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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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Making the right rail choice, not the easy one


Clackamas County Commissioners approved financing of $19.9 million and settlement terms to fulfill the county’s obligation to fund Portland-Milwaukie light rail.

Wednesday night’s meeting was the culmination of years of public discussion about the Orange Line. County Commissioners heard close to six hours of testimony from over 80 citizens. More than half spoke in support of light rail or the proposed agreement. In the end, county commissioners made a tough decision that serves the best long-term interest of our community.

The agreement saves Clackamas County millions of dollars and addresses input we have received to minimize project costs. In February 2010, the county entered into a binding contract to provide $25 million to support this project. Through a combination of TriMet concessions, in-kind contributions, and use of additional transportation funds from Congress, this agreement enables the county to reduce the amount of borrowing to fulfill this obligation by just over $5 million and to avoid a late payment penalty of up to $1.25 million. As commissioners, it would be reckless to pass up those savings in favor of litigation over a ballot measure that lawyers say won’t apply to this project anyway.

The agreement includes terms to address residents’ interest in security and pedestrian safety. The Park Avenue Station platform will be designed to convert to a closed platform accessible only to ticketed passengers. The station will be equipped with security cameras and TriMet will participate in a multi-jurisdictional planning team proposed by our sheriff to support the safe operation of the rail line. The project will include sidewalks, a signalized crossing, and other features to keep pedestrians safe.

This agreement also supports Clackamas County’s ability to foster economic growth. If county commissioners were to walk away from the contract with TriMet, we would stand to lose more than $25 million. We could hurt our ability to attract future transportation funds. In the last 10 years, Clackamas County has leveraged over $140 million from regional, state and federal partners to construct critical road improvements. Those improvements helped the private sector create new businesses and thousands of new jobs in and around the Clackamas Industrial Area. This is how we foster economic growth. If we won’t keep our end of the bargain when it’s our turn to support a regional project, Clackamas County will be left to stew in its own traffic jams while funds go to other places.

In the end, the county had two options — an uncertain higher-cost option, and a lower-cost option that incorporated community input. The choice we made was not an easy one, but I believe it was the right one.

Ann Lininger

Clackamas County commissioner

Positively Clackamissed the point

David Gray and Chuck Berlund are welcome to call me all the names they’d like (Letters, Aug. 22), but accusing me of “throwing accusations” is just not true. Positively Clackamas cannot deny what money it has registered with the Secretary of State. Just look at their page online and follow the money.

The bulk of the money ($5,000) comes from a PAC called Yes for Transit, which hasn’t felt inspired to update its Orestar page for the past year, but is apparently still being used to funnel money to other like-minded PACs. The next biggest contributors ($1,550) are politicians, most affiliated with Metro but a few from Clackamas County as well. The remaining 15 percent ($1,250) of contributions were done in increments less than $100 so they are not traceable via Orestar. Although I doubt it is an accurate assumption, for the sake of argument, let’s say the whole 15 percent is from concerned Clackamas County citizens; 15 percent does not a huge ground swelling of local support make.

I will vote Yes for 3-401 because it is what the actual people; taxpayers, road users, bus users and people who thought they’d already voted twice to keep light rail out of Clackamas County in the late 1990s, want.

I will vote Yes for 3-401 because real, long-term jobs are not generated by light rail. Real jobs and usefulness lay within a strong bus system. TriMet buses require more people to maintain and drive them, allow the flexibility of adjustable routes instead of one set in stone, and are more cost-effective.

Libby Wentz


Don’t be fooled

Clackamas County voters are being asked to severely restrain their elected county commissioners in Measure 3-401, an anti-government initiative sponsored by the extremist Tea Party, funded heavily by out-of-county money. Don’t be fooled by the measure or the hollow cries of “Let the people vote!”

Measure 3-401 would prevent commissioners from spending any money at all on rail-related issues in the county without first submitting that expenditure to county voters. Not one dime. This is a ridiculous idea.

While supposedly aimed at stopping the TriMet Orange Line, which will link downtown Portland with Oak Grove and Milwaukie now under construction, several lawyers have said this measure would have no impact on that line, only on future projects involving rail in the county. The $1.45 billion project, of which the county is committed to less than $23 million, is a done deal legally.

Wording of the measure is very cunning. Without much thought, most people would see the words “light rail” and vote yes, thinking they’re voting in favor of light rail. Wrong! This is a cheap trick and county voters should see through this sham and vote “No.”

In America, in Oregon, and in Clackamas County, we elect people to represent us and make complex multimillion dollar decisions for us. This is exactly why our founding fathers chose a representative democracy instead of a direct democracy. If everyone voted on everything, it would take forever to get anything done.

As the Tea Party tries to channel angry-voter energy against a supposed big-spending county government, their efforts are off-base. The recently adopted county budget is $24 million less than last year, including the $125,000 to hold this election. And a recent survey showed 75 percent of our citizens feel the county is doing a good job.

It is imperative Clackamas County keep pace with the job-creating activity in Washington and Multnomah counties. A solid transportation system is a key requirement of economic success, and so is a smoothly functioning elected government. We must not be left behind.

Measure 3-401 is very, very badly worded and its impact goes way, way too far. A “No” vote is the only reasonable response.

Peter Toll

West Linn

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