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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: Veteran urges investment; Savas encourges parks conversation; CRC criticism


I am a U.S. Air Force veteran and a proud graduate of Clackamas Community College.

I chose Clackamas because it was a veteran-friendly school where I could stretch my military educational benefits. CCC has been the most embracing, supportive, welcoming academic environment that I have ever been part of. The college staff doesn’t just expect you to think critically, they show you how to think critically. The college also offered me the opportunity to gain valuable work experience as a work study student in public affairs, my career of choice.

Most people know that community colleges are a great place to pursue a career or a transfer degree, but it’s also a great place to build real world experience from top-notch professionals who care about your success.

I worry that continued disinvestment in in our community colleges will erode their ability to help those who need it most. I worry that the current proposed funding level at the Legislature will lead to additional cuts in courses and programs, such as veterans services, and force higher costs on students.

As thousands of veterans prepare to return home, I urge the Legislature to fund our community colleges at a minimum of $460 million. Our military families and veterans are counting on this infrastructure to be there for them, just like CCC was there to support me.

William Burkhalter


Help us shape the future of our parks

As a resident of Clackamas County for the last 28 years I realize the value of community parks.

When I first moved here in 1985 I lived near Risley Park in Milwaukie, which is now a part of the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District (NCPRD). Risley Park was so well used on weekends that many times my wife, Suzanne, and I went to Milo Mclver State Park when Risley Park was full.

Decades later I am more familiar with other park facilities in the region, through active involvement in the community and service on budget committees, the local water and sanitary districts, and now as one of your county commissioners. Over the years I have knocked on many doors and spoke to many of you about many issues. The future of our parks and natural areas are always a topic of conversation (“Support for locally elected North Clackamas parks board?” May 22).

Over the last year the NCPRD has kicked off a master planning process that will ultimately create a road map for the future of parks in the greater North Clackamas area. Citizens are passionate about parks, especially as the area grows and becomes more densely populated and as open spaces become scarce.

We have now found ourselves in a new era of environmental stewardship where our creeks and natural areas are duly recognized as vital assets and are an important component of many of our local parks. The cost to maintain and build parks to meet growth demands has resulted in several challenges, including budgetary. Many government services are facing tough times with operating costs outpacing current revenues. The NCPRD is wisely looking ahead during these challenging financial times. As a only county commissioner and a resident of the district, it is an issue of personal concern to me as well.

The NCPRD includes the cities of Milwaukie and Happy Valley and the unincorporated areas of Jennings Lodge, Oak Grove, North Clackamas and Sunnyside. The city of Damascus has expressed interest in joining the district, the Milwaukie Center wishes to retain its identity, and the highly populated but underserved areas have long awaited some signs of equity. The current funding mechanisms and new growth have resulted in many new quality parks in Happy Valley. Parks that are within safe walking distance are few and far between for the majority of taxpaying property owners who reside west of I-205.

I hear these concerns. There is some worry that not all voices are being heard during the current NCPRD master-planning process. Please know that your opinion is important and that you still have an opportunity to influence the future of parks in Clackamas County. The Board of County Commissioners wants to expand the outreach of the NCPRD master-planning process. Our Community Planning Organizations and other groups will also be included in this discussion.

Please contact me or any commissioner to share your ideas and concerns. Help us shape the future of our parks.

Paul Savas

Clackamas County commissioner

Get the facts on CRC

I am responding to the letter to the editor written by Commissioner Paul Savas in your April 24 issue. I know that Commission Chairman John Ludlow already responded.

Commissioner Savas is making an issue of the CRC project as far as scheduling a work session. The other four commissioners said no. So what does he do? He goes after Chairman Ludlow, because he didn’t get his way. Remember, Mr. Savas ran for commission chair last May, and lost to Charlotte Lehan and John Ludlow, who appeared in a runoff in November with John winning by a huge margin. Chairman Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith were voted into office by an overwhelming majority last November because the voters/taxpayers in Clackamas County want change, and commissioners they can trust.

If he wants more information, then maybe he needs to pay more attention during work sessions and the public hearings. How much information do we need when making a decision? Sometimes to much information can be confusing. If you consistently try to keep getting more information, then nothing will get done. It almost sounds like Commissioner Savas is an analytical person. This type of person struggles, when it comes to making decisions. There is nothing wrong with this. However, sometimes, we need to make quick, common-sense decisions.

In the case of CRC, it not only involves Clackamas County, but also the entire metro area. Keep in mind, Clark County does not want light rail on the bridge. The idea of the new bridge is to improve the flow of traffic.

With light rail on the bridge, you have the same number of traffic lanes you have now. This makes no sense. More lanes are required to improve the flow of interstate traffic. Also with out the approval of the US Coast Guard, there is no bridge. The bridge needs to be built higher to accomodate river traffic. Light rail can not be higher. So it may not happen at all.

The interstate bridge does need to be replaced, however, if Wisconsin can build a bridge for $600 million, why can’t we? During the campaigns last year, Mr. Savas supported both John Ludlow and Tootie Smith. He was even at their victory party on elecion night. Yet, when it comes to some very serious issues, he votes against them, always claiming that he needs more information.

If the other four commissioners feel they have plenty of adequate information regarding CRC, then that should be good enough.

Jeff Molinari


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.