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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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Should voters be paying to play the race card?


The “people’s” money (federal, state and or local) pays for programs like “Taking it Up,” a program in the North Clackamas School District for the past two years. Never heard of it? It is not surprising! What is surprising, and also discouraging, is that there seems to be nebulous “reasons” for its introduction into the district’s workforce and into the budget.

Why are our district employees in need of a costly program, which is based primarily on historical events related to racism? Why are thousands of taxpayer dollars being employed to educate adults on race relations?

The question surrounding “Taking it Up” are as much to do with stewardship of our district leaders, as they are to do with the materials and techniques used in its delivery.

Funds for “Taking it Up” come with the “people’s trust.” Trust that our local representatives spend our money toward its greatest need and greatest efficiency. That is true stewardship. I wonder how “Taking it Up” is deemed efficient in a school district that has terminated employment for some, reduced hours for others, cut programs, and charged the public additional monies for that were once paid for by their taxes? How and why is it possible to spend thousands of tax dollars on a program like “Taking it Up,” that seems to have as its primary goal the promotion of the race card, why it is an “imperative” for us to pay taxes for such a program?

I became aware of this program and its theme of identifying and acknowledging racism over a year ago when I happened to walk by the auditorium at the Schellenberg Campus.

As the campus monitor of Sabin-Schellenberg, I was aware of the conferences at the south campus, but not aware of its contents, until one day, last school year, when I happened onto an abrasive conversation, taking place between a district school bus driver attending the conference and the facilitator of “Taking it Up.”

The bus driver was being chastised by the facilitator for not being “cooperative” in the “Taking it Up” seminar. Curious, I later spoke to the driver about the incident, which eventually led me to speak to another dozen other employees who attended these meetings, at Schellenberg. That took nearly a two-year period of time. To avoid being influenced merely by hearsay, I decided to observe and hear the content personally. What I saw and heard over the next year and a half at Schellenberg was a throw back to my sociology classes in college in the late 1960s and early ‘70s — a study of racism in America.

Consistently, every time I attended, the audiences at Schellenberg were 100 district employees, at least 80 to 90 percent Caucasian, with most being in the 30 to 50 age-range. I dare say that most people in that age grouping, experiencing life in a metropolitan area like Portland, have for years had contact with very diverse cultures and have friends of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. I feel safe saying at least 50 percent were Obama supporters. Those observations are significant. Whoever decided that this school district needed this training maybe did not really “know” its employees.

Replete with wall charts, handouts and lectures the two-day conferences had people split into about a dozen groups of six to eight employees seated around about 10 to 12 round tables. There they discussed what they had heard in the lectures and what some of their experiences were, involving racism. Then, as part of the group experience, they were instructed to make signs of what they had been given early in the sessions. Adults were expounding things they had known for years, through their own education, of the historical events of racism in an old America, combined with things taught by “Taking it Up.”

The signs were displayed on the walls throughout the auditorium detailing historical racist events, laws and atrocities. There were handouts aimed at “reminding” the audience members of their white heritage and white people’s involvement, in a racist history. One handout listed dates from the 17th century to more recent times, of a chronology of wrong doings against blacks, Indians and Hispanics, by America’s white population. Another four-page handout was more blunt in its declaration of “white supremacy.” During the two-year period I spent several hours listening and observing these actions within the confines of the auditorium, the race card on full display.

Delivering shame and guilt

Increasingly over the next year of these two-day seminars, I became more concerned with the message and our “need” to have such a program, in our district and at our expense. As a former teacher, I was turned off by the delivery used by the facilitators. The mood of these conferences was, to put it succinctly, negative.

Some have said, of the second year, they were not as accusatory as year one, but the atmosphere always appeared to me to have a strong element of shame and guilt directed at the audience, an audience of adults, that had no responsibility for, or control over, the racism of the past.

If the objective for the program was for whites to interact better with minorities, as was stated as one of the reasons for the program, the delivery methods and techniques of the facilitators of “Taking it Up” were counterproductive, for those employees I spoke with in the following months. “Demoralizing” was the way it was described to me by several longtime employees of our district.

Comments from our employees about their period of “subjugation,” during the breaks told volumes of the way they felt about the program and its delivery — “put down,” “humiliated” and “talked down to,” as if we were “racists” — were only a few replies. The race card, with a mixer of shame and guilt was the theme, and delivery, a hallmark for race industry issues, supported that goal.

Paying for the race card

The crux of the matter involving “Taking it Up” and other such programs has to eventually be measured in cost effectiveness. I have no specifics as to actual costs for this project, but have talked to enough knowledgeable employees to come up with a rough estimate of $200,000 per year for its implementation. Here are the considerations:

Every time a two-day conference is held it is attended by a least 100 employees who must who must be substituted for that two-day period. That means that double pay is financed by our taxes. Breakfast and lunch for both days is provided for all in attendance. That estimate, by staff culinary employees, is over $2,000 for the two-day event. That, times six to eight events per year, conservatively runs nearly $12,000 a year.

A union rep I spoke with and several other people who know their departmental operations feel $30,000 per conference, per department, is reasonable to assume. All departments must participate. Then include extras like, extra time for monitoring, set-up, clean-up and breakdown and the costs escalate.

The bulk of our expenditures come with the initial hire of the outside organization “Taking it Up” and the five-day training period, for our people prior to the 2012 inauguration. That training, from what I found out, was done not, using our facilities. That initial “investment” could be staggering when considering the percent it is of the overall district educational budget.

Recently, I heard that federal monies have been withdrawn from this program. If that is so, does that portend a greater expense for the county if “Taking it Up” continues this next year and beyond. I have also heard that every district employee is “required” to have gone through this procedure. I’m not sure about that element of it. Either way, federal, state and local monies are in play. Someone, somewhere, in picking up the tab for an expensive program here in North Clackamas County. Repeat — I have no official numbers as to the “economic” costs of paying for the race card but full disclosure should be the mandate; why, how much and how it profits our district.

Conclusion — Why the race card

I’ve come to the conclusion that “Taking it Up” is a program we don’t need and just as importantly, we do not have the expendable income to pay for. Any organization with stewards who are responsible for spending large amounts of revenue, revenue that is acted upon, to identify a specific need for that spending. There needs to be evidence.

Whoever made that decision must have had access to employee’s files indicating that North Clackamas School District employees are linked to countless charges of racism and harassment issues. Perhaps our supervisors were concerned about an extreme potential for the same. Where, in NCSD employee files is that evidence indicating that we need “Taking it Up?” Or is it a racist assumption made on predominance of the lighter skin color of most of our employees, that we needed to be indoctrinated with the “Taking it Up” message to prevent our racist tendencies? If that scenario is accepted, isn’t that assumption of potential racism, due to white skin, racism in reverse? And if racism is wrong everywhere, isn’t that solid, logical reason for dumping the expense and the process of “Taking it Up.”

The program is a study in redundancy and bureaucratic overkill. All district employees are mandated, every year to take a five-or-six-hour online course on, among other things, harassment in the workforce. This includes topics on race, gender, religion and sexual offenses. We pay for these courses with our tax dollars. Is it not redundant or are those classes not sufficient enough to equip our people with skills to behave well? “Taking it Up” is just another example of social engineering perpetrated, in part by a race industry that turns a good profit at the expense of good people like those that exist in this county, in Oregon and in other places throughout the nation that have overcome its racial problems. Look around, is that not true? I guess it depends on your point of view or the side of your brain you use to evaluate life or maybe if your experience in the school yard was unpleasant.

The “Taking it Up’s” of the world are attempting to advance, in many cases a political agenda by bullying, demoralizing and talking down to innocent audiences that exist in a world NOT filled with racism. The pretense of education has become the banner of the movement. The problem is that our employees at NCSD are mature adults, not children in a school setting and NOT GUILTY of the implications set forth by “Taking it Up.” Jousting at imaginary windmills with utopian idealism and naivete is, in my opinion, itself an immature process. So, if not done for the promotion of utopianism, perhaps the motivations go beyond or around that “ideal,” to a political agenda that aims to set groups of people against each other. Ever read Marx?

Organizations who labor under the weight of the past society’s mistakes may fall victim to their nonsense. Our stewards should have seen this coming. But, guilt and shame can blind.

In time of a black president, voted in primarily by whites, from many “white states” like Oregon, isn’t there reason for suspicious caution when these organizations come knocking, with their hands out? There is no doubt that racism, worldwide, still exists and that racists, as in the history of all mankind, still come in a multitude of skin tones. There is no argument that the historical events that are the backbone of the theme of “Taking it Up” took place and were deplorable, but racism, institutional and individual has drastically declined since the period of time, of Selma, Ala., circa 1955. More importantly, our people, in this place, in this time are not those people then, in theirs. Let’s not assume their guilt because we might look like them, for that would be racism.

The emotional pitch, the numerous wall charts, the offensive and redundant handouts and accusatory atmosphere have no place within an organization of hard working, fair and compassionate workers. They need not be harangued by an industry that makes money off the race card.

The stewards of NCSD should, if they have not already, cease subjecting its employees that attempts to hold people accountable for the “sins of our fathers.” Let “Taking it Up” sell their program to Rutgers University — I hear there’s a real need for it there!

Terry Mathews is a campus monitor at the Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Technical Center. In 2012, NCSD set a budget of $60,000 annually (which doesn’t include staff time) to train all classified and certified staff members by 2017 in “Taking It Up.” You can testify in front of North Clackamas School Board members before their final approval of a budget plan June 26.