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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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Letters: Metro levy debate; election workers support Hall


Please accept this letter into the record for consideration on the proposed Metro Natural Area Levy scheduled for a Metro Council meeting on Dec. 18.

The Regional Mayors’ group met and discussed the Levy proposal at its meeting in November.

Metro Council President Tom Hughes and COO Martha Bennett were in attendance and discussed the proposed levy. Significant concerns were raised by the mayors at that time and the group is unanimously requesting a delay in the levy decision until further impacts to cities are evaluated. The current compression analysis was conducted using last year’s tax data and did not include the results of the tax measures passed in November.

As you are aware, some Metro area cities are more impacted by compression than others. As a result, the financial burden for the levy would not fall evenly on households and their communities across the region. Some cities would have their ability to raise revenue for vital police and fire protection services substantially limited as a result of having additional regional levies on the books.

In addition to concerns regarding compression, the plan for the remaining natural area’s bond purchases and impacts on long-term maintenance needs are still unclear to our group. Without further information and clarity regarding the plan for past voter-approved investments, it is hard for us to see the value in asking voters for additional resources.

We also feel that, preceding any discussions about future revenue for Metro, we would encourage the Metro elected officials to sit down early next year with local elected officials to review and discuss their respective governmental roles in the region; where are they aligned, and where is there conflict, potential or actual. We believe that Metro can be helpful in a number of areas, but we remain concerned that those areas of assistance should be in partnership and coordination with local government.

Jerry W. Willey Hillsboro

Shane Bemis Gresham

Doug Neeley Oregon City

Wade Byers Gladstone

Lou Ogden Tualatin

Lori DeRemer Happy Valley

Gery Schirado Durham

Craig Dirksen Tigard

Ron Shay King City

Denny Doyle Beaverton

Patricia Smith Wood Village

Jeremy Ferguson Milwaukie

Steve Spinnett Damascus

Jack Hoffman Lake Oswego

Pete Truax Forest Grove

Jim Kight Troutdale

Mike Weatherby Fairview

Tim Knapp Wilsonville

Keith Mays Sherwood

Support Metro’s natural areas levy

Metro is contemplating a very small levy that would cost $1.60 per month on a $200,000 home to raise funds to manage its 16,000-acre portfolio. Some mayors are opposed to the levy. In their letter to Metro President Tom Hughes they posed three concerns: What would it fund? What’s Metro’s role in natural area protection? What’s the potential effect on their ability to collect taxes?

First, the levy will allow on-the-ground restoration and management of the region’s most significant natural areas. It would also put people to work performing restoration, create demand for local nursery stock that will be used in restoration projects, and create citizen stewardship programs.

Second, voters gave Metro a clear mandate to get into natural area acquisition and management by overwhelmingly approving two bond measures totaling $363 million. Without those funds there would be no Drake Lane Park in Hillsboro. Mount Talbert and Gresham’s buttes would be covered with developments, not nature trails. The Tualatin Basin watershed would have lower-quality drinking water and diminished fish and wildlife habitat. There would still be a “hole” in the Tualatin Hills Nature Park. There would be no Cooper Mountain or Graham Oaks Nature Parks.

The mayors are out of step with their constituents who- much like the fish and wildlife they want protected—are not parochial in their desire to enjoy parks and natural areas and act as good stewards. On December 18, Metro Council will consider referring the levy to the region’s voters. Local elected officials should collaborate with Metro, rather than bicker over a $20-per-year measure. They should also understand the value of a regional approach to natural areas, parks and trails funding, and the value of investing in the proper care of these special places for the good of future generations.

Over the long term the region must work to solve the bigger challenges: creating O & M revenues for all park providers and fixing Oregon’s broken tax system, which creates inequity across the board. But, these issues should not hold hostage this modest request to ask voters whether they value protecting their investment in water quality, fish and opportunities to experience nature. Metro Council should give them the opportunity to put their money where their values are——protecting the region’s water quality and ensuring they have access to nature where they live, work and play.

Mike Houck

Urban Greenspaces Institute

executive director

Elections employees support Sherry Hall

I was very pleased to read the response to the editor on Dec. 5—from Maria Hennig in Oregon City—re “Cheap shots” at Sherry Hall.

As one of the “part time” workers for the elections board, I, along with my many co-workers were offended by your editorial on Nov. 21. I am happy that Ms. Hennig answered first as she said it much better than I could. My appreciation to her.

The majority of us workers are retired from various careers, many of us in managerial positions and can easily relate with having one rotten apple in the bunch. We take great pride for the privilege of being called to serve in our capacities as is our civic duty.

For you to lay the blame at Sherry Halls’ feet for the wrong doing of one individual is unconscionable. I am speaking for myself and my co-workers when I say we were all embarrassed, devastated and humiliated for the ballot tampering.

I can only imagine how Sherry felt. She did not try to “cover up” the deceit, but acted in her most professional way by immediately informing those in command. That action alone should prove her honesty and integrity.

In my opinion, your editorial was nothing more than a personal attack on Sherry Hall.

Shirley Camm


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.