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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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Green Club keeps up efforts next school year


Congratulations to the Gladstone High School Green School Club!

One thing that makes me so proud is the school-wide involvement not mentioned in the recent article (“GHS wins state sustainability award,” June 13): Kathy Sherman’s class of Special Ed students have been a daily part of the recycling, sustainability and gardening programs, daily providing the school with fresh iced water for refillable bottles, sorting cafeteria waste for compost and recycling, shredding paper for the worm farm and gardening fresh vegetables used in the school salad bar.

These programs will continue and be expanded in 2012-13. Kudos to Mr. Brad Kuntz for encouraging involvement and not overlooking the resource these lovely students are. They are proud to serve.

Penny Peterson

GHS instructional assistant

Look at Sheehan’s record

Political attacks are all too commonplace in any election year. But when these attacks become personal and tacky smear campaigns, it’s time for our community to take notice, speak up, and remind our neighbors that this election is about the issues, not about gossip and rumors.

A recent letter to the editor published on Aug. 21 proposed that Representative Patrick Sheehan (HD 51) should no longer serve our community because of his “frat boy image.” I am fortunate to call Rep. Sheehan my elected official. The referenced letter to the editor did not discuss a single issue pressing our state or a single result obtained by Rep. Sheehan thus far in his tenure in Salem, and instead focused on tabloid fodder one would expect to read in line at the grocery store.

Let’s get down to the bottom line in this election.

Our state needs fixing. Rep. Sheehan has already demonstrated that he is a champion for his district and for the people of Oregon. He has worked with homeowners facing foreclosure (and has in fact intervened in some instances between the homeowner and the bank) and has helped some avoid losing their home.

Sheehan authored and passed a 911 funding bill that saved Clackamas County public safety a half-million dollars per year, and avoided double taxation on the residents of Happy Valley and Damascus. He voted to fund education before anything else in the state budget, preventing the K-12 budget from being used as a political football. And he was a chief sponsor of the Funeral Civility Act which aims to protect grieving families from funeral protestors. This list is non-inclusive.

You cannot argue with results. Attempting to shift the focus by taking cheap shots at a man who works tirelessly for our community and for our state is cowardly.

As a resident of Happy Valley/Clackamas for over 23 years, I am proud of my elected State Representative. Patrick Sheehan has earned my vote and my support because of his proven record and his determination to work toward resolution. Further, he has earned my respect because of the results he has delivered to our community.

Patrick Sheehan has been a respected advocate for his district and will continue to be as much in the future.

Deanna Rusch

Message from the chief

As of July 1, I began my tenure as fire chief for Clackamas Fire District No. 1. I’m honored and humbled to have been sworn-in.

Leadership is about inspiring change, cultivating excellence, and providing the highest quality service possible. Our employees and volunteers are dedicated to serving the community, and they do it through care, compassion, dedication, and professionalism. I’m very proud of the work being done every day to help keep our community safe.

We have had a busy past two months. At the beginning of July, we had a promotional ceremony for the following individuals: Ryan Hari to deputy chief, Dave Phillips to battalion chief, Doug Whiteley to fire marshal/administrative battalion chief, Zach Brown to lieutenant and Darren Knott to apparatus operator. They will be supported and mentored as they move forward in their career.

The fire district christened its new rescue boat on July 10. This new 22-foot Rigid Hull Inflatable is capable of traveling in six inches of water, while on plane with speeds approaching 60 mph. The new rescue boat is outfitted with a lighting package designed to increase safety and efficiency during night operations.

We participated in the annual National Night Out celebration throughout the Fire District on Aug. 7. This is an annual event in which the district enjoys participating.

Fred Charlton

Happy Valley

Chamber declines pick

The North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce believes in good government as a support of good business. Clackamas County voters are fortunate to have two fine candidates from which to choose for Clackamas County Commission Position 4.

The North Clackamas Chamber wishes that both the challenger, former State Rep. Tootie Smith, and the incumbent, Clackamas County Commissioner Jamie Damon, could serve on the board. Each candidate has talents and experiences that would benefit the board. Both are able advocates for rural Clackamas County and support economic development through controlled logging on government lands.

When serving in the Oregon House of Representatives, Smith had a strong voting record as a supporter of Oregon businesses. Her service on the Ways and Means Committee would help provide her insight into how to resolve the county’s budget problems.

Damon has demonstrated the willingness and ability to reach across ideological lines to find common ground on contentious issues. The commission needs a member with Damon’s level head and genuine interest in understanding the issues of the business community.

NCCC Board of Directors

Here they go again...Killing jobs in OC

In 2011, voters recalled Commissioner Jim Nicita. Why? Because he proposed an amendment to the Oregon City charter that would have killed The Rivers-Cabela’s project along with 1,500 jobs.

Today, a number of activists from Nicita’s group are still working to thwart city officials and the Urban Renewal Commission by putting Measure 3-407 on the November ballot.

This time around, however, the activists are trying to hide their true intentions under the “Right to Vote” guise. How do we know? Because, the exact same summary statement used in Nicita’s last attempt to change the City Charter is being used in the November ballot. This is a deceptive strategy that, if successful, will cripple all urban-renewal projects by politicizing efforts to attract businesses to invest in our community.

For voters who want to see economic vitality and jobs come to Oregon City, we urge you to see through this shameful sham and vote ‘No’ on Measure 3-407.

Nick Veroske

Downtown business owner

Time to clean house

I attended the light-rail hearing in front of the Clackamas County commissioners (“Commission approves $25M light-rail project payment,” Aug. 29).

I was one of the 90 concerned citizens who testified before the commission voted 3-1 in favor of the Clackamas County minority and thumbed their noses at the county majority. They decided to go ahead with the payment to TriMet before a Sept. 18 vote on Measure 3-401.

The one abstaining vote was Jim Bernard because of a conflict of interest and a current ethics investigation. The one no vote was from Paul Savas, who has been kept out of the loop by the other four commissioners.

Two of these commissioners, Jamie Damon and Chairwoman Charlotte Lehan, just committed political suicide. Commissioner Ann Lininger is not seeking re-election. There has also been a recall effort started against Bernard.

It is time to clean house and elect people who care about the people of Clackamas County.

Jeff Molinari


We welcome submissions from readers on local issues for our Editorial and Opinion page. Please send your thoughts by Friday at noon to Raymond Rendleman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Try to keep Letter to the Editor submissions under 400 words, but 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.