals support road work, so he’ll be putting his focus on transportation issues. He said that most people choose to drive their cars because they value the time that it saves.

“Seniors will tell you that time is the most valuable thing in life,” he said. “In order to find more money for roads, rather than ask taxpayers to pay more, I’m going to the employees of the county to ask them what cost-saving measures they can find.”

Smith, who lives and operates a bed-and-breakfast in Molalla, has many similar views to Ludlow. She says government should be of, by and for the people, and that has been lost on the current commission.

Smith served in the state Legislature for four years, including as a member of the Ways and Means Committee.

Smith says she would draw upon her experience as a legislator and her time as a small business operator to understand and represent the views of Clackamas County residents.

Commissioner Jamie Damon thanked supporters for inspiring her to put together a “people-powered campaign,” saying she never thought she’d be battling hundreds of thousands of dollars of out-of-county money and some of the most divisive politics Oregon has seen. Damon also acknowledged, in the letter to supporters that “according to reported results,” she was trailing Smith.

“However, you are no doubt aware a Clackamas County elections employee is currently under investigation by the state Department of Justice for alleged ballot tampering, and it’s been reported she was marking ballots for my opponent,” she wrote. “Due to this investigation I have been advised by legal counsel to hold off on making a statement regarding my race.”