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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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Clackamas County debate light on substance


Facts? What facts?

If you wanted a summary of the issues facing Clackamas County, you shouldn’t have attended the debate among commissioner candidates Thursday in Happy Valley. Sponsored by the North Clackamas Chamber, the event was short on evidence or citations, but it provided entertaining insight into the descent of local politics toward a rhetorical circus.

Steve Bates, a 37-year resident of the Boring area running against Commissioner Jim Bernard, joined fellow challenger, Lake Oswego City Councilor Karen Bowerman, in hammering incumbents for the supposed apathy of county elected officials to support employers.

“Everybody’s entrenched in doing stuff other than making sure that we have a business-friendly environment for creating jobs,” Bates said.

Bowerman, a retired dean of business and public administration, said road maintenance and a stagnant economy are the most important issues for her. Stimson Lumber CEO Andrew Miller, whose Transformation PAC was crucial in the 2012 election of County Board Chairman John Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith, donated $5,000 to Bates and to Bowerman’s campaign to unseat Commissioner Paul Savas.

Savas and Bernard both denied their opponents’ accusations. Bernard, the third-generation owner of a downtown Milwaukie automotive repair shop, said he has “personally brought hundreds of millions of dollars into Clackamas County transportation,” which he sees as intricately tied to creating jobs. That “personally” is not only supported by his one vote of five in support of projects such as the new Sunrise Highway, but also by his personal lobbying trips to Salem and Washington D.C., for state and federal funds.

Savas said his top priority was to create environment and infrastructure in Clackamas County for business land. When a company that wants to grow asks Clackamas County what it can offer, he argued that the county needs to have that “place to land” ready for any company. Metro regulations currently don’t allow for the flexibility he would like, so he will be asking regional officials for more local control in balancing growth with natural beauty.

“How we strike that balance is incredibly important,” Savas said.

A common theme between Bowerman and Bates was in asking why it is that only Washington County can use property tax money for road maintenance. Bates said that his first priority would be to fix zoning issues, and he plans to go to the Oregon Legislature for relief and also to be able to use general funds for road maintenance. He added that Clackamas County has the strictest regulations for surface water in the state, which doesn’t create a business-friendly environment. They also were in agreement about aggressive development of the Stafford/Borland area.

“It makes me sad that when I look at a list of the region’s top employers, none of them are in Clackamas County,” Bowerman said.

If we assume that Bowerman was looking at a list of the top 10 employers in the Portland metro area, then her statement would be true. It’s worth noting that the state of Oregon government is the region’s largest employer, the federal government is No. 4, and the city of Portland is No. 9. On this list, Intel and Nike are the only two employers based in Washington County, which has about 167,000 more residents than Clackamas County. Fred Meyer stores, and Providence and Kaiser health plans, are based in Portland but have large facilities in Clackamas County.

Ludlow’s letter looms

Savas, who became county commissioner in 2011 after being active in the county since 1985 as a business owner and elected official, said he’s “somewhat exhausted by the rhetoric that continues to be out there,” but he’s likeky to “rise above that.” Ludlow had recently sent out a letter of support for Bowerman and Bates for Bowerman and Bates that spent most of its 800 words criticizing Bernard and Savas.

“In my 12 or 13 years in elected politics, I had never experienced anything like this,” Savas said in reference to Ludlow’s endorsements.

Bowerman expressed her disappointment that media outlets have focused on the attacks rather than her support of the letter.

“Newspapers have never asked me,” Bowerman said. “There were a number of issues raised in John’s letter,” and she argued that the focus should be on those issues rather than the letter’s vitriol.

However, if Bowerman is wondering why she was never contacted, maybe she should read her own campaign email. In sending out Ludlow’s April 5 missive more than two hours before Ludlow himself, she wrote, “The letter speaks for itself and needs no introduction.”

Bates acknowledged that he was in the awkward position of being both a beneficiary of Ludlow’s endorsement and a target of Bernard’s campaign mailers.

“Using truth, fact and experience is OK, but not lies and innuendo,” Bates said.

Bernard said that his so-called “letter full of lies” had only one mistake in identifying the Koch Brothers as one of Bates’ donors, but Bernard stood by his opposition to the Transformation PAC’s participation in the Bates campaign.

Bates wasn’t satisfied with Bernard’s correction.

“Why am I running for a government position if I’m anti-government?” Bates asked. Referring to himself in the third person on his supposed anti-transit stance, he said that “Bates is on record” for his support for withdrawing from TriMet by creating the county’s own transit authority and his opposition to “standing in the shadow of Portland decision-makers.”

Bernard said that the county now doesn’t even have the option to pursue transportation funding regionally, and he was saddened that the current board no longer has those opportunities due to “Portland creep” rhetoric continuing after the 2012 election.

“Frankly, we can no longer depend on the federal government for that money,” Bernard said. “We’ve destroyed a lot of those relationships, and we need to rebuild them.”

As for the Clackamas County Commission, it almost always votes unanimously, but board members have fueled the fire behind their differences, in Bernard’s opinion.

“We tend to label one another, and that’s one thing we need to fix,” he said.

Bernard guesses that Clackamas County will be playing a greater role in the Blue Heron property next to Willamette Falls than just being supportive at the end of May, when he expects the county will own the property based on back taxes owed. He said that Damascus residents, experiencing the dysfunction of the lack of a comprehensive plan for land use, will be looking to a functional city like Happy Valley.

Calling himself a “problem solver,” Savas referred to his participation in solving issues over water rights while leading the Oak Lodge Water District and resolving a dispute between Clackamas County and Milwaukie over the Kellogg Creek sewage treatment plant.

Other notes on county candidates

Rick Best, who said he decided to challenge Savas rather than Bernard based on flipping a coin, came to Clackamas after 23 years of an active military career and plans not to take any campaign donations.

“Our veterans need help,” Best said. “There are organizations doing stuff for us that we don’t know.”

Clackamas County Treasurer Shari Anderson acknowledged that few people have ever heard of her, and she argued that’s a good thing, because she’s never gotten into trouble. Anderson spent some time addressing James Gleason’s attacks on her in the Voters’ Pamphlet. Gleason, who was not in attendance at the debate, has said that he is “former CPA,” but he has now completed continuing education credits to become an active CPA again. His license was suspended for a time for an event that happened almost 20 years ago.

Myhanh Best, another treasurer candidate who arrived as a political refugee from Vietnam in 1992, said that she’d take a 20 percent pay cut until county budgets were back on track.

All four candidates for the Clackamas County clerk position were in attendance at the debate, but the crowd had questions for neither the clerk nor the treasurer candidates after their introductory statements.

Citizens Informed and Aware will be holding another debate focusing on these three countywide positions 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, at Rose Villa Senior Living Community’s Fellowship Hall, 13505 S.E. River Road, Oak Grove.