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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: Federal shutdown; Milwaukie streets/projects; end of Damascus?

Right now, Oregonians expect their Congress to work together to pass a budget, create certainty in the markets for investors and get folks back to working good, family-wage jobs. What they do not expect from us is to pound our chests over lost political causes, risk shutting down the economy and end vital services and investments they depend on.

Instead of coming to the table and working with willing Democrats like me to find middle ground on our nation’s budget problems, House Republicans chose to cater to their reckless Tea Party ideologues and shut down the U.S. government. This is exactly the opposite of what American families and businesses need.

The Tea Party cannot begin to justify this terrible mess that they have made. They argue against policy riders then attach amendments to dismantle the health care law in a continuing resolution. They argue that the health care law must be delayed to provide certainty to the American people then pass a bill that creates more uncertainty for a longer period of time. They argue that Congress must tackle our deficits then pass a bill that adds to them.

I will continue to work with my more thoughtful and reasonable Democratic and Republican friends on putting forward a substantive long-term deficit reduction and immediate jobs package that encourages economic investment in the U.S., strengthens our entitlement programs for the next generation and ends the can kicking that we are all sick of.

Lastly, I firmly believe that if members of Congress fail to perform their most basic duty in passing a budget, then they do not deserve to be paid. It is in that vein that I will be donating the congressional salary I collect during the shutdown to a local Oregon charity to be named later. It’s time for Congress to get its act together.

U.S. Congressman

Kurt Schrader

(D-Clackamas County)

This is no way to run a country

Across Oregon and throughout America, there are people out of work. There are kids who want to go to college but can’t afford it. There are bridges literally in danger of falling down and schools with leaking roofs and out-of-date textbooks.

We have big challenges that we should be coming together to try to solve. Instead, the Tea Party has shut down the government and made many of our problems worse.

Here’s the situation: The House and Senate laid out different budgets six months ago, assuming different levels of spending and investment. For the last six months, Republicans in the Senate have repeatedly filibustered every attempt to negotiate an agreed-upon budget.

More recently, to avoid a shutdown, the Senate simply agreed to the House level. Unfortunately and incredibly, House Republicans refuse to accept their own budget unless we accept their ransom demand of gutting or delaying the Affordable Care Act.

It has been widely reported that a majority of the House would vote to pass the bill passed by the Senate and re-open the government, but Speaker Boehner refuses to let the House vote. It’s incredibly irresponsible.

This is an attempt to undermine our usual democratic process by hostage-taking. House Republicans, responding to a small group of Tea Party zealots, are willing to damage the economy, make veterans wait for benefits, and deny kids access to Head Start and to medical trials just to pursue their obsession with blocking millions of Americans from getting affordable health insurance.

But it’s not going to work. The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. It was upheld by the Supreme Court. It was ratified by the public when they re-elected President Obama.

If we give in and let a small group undermine our laws under threat of harm to hard-working Americans, this political blackmail will become the new normal.

We have all sorts of processes for negotiating over policy differences. Threatening grave economic harm unless you get your way isn’t one of them. It’s time to meet our obligations, re-open the government, and pay the bills. Our country deserves better than this.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley


Make your voice heard

Milwaukie often engages in planning projects — from our transportation system to the parks in the South Downtown. I expect that a lot of folks then wonder why none of it ever gets built.

It’s pretty simple, really. It’s a financial issue. Because of Oregon law, the city’s income is very limited and is largely controlled by property tax values which in recent times have been going down. On the other hand, our expenses, like everyone else’s, continue to rise and there never (in my lifetime) has been a margin for large infrastructure investments.

We get the few projects we need built with grant money and that often includes something as simple and basic as sidewalks. Furthermore, grants always come with strings attached which cause the projects to cost more than they could otherwise.

We have school kids walking and riding their bikes to school on busy streets with no sidewalks or bike lanes.

We have one of the sweetest potential parks in the whole region at our riverfront. We have a library that is too small for the number of people it serves and we have “parks” in neighborhoods that amount to nothing more than vacant lots. It is within our power to fix all of that.

We, the citizens of Milwaukie can choose to spend our hard-earned money on the kinds of things that make our lives better, richer and more complete. The city is considering asking the citizens of Milwaukie to vote for a bond measure to help refinance our light rail debt and save the city around $700,000. We, the citizens, could choose to increase that amount and pay for very specific projects that we want to see completed in the near future.

Make your voices heard.

Mark Gamba


Damascus neighbors

All of us in Damascus love our country life and location. That is why we chose to live here.

When threatened by the unrestrained development in neighboring Happy Valley, we voted to become a city with the knowledge of an additional added city tax. One by one, by overwhelming margins, we insured the safety and protection of all residents and our properties, through charter amendments. No other city in the state of Oregon has more safeguards.

Granted, we had to endure a spendthrift council (before they quit or lost re-election) and the hiring of non-vetted employees (complete with a golden parachute awarded on their last meeting). But now with open meetings (not secret), our concerns are being heard.

It would be a travesty to our children and future residents to throw away our city. We have a voice and a vote with the city of Damascus. Has Metro ever listened to anyone??

Please join our family in voting NO on Measure 3-433.

Clarice Moss


The street name game

While out tricking or treating this Halloween, take a look at the street name you are wandering. Most of Milwaukie’s avenues (north-south) are numbered. Most of our streets (east-west) are named for the original homesteader, a catchy neighborhood theme, or a president of the United States. The question is how many presidents are missing, why are they missing and why does the shortest-termed president get one?

Here are some hints. Because of when the map was plotted, only the first 11 presidents are eligible, starting from the south heading north the Streets are Madison, Adams, Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, Jackson and Harrison.

The answer has nothing to do with political philosophy. It has nothing to do with length of tenure. It has nothing to do with greatness. Give up?

The only reason is the original plot of Milwaukie was a grid, starting from the river and heading east with 352 lot squares with an alley in the middle, but only 35 at the time of recording were filled. Washington Street was the center of town leading to a public square. Then Adams, the second president, was the next street to the south, the next street to the north was Jefferson, the third president. The streets alternated back and forth, the odd-number president to the north, the even-number president to the south with one exception.

As Milwaukie developed, it grew mainly to the north of Washington and not south. That is why we are missing most of the even-numbered presidents and Madison Street is found only in Island Station. So who is missing?

Polk is the exception. Harrison is the last named street to the north, so Polk was the last street at the south end of town.

Greg Hemer


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.