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Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - Auto Repair INSIDER -

John Sciarra, Bernard's GarageWhat’s less fun than getting stuck in a nasty traffic jam? Getting cooked in your car on a hot day.

Summer's right around the corner and 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, the system may need to be recharged. Manufacturers used to use a type of refrigerant known as Freon. Now, manufacturers use R-134a to keep things cold in the cabin.

Working on a vehicle’s 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 peripheral components at the same time.

Bernard’s, which has been in business since 1925, services our clients’ foreign, domestic, hybrid and electric cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles. We offer free pickup and delivery for our customers’ convenience.

Plan ahead and stay cool this season!

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



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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Light rail continues to dominate as vote looms


First, let me say that I am not against light rail per se. With that being said, I would like to make the case for replacing the “Ideology of Light Rail” with the future: low/no polluting electric or fuel-cell powered buses.

Even though it is a long-term approach and somewhat more expensive right now, it needs to begin right now. The technology has been in place for a number of years (in the case of electric, several decades and in the case of fuel-cells, see http://www.utcpower.com/products/transportation).

These technologies are what should have received federal stimulus funding three years ago to create good-paying jobs for Americans, while getting us on the road to energy independence. I recently attended a documentary movie about electric cars (“The Revenge of the Electric Car”) and found out in a panel discussion following it, that PGE is heavily involved in a project to establish electric “filling stations” along the Oregon portion of the West Coast I-5 corridor (in conjunction with California and Washington). Why can’t they do that in the Tri-County area?

I favor moving funding away from light-rail projects and toward procurement of electric and fuel-cell powered buses. Why? Three reasons: low or no pollution, flexibility, and little infrastructure change. The first reason is obvious (the by-product of fuel cells is water). The second and third reasons relate to one another. If we use non-polluting buses, we can use the current highway system we have now without having to dislocate and disrupt citizens and the places they live and work. And since the buses would be low or non-polluting, we can have more, not less of them on the road, and they can service more areas. They can pick us up every five or 10 minutes instead of every 15 or 20 or more. That could actually make it more attractive to take public transportation that, let’s face it, is not an attractive alternative to the comfort and ease of getting in my own vehicle.

I have enclosed a letter I wrote to Fred Hansen of TriMet four years ago addressing this issue. I also sent a copy to our legislators at the time: Senators Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith, and U.S. Rep. Darlene Hooley. The only person I heard back from was Senator Smith. And of course, we foolishly dumped him two months later!

Robert Malchow

Oregon City

Vote against Big Oil

It occurs to me that if those who favor Measure 3-401 have their way, oil companies will have a virtual monopoly on fueling transportation in this county. That’s a fact. After all, what else would we be using?

It’s also a fact that the state of Oregon has electric resources (hydroelectric, wind, solar, and perhaps eventually wave power) that are not affected in the same way that gas and oil are, and these resources don’t have to be brought here from far off places, across oceans, or obtained through either old or new methods of extraction.

The first light rail was between Gresham and Portland. As anyone who has been paying attention will tell you, there were later connections, of which the one now being discussed is just the latest. Yes, light rail is on our county’s doorstep, and yes, even some well-meaning people such as the writer of the “Memo to Metro” (Sept. 5) piece won’t like it or use it, that’s most likely a fact.

Who am I to say these things? Well, the fact is, I am a Clackamas County native who lives outside the area affected by light rail and don’t have any public transportation where I live, but even so I have used the MAX light rail as well as TriMet by using my car to get to a convenient stop. I have family members who live within a couple of blocks of the electric light rail line in Washington County who are glad of its quiet proximity. They use it to go downtown, to the zoo or the Children’s Museum, plays, concerts, shopping, dining, theater, festivals, and for other various and sundry reasons they need or want to go anywhere.

I look at investing in electric light rail the same way I look at any major personal purchase: It may seem daunting at the beginning, but there are long-term benefits that will enhance my life and will be cheaper in the long run. So, it makes sense to me that Clackamas County should look to its future and support its citizens’ needs for transportation via electric light rail.

I expect my county’s commissioners to use a long-term view. In fact, I demand it of them. Throwing around words like “propaganda” and “gangs” are not good enough. Name-calling and negative words such as those above are too close to bullying for my comfort, and I will not support those who do so.

For me, the vote comes down to a vote between Big Oil and other fossil fuels forcing me to pay ever-escalating costs for any of the above reasons; or agreeing that Clackamas County commissioners take the long view and fund electric light rail. I am voting NO on Measure 3-401.

Serena Johnston

Oregon City

We’ve been right all along

I recently attended the meeting where Eleanore Hunter, chairwoman of the Oak Lodge Council was supposed to “answer questions” on Measure 3-401.

What I saw was a one-sided political presentation. She made several incorrect statements, including the outrageous claim that the measure would prevent police from responding to a train emergency. She represents Positively Clackamas, a group that gets most of its money from those expecting to make money from building the Milwaukie line. Positively Clackamas opposes voting, and is registered in Multnomah County!

Right now the focus is on the Milwaukie light-rail line. Only the very end of the line, and a huge parking lot will be located in Oak Grove. Milwaukie and the Portland’s South Waterfront will receive facelifts. We’ll lose the green corridor for the Trolley Trail because TriMet didn’t have the money to build an acceptable design. We should have an opportunity to vote on whether we should invest in rail projects so they are properly designed.

On Sept. 18 we’ll have a chance to vote on whether or not we approve of spending millions on Milwaukie light rail and future light-rail lines. I’m voting YES on Measure 3-401.

Yvonne Lazarus

Oak Grove

Why they’re voting yes

The Oregonian’s Editorial Board should think twice before encouraging or romanticizing so-called “Clackamas’ light-rail rebels” (Aug. 30). Pure democracy has its place, yes—but look behind the curtain. In this case your pat on the back feeds them—while the long range effects of their obstructive tactics may be very, very costly.

n What talented thoughtful people would stand for office to freely take the public rudeness, threats and abuse that Lynn Peterson, Charlotte Lehan, Jamie Damon or Ann Lininger have sustained by sitting on the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners in the last years?

n How will the growing division drawn between residents in urban and rural areas of the county—or the larger region—be overcome to permit cooperative planning and issues resolution?

n How can the same divisions now shaping up in local communities be nipped in the bud or redirected to generate better outcomes for everyone’s Oregon?

The participation in and monitoring of policymaking is a duty of citizenry. Putting sticks in the spokes of Oregon’s storied system of representative government and policy implementation is not.

In Clackamas County the noisiest obstructionists appear to be captives of ideologues who would shrink the capacity of government to function altogether for any purposes but their own. I am reminded of Grover Norquist’s bathtub—or Allen Alley’s recent comment from the floor of the RNC about the imminence of Oregon going red. Must that be our future?

From what I’ve observed personally, a significant number of these Clackamas County “rebels” are more nearly straight-out bullies. They are angry and feeling their oats after successfully turning back effective tree-cutting guidelines in unincorporated Oak Grove and quashing the idea of incorporation for the same general area. Plowing a deeper ditch of division between urban and rural constituencies, the same disaffected core as much as killed the future use of urban renewal as a tool for revitalizing the time-worn McLoughlin Corridor—and also defeated the contribution of a pittance to replace the quaking Sellwood Bridge.

Now, girded by a top-heavy infusion of money from non-resident fat cats, they have placed on the ballot an intentionally confusing measure under the guise of “Let us vote YES” (to say NO to light rail) long after the fact when their input would have been useful. Their motto seems to be “When in doubt, stall.” What? Until a new majority on the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners can be installed come November??

I find that option frightening. There is more at stake in this Clackamas County ballot season than meets the eye—which is why The Oregonian needs to be cautious in its admiration of “rebels” to the south. In my opinion, asking voters what they want by voting CAN be something to lament—when it is untimely, deceptive, devisive and/or shielding of a more destructive agenda lurking behind the curtain.

That is why I intend to vote a decisive NO on Measure 3-401. I hope those who can will, too.

Pat Culley Kennedy

Oak Grove

Vote to turn back clock

Measure 3-401 attempts to lead Clackamas County voters backwards 2,500 years to an early form of democracy in ancient Athens. In this form of government, every major decision is in the hands of the voting public rather than their elected representatives. This is an inefficient and very costly way to run a democracy.

Measure 3-401 is so poorly written that it would actually inhibit our ability to vote on rail issues in the county. County representatives and employees are prohibited under this measure from discussing or planning elections on rail issues.

Your NO vote on this poorly conceived measure is essential, lest a small group of Tea Party activists take control of our transportation future. The light rail link from Portland to Milwaukie provides an opportunity for Clackamas County to join a region-wide transit system that will grow as our population grows. Vote your aspirations for our county by saying NO to Measure 3-401.

A yes vote on Measure 3-401 is not a vote for more democracy; it is a vote for more traffic gridlock.

Judy Davis

Lake Oswego

Keep jobs on track

If someone told you they could bring a ton of new jobs to Clackamas County, your first reaction would probably be, “Great! How can I help?”

Unfortunately, Measure 3-401 on Sept. 18 will have the opposite effect. It would kill light-rail work, which economists predict can bring many, many jobs to our county. The measure requires a public vote before spending any county money on light rail. That’s a job-killer.

Already nearly a dozen Clackamas County companies are working on the Portland-to-Milwaukie light-rail Orange Line. That means hundreds of badly needed construction and operations jobs are in the works now and in the near future.

Remember, too, the fact that economists say more than 100,000 jobs will be created in the Portland metro area in the next 10 years, and a big chunk of those will be along the light-rail line now underway. Our county deserves its share of new jobs.

Vote no on Measure 3-401 to keep these jobs on track.

Genie Uebelacker


Save the Trolley Trail

In 2010, Clackamas County commissioners committed $25 million towards extending the proposed light-rail line beyond Milwaukie to Oak Grove. In a declining economy they apparently hoped to pay for it by creating an urban-renewal district. Almost a year ago, citizens passed Measure 3-386, requiring a vote on diverting taxes for urban renewal. Last week the commissioners attempted an “end run” in order to borrow millions to cover the cost. The ill-conceived plan fell apart, leaving the county scrambling to come up with the money before Measure 3-401 is expected to be approved by the voters on Sept. 18. The measure will require a public vote on light-rail funding. Four of the five commissioners appear to be doing everything possible to ignore the will of the people. Two of the commissioners (Lehan and Damon) may pay a heavy price because they hope to be re-elected in November.

Metro authorized the route and $4 million for an environmental impact study on July 24, 2008. The option of building a shorter line was included because funding the project was not certain. In the summer of 2010 TriMet announced a shortfall of over $300 million.

Instead of following a clear mandate, the promoters cut features and pursued an unacceptable low-budget approach that includes destroying the section of the Trolley Trail to make room for the tracks. TriMet should have designed the line to run down the middle of McLouglin Boulevard, but that would add millions to the cost... money TriMet does not have.

The beautiful fir trees on the trail right of way will be needlessly cut down if the citizens do not act soon. The new Trolley Trail will be squeezed between the tracks and a steep hillside. A 14-foot-high concrete retaining wall will be constructed, turning the green corridor into another noisy mass of concrete.

Once again Commissioner Savas has been the lone voice of reason in the convoluted Milwaukie light rail project. Hopefully the citizens will seek his help in saving the Trolley Trail, even if it means that a shorter line will be built. Contact the commissioners at 503-655-8581 before it’s too late.

Les Poole

Oak Grove

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.