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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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Right-to-vote measures almost always pass


It has been publicly suggested that the passage of Measure 3-401 means that Clackamas County commissioners have not been listening to their constituents and that the message constituents are sending is that they are not interested in being connected to the Portland-metro region by rail or any other way.

Measure 3-401 was the recent right-to-vote initiative about funding for rail projects. In my experience, right-to-vote initiatives always pass. Regardless of how most people feel about a given issue, they are likely to support the notion of voting about it. In Wilsonville we had a right-to-vote initiative about using the Willamette for a drinking water source and on the same ballot we posed the question “Should we use the Willamette for drinking water?” Both measures passed. No one suggested that either one was a referendum on anyone’s listening skills.

In over 20 years of public service as a county commissioner and as a mayor in both Washington and Clackamas County, I have never known a city or county jurisdiction that had more avenues for public participation than Clackamas County. Hundreds of residents participate in the County’s Hamlets, Villages, 32 Community Planning Organizations, and over 50 advisory boards and commissions. We hold roundtables, town halls and summits. If anything, we do citizen participation to a fault.

So it comes as no surprise that in a county as diverse as Clackamas, there are also diverse opinions, and on many issues opinion is closely divided. At our public hearings, testimony on light rail has been fairly evenly split or slightly in favor. But if listening means agreeing, then no matter which way decision-makers decide, half of the testifiers will feel that they were not listened to. As leaders we have to make decisions, even in the face of intense controversy.

We also have to make decisions that recognize legal and economic reality. A legal reality is that the government can’t get out of a contract by passing an ordinance. A reality of state law is that most of the urban portions of the county are subject to Metro’s jurisdiction over land-use and transportation issues. An economic reality is that Clackamas County cannot thrive if we operate only within our borders. We have trading partners within the region, throughout the West and around the world. Clackamas County can continue to be a uniquely diverse and special place, but our prosperity and our future depend on our ability to be a regional player, and on our connections to the wider world.

So while listening to the desires of our current constituents is always important, so is good judgment and a sense of responsibility to the constituents of the future who will undoubtedly be connected to that wider world in ways we can barely imagine today.

Charlotte Lehan

Clackamas County chairwoman

Smear campaign is misleading, petty

The Clackamas Review and Oregon City News have published two letters criticizing me for my “frat boy image,” the latest of which was attributed to a co-worker of my opponent. I’m not sure what name-calling adds to the political discourse, but I want to address the content of these hit pieces.

I’m accused of hosting “an event for lobbyists with disgraced State Rep Matt Wingard that focused on Ultimate Fighting.” When Rep. Wingard resigned his leadership position, he was removed from the fundraiser. Two lobbyists were in attendance, along with more than 40 guests who cheered a local athlete from West Linn in his televised championship match. I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

I’m also being vilified for going on vacation with fellow legislators at my own expense, and that “multiple news sources reported on the attempted cover-up of Sheehan and the other Republicans’ topless club scandal.” There was no cover up or scandal. When The Oregonian called to ask about it, I told them the truth. While on vacation in California, we stopped for a beer on our way home from dinner. The bar had pool tables, a basketball game on tv, and a dancer in the corner of the place who took off her top. It was no more graphic or salacious than a PG-13 movie.

Both these letters cite a conservative talk show host calling me a “frat boy.” That talk show host is Bill Post, whose Salem show doesn’t reach Clackamas. It does, however, reach the House Democrats campaign office, where these ghost-written hit pieces originated.

My image should be defined by my record; I voted to fund education before anything in the state budget with $100 million more than the governor’s recommendation. We balanced the budget without mid-session cuts to K-12, senior services or public safety—all without raising anyone’s taxes. And I authored and passed the Funeral Civility Act, which protects grieving families from funeral protesters.

This letter-writing smear campaign is petty, misleading, and irrelevant. Please turn the spotlight on issues that affect our schools, roads and public safety.

Patrick Sheehan

State representative

House District 51

A problem of huge costs

Last February the State of California abolished all 400 urban-renewal agencies to address its dire fiscal problems.

The taxpayers’ cost has been staggering. Tax diversions siphoned nearly $9 billion per year and added over $80 billion in debt. Taxes normally would go to fund schools, police, corrections, parks and roads. But instead taxpayer dollars have financed developers and unwise projects the market won’t support.

This year the city of Portland spends an incredible 25 cents of each property tax dollar on urban-renewal debt. The city auditor recently stated, “The city’s overall financial position has lost ground due to growing debt [and] unfunded liabilities...”

Here in Oregon City, millions of dollars have gone to promote taxpayer debt. These taxes would finance private development. Some have the illusion and hope of jobs, prosperity and economic growth. The fact is: urban renewal is not free money. It comes at a real cost. Some local leaders have dangled the “free money” argument out to us as a false lure. It’s wrong.

Urban-renewal money subsidizes inflated profits and creates unfair competitive advantages in the marketplace. Subsidized projects may pay wages below average. Low-wage jobs contribute less value to our community, depress local vitality and impose hidden costs on publicly-funded service systems.

Oregon City voter approval of all debt is needed to get our money’s worth. This will attract businesses that give the greatest positive boost to our local economy. And this will stop private speculators from earning more than a fair profit from public investments. It is not their money, after all.

It’s your money. It’s your right. Close the loophole. Our leaders have refused—over and over again. They won’t fix the problem.

But you can fix it. Mark yes on your Ballot Measure 3-407, in late October.

What’s up? It’s your right to vote.

Dave Prideaux

Oregon City

Re-elect Rocky

I personally value City Commissioner Rocky Smith’s contribution to Oregon City and would like to see it continued. He is a local boy who values our history and who has been an honest, responsible, independent spokesman of all interests of our city. I respect Rocky and know he will be make the right decisions.

Rocky needs your help. Anything any of you can do to help Rocky in his campaign, please do.

Paul Edgar

Oregon City

Correcting the record

It looks like I may have to make a correction in my letter-to-the-editor in Wednesday, Sept. 19, edition.

I mentioned that the voters had authorized the $130 million indebtedness available to the urban renewal in 2005.

The correction is that the City Commission authorized the $130 million in 2007. The point in the paragraph still stands, the Urban Renewal Commission has had access to $130 million, but has not touched it.

Brian Shaw

Oregon City

Deceit, inaccuracy and divisiveness

Am I the only one that notices when the developers of Oregon City don’t get their way, they start writing articles in the newspapers which are deceitful, disrespectful, inaccurate, slanderous and in some cases outright mistruths?

As one of the chief petitioners for “Your Right To Vote,” I have seen my neighborhood meeting invaded by non-residents attempting to take over power of leadership; a recall of a city commissioner, and an attempt to use $130 million in urban-renewal funding to provide a path for developers to prosper by subsiding the improvements of their real-estate holdings at citizen expense. Isn’t that enough to want your right to vote as a citizen? It is for me, and that is why two years ago, after attending neighborhood meetings and City Commission meetings, watching online when I wasn’t able to attend, I decided to put my feelings into action.

I volunteered, along with Kevin Hunt and Dave Prideaux to be one of three petitioners to grant the public their right to vote. Two dozen Oregon City residents joined us in accomplishing our goal in more than a timely period. We were met enthusiastically at the front porch of residents, who eagerly signed our petition and thanked us for our efforts.

We are honest, hard working people; we have nothing to gain in our effort but to help the citizens of Oregon City have their right to vote. We have no “dog in the fight.” We’re just doing our civic duty.

I consider myself to be an honest person of integrity and I personally take offense at Mr. Crocker and Mr. Shaw’s remarks, as well as “The Hat Lady,” because I have worked with the petitioners and citizens directly. Crocker, Shaw and Hat Lady all do have a dog in the fight. They appear to have little interest in helping Oregon City residents, nor do they care about spreading rumors and slanderous accusations.

Folks, the issue here is not character assassination. The issue is Measure 3-407, your right to vote.

Barbara Renken

Oregon City

Class prevents abuse

I wanted to write this letter a number of months ago. October is Child Abuse Prevention month so I thought now would be a good time to write. I don’t know if many people are aware of Women’s Empowerment Project in Clackamas County. It’s an extremely important resource that explores domestic violence issues.

I took this 14-week class earlier in the year, and it was excellent. We were all in different phases of the process. Some women were still in relationships but were contemplating their futures, some were newly out of an abusive relationship, and others had been out for a couple of years. You didn’t feel judged and you were surrounded by women who understood your situation. A number of women said that they hadn’t realized the extent of their abuse until this class. The instructors were excellent.

The class covers in detail the many facets of domestic violence. It covered physical, psychological/mental, sexual, economic and legal abuse. We were taught the cycle of violence, coping mechanisms, red flags, blame reversal, safety planning and also what a healthy relationship looks like. We were also shown the many effects domestic violence has on children.

If anyone is looking for an excellent book on the subject, I would look at any one of Lundy Bancroft’s books. This class used some of his information as a reference.

The class is free and once a week. You can call Patricia Barrera for more information at 503-655-8776.

Donja Bunnell


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.