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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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It's about time for another major BCC shake-up


As chair of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners (BCC) since January 2013, it seems a bit early to watch history repeat itself, but that’s exactly what’s happening in this May 2014 election.

A series of serious mistakes by previous commissioners inspired a majority of voters to change leadership in 2012. Now commissioners Savas and Bernard, both up for re-election, are repeating those mistakes. As BCC chair, I am committed to supporting the will of the voters, and because of that and their excellent qualifications, I will offer my wholehearted endorsement to their challengers, Karen Bowerman and Steve Bates.

In Commissioner Jim Bernard’s case, he played an instrumental role in the “big three” mistakes made by the BCC in recent years. He voted to commit county taxes or fees to:

1) rebuild a Portland bridge,

2) expand urban-renewal spending and

3) pay for a controversial new light-rail line.

All without seeking voter approval.

The voters “schooled” the commission on all three of those issues, demonstrating exactly how far out of step those commissioners had become. Throughout this period, Commissioner Bernard consistently maintained that in a “representative form of government” county taxpayers need not weigh in such matters. I am amazed that he hasn’t learned anything from the voter uprisings over the last three years. As the longest serving commissioner on this board, Commissioner Bernard has overstayed his welcome.

Commissioner Paul Savas on the other hand is a frequently confused and ineffective commissioner. Commissioner Savas refused to take a position on assessing new county vehicle registration fees to pay for Portland’s Sellwood Bridge, stating (inexplicably) that it was not appropriate for a commissioner to do that. When the public vote came, he was unable to make a decision and ultimately left his ballot blank. On the BCC he carries the dubious honor of being the commissioner most likely to abstain on an issue. Too often, Commissioner Savas is unable to make up his mind about important county issues, and when he does, he frequently comes up with the wrong answers. For example, Commissioner Savas voted against the citizen’s initiative to increase public oversight on urban renewal spending. Despite his opposition, the measure passed with over 70 percent support from county voters. That election result should have been a wakeup call for Commissioner Savas, but he failed to grasp the message.

Urban renewal is a program that diverts property taxes from police, schools, fire districts, parks and libraries to pay for unrelated county development debts. The taxpayer money collected through urban renewal currently subsidizes construction projects preferred by a majority of Board of County Commissioners (Bernard, Savas, Schrader). Over $40 million of urban-renewal money was withdrawn from the taxing districts to fund the first light-rail line into Clackamas (without a public vote).

Tootie Smith and I were elected, in large part, because county voters wanted an opportunity to weigh in before more reckless spending occurred. Twice in the last year we were outvoted by Commissioners Savas, Bernard and Schrader. We wanted county voters to help determine whether $48 million of left over urban-renewal funds should be returned to fund police, fire, schools and libraries. Bernard and Savas preferred to find new projects to fund, rather than letting the voters weigh in first. They prevented county voters from returning millions to the districts: Clackamas Fire District No. 1 — $6.9 million; Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office — $4 million; Oregon schools — $20 million; Clackamas County General Fund — $7.8 million; North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District — $2.2 million; and county libraries — $466,000. Twice we moved to send this decision to the voters. Each time, we were defeated.

With Bernard and Savas the policy is “Spend first, and ask the voters...never.”

The reason these commissioners, like their predecessors, did not want to hear from voters is because they were afraid of what voters would say. But now, once again, you can have your say about what you pay — when you make your choice for new commissioners.

It’s time to replace incumbent Commissioners Savas and Bernard. Both have failed to listen to the taxpayers and voters. Twice in the past year they have taken steps to prevent county residents from exercising a right to vote on their taxes.

Yes, we have a “representative” form of government. You entrust us with the budget and operation of a vast county. But that doesn’t mean voters should be shut off from voting on multi-million dollar projects that go above and beyond basic county services.

This May, vote for Steve Bates and Karen Bowerman. Bates and Bowerman get it. They voted with the majority on the Sellwood Bridge, urban renewal and light rail. Bates and Bowerman will bring better listening ears to the commission. They will be prudent and effective stewards of the county’s tax dollars and are unafraid of asking county voters to weigh in on huge county commitments.

Please join me. Vote for Karen Bowerman and Steve Bates, for a commission that will be more responsive to the directions that voters have given us.

John Ludlow is chairman of the Clackamas County Board of