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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: Business interests; Gladstone schools; Merkley, Molinari responses


One of Your Chamber’s key values is to advocate with partners for a pro-business platform on the local, regional and state levels.

by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Chamber Board Chairman Rob Wheeler introduces all five Clackamas County commissioners at the Oct. 23 Business in the County Forum Luncheon at the Monarch Hotel and Conference Center.This is one of the tremendous values we bring to our members, whether you have time to participate or not. As the constituency that creates income for all levels of government, the needs of the business community must be in the forefront of the minds of all our elected and appointed officials. Simply by being a member of Your Chamber, you help make that happen!

Just look at what Your Chamber has been doing and planning lately:

Oct. 12 - hosted a successful debate on the disincorporation of Damascus. Your Chamber was asked to come in as a neutral party to moderate a professional, respectful and informative discussion of the many issues surrounding this ballot measure. We partnered with Gresham-Barlow School District and presenters Mark Fitz and Chris Hawes on this event.

Oct. 23 - hosted the Business in the County Forum Luncheon featuring all five Clackamas County commissioners. It is both an opportunity for you to meet and greet the commissioners and to participate in asking questions of importance to the business community. We partnered with the Oregon City Chamber and the county commissioners on this event.

First Monday of every month - the Public Policy Team meets to receive presentations on issues of interest to the business community and to consider recommendations to the Chamber Board on positions for Your Chamber to advocate on your behalf.

Jan. 11 - hosting the Candidate Training Workshop. This is an opportunity for business people and other interested community members to learn the ins and outs of running for office. The keynote speaker is former Gov. Victor Atiyeh. We’ve partnered with numerous elected officials to bring their expertise to this event.

Jan. 22 - hosting the State of the Cities Forum Luncheon featuring the mayors of all our local cities. Your opportunity to find out what is going on throughout our region and to participate in asking questions of importance to the business community. We look forward to working with our mayors to make this yet another successful forum.

While the Chamber is always working on your behalf, we hope to have your participation in as many of these events as possible. When we work together, we can have a powerful voice in government.

David Kelly

North Clackamas Chamber CEO

Growing great people

You may have heard in the news recently about the state’s annual report cards for Oregon schools and districts (showing below-average performance in Gladstone schools when compared statewide). Please bear in mind that these ratings, based on a complex mathematical formula, do not tell the whole story of what’s happening in our schools.

I am proud of our schools’ recent accomplishments. Highlights include:

1. Kindergarten students benefited from an expanded, full-day program that includes music, physical education, technology and access to school meals.

2. John Wetten students exceeded the state average for third-grade math and fifth-grade reading. The school is a front-runner in piloting Common Core mathematics.

3. Kraxberger students exceeded the state average for sixth and eighth-grade reading, sixth and seventh-grade math and eighth-grade science.

4. Gladstone High students exceeded the state average for reading, math, writing and science, with 95 percent of last year’s seniors passing state assessments. Graduation rates exceeded the state average by more than 10 percent. Over 68 percent of graduates from the class of 2010-11 enrolled in college.

Our schools are known for innovation. Gladstone is a district that engages students, teaches technology, encourages creativity, models sustainability, supports families and builds community, starting well before children enter our schools.

Our community’s work is growing great people. Thanks for being our partner in making that happen for each child we serve.

Bob Stewart

Gladstone superintendent

Governments can’t create prosperity

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) continues to try to deflect the blame onto others for his, and his party’s, inability to make a budget for the past four years (Letters: “Standing up to the Tea Party,” Oct. 23).

The wonderful bonus of championing collectivism is never having to be responsible for your shortcomings and always being allowed to blame as the villain any entity that doesn’t follow you in lock step. If only those evil corporations would pony up more money, your contributors excluded, of course, then we’d have utopia.

Merkley, and all the other statists we keep electing in Oregon, want nothing more than to control every aspect of our lives, businesses and choices. This is evident when he parrots the mantra, “we (Congress) have our work cut out for us to fix Washington and get this country back on tract.” It is the statist who have derailed our country by making the laws, regulations and give-aways that are making us dependent on the government from cradle to grave...and for killing the American Way. It was their best thinking that got us a government out of control that cannot sustain itself.

The government cannot borrow its way to a fiscally feasible budget nor can it create prosperity. Only a liar would allude to such ideas and only a fool would believe them.

Libby Wentz


Sophomoric and asinine attacks

Mr. Jeff Molinari has once again accused former Clackamas County commissioners Jamie Damon, Charlotte Lehan and Ann Lininger of, while they were in office, accepting bribes in return for favors (Letters: “We need Jeremy Ferguson,” Oct. 23). If Mr. Molinari wants law enforcement to make arrests and the district attorney to prosecute, it’s time for him to put his cards face up on the table. It is not an attack on Mr. Molinari to make the point that, if his accusations are false or fabricated, he could be guilty of slander.

Mr. Molinari said of present Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard, “He was paid $20,000 by TriMet for property he owns in downtown Milwaukie. So naturally he supported this [light rail] project.” Eminent domain is the power to take private property for public use following the payment of just compensation to the owner of that property. Now there’s a possibility. Mr. Molinari obliquely suggests the $20,000 was a bribe. Under oath asking TriMet and Commissioner Bernard what transpired would be a step toward the answer. It is not an attack on Mr. Molinari to say to him that suppositions are not evidence.

It is not an attack on Mr. Molinari to suggest that, as part of this learning experience, he look up the meanings of sophomoric and asinine. Starters, “overconfident of knowledge” — “failure to use good judgment.”

D. Kent Lloyd


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.