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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: Year's end offers opportunities for reflection


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Clackamas Fire District No. 1 Chief Fred Charlton gives a speech after his inauguration June. 30, 2012, at the district's training facility in Clackamas.As 2012 comes to a close, Clackamas Fire is taking time to reflect on a year’s worth of events that have helped shape the communities we serve.

We have seen our calls for service increase to a record number over the entire fire district as more and more citizens, businesses, and visitors need our assistance. We feel very fortunate to have been able to purchase two very unique pieces of fire apparatus that will ultimately allow our career and volunteer firefighters deliver a greater level of service. In July, Clackamas Fire District No. 1 purchased and placed in service a new rescue boat for navigating the various waterways within Clackamas County. In November, the fire district placed in service a new 3,000 gallon water tender to support fire suppression activities in our suburban and rural communities.

In October, we hosted our first annual Clackamas Fire Community Academy. The Community Academy is an opportunity for citizens to spend four-hours with firefighters learning CPR, how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator, the proper use of a fire extinguisher, climb an aerial ladder, pull hose from a fire engine and much more. The next Academy will be planned for early spring 2013.

This year, the annual Operation Santa Clause parades collected enough food and toys to assist an estimated 500 families in need. The 12 community parades far exceeded our expectations and the Fire District is very thankful for your generosity and support.

The afternoon of Dec. 11, 2012, will forever have a significant impact on our staff, citizens, visitors and communities we serve. Clackamas Fire responded with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, regional law-enforcement partners, American Medical Response and numerous fire agencies to the devastating shooting at Clackamas Town Center. This was a tragic event and we are working hard to learn from this incident and continue efforts to train for and respond to high-risk, low-frequency incidents.

Have a safe 2013.

Fred Charlton

Clackamas Fire chief

Protect our children year round

We mourn the deaths of the children taken from us through seemingly random shootings. We grieve for their families and for the lost potential of the young souls who have died.

For those of us at Children’s Center, where we help the victims of child abuse, we deeply feel the impact of these tragedies—here in Clackamas County and in Connecticut. We embrace the community’s reaction to these events and the heightened awareness that keeping our kids safe should be our top priority.

In the wake of the senseless deaths of 20 children, President Obama called on us as a nation to make caring for our children “our first task.” He asked us to reflect on whether “we can honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children—all of them—safe from harm.”

Sadly, we at Children’s Center know, as Obama concluded, that we are not doing enough to protect our children. So far this year, we have provided medical exams, forensic interviews and family support to 450 Clackamas County children who are suspected victims of abuse and neglect. We remember that 19 children died in Oregon as the result of maltreatment last year and 22 died the year before.

We could not agree more with political leaders who are calling for us to focus on the safety of children as our first and shared priority. Children’s Center now hopes that we can act together in meaningful ways to protect all of our children from the violence and betrayal of abuse that occurs every day in our community—a form of attack that steals young souls and lives from us. We hope the new light that shines now on our obligation to protect our children also shines on those who are silently abused and violated behind closed doors. We call on each citizen who suspects a child is being abused to take action and to report their concerns to the Clackamas Child Abuse Hotline by calling 971-673-7112.

Barbara Peschiera

Children’s Center Executive Director

Thank you, constituents

As I conclude my work as a Clackamas County commissioner, I want to thank you.

Thank you for your teamwork and for the opportunity to serve. Together we have made important strides to keep vulnerable people safe and healthy, help our residents get back to work, and make careful use of public resources. Here are some highlights of what we’ve achieved in the past four years:

Keeping vulnerable people safe and healthy:

We supported creation of five new health clinics, in partnership with school officials and community organizations. These clinics will help 10,000 additional residents a year get the basic health care they need.

We advanced efforts to keep women and children safe from abuse. Between 2011-2013, our investments are expected to help 5,000 people obtain domestic violence response services and 2,500 children and families avoid or stop child abuse.

We approved a homelessness prevention initiative that will help an estimated 1,100 families, including 1,160 children, move into stable housing over three years.

With leadership from the sheriff, we won unanimous approval to create a Family Justice Center, a one-stop service center to help families fleeing domestic violence obtain restraining orders, emergency housing and other key services in one efficient location.

We teamed up with the sheriff’s office to fund mental health crisis workers to accompany deputies on emergency calls and to work at the jail so we can keep our community safe while responding appropriately to people with mental illness.

Getting residents back to work:

We secured a preliminary commitment for over $8.2 million in regional funding to support crucial road improvements in the Clackamas Industrial Area. These improvements, known as the Sunrise System, will ease congestion and support growth in a key employment area that already hosts 15,000 jobs and has the potential to add 9,000 more.

We purchased an outfall site for the return of clean, treated wastewater to the Willamette River. Use of this site is expected to save the community as much as $80 million in avoided capital costs over two decades.

We struck a balance between the need to protect farmland and open space and the need to support job-creating development during the Urban Reserves process.

We revised county rules to help construction businesses that have suffered during the recession move their projects forward.

We fulfilled our commitment to fund construction of light rail in Clackamas County, which will help people get where they need to go and create jobs.

We resolved a conflict about how to allocate sewer costs, first by negotiating a short-term agreement and ultimately, a long-term one. This resolution will help keep sewer rates fair for customers.

We adopted a strategy to ensure that Clackamas County provides excellent services to clients and customers regardless of their heritage, English language skills and sexual orientation.

Making careful use of public resources:

We secured the redirection of over $1.4 million in county funds from administrative and other uses to meet the basic needs of vulnerable residents.

We directed staff to include a fiscal impact statement for new programs and projects to make sure the county appropriately spends public dollars.

We negotiated new labor contracts that are fair and curb cost increases so the county can keep providing crucial services to our residents.

We increased opportunities for public input into county decisions by hold evening business meetings and launching town hall meetings throughout the county.

By setting high expectations for staff performance, we are improving services to our residents and honoring the contributions of the many public employees who do excellent work. I have advocated to grow the culture of excellence within our government.

In this large, diverse county we do not agree on all issues, but we are united by one thing—our love of this special place. Although I am leaving the Board of County Commissioners, I plan to stay in our community. I also plan to keep working to strengthen it.

Together, and in partnership with our new county commissioners, we can protect fragile families and seniors, create a strong business climate, and make careful use of public resources. Together we can create a bright future for Clackamas County.

Thank you, again, for this opportunity to serve.

Ann Lininger

Former Clackamas County commissioner

Return my sign

To the person or persons who took the “hat shop sign” at the corner of Seventh and Main streets on New Year’s Eve, could you please return my sign?

I have driven all over downtown Oregon City looking for it. I can’t imagine what it could possibly mean to you.

It has lots of meaning to me.

It was a simple homemade sign that actually brought business into my shop.

My husband made this sign as a gift to me after the bridge opened. We could not afford a custom made sign, so he patiently made this sign for me.

My husband is old and does not want to make another one.

Please return it back to where you found it.

Sandra Gillman

Oregon City

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. Readers are also invited to call 503-546-0742 with story ideas and comments.