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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

PTO urges no more school closures


We want you to be aware that the North Clackamas School District has once again suggested closing an elementary school to balance the budget. The school they have suggested this time is Concord Elementary in the Rex Putnam feeder district.

We feel ALL of our neighbors should be outraged by this! Not just the Concord families but all of the families and neighbors in the ENTIRE district. You see, unless you are in the Concord community, you may not know that this closure could change things for EVERYBODY! If Concord (or another school) closes, even the students from the schools that stay open could very likely be moved to a different elementary school when they change the boundaries. It is NOT just the Concord students who could be forced to move to another school.

Also, according to their population projections, if they do close a Rex Putnam feeder school now, there is a strong potential that we will either need to build another school in five to eight years (possibly sooner) or they would then again be forced to change the boundaries which...and this is the kicker...could possibly change the FEEDER boundaries for next year.

That’s right, Rex Putnam students could be forced to go to Milwaukie High or Clackamas High students to Rex Putnam or any combination. ALL because we shut down a school in an area that would then have no room for growth and ALL because the district has not found more creative ways to save and generate funds.

And that is just one example of how their data is confusing and sometimes just downright inaccurate. Recently a parent found a nearly $2 million error in their projected maintenance costs. The extra line item for kitchen upgrades of $350,000 for Concord and eight other elementary schools in the district were not correct and were deleted. How many other errors have they made?

We urge YOU ALL to contact the North Clackamas School Board members to let them know your ideas of how to balance the budget WITHOUT closing a school. Many of our community members have come up with very creative ideas of how to do this and make our school system better!

We still have time to share our ideas! They are scheduled to vote Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Sabin-Schellenberg Center. Thank you!

Concord Elementary PTO

Let’s attract families

Sure, there are a lot for people unhappy about Concord Elementary School closing.

I grew up in this area and married a girl who had attended Concord. We actually lived only a few blocks apart, but our grade-school district at the time was separated by McLoughlin Boulevard.

But for reasons too long to list, Concord is the most logical school to close and may not be the last. Its commercial value makes it more viable too.

However, the North Clackamas School District isn’t necessarily the problem. What I’ve learned over the years is the only constant is change. Add in the fact that few people around here look at the big picture or study this community’s rich history.

When I moved back to this area 10 years ago, I was surprised that nothing has been done to make this area of Clackamas County more attractive to young couple to raise their families. There are virtually no parks or attractions to make our community more livable either. Apparently most county leaders neither understand nor care about the needs of this area.

They’ve created a high-density environment without any compensative amenities. In short, there’s no vision or viable leadership. As long as residents are willing, my beloved community will continue to be nothing more than endless used-car lots and drug houses. Not a place to raise or educate growing families.

G.F. “Gary” Blair

Oak Grove

Holding politicians accountable isn’t racist

I recalled the billboard on I-205 northbound after reading last week’s “Rampant Racism” letter by D. Kent Lloyd. The message on the sign was intended to hold President Obama, along with U.S. Sen. Merkely and Rep. Schrader accountable for the flawed Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Given the state of the economy in early 2010, passage of the massive program was poorly timed, and promises that it would stimulate the economy were empty rhetoric. I encourage everyone who looked at the sign to consider Mr. Lloyd’s claim that it was a racist attack on the president because he is “black.”

Stereotyping those who question politicians wasting millions of taxpayer dollars is a worn out response. Playing the “race card” every time someone challenges the president is a simplistic way of avoiding a deeper dialogue. The politicians pictured on the sign are now distancing themselves from responsibility for the fiasco. Maybe they should have read the convoluted 23,000-page bill before jumping on the bandwagon and approving it.

How many have lost their healthcare coverage because the new law forced insurance companies to cancel millions of existing plans?

It’s unfortunate that so many believed creating a massive federal bureaucracy would generate the efficiencies Obama promised. How many times must society be reminded that good intentions or promises by politicians are often recipes for failure?

Regardless of one’s political party, the citizens need to realize we’ve been deceived once again, and this time it isn’t George Bush’s fault.

Les Poole