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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


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Letters: 'Cheap shots' at clerk; CRW issues; state funds


In regards to the editorial on Nov. 21 (“Clackamas County election problems shouldn’t keep happening”):

A state Elections Division directive in 2010 ordered the reprinting of the incorrect ballots. County officials, without Hall’s support, launched an appeal. In the end, Hall followed the directive and printed corrected ballots after a judge’s order did not alter the directive. If Clackamas County voters truly detested the whole affair, why was Hall re-elected that same year?

The ballot manipulation is indeed horrible. However, the process in place to deter and detect wrongdoing worked; two, anyone is able to receive a tour of where ballots are received and handled and have the entire process explained to him or her. Visitors are welcome to observe elections through the many wide windows into the ballot processing rooms.

“Interestingly — no, perhaps more tellingly — Hall chose not to attend the emergency county meeting, instead releasing a press release [...]” The editorial board was given the reason for her lack of presence in the very press release that they go on to reference: “At the request of the Department of Justice and in order not to jeopardize this ongoing investigation, I am not commenting further on the details of this investigation at this time.” Why go to a meeting that she could not contribute to? Sherry Hall’s time was better spent managing the obligations and responsibilities of her office, especially in light of the crime which had occurred.

In my mind, there are only two reasons for any recall: corruption or incompetence. Sherry Hall is certainly not corrupt. She is also not incompetent, in my opinion. Place the blame on the right person - the woman who (allegedly) committed the crime.

The editorial board ought to have named its opinion, “Clackamas Review editorial cheap-shots Sherry Hall.”

Maria Hennig

Oregon City

Plans for legal action

The various filings were made on behalf of Clackamas River Water, not Patricia Holloway, (Employees back water district recall, Nov. 28).

Also, please correct the statement “Holloway also said that, before the other board members resigned last month, they conspired to get her in legal trouble without access to CRW-paid attorneys.”

The correct statement is that on Oct. 13, 2011, CRW Commissioners Kehoe, Kemper and Cardwell, together with CRW General Manager Lee Moore and CRW legal counsel Dean Phillips, planned to have employees file Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries complaints against Holloway after Dec. 31, 2012, when the insurance company stopped providing legal defense coverage for BOLI complaints.

Pat Holloway

Clackamas River Water commissioner

Governor’s budget woes

Governor John Kitzhaber’s 2013-15 proposed budget is only a blueprint for the next Oregon Legislature to consider, but it recognizes the need for PERS reforms that House Republicans have been calling for.

We believe the Legislature should go further on PERS reform. However, the proposed budget illustrates how reforms can decrease the cost of government while increasing funding for classrooms.

Oregonians should understand that this budget is based on a number of assumptions that haven’t been fully vetted by the Legislature. The budget assumes the state will have 9 percent more revenue at a time when Oregon’s job growth has stagnated. It assumes large savings in the corrections system, which may signal a plan to weaken voter-approved sentencing measures. It also assumes tax and fee increases, more government debt, and potentially more money for public employee pay raises later in the biennium.

There are some elements in the budget that Republicans can support, but we are disappointed it doesn’t set aside enough reserves to protect services if revenues begin to decline again. This is the same approach that, under the leadership of Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point), prevented deep cuts in the current biennium.

Mike McLane

(R-Powell Butte)

Budget ignores out-of-control tax breaks

In his recommended budget, Governor John Kitzhaber has unfortunately ignored the resounding results of the election that wrapped just a few weeks ago, and has missed an opportunity to provide real money for schools and critical services by closing big tax loopholes for large corporations and the rich.

The governor’s budget continues the status quo of giving away tax dollars through runaway tax breaks. The state of Oregon currently gives away $32 billion in tax breaks every two years—that’s an increase of $3.4 billion (12 percent) in just the past few years.

Reining in these out-of-control tax breaks—particularly for large corporations and the wealthy—could provide hundreds of millions of dollars to fund Oregon’s basic priorities: Our schools, senior care, and the basic services that keep our communities safe and healthy.

In the election that ended just three weeks ago, voters in Oregon and the rest of the nation weighed in loudly about how they expect elected leaders to protect priority services.

President Obama campaigned on a plan to raise the tax rates on households that make more than $250,000. He won in Oregon by a 12-point margin. Even Congressional Republicans across the country have now been forced to admit that new revenue has to be part of a balanced budget.

Closer to home, Oregon voters approved two-thirds of the local money measures this November to fund their local schools and priority services. By an overwhelming majority, they voted to reform the corporate kicker and put those funds into schools. And they rejected a ballot measure that would have cut hundreds of millions of dollars from schools and critical services just to give a tax break to the wealthy.

The lesson is clear: Voters believe that large corporations and the rich should pay their share, and that middle-class families can’t absorb any more cuts to basic services.

The governor’s recommended budget unfortunately doesn’t come close to meeting the needs and priorities of middle-class families.

For the most part, the governor’s budget provides essentially flat budgets for most critical services. The small increases recommended for a few agencies don’t keep up with inflation or the increased costs of providing basic services.

Between 2010 and 2012, Oregon schools cut approximately 7,000 teachers and school employees, giving Oregon the fourth most overcrowded classrooms in the nation. The governor’s recommended budget does almost nothing to change that; in fact, we could lose many more teachers.

The result will be even more overcrowded classrooms, shorter school years, higher tuition, and fewer services for seniors and people with disabilities. Middle-class families have already spent too many years under the burden of ongoing cuts.

The governor’s recommended budget is just the first step in a lengthy process of drafting Oregon’s budget. We’re hopeful that the legislative process will be fruitful in finding ways to fund middle-class priorities.

Scott Moore

Our Oregon

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.