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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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Messages (and messengers) matter in politics


Democrats regained control of the Oregon House on Tuesday.

They picked up a net gain of four seats, and will enter the 2013 session with a 34 - 26 majority. Three of the four new Democrats elected in these hotly contested races were Working Families Party (WFP) cross-nominees. The fourth, Joe Gallegos, entered his race late and did not participate in the WFP nomination process.

The legislature will be different in other ways as well. Mike Schaufler, a “Blue Dog” Democrat from House District 48, will be gone, and Jeff Reardon (D / WFP) will be in his place. Given Mr. Schaufler’s former position at the right flank of the Democratic caucus, one can argue that his departure will also shape the nature of how the now-majority party will govern in the 2013 session.

House District 51

By the numbers, House District 51 was the most challenging district of all the seats that changed hands on Tuesday. House District 51’s voter registration advantage matched that of HD29 and HD30, but the district lagged in the Democratic Performance Index by at least a point behind the two races above it. In other words, Shemia Fagan’s target voters tended to be less frequent, sporadic voters.

This is where an aggressive field campaign comes in. In the eight weeks before the election, the WFP knocked on 12,892 doors and had 6,307 conversations with voters for Shemia. On top of that, the Fagan campaign itself knocked on a whole lot of doors starting in the early summer and continuing through election day. By the end of this race, our target voters could not miss the fact that there was an election, knew all about Shemia Fagan, and they often knew why we were at their doorsteps before we opened our mouths. This is a good sign.

The urban-rural divide

The whole urban-rural divide is still a huge issue, Clackamas sits just dead center on that divide.

— John Lee, Chairman of Clackamas County Republican Party

Both of the races into which the WFP invested resources this year were partly in Clackamas County. This was by design. It is no secret that Tea Party affiliated groups such as Americans for Prosperity and the Oregon Transformation Project have targeted Clackamas County. They have been investing big in local politics, and they scored successes in several local races.

Many of the flash points that have driven the political rancor in the region are rooted in the tense interplay between a growing metropolitan area on the one hand and towns wishing to preserve the rural nature of their communities on the other. The fights over light rail, the Damascus city plan, and “Portland Creep” are a few examples.

Clackamas County is a mixed rural-urban area. It is also mixed politically. On Nov. 6, Clackamas County voters went 50 - 47 percent for Barack Obama, but elected strongly conservative candidates in many down ballot races. Clackamas County will clearly continue to be a battleground for Oregon politics in the future, and the WFP firmly believes it will be necessary to continue to build capacity and work for candidates in this region of the state.

Message (and messengers) matter

Our field team frequently reported a common experience on the doors: the Working Families Party message and our nomination of Shemia Fagan made a difference in their thinking about her as a candidate. Our field team quickly learned that the most effective message on the doors was one that, 1) Explained what the WFP is, 2) explained why the WFP was supporting Shemia, 3) discussed the issues that mattered to voters, and 4) confirmed support for Shemia.

It is not a surprise that many voters are disillusioned with the political status quo, but we found that the WFP message opened reluctant doors started conversations with voters that may have otherwise tuned out the election. At the WFP we often talk about the power of providing “third party validation” to our cross-nominees. The WFP is an independent, grassroots party that applies our own set of bread-and-butter economic filters to evaluating the candidates. In this most recent election cycle, our filter led us to take on and defeat a Democratic incumbent in the primary, and a Republican incumbent in the general. On the doors we found that this brand of “call it like we see it” economic populism appealed to many voters who otherwise might be inclined to shut out politics all together.

This is anecdotal evidence, to be sure. However, the experience of our field team is not inconsistent with past polling that the WFP has done in Oregon which showed the appeal of the WFP message, particularly with working class and independent voters. Additionally, the WFP’s statewide election results in 2008 and 2010 also point to a pattern of the WFP message appealing to these voters. As you will see, our statewide results show a pattern of support being strongest in some of Oregon’s most rural counties.

On top of that, you can sometimes assess the impact your message and messengers are having on a race based on the reaction one gets from the opponent. If this is our measure, then surely Patrick Sheehan’s campaign decision to launch an attack directly at the Working Families Party and our field organizers is a sign that our work was showing signs of effectiveness. In one of the wackiest campaign mailers I have ever seen, Mr. Sheehan resorted to a level of red-baiting that would have made made Joe McCarthy proud. Given the fact the Cold War had ended when Patrick Sheehan was only 15 years old, his attacks seemed strangely out of place. But again, when your opponent is attacking both your message and your messengers it is a good sign you are making an impact on the race.

Steve Hughes is director of the Oregon Working Families Party.