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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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Let's stop distorting facts and start real talks


On Tuesday, Oct. 2, as chairman of the Citizen’s Involvement Council (CIC), I co-hosted a Candidates Forum featuring the candidates for City Commission along with the candidates for state representative from our district. It was an excellent opportunity for citizens to hear from and question the candidates regarding local issues.

I prepare this editorial not on behalf of the CIC, but rather as someone who has served this community as a volunteer in neighborhood communications for the past nine years.

What was missing at the Candidates Forum was a good cross section of the community. Certainly there was a good turnout of the regulars, those already involved in political processes, but those many voters from the general population were generally missing.

Many of the candidates focused in on communications as key in resolving some of the big issues that face our community, and in particular the fractured state of this community’s political climate. Going door to door and asking a busy resident of that home for their time to explain the issues is highly challenging if not impossible.

The event was recorded by our local Willamette Falls Cable, but will residents take the time out from all their regular programming of reality TV programs to watch the Forum? That is still in question.

What is severely lacking in our community is a full disclosure communication of the highly volatile Measure 3-407. Some call it “Your Right to Vote” while others refer to it as an “Urban Renewal” measure. Whatever it is called, our citizens deserve an opportunity to hear the facts, and nothing but the facts without the emotional arguments that seem to distort those very facts.

For the past couple of years, some of our community have focused in on the negative, providing half truths and distorting facts in order to further their personal agendas. That has impacted many decisions in this community. our City Commission and all the way down to a Neighborhood Association. It’s been all about who will control the future of Oregon City.

On one hand we had a commissioner who was recalled based on the premise that he opposed The Rivers Urban Renewal Project, while others felt that the commissioner asked relevant questions in the best interest of the public. Our leaders are elected to do just that. He was only one of five commissioners, yet the brunt of decisions and the anger stirred by some, focused on that one commissioner. The terms that were often used were that the “citizens have spoken” and they want further growth.

Yet now we face an issue (Measure 3-407) of whether or not the citizens have the right to vote on urban renewal projects. Suddenly the proverbial “shoe is on the other foot” has occurred. If the “citizens really had spoken” and they weren’t happy with some decisions by one commissioner, they ask why not give those very citizens the right to vote on major decisions regarding urban renewal? If we truly elect officials to represent us, and then we turn around and don’t care for some of those decisions, why not take back a key component such as urban renewal and allow the citizens to have their say. Our community simply can’t face the prospects of discord and division that annual recalls of city leaders would create.

On one side you have proponents who are uncomfortable with the fact that many land/business owners have created their own Business Alliance using their combined financial power to push their agenda and are alarmed that the local Chamber has publicly stated that for the first time they will endorse candidates, and oppose the local measure. These individuals point to projects like Safeway at hilltop that was built without urban-renewal dollars. They also point to lawn signs that say “No New Taxes” and “No Jobs Lost” and state that the signs are clearly meant to confuse the voters that this is about taxes and jobs, when the measure has nothing to do with either, and is simply about the right to vote on big dollars issues involving urban renewal.

And on the business side, you have individuals and owners who would feel that elected officials should make decisions regarding future growth because citizens may not understand the impacts on taxes, or that waiting for a vote from citizens would severely hamper the possibility of attracting new businesses to locate here. This group would like to see urban renewal dollars used for projects like the local landfill and the cove.

In either case, we have half truths, distortions of the facts, and personal interests or financial gains for those pushing their agendas. Who do we believe? How do we get to the real facts of this measure.

At a City Commission meeting, I offered to organize a Forum/Debate of both sides of the issue on behalf of the CIC. My offer was to make it fair and above board, and have it conducted by trained professors from Clackamas Community College. But two weeks later, in another City Commission meeting, my involvement was called into question due to my position as chair of a city sponsored organization (unpaid volunteer position) and the city didn’t want to appear to be involved in the decision, let alone expend dollars in such a forum. I had no plans to use anyone’s funds, but only to coordinate an open forum where citizens could hear “facts” and make their own decisions. It’s not going to happen.

In the absence of any formal presentation of the facts, and confused by the weekly editorials and anonymous rants in the Oregon City News, we really need the issue addressed in a fair and open manner.

On behalf of the citizens of Oregon City, I plead with the Oregon City News, as the only local paper reporting accurate facts, to do this community a service by taking a full page of their paper to run a side by side article from both sides of the issue. Ask each side to have their chief proponent prepare their best arguments, and then, if possible, fact check those articles to the best of the editor’s ability to ensure that we are getting the honest truth.

Tom Geil is a resident of Oregon City.