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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: Education; military museum; cell tower; Milwaukie history


As we all know, our children are our future. If they’re going to be prepared for it, we owe them nothing short of an affordable, world-class education. As the son of immigrant parents, I understand how important public education was in charting a course for my own future as a physician, business and community leader. I couldn’t have done it without a supportive and properly funded K-12 system.

That’s why the North Clackamas Education Foundation (NCEF) is bridging the funding gap to restore programs in art, music and supplemental learning activities to foster creativity, teamwork and leadership. I don’t know many CEOs who have never picked up a musical instrument, or doctors or nurses who didn’t attend outdoor school - these are valuable experiences that many of our children would otherwise be denied. During the 2012-2013 school year, NCEF made a difference with every student in North Clackamas schools. Here are a few highlights:

1. Provided funds to our middle schools for classroom supplies;

2. Increased teacher grant dollars for innovative classroom-based projects;

3. Awarded scholarships to graduating seniors;

n Paid for transportation to make sure every sixth grader could attend Outdoor School; and

4. Paid activity fees for students who couldn’t afford them.

This is a good start, but there’s more to be done. And we need your help. If you love our children enough to provide them the same opportunities you had in the public education system — then invest in NCEF to help bridge the funding gap for every North Clackamas student. Every dollar you donate will be put to work for the benefit of our students and their education. Remember your charitable donation to NCEF is tax deductible, and you can make your donation online at nc-foundation.org.

This isn’t only about our children’s future — it’s about ours. Please give generously. Our community is counting on you.

Dr. Shirish B. Patel

NCEF Board Chair

PS: Save the date for our Annual Gala Auction & Dinner on April 26, hosted by Willamette View.

Clackamas military museum to illuminate history

As a veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Storm and Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn, it was a natural fit in accepting the role of development director for the Historical Outreach Foundation (HOF). In addition to my continued service to our country, I now proudly represent an organization deeply committed to educational programs honoring our rich military history.

Founded in 2009, the HOF is a nonprofit organization that drives the funding for the new Brigadier James B. Thayer Oregon Military Museum and provides educational outreach programs. Whether they are teaching the Lewis & Clark expedition, the Civil War, World War II, or events of the day, educators now have a variety of unique opportunities to bring their history lessons to life!

When the doors open at the Brig. Gen. James B. Thayer Oregon Military Museum in Clackamas, interactive and dynamic exhibits will illuminate Oregon’s military history and inspire a respect for those who serve our country. Today, the Historical Outreach Foundation brings programs into schools to engage third through 12th graders with hands-on activities, connecting them to the events that have fashioned the world we live in.

Outside the classroom, the Veterans’ Legacies Project is collecting photos, video, and personal accounts of veterans from across the country. This populous database is accessible to all, because when we share our history, we keep it alive.

I’m grateful to the Historical Outreach Foundation for their commitment to keep history alive and to pay tribute to our military heritage; that’s why I am asking you to join me in support of their efforts in our community. As we welcome the New Year, please consider a charitable donation to the HOF to honor the men and women who have shaped our world through service to their country.

David Warden


Craft fair success

Thank you to the Milwaukie Community for their support of Milwaukie Presbyterian Church’s craft fair in November.

The event raised over $800 to support Backpack Buddies at a local school, and our Christmas Boxes program, which, in 2012, provided food for more than 60 local families.

We offer a special thanks to the 23 crafters who donated items for our door-prize drawings, and to the many attendees who entered the drawings for our gift baskets.

Kevin Bixby

MPC Outreach Committee

A Parable: Fairness

A residential subdivision was under construction and was being underwritten by a large corporation, when another large company approached and wanted to construct a cell-phone tower in the middle of that subdivision (“Proposed cell tower: Lightening rod of concern,” Dec. 18).

Several scenarios could happen:

Continue the construction and sell the lots as fast as possible before the cell-tower plans were available to buyers.

OR, Disclose to potential lot buyers the cell-phone company plans and probably take a loss on the cost of the infrastructure already completed.

OR, Convince the cell-phone-tower company that another site for the tower should be chosen.

The only fair solution would be for the cell-phone-tower company to select a more appropriate location.

Regarding the South New Era permit application by AT&T, the residents have already built and paid for the infrastructure and built and/or remodeled their homes, only to learn last month that a large corporation wants to build a 150-foot tower. Common sense says that many people don’t want to live or have families in close proximity to these towers. We need our Clackamas County government to select the only fair resolution to this issue.

Find another location.

Thank you.

James and Delores Saunders

Oregon City

Editor’s note: At the meeting last Thursday, the Clackamas County hearings officer decided to leave the record open for a month to allow more comments on AT&T’s proposal, and he is expected to make a decision in February.

Celebrate the Milwaukie way

“Dec. 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” - President Franklin Roosevelt.

The Milwaukie economy during the 1920s and ‘30s was based mainly on farming. The biggest crops were flowers, berries, and celery. In fact, in 1924 the celery industry, which included the Meeks Bros., Binn Bros., Takemoto and Watanabe Bros. cultivated and harvested 4 million plants a year.

What is the connection between these historical facts? It is the most heartfelt, community gift we as Milwaukians should be proud of.

Once America declared war on the Empire of Japan, Japanese, citizens or not of the United States, were directed to “internment” camps to ensure no information was being relayed to the Empire.

The Wantanbes of Milwaukie were one of those families. They took very little possessions and were carted off to the middle of Idaho for “internment.” Their celery business was done, all that they had worked for, their lives and legacy, swept away by actions not in their control.

But the citizens of Milwaukie made a promise to the Watanabes.

They would keep their celery farm working, so when the Watanabe family came back, the farm would be there for them. And when the Watanabes returned near the end of the war, their farm, their homes, and their lives were ready for them to enjoy and prosper.

I cannot think of a better holiday story than this one. One of helping your neighbors and friends when it is needed the most. So when serving your holiday dinners, have some celery.

For Milwaukie, it is the truest symbol of a Christmas gift a community can bestow for one of its citizens.

Greg Hemer

Design & Landmarks Committee

Leaders should ‘eat their own cookin’

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a letter to this paper stating that, in my opinion, Milwaukie’s governmental system involving a strong city manager and a weak elected (volunteer) council was basically flawed and couldn’t possibly work.

Several people took that opinion as a direct slam at our present City Manager Bill Monahan, but that is far from the truth. I have known several Milwaukie city managers over the years and they’ve all been good guys, gentlemen. The difference is in individual management style, something found in every organization, public or private.

The problem with the present system is imbalance. The councilors, elected by the people, are virtually powerless to govern the city. All power, thus major decisions, are in the hands of the city manager, a person the electorate has no hand in hiring.

Many of the staff, planners for instance, have imbibed so much of Metro’s Kool-Aid over the years that they think “smart growth” and “density” are straight out of the Bible, and have the idea, and attitude that the public should just shut up, get out of their way, and let them do their jobs. It should be pointed out that they work for the citizens of this town and their attitude should more often reflect that. The problem is that they don’t live here: “don’t eat their own cookin’” so to speak.

Getting back to the powerlessness of the council, call one of them and ask about a question you’d like resolved — the answer will be quite enlightening.

This governing imbalance must be addressed — the people need their input to be heard and acted upon, their energies and vigor utilized to build a better, more vital city. If not, Milwaukie will remain in the doldrums for another 25 years.

Maybe the City Council’s planned study of our antiquated City Charter can bring about some sweeping positive changes to aim us in the right direction, give us a more solid base and open up the town for a brighter future.

Ed Zumwalt


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.