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INSIDERS (Sponsored Content)

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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Community reacts to various county projects

As Milwaukie steps into spring with the blossoming of flowers, one cannot help but think of the seasonal rebirth of our Willamette Valley landscape and the change it brings us each year. As we watch nature bring this change, one cannot help but see and hear another change to our city.

Light-rail construction is everywhere. The rumble of dump trucks, the pounding of pile drivers, the spinning of concrete mixers, the clearing of trees and the removal of hillsides to make way for a new form of public transportation for the citizens of our city and our county. Light rail. It will change the Milwaukie landscape as we currently know it forever.

As we watch and observe the contractors, subcontractors, utility workers and traffic control flaggers, I am reminded of the richness of our existing neighborhoods and the citizens who live here. They are all part of our city and as residents and neighbors, they strive to respect each other as they go about their busy lives. Everyone from firefighters and police officers, young families and retirees, homeowners and renters, city employees and small business owners all work hard to be respectful of one another and to make certain that their work dovetails seamlessly into the rich fabric of our community.

With that Milwaukie model of respect for one another being set by its citizens, I know that the General Contractor for TriMet Stacy and Witbeck sees how essential it is for them to respect the Milwaukie citizens as they leave for work, drop children at school, walk to the bus transit station or ride their bicycles to downtown. After all, as contractors working on the light-rail project, they are all guests in the community doing work with our tax dollars and our city general-fund contributions. As a guest in our town, I know that they are aware of how important safety, security and courtesy is for our pedestrians, drivers and bicycle riders as they make their way along Harrison, Monroe, Washington and Lake Road.

So when you see them next, give them a wave or call them at 503-962-2222 to let them know how they are doing. They will much appreciate the feedback.

Councilor Scott Churchill


Astonished by county antics

Having lived in the Milwaukie/Oak Grove community for 17 years, I was extremely hopeful when city, county and Metro agencies were able to bring light rail to our community. My enthusiasm has turned to astonishment when I read about the antics played out in Clackamas County government relating to light rail.

Let’s start from the beginning; light rail is good because it helps reduce congestion on our roads. It is the gateway to prosperity as we have seen in other communities. Light rail increases consumer traffic and will stimulate business and employment in our town. The money we spend on infrastructure will be returned with a more vibrant and prosperous community. It is a very good thing for us.

We are now hearing political opppositon at the county level seeking to undermine light rail. New county commissioners are attempting to “unring” the bell and pull back from our light-rail committment. They’ve scheduled a vote on the issue, which is akin to closing the barn door after the horses have left. This action would be funny were it not for the fact that the cost of the sham vote wastes valuable county resources.

This type of action, coupled with strong-arm tactics against staff, have made Clackamas County a regional embarrassment. Time for commissioners to set aside political agendas and do the work they were elected to do.

Liam McGill

Oak Grove

Let county, TriMet sort it out

I am not sure why Mr. Molinari in his letter last week titled “Occupy TriMet” would imagine that he speaks for all Clackamas County voters, or their views on the Milwaukie light rail project. I have lived here for more than 30 years, and he certainly does not speak for me.

He is inaccurate in implying that Measure 3-401 gives the right to renege on our contracts with TriMet. The measure was not designed to be retroactive, so I am outraged that he and his group will give the impression that Clackamas County residents are people whose word cannot be trusted, who back out on their contractual obligations. We will be viewed as self-serving, and end up paying dearly for the resulting lawsuits.

I would also like to respond to his criticism of “the unions” by reminding him that we have a 40-hour workweek because of unions; we have living wages thanks to unions; we have annual holidays because of unions; we have workplace safety because of unions. To understand the danger of having weakened unions, just look at the drop in union membership compared to the stagnation in the median wage over the past 30 years.

The light-rail project is already steeped in political and legal wrangling. Mr. Molinari and his supporters would do well to let our Clackamas County Commisssion and TriMet sort it out, without adding fuel to the fire.

Peter Bellamy

Oregon City

A sensible alternative

The 3 Creeks Natural Area represents the last vestige of an urban watershed that provides habitat and protects water quality in North Clackamas.

A long range transportation plan created decades ago, the TSP, recommended the development of Sunnybrook West, an unnecessary road that would degrade the 3 Creeks Natural Area. How could the funding for Sunnybrook West be better used? By investing in smart infrastructure that adds flexibility and cost-effective transit solutions. County Commissioners should consider building a hub for jitney buses near the Clackamas Community College.

Jitney service would connect communities subject to decreasing bus routes to education, shopping, and recreation opportunities near the Town Center. A dynamic, flexible Town Center would attract homeowners and entrepreneurs seeking to relocate, thus increasing the tax base. I urge commissioners to remove the Sunnybrook West road from the County TSP. In addition, I encourage commissioners to consider common-sense transit alternatives for the Town Center to provide access to the shopping, education and recreation opportunities near the 3 Creeks Natural Area.

Let’s employ a smart transit solution that creates a lasting legacy and improves the economic opportunities for North Clackamas.

Chris Ortolano


Bargaining for health plan

I am a union employee with TriMet. It would be nice if you could obtain the complete history of the contract between the ATU and TriMet. It would reveal what we employees over the many, many years have bargained away in wages in order to pay for the health plan we had.

I would like someone out there in the real world to tell me that for the coverage being provided and for the number of employees TriMet employs they can’t buy a cheaper health insurance plan? Really!

My take-home pay is $44,946.41 and I have a family of five, and you want to tell me I am overpaid as a union employee, really? I do pay $90.86 every two weeks, a $450 family deductible, a 10 percent with maximum $4,500 co-insurance per year.

Jack Kill


Thank you

On behalf of the John McLoughlin PTSO (Parent Teacher Student Organization), we would like to thank the many local businesses that supported our annual Spring Carnival and Gift Basket Raffle Fundraiser. Through the generous support of local businesses, the PTSO is able to fund important activities such as our teacher education assistance fund, technology updates, overhead projector project, field trips and we are saving to rehabilitate our track.

The goal of the John McLoughlin PTSO is to make a difference in the quality of education our students receive by helping our teachers with much needed items for their classrooms, providing educational tools and resources and to have an overall positive experience. With the help of donations from these wonderful local businesses, we will continue to be able to support the quality education our children are receiving at John McLoughlin Elementary.

Thank you for your support!

Keith and Marcie Keylock

Oregon City

We welcome submissions from readers on local issues for our Editorial and Opinion page. Please send your thoughts by noon Friday to Raymond Rendleman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Keep Letter to the Editor submissions under 400 words; 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.