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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: Focus on local issues; education; Elections Office; rail vote; Happy Valley sign

Time has passed, but the news that an active shooter was inside the Clackamas Town Center and firing on bystanders is still fresh in our minds and frightening to remember.

Like all of you, I did a mental check of the whereabouts of my family members, texting and phoning to hear that they were safe and out of harm’s way. Later, we all heard firsthand accounts from friends and neighbors who were there, or had just left after their Christmas shopping. The news was bad, but could have been much worse.

I am so proud and grateful to the first responders of our local law-enforcement agencies and emergency services providers. Their professionalism and bravery has been nationally acknowledged, and rightfully so.

We ask questions that will never be answered. Why did this happen? How could this happen? A 22-year-old gunman apparently unable to face his life, but not willing to face death alone, terrorized thousands of people at Clackamas Town Center. Two innocent victims paid the ultimate price as their lives were cut short by a young man bent on murder and destruction, and a wounded teenage girl who faces a long road back to physical and emotional recovery. So many others, too, will carry the events of 12-11-12 with them for years to come.

On Sunday, Dec. 16, I joined with several hundred of you for a commemorative vigil at Happy Valley Middle School. Sadly, we had another tragedy to grieve. The Dec. 14 school shootings in Newtown, Conn., claimed the most innocent of victims and the brave adults who fought to save them. As we shared our thoughts and prayers, it made me think of how the Newtown community was described on the news. People settled there after finding a beautiful, livable community with great schools to put down roots and raise a family. It sounds like a larger version of Happy Valley.

It’s true that we can’t control our entire environment. We can’t protect ourselves against every threat to our safety. We can, however, focus on those things within our control. We can reinforce the safety of our streets and neighborhoods by our active participation in community-watch programs. We can support our schools through volunteerism, always remembering that a good community shares the responsibility for all of its children. We can remember to act with kindness and patience even on a bad day.

These events, made more painful during a time when the days should have been filled with holiday excitement, have changed us. We need time to heal, and to remember those who need our continuing support. May 2013 be a better year for all of us.

Mayor Lori DeRemer

Happy Valley

Kids need education

I am an 18-year-old senior at La Salle high school writing to show my concern about our country that lacks general education for people that simply can’t afford it.

Many people in this country cannot afford an education that prepares them for their future. In today’s economy you need a decent high school education in order to have a successful job and promising career. So many people don’t get to experience being able to have a good life to feed their family and keep everyone healthy.

There is a program in Portland called the Boys and Girls Club, and it helps children’s families that can’t afford a solid education. This program only charges $5 a year, and with all of the loans and donations they get from major companies, they can make this happen.

Please consider this issue. If the government worked to create more of these programs, it would be a very good and productive start to changing our economy.

Dakota Eisel


More proof needed

Interesting opinion piece by Scott Moore, spokesman for Our Oregon (“County Elections Office policies raise red flags,” Jan. 16). But how can the voters make an informed decision if Sherry Hall’s office is less secure, more secure or right on, without the comparison of all the other county election offices in the state of Oregon?

Who is going to provide voters information comparing the entire process, including how many cameras and where the cameras are located, sign-in/sign-out policies, how ballots are collected from the drop boxes in the county, how they hire their temporary workers, etc?

All I hear is Sherry Hall doesn’t do anything right in the Clackamas County Elections office. I want comparisons which would provide proof which ultimately leads to who I vote for to run the Clackamas County Elections office.

Sue Conachan

Oak Grove

No way to run county

We will now see the fruits of November whereby anti-light rail forces were put in charge of our Clackamas County government.

In their first month in office, they have ordered voters to approve simple administrative questions such as, “Should TriMet operate the new Portland-Milwaukie light rail line?” Duh.

If the voters say “No,” then the Ludlow-Tootie-Savas schemers have won by killing the new line and any others. They must want more vehicle traffic.

Next up: Oregon DOT is looking at a new high-speed rail line connecting Eugene to Portland. Whoa! It must run through Clackamas County and that means voters must authorize consideration of such a notion.

That’s thought-provoking, except staffers can’t even think about it on county time unless voters say they can. Is this any way to run our government?

One wonders how long Clackamas County citizens will put up with such expensive, time-wasting foolishness.

Peter Toll

West Linn

More communication would also be welcome

I am responding to the information given in a recent article about the proposed “New Happy Valley sign to greet Sunnyside Road drivers” (Jan. 9).

The property at the northeast corner of Southeast Sunnyside Road and 122nd Avenue is within the designated boundaries of an unincorporated area of Clackamas County called Sunnyside United Neighbors CPO (Community Planning Organization.) There is an Oregon state statute that requires all recognized unincorporated areas to serve as advisors to the Board of County Commissioners on matters affecting their communities, particularly in the area of land use.

This corner lot is not within the city of Happy Valley. The city of Happy Valley is purchasing this lot from Clackamas County Development Agency and has chosen to cherry-stem south from their city boundary to the site in order to annex it into the city.

They have not initiated any communication with the CPO about this acquisition and appear to scoff at our opposition to this property invasion—especially with the proposed large “City of Happy Valley” sign on land that is entirely within the CPO’s designated boundary. Unfortunately, this annexation process is legal, but most unprofessional when the unincorporated area is not informed until the deal is completed.

The graffiti was painted over about two years ago and the concrete wall was removed about one year ago. When I have noted problems, including political signs, I called the county, and the problem was resolved in a few days.

The lot is unattractive, but is it worth spending $100,000 (or more) to glamorize one of the roads into a large residential area of the city? The “gateway” to the actual city (businesses and City Hall) should be at 142nd Avenue and Sunnyside Road.

While we are not residents of the city of Happy Valley, we feel that if the city has extra money available, it might be better spent toward improving public safety with sidewalks on the eastside of 129th Avenue north of Spring Mountain Elementary School.

Martha Waldemar, Chairwoman

Sunnyside United Neighbors CPO