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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: Trolley bridge; abortions; county clerk; Republican rift


Was the streetcar bridge fiasco preventable? Probably. (“Questions linger about who could be responsible for trolley bridge’s failure,” March 19.)

by: FILE PHOTO - Lake Oswego's dam is visible in the foreground of this photo showing crews dragging the old trolley bridge truss out of the Clackamas River and breaking it up into pieces on land.I recall a newspaper account in the Oregonian perhaps 10 years or more ago which included a photograph of Clackamas County’s Director of Emergency Services in a boat surveying the bridge with I presume structural engineers from Southern Pacific who then owned the bridge.

The bridge was thought to be all but a wreck. Right. What to do? Nothing, as it turned out, or at least nothing of a permanent nature.

Your article mentioned the OC Lagoon. Good grief! I haven’t heard that for ages. It was all the rage then, like many ideas, it went down a long, dark alleyway to die a quiet death.

Dennis Radke

Oregon City

Editor’s note: This newspaper ran a story about a decade ago, and another warning story headlined “Falling down? Bridge draws concern,” Feb. 20, 2013, which detailed the history of how in the early 2000s, Union Pacific was required to perform emergency erosion and structural support measures due to erosion under the bridge, but no additional reinforcement measures have reportedly been taken since.

Abortion access makes for healthier population

I’m writing in response to Shelby Bennett’s misleading letter about the services provided by Planned Parenthood (“Whose embarrassing problem?” March 12).

For nearly a century, Planned Parenthood has provided health care to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Here in Clackamas, more than 95 percent of its services involve lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, Pap tests, STD treatment, vasectomies, menopause information and sexual health education.

One in five women will turn to Planned Parenthood at some point in her life for professional, nonjudgmental and confidential care. By replacing fear with facts, misinformation with education, Planned Parenthood protects teens and helps parents who don’t know how to talk to their kids about sexual health.

When a woman is trying to make the extremely difficult, deeply personal medical decision about whether to end a pregnancy, she deserves accurate medical information about all her options. The last thing she needs is to be emotionally manipulated. Bennett’s letter contains junk science about a link between abortion and breast cancer that simply does not exist. The truth is, study after study has shown increased access to safe, legal abortion is linked to better physical and mental health; decreased levels of poverty and abuse; and improved economic outcomes both for the woman and for society as a whole.

Planned Parenthood does more than any other organization to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and keep women healthy. If people like Bennett truly want to reduce unintended pregnancies, they would work with Planned Parenthood to increase access to affordable birth control and comprehensive sex education.

Bennett says she cares about the women and children of Oregon. As a grandmother and volunteer for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, I care too. I also care about accuracy and adherence to truth.

Joan Hamilton

Oak Grove

Meek for clerk

I am withdrawing my candidacy for the office of Clackamas County Clerk in the primary election.

My reasons are straightforward: I am endorsing the candidacy of Mark Meek, a very capable businessman, community leader and fellow veteran.

I have known him for several years and am confident he will do a superb job. Of those remaining in the race, Mark is the superior candidate. He is smart, knowledgeable, manages a detail-oriented business, and is known for his integrity and hard work.

Mark’s 20 years in the community and related public service are above reproach. He is the best person for the job.

Cyndi Lewis-Wolfram


Party politics

Ask any Oregon Republican, and they’ll tell you that the Dorchester Conference is where the fun is.

First off, you’ve got the beach, and the fun city of Seaside. Then you’ve got the meeting of the clans, appearances by big names in Oregon Republicanism, the speeches and debates, the booths, the lunches, and finally, last but not least, the after-parties.

Dorchester has always contributed to the sense that there is a viable Republican Party in Oregon, especially since 2002, when Gordon Smith’s reelection to the Senate marked the party’s last statewide victory. In good times and bad, Dorchester is where Republicans go to discuss, strategize, kick up their heels, and, hopefully, unite.

But this year, for the first time in recent Oregon political history, a considerable phalanx of socially conservative Republicans RSVPed with a resounding no to Dorchester, and threw their own party on March 8 at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas. (See last week’s letter from Clackamas County Republican Party leader John Lee.)

It’s all about the Great Divide, an internecine schism that causes Democrats to salivate and political analysts to warn of a future defined by Progressive Left unification and permanent GOP marginalization.

The dynamic — which pits the establishment wing against the more socially conservative wing — works the same in Oregon as it does nationally, but it’s particularly problematic here. Oregon Republicans are outnumbered just enough to ensure that any divisions which manifest in an election will only set the future record of Democratic victory in stone.

In the breakaway corner stand social conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage and untrammeled abortion rights as part of a larger vision. They are joined by fiscally responsible Republicans who decry lax immigration policy, evaporating debt-ceilings, and the specter of a centrally-governed progressive transformation. There is a wealth of issue overlap between these two groups.

In the other corner stand the establishment Republicans, known in some precincts as moderates, or even liberals, and Republicans in Name Only (RINOs). These politicos purport to have seen writing on the wall about the way the country is moving.

They worry about alienating Hispanic voters with tough immigration policies. They make noises which signal they are prepared to welcome same-sex marriage under the big tent. They secretly wish that abortion could be on the back-burner, indefinitely, so the party can concentrate on not being perceived as waging a war on women.

In Oregon, establishment Republicans are given to worry when assault rifles are auctioned at signature events. They roll their eyes when conservative notables bang the “birther” drum. Their concerns have merit, as a Democrat-friendly media is only too happy to highlight these missteps and broad-brush the entire party as extreme.

The breakaways counter that the Republican Party is in danger of becoming irrelevant not because it is too conservative, but the opposite. They point to what they see as a compromise of principles and dearth of conservative leadership.

At the Monarch Hotel event — dubbed a Freedom Rally — a lively assortment of speakers took the podium. Among them were five-term state representative and former gubernatorial candidate Kevin Mannix, current House District 54 representative and candidate for Jeff Merkley’s senate seat Jason Conger, and National Right to Life President Carol Tobias.

Some say the GOP’s contentious “conversation” is good for the party. A meaningful discussion is certainly warranted in light of recent big-ticket Republican losses and demographic and cultural change. But despite President Obama’s Affordable Care Act horror stories, and despite the fact that the outlook is guardedly good for Republicans in the 2014 midterm, the GOP conversation is taking place against a backdrop of entrenching liberal power.

In Oregon, social conservatives have apparently had enough. They’re not interested in Dorchester’s discussion about same-sex-marriage inclusiveness. They assail Republicans who maneuver to demote right-to-life issues to secondary status. They’re convinced that the real war on women is being waged by forces that seek to neuter and denude what makes America a great nation, and replace it with a dangerously intrusive socialist democracy.

One of Rush Limbaugh’s axioms is that “conservatism works, every time it is tried.” One need only look to Wisconsin to see the truth of that. Gov. Scott Walker took a courageous stand, banked millions in budget surplus, and sent the nanny-state crowd packing like boorish guests at Downton Abbey.

In Oregon, there is plenty of reason for hope. But if the neo-moderates and social conservatives can’t find common ground and unite behind a compelling message, we may never find out if conservatism works here, because conservatism will never get its turn at bat.

And that’s no fun.

Mark Ellis


We welcome submissions from readers on local issues for our Opinion page. Please send your thoughts by noon Friday to Raymond Rendleman at editor@clackamasreview.com. 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.