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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: Community learns of a possible Gov. Richardson


I believe in Oregon and the people who’ve made it great. Pioneer spirit has always been part of who we are. Oregonians have spent lifetimes enriching this great state to put the next generation in a better situation. When I travel and people learn I’m from Oregon, a common refrain is, “Wow, I hear it’s beautiful. You’re lucky you get to live there.”

Oregon is a legacy and a gift—a state whose beauty is second to none and one filled with human and natural resources that were once used in a balanced way that allowed Oregonians to thrive.

It’s disheartening to see the state my family loves falter. Instead of being first in the nation for ingenuity and a flourishing economy, instead of being a leader in education, Oregon has a high and stagnant unemployment rate, a devastating childhood poverty rate, and one of the highest uses of food stamps in America.

After serving more than 10 years in the Oregon Legislature, I believe Oregonians deserve a plan for Oregon’s future and a leader who understands our state, who has the capability and the resources needed to ensure our families thrive, and one who will see that future generations have the opportunities they need to be successful.

We can do better. We’ve built some of the most revered cities in the nation. Our universities have created a solid foundation for thousands of people. Oregonians have built businesses which have improved the world. This is the Oregon I’ve known. It’s the Oregon I love. This same pioneer spirit is still in us today, but it’s getting weaker because Oregon’s state policies no longer promote self-reliance, individual initiative and personal accomplishment.

We used to make, grow, and build products that were the envy of the nation. As those industries withered, families were left wondering, what’s next? Traded-sector workers have been waiting years for change. It becomes harder to care for each other when we’re no longer able to care for ourselves. Oregon’s most vulnerable citizens—low income earning seniors, children with special needs, and disabled veterans—rely on the services we can provide when our economy is robust. Yet without a vibrant economy and enough family-wage-paying jobs, providing adequate services for our most vulnerable citizens is increasingly difficult.

In the coming weeks and months, with the help of Oregonians statewide, we’ll develop a detailed plan for Oregon’s future—a plan that will reignite Oregon’s pioneering spirit. Our plans will enable and encourage innovations in technology, medicine and foreign exports. Together we can charter a course to greater opportunities and prosperity.

I’m the son of a union carpenter who swung a hammer his whole life. He taught me about honest living and hard work. I put myself through school to make a living for my family, just like many other Oregonians have done. Oregon is our state and it is going to take hard work to move Oregon forward. I’m committed to serving you and our great state. I believe we need a leader who will stop defending the status quo and start championing a new plan for Oregon’s future. I’m running for governor because I believe we’re stronger together.

State Rep. Dennis Richardson

Oregon gubernatorial candidate

What can Oregon learn from candidate?

Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point) is running for governor.

You probably know Richardson from the massive political spam emails he sends out on a regular basis to (at minimum) a half million Oregonians, whose email addresses he obtained through public records requests of state agencies. This violation of Oregonian’s private information was not only an outrageous invasion of privacy, but also an abuse of state resources and tax dollars.

Months ago, Richardson launched an online survey that reads an awful lot like he’s been building support for a statewide run. In his emails, he bills it as a way to tell him about your legislative priorities, but once you open it, the page is titled “Connect to Support Dennis Richardson!”

The fact that he’s surreptitiously collected so many email addresses from people around the state—the vast majority of whom do not live in his House District—has led people to believe that he’s been planning something for a while.

So, what might a Richardson campaign look like?

A Gun In Every Backpack. In December, following the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., Richardson gained national notoriety by claiming that the massacre could have been stopped by arming school personnel. But why stop there? Why not arm the kids too?

Statewide Email Registry. It’s inconvenient and time-consuming for Rep. Richardson to have to get your email address by going through a public records request. Instead, he’ll create a statewide registry for email addresses. If you want to vote, go to school, get a driver’s license (unless you’re an undocumented resident), etc., you’ll have to fork over your email address to Richardson first.

World Class Constituent Services. Richardson has a long reputation for being genial and responsive to the concerns of constituents. For example, this is the stock response he sent out to people who contacted him with concerns about his massive spam email campaign:

Do you realize that you are not in my district and cannot vote for me. If my motives were political, I would not waste my time contacting those who cannot vote in my district. For just a moment stop and consider that I may be sending this information to you for the benefit of informing Oregonians about what is taking place in our state.

Your email address will be deleted, and it will be your loss not mine. Too bad your skepticism overpowers your ability to accept information from one who offers it for free and expecting nothing in return.

Best wishes and good bye, Dennis R.

This is exactly the kind of classy statesmanship we can probably expect from Richardson in a statewide campaign.

Scott Moore

Our Oregon spokesman

We welcome submissions from readers on local issues for our 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.