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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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Letters: School boudaries; Josephine Estates; background checks; etc.


While we appreciate the time and effort Superintendent Matt Utterback and the Boundary Committee have already put in and will continue to put in to this delicate process (“District zeros in on boundary changes in the Rex Putnam area,” Feb. 26), as members of the NCSD community we feel that one of the primary focuses of this process, impacting as few families as possible, has not been met.

Some of the earlier options presented could have achieved maximum utilization without bumping any current students out of those remaining schools. We have not been presented with any compelling arguments or data to suggest that moving students from all of the schools is really necessary or provides any substantial cost savings to the district.

While closing Concord is a “district” issue, the goal should still be to minimize the number of families impacted. We feel the Superintendent had some key comments that were well said: “it is difficult to justify moving additional students (in addition to the Concord students that have to be moved due to a school closure) when there will still be adequate capacity in each of the elementary schools in the Putnam High School attendance area in 2022-2023.”

The Concord community is already feeling displaced. Why should the feelings of frustration, dissatisfaction and displacement be spread into another school community when not necessary? The current recommendation(s) from the Boundary Committee seem to have missed what was to be a key consideration.

Curtis Long, principal of Campbell Elementary at the time of its closing, warned the committee (from experience) that making boundary changes that impact a small number of students is MUCH more difficult on those students than changes that impact many. While the closing of Concord is extremely difficult, those students are all being displaced to other schools and many of them will be moving together to new schools. The impact will be much greater to the small number of students that are currently proposed to be moved even though their school isn’t closing. A majority of their classmates will stay put while they have to go, in many cases, by themselves to a new school for no reason other than a small group of people want as many families as possible to feel the pain of those from Concord.

Many people purchase homes with schools in mind. Some of us even purchased homes with a specific school in mind. Now we are being told that our neighbors, our friends, our children, our grandchildren our nieces and our nephews may no longer be able to attend the school in which they have been flourishing both academically and socially for several years already. Please don’t spread this already difficult impact to more families than absolutely necessary.

Sincere best regards from the concerned neighbors, friends and family members of the NCSD community who all know children and families being impacted by the decisions that have already been made and those that are being considered.

Lee and Carly Pinson

Josh and Jennifer Martin

Charles and Debby Lindley

Lee and Ann Sousley

Eric and Kellie Halkinrude

Jerry and Lynn Corwin

Kevin and Jessica Cheyne

Kendra Watkins

Richard and Sharon LaPointe

Travis and Jody Schreffler

Editor’s note: The North Clackamas School Board will again hear arguments at district headquarters, 4444 S.E. Lake Road, regarding the proposed boundary changes 7 p.m. Thursday, March 13, before making a decision.

Developers getting preference over neighbors?

I am a member of the Community Planning Organization. I am a resident being impacted by the Josephine Estates Subdivision off Webster Road.

The CPO feels they have been belatedly informed of this development, because of wording in the codes the county is using. We are suggesting in the future that public signs should be posted on or near the property being developed or permits being applied for so all the people being impacted would be informed in a timely manner.

The County Planning Division uses their codes verbatim, not as a guideline for community good. One-hundred-thirty-three homes are directly affected by this development, but only a third were notified as code required. The developer plans to enter and exit through the existing dead end streets that are the only access to Webster Road, rather than coming directly out to Webster. This 36-home development will add unnecessary heavy use to poorly maintained streets. The residents have been asking the county for 30 years for street maintenance, but have been rejected because of budget priorities.

The developer is claiming they will provide a temporary road off Webster to provide direct access to the construction of this development to avoid wear and tear to the existing streets. If this is possible, then why would the county not approve and require a separate road in and out to relieve the extra traffic load on already worn and overloaded streets? This would remove 95 percent of the CPO objection to this project as proposed.

The County Planning Division has not placed counting strips to evaluate an accurate count of traffic use for a whole month, but has accepted figures and data from people outside the area who claim to be qualified in their professions. These people may be qualified, but are not familiar with the reality of the total impact this is having on the existing neighborhood.

It is evident that little transparency has been displayed by the landowner and developers of this project, thus restricting the CPO from being informed in a timely manner and allowing sufficient time to meet the deadlines set forth by code for public hearings.

Roger L. Stafford


Unacceptable intrusion

Regarding last month’s Community Soapbox “Block gun violence with background checks” by Ms. Henderson and Dr. Scott from of the Oregon Public Health Association and National Physicians Alliance respectively, I wonder if they would agree that if it is indeed true that “A higher number of firearm laws in a state are associated with a lower rate of firearm fatalities in the state overall...” that the logical response would be to restrict gun ownership to the nth degree possible under the Constitution (which is really what’s going on).

The reason government isn’t involved with private firearm transfers is because it would be an unacceptable intrusion of big brother in the exercise of a Constitutional right.

When the Brady bill passed in 1993, I’m sure that to include private firearm transfers would have been unthinkable. It still is to this day for many of us. We don’t need government to oversee gun transfers to the obsessive degree that anti-gun activists insist on. To do so would do nothing more than pave the way for future firearms restrictions (not a good thing).

If these individuals want to get rid of guns altogether, they should have the courage to say so.

We all know that “universal background checks” wouldn’t have stopped the shootings at Clackamas Town Center or Newtown, Conn. So why do advocates imply that?

I think Ms. Henderson and Mr. Scott should stick with healthcare matters and leave us and our guns alone.

Samuel Dickerson-Edgington


Will they ever learn?

Before I retired I was with a company that was involved with government contracts, and I worked with these contracts for 16 years (“Commissioners approve AMR ambulance contract,” Feb. 26). There are definite requirements for contract procedures, and they must be followed.

1. There is a Request For Proposal (RFP) sent to all bidders that request them. This RFP includes all of the technical requirements and a time and place where the bids will be opened and awarded.

2. At that time and place, all bids will be opened and an award is issued if the bid meets the RFP. Any bidder who does not meet the RFP is rejected, and this includes the time and place requirements.

Commissioner Tootie Smith and Chairman Ludlow do not seem to understand these basic requirements since they are both complaining that bidders being late are not considered. If a bid is late for any reason, it is disallowed. It’s that simple. If they can’t understand these basics about contracts and the awarding of them, then they should not be in these jobs.

Or, are there other motives we don’t see? It’s sad that the people we voted for to support the citizens have disregarded their wishes and shown that they can’t handle something as important as contracts.

Larry Haverkamp

Oregon City

Wage issue important

We are extremely pleased that Rep. Kurt Schrader (who represents most of Clackamas County) has signed on to the petition to discharge the Fair Minimum Wage Act which will allow the bill to come to a vote.

In less than 24 hours, over 2,000 people signed our petition to pressure Rep. Schrader to raise the minimum wage.

We are hopeful that he will also vote in favor of raising the minimum wage when the question is called.

Too many people are struggling to get by in Oregon, including an unconscionable number right in Rep. Schrader’s home district. Oregon Working Families applauds the representative for allowing the Fair Minimum Wage Act for a vote, however, we hope that he votes in favor of this important measure when the question is called.

Oregon Working Families will continue to gather signatures and pressure Rep. Schrader on this important issue.

Alejandro Juarez

Oregon Working Families

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.