Featured Stories

INSIDERS (Sponsored Content)

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


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Urban-renewal fight to set the record straight


Oregon City commercial landlord Rob Crocker chastises me in his rant against urban-renewal voter-rights ballot Measure 3-407 (“Don’t tolerate attacks on public servants,” Sept. 5), for supposed “personal attacks” against Mayor Neeley and City Manager Frasher. In so doing, Crocker recites numerous inaccuracies and misleads readers.

(Crocker also fails to inform readers that from 2008 to 2012 his enterprise “T-5 Equities” received more than $145,000 of urban renewal largesse with another $55,000 pending, some of it doled out while Crocker himself served on the urban-renewal board). Fairness demands pointing out Crocker’s errors and falsehoods, prior to focusing (as we should) on Measure 3-407.

In an earlier piece (“Oregon City petition: It’s time to fight City Hall” Aug. 15), I wrote that Mayor Neeley thinks Oregon City residents are too dumb and lazy to vote on urban-renewal bonds. Neeley said as much, in different words, on the record at a City Commission meeting, claiming that in the past there were efforts to have the public vote but that most people don’t understand what they are voting on and would rather leave it to politicians. Repeating what an elected official said hardly qualifies as a “personal attack.”

I also wrote about Frasher’s election-law violations as Grants Pass city manager, for writing memos on city time designed to promote a ballot measure. Crocker claims I failed to mention Frasher’s “complete exoneration.” But Frasher was never “exonerated.” To the contrary, on Feb. 13, 2011, the city of Grants Pass issued a press release announcing Frasher’s loss of his appeal from a finding of violations, stating: “In regards to two internal Council Memorandums, City Manager Laurel Samson and previous City Manager David Frasher were both found guilty of promoting the measure and were ordered to pay fines of $75 each.” Frasher’s fine was reduced on that appeal from what was originally imposed, but his guilt of the election-law violations was affirmed. That was the end of the case. The release went on to say: “The focus of the charge was two internal memos written to the Council that were deemed too positive and did not include ‘negative facts.’”

(City Attorney Ed Sullivan relates two cases in which, on administrative appeal, an administrative law judge of the Elections Division dismissed the cases of two different public employees found guilty of improper ballot measure advocacy. Mr. Sullivan speculates that the same result would have obtained in Mr. Frasher’s case, had Mr. Frasher’s counsel raised the same claim on Mr. Frasher’s administrative appeal.)

I wrote that history seemed to be repeating itself regarding Frasher’s presentation to the Oregon City Commission in which he claimed that Measure 3-407 was “defective and deceptive” and that the city needed to insert an “explanatory statement” into the Voter’s Pamphlet. I stand by that opinion.

The latest intrigue involves the Oregon City Commission candidacy of downtown Oregon City businessman and active Measure 3-407 supporter Michael Berman, a native of Oregon City who filed to run against incumbent Commissioner Carol Pauli. The day Mr. Berman filed, Mr. Dan Fowler accused Mr. Berman of actually living in West Linn, when in truth that has never been so.

Coincidentally (whether merely so is unknown), later that day the city told Mr. Berman he could not run against Pauli, and he had to appear before the City Commission to assert his right to be on the ballot. No prior candidate has ever had to do so. The only commissioner voting against letting Mr. Berman run was Betty Mumm, a vocal opponent of Measure 3-407 (who previously voted to keep the measure off the ballot even though the city attorney told the commission the law mandated its presentation to voters). I suppose Crocker considers my relation of these facts to be “personal attacks,” too. As George Orwell said, “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Crocker’s reference to me as an “activist lawyer” is somewhat flattering but hardly accurate and I’m actually a late convert to the urban-renewal voter-rights effort. I opposed that effort before learning of urban renewal’s abuse-prone nature and its siphoning of money from schools and essential services. A review of many years of Oregon City urban-renewal records reveals many highly questionable transactions. The only way to prevent corruption, waste and abuse is to close the loophole in our City Charter which exempts urban-renewal bonds from the requirement of a public vote on bond issuance.

“Fighting City Hall” is as American as baseball. Speaking of which, you and I are ultimately on the hook for our new urban-renewal-financed City Hall for at least the next 28 years. Rather than turning blight into jobs, such misuse of urban renewal by politicians does neither. So much for urban renewal always “paying for itself.” This is how politicians misuse urban-renewal bonds in order to fund things the people would not approve if they had a say in the matter, as they do with all other kinds of Oregon City bond debt.

Close the loophole. Vote yes on Measure 3-407.

J. Kevin Hunt is a resident of Oregon City and chief petitioner for Measure 3-407.