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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: New Urban students launch effort to prevent school's move


by: PHOTO COURTESY: MARTIN WINCH - Sabrina Lillie helps decorate the walls of her New Urban High School campus in Oak Grove using her feet.The proposal to close New Urban High School came as a shock to most students when it was announced in an emergency assembly on the Friday following the Feb. 28 announcement at the North Clackamas School Board meeting, but it didn’t come as anything more than par for the course to me.

Our district has already gone through a massive budget restructuring in the past few years; cutting funding to nearly all of the district’s schools and alternative programs, and funneling what is left into Clackamas, Rex Putnam and Milwaukie high schools. I knew it was only a matter of time before the wonderful environment we have here at New Urban H.S. got cut as well.

I saw many of the students breaking down into tears when the teachers were finished informing us of the proposal. Many of the students here at New Urban are the ones that many schools classify as “problem teens;” the ones that get swept under the rug by the administration of their home high school; the ones that will socially, emotionally and academically stagnate in any environment besides the kind provided to students here.

While I feel that I would do just fine at a mega-school, I do not think that the people presenting this proposal adequately understand how severely it would affect many of the students who attend this program. I don’t really expect this letter to change anything, as a pragmatic approach generally trumps what is best for individuals, but I do want to at least talk about the other side of the story, the one that is not being publicized.

I am extremely displeased with this decision, and I hope more people will stand up for us at New Urban.

Cassius Cote

Ninth grader at New Urban

Editor’s note: Cash Cote understands that the district is not proposing a closure of New Urban, rather a relocation of New Urban’s programs to the Sabin-Schellenberg Career and Technical Center. However, he fears that the proposed move is the first step in an “impending” closure of New Urban in the next few years.

Place of safety and comfort

New Urban High School is a place that has become more than a school. It is more than a place of education.

New Urban has become a home, a place of safety and comfort. A place where students feel they can be themselves and more. New Urban staff and students are family.

New Urban has helped me with not just a great education, but they have made me a better person. If I had not been given the option to go to NUHS, I would not have been able to handle high school the way I do. I would have had to drop out or get my GED, instead. New Urban has changed my life immensely.

It would be a bad decision to relocate New Urban because we have a very strong connection with the Oak Grove community; we have great business partnerships in the area, and the NUHS building is a safe building in a great neighborhood.

Relocating the New Urban program would be a bad decision because the staff and students have very strong connections. The staff of this school are unlike any other. They put us in real-life situations and give us the skills we will need in the outside world. They actually teach us, they sit with students until they understand what they’re doing in class.

In addition to that, we are aware that only certain students may attend the Sabin-Schellenberg program. That does not include a place for physical education, or a cafeteria or kitchen. Things we need.

New Urban is something that a lot of students need. Other schools can’t teach us the way this school does. Some students can’t go back to their previous school because of bullying or harassment. New Urban is the only option for some of these students.

Kayla Warring

Tenth grader at New Urban

Wonderful learning environment

When I first came to New Urban, my thoughts were mixed about it, but it turned out to be the best school experience I have ever had.

I started the year not knowing anybody, but that didn’t stop me. The students were very kind and accepting of who I was as a student and a person. I made friends fast, and as the year went by, I realized that school is like a big family.

I first came from Clackamas High School, where I wasn’t doing very good in school; I had Ds and Fs. When I came here, the teachers explained the work in a new way where I understood it. Now I’m getting Cs-As.

It would be terrible to lose such a wonderful learning environment for students.

Blake Isaksen

Tenth grader at New Urban

What NUHS means to me

New Urban high school is a second home to me, it’s my home away from home.

As a person and a student here I have made a change in my life from being scared to being a happy person in life because NUHS has made that change for me. Also NUHS is a place for people to make different life changes in their own way. What New Urban did for me, is that I’m starting to make better choices for myself and so are other people.

I think it is a big mistake for you to move us because I have made lots of memories here, and other people have, too.

Naomi Merrimon

Tenth grader at New Urban

Students may not move

I am a teacher at New Urban High School in Oak Grove, and I am writing about my concerns regarding the proposed move to the Sabin-Schellenberg campus.

From a survey of 66 students on Feb. 7, it’s clear that most of our students do not plan to attend a new program at Sabin-Schellenberg. We have to take in account that the program has not been designed (and that’s part of the problem), but only five (7.5 percent) of the 66 students reported that they would go to the new program, and only seven students (11 pecent) reported that they are undecided.

The district has attempted to soothe their concerns with a vague commitment to maintaining the teachers at NUHS. Not only is this commitment vague, it is based on an assumption that the teachers will elect to make the move. All teachers need more information, and many may not elect to make the move. Furthermore, I don’t feel much hope in the new location when most of our students have no plans to make the move.

Ten days ago, I felt extremely committed to the current program, even after past cuts have made running the program extremely challenging. I felt my commitment would continue until I retire. The fact that I’m only paid $12,000 a year, and have been offered much more as a school teacher in my hometown didn’t bother me at all. I couldn’t imagine leaving the students at NUHS. They need commitment from adults. Many other teachers have told me of similar commitments to this program. But this week has left me feeling discouraged to say the least.

I am part of the most committed school community I’ve ever come across. I know that if I retain and teach my students, they will have the opportunity to meet all the other dedicated staff at NUHS. They will have the skills needed to find hope and opportunities in their lives.

Over 30 percent of our students qualify for special education. Over 10 percent are homeless. Over 20 percent have been diagnosed with psychological barriers. These students need our help. They need a home and a family. They need New Urban High School.

Martin Winch


Why I chose New Urban

While I was at another high school, I couldn’t be myself. I sometimes had to do things I didn’t even want to do. There were way too many kids there. I couldn’t even ask for a pencil because by the time the teacher was done helping another kid the bell rang. I was never able to get help. In fact, you don’t get very much of anything. I ended that year with F’s and D’s. Whatever I did wasn’t enough. I lost confidence in myself and wanted to give up.

Then I heard about New Urban. I decided to start over. I remember the first day I walked into the school. I looked at all the classes and I saw a big difference: kids were talking to the teachers, and they were actually getting help. I noticed how much smaller the classes were. You ask for help, and the New Urban teachers are on your side, making sure that what you’re doing is correct. You can’t really get away with anything. If you do something, it doesn’t just get back to your teacher. It gets back to every teacher, practically before you get to your next class. This sounds like a bad thing, but it keeps you from messing up because there’s always someone watching out for you and keeping you on track. I’m glad I chose New Urban to be the school I want to graduate from. Before I came to this school, I was almost a straight F student. Now, I get A’s and B’s. My parents actually tell me they’re proud of me every day. That’s the best feeling you could ever have.

New Urban is a really good school. I would tell anyone to come to this school who isn’t getting the help they need at their own high school. Their life will change.

MaKayla Reamer

Tenth grader at New Urban

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.