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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: Alternative takes on federal shutdown, county commission


I am disappointed by the letters submitted by Rep. Schrader and Sen. Merkley last week.

The only argument either have to offer about their inability to do their job involves conjuring up the specter of the Tea Party spirit? Why hasn’t a budget been passed since 2009, though in 2011 the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate? This doesn’t seem to be a Tea Party issue, fellows.

It is also sad to see you both perpetuating the partisan lies that there is any true give and take in DC the day after Obama uses blackmail tactics promising to never get the government going again if his wishes are not followed to the letter.

This, Clackamas County neighbors, is how our politicians work. Repeat the same thing over and over, regardless of merit, to brainwash the masses. They are already brainwashed, we don’t have to be and need to remember to vote the liars out — on every level of government — as soon as possible.

Libby Wentz


Shutdown result of Fascism

In their letters to the editor, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley and U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader gave their takes on the events unfolding in Washington DC. I offer this as a third take.

I submit that there is indeed a strategy behind what conservative Republicans are doing. A lesson they learned during the Reagan Administration was that you cannot eliminate social programs by attacking them frontally. From that experience, they developed a strategy that is unfolding today before our eyes. Their strategy? The way to undermine social programs is to create a financial crisis so serious that it can be argued that the nation cannot afford these social programs.

The 2012 election opened the doors of opportunity to implement this conservative Republican strategy. In 2012, 40 newly elected conservative Republicans quickly realized that House Speaker John Boehner was a someone they could intimidate. The Affordable Healthcare Act gave them the “cause celebrae” they could use to distract attention away from their real intentions. Shutting down the government, paired with refusing to increase the debt limit, will create for conservative Republicans the worldwide economic crisis they need to fulfill their goal of undermining our social programs. It is naive to believe that there is no strategy behind what conservative Republicanism is doing at this moment.

Secondly; in order to understand today’s Republicanism, one has to have a grasp of the political system Fascism. The problem with studying Fascism as a political system now is that political scientists demonize it. Some 60 years ago Dr. Edward McNall Burns of Rutgers University examining the Fascist governments of Italy, Spain and Germany identified these common tenets:

No. 1, Fascism is a corporate state; No. 2, Fascism represents the enthronement of big capitalists by capitalists; No. 3, The Fascist spirit is will — not intellect. It is faith over intellectualism; No. 4, The Fascist state is to be governed by the elite; No. 5, Capitalists are the socially productive class; No. 6, Individual and class interests are subordinate to the interest of the state; No. 7, Labor problems will be resolved by the state; No. 8, Warfare is considered exalting and ennobling; No. 9, One party-Fascist, One Press-Fascist, One Education-Fascist; No. 10, Jingoism (extreme nationalism) over internationalism.

Fascism is an alternative political philosophy. The conservative wing of today’s Republican Party has been nominating American Fascists and the electorate has been voting them into office. Beginning with Reagan and continuing through President G.W. Bush, the courts have been packed with American Fascists. Fascism is an alternative political philosophy. The U.S. was founded as a democratic republic, a second political philosophy. Expecting bipartisanship under this set of realities is unrealistic. It is equally unrealistic, perhaps unwise, to see what is happening in our country as just politics as usual.

D. Kent Lloyd


Be informed and be involved

County commissioners held a recent work session for approving an ordinance for conduct in libraries, and to finalize an order to establish a “person in charge” of county buildings. Responding to citizen input, they have eliminated a controversial idea to create a “concealed carry” notice requirement for library patrons.

The plan to draft an ordinance that would allow citizens to be excluded (banned) from county buildings if they haven’t committed a crime such as disturbing the peace has been dropped. The decision is another win for the those who are opposed to overbearing arbitrary laws and rules imposed by government. We all understand the need to preserve safety, but the original proposal was not the answer.

For over two years Paul Savas has been the one commissioner who has opposed controversial rules that would limit our free speech. I can well remember in the fall of 2011 when the previous commission proposed a ban on asking questions during the meetings. Richard Langdon and I worked relentlessly to preserve our right to ask questions and expect answers. Richard is a successful businessman who became involved when a code-enforcement officer levied large fines against his property when no code existed. At the time, Commissioner Bernard responded by implying that Richard was asking to have a traffic ticket “fixed.” The outrageous treatment that Richard received set the tone for Bernard’s illegal ejection of him during a meeting in 2012. We are hopeful the new policy will prevent that from happening to anyone in the future.

During the Oct. 3 meeting, I concluded my citizen comments by thanking Commissioners Ludlow and Savas for apologizing for how Mr. Langdon was treated by Jim Bernard. Later in the meeting, Bernard defiantly refused to apologize, and made statements that seemed to imply that those who don’t agree with him hate government. Labeling concerned citizens as “government haters” is tiresome rhetoric.

Regardless of one’s stance on the issues, the current commission is responsive to questions, and Chair Ludlow runs the meetings in an open format. The atmosphere is completely different from how his predecessor, Charlotte Lehan ran the meetings.

Please attend the 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, board meeting, where the library ordinance and other policies will be on the agenda. The meeting will also provide an opportunity to send Commissioner Bernard a message about how we expect to be treated. Feel free to speak on other important topics including helping veterans, the CRC, light rail and the ill-conceived idea of disincorporating Damascus.

I encourage everyone to attend the evening meetings, even if you do not speak. The commission usually meets on Thursday mornings at 10 a.m., except on the third Thursday of the month. Those evening meetings provide a unique opportunity for you and your children to attend. Support your neighbors who show up, and they will support you in return. In these times it’s a good thing to be informed and aware.

Attending the commission meetings is a good place to start.

Les Poole