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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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Phenomenal athletic success stories


Jacob Cates and Erin McDonald excel at tennis despite limited experience

Two local athletes made phenomenal showings at their recent high school tennis tournaments.

Milwaukie sophomore Jacob Cates placed second in No. 1 singles at the Northwest Conference District Tournament, and Milwaukie junior Erin McDonald placed fourth in singles at the Three Rivers League District Championship Tournament. Both athletes qualified for state with their high finishes.

What makes their accomplishments so impressive is that neither athlete plays that much tennis. In high school tennis, the great majority of athletes who advance to state belong to tennis clubs, have played tennis since they were youngsters and play tennis pretty much the year around. That has not been the case with Cates of McDonald.

For as long as he can remember, Cates has played soccer — pretty much the year around. The same goes for McDonald and basketball.

“Basketball’s my main sport,” McDonald said. “I first started playing tennis a little over a year ago. My dad played and some of my friends played, so I thought I’d join them.”

by: JOHN DENNY - Clackamas junior Erin McDonald“Every coach at district was commenting on what a great athlete she is,” Clackamas girls tennis coach Satomi Tsumura said of McDonald. “It’s very unusual for someone like Erin to come in and make state with her limited experience, because we’re 6A. She’s beating girls who started playing when they were five or six years old.

“Every coach was saying she’s winning because she’s a great athlete. But it’s more than that. She’s got great tennis sense. She’s good at finding the opponent’s weak spot and taking advantage.”

McDonald explained her success: “I’m just really consistent. My strategy’s always to just hit the ball back. I’m a defensive player. If you hit it back enough, eventually they’ll make a mistake.”

At the district tournament, McDonald made it all the way to the district semifinal, before losing to West Linn senior Ella Riddle, 6-1, 6-0. McDonald advanced with straight set wins over Oregon City senior Cinthia Garcia-Espinoza (6-0, 6-1), Lake Oswego sophomore Crystal Liu (6-3, 6-3) and Grant junior Madison Rosen (6-2, 6-1).

Riddle went on to defeat Lake Oswego sophomore Katie Day in the district final, 6-3, 6-1. Riddle did not have a close match at district, winning all of her matches in straight sets and losing only three games before her match with McDonald.

“McDonald came out of nowhere and placed top eight [at district] last year,” said Tsumura. “This year she was top four. Next year I won’t be surprised to see her top two.”

“I’m a little surprised I made state,” said McDonald. “I didn’t think I’d be that good at [tennis]. My friends were playing, so I decided I’d give it a try....

“Basketball’s my main sport. I’ve been playing basketball since kindergarten.”

McDonald says of her athletic goals: “Next year, first or second in the Mt. Hood Conference in tennis. In basketball, I want to win a state title. We graduated three of our main players, but everyone else will be back, and we’ve got some younger players coming up who are pretty good. I think we’ll be a lot better defensively.”

by: DAVID BALL - Milwaukie sophomore Jacob CatesCates has been torn between playing soccer and tennis over the past couple of years. He still loves playing soccer, but repeated injuries have kept him off the pitch more often than not.

“Since age 10, I’ve always had a ball with me,” said Cates. “I’ve played soccer since age 5 and I started playing club U-9. I’ll still play soccer, but now tennis is going to be my main sport. I want to play [tennis] at a four-year college.”

With limited practice beforehand, Cates turned out for high school tennis last spring as a freshman and took the Northwest Oregon Conference by storm. After missing much of the regular season because of injuries, he placed third at district, after losing to the top seed in the semifinals.

He got a tough draw at the 2013 Class 5A State Tournament and lost his first and only match to one of the state’s top singles players, Silverton senior Kelsey Rosborough. Rosborough went on to win the consolation title.

Somewhat discouraged, Cates put his racket away until this spring, when he turned out for the fledgling tennis team at Milwaukie High School.

Playing No. 1 singles, he went undefeated during the regular league season this spring. And when it came time for the 2014 NWOC District Tournament, he made it all the way to the final before losing to Sherwood Danish exchange student Anders Joergensen, 6-3, 6-4.

“I was playing him even, but then my hand started cramping up,” Cates said of his loss to Joergensen in the final. “I finished the last set playing in pain.”

Cates had defeated Joergensen 6-4, 6-0 when they met during the regular season.

En route to the final, Cates dominated all of his opponents, losing only four games. He had wins over Sherwood sophomore Jack Runge (6-0, 6-0), St. Helens sophomore Tony Zhen (6-0, 6-0), Wilsonville freshman Kyle Andrews (6-0, 6-2) and Sandy junior Sebastian Galvin (6-1, 6-1).

Cates’ achievements are all the more incredible because he had limited coaching this spring and he struggled to find players to practice with, since there was only one other boy and just five girls on his high school team.

“I had one girl on the team, our No. 1 singles girl, plus our coach, who could hit it back with some consistency,” Cates said.

While most other top singles players had several coaches dishing out advice during matches, Cates was pretty much on his own.

“My coach, Dylan Landfear, is a special education teacher at the high school,” said Cates. “He doesn’t know a lot about tennis. He played a little in high school. He volunteered so that we would have someone to coach the team. At first, we didn’t even know if we would have a team.

“When other guys have coaches talking with them and giving them advice during matches, my coach says, ‘Get some water. Stay hydrated. Keep doing what you’re doing.’ I’m pretty much on my own.”

Cates says he’s improved his serve and forehand play this year, “I’m a pretty good defensive player, but this year I’m a lot more aggressive,” he says.

Cates says he plans to join a tennis club next month and to play in some tennis tournaments over the summer.

Cates explained his decision to concentrate more on tennis as his “main sport”: “I like how you’re the only one out there. You’re not letting anyone down and no one’s letting you down. It’s just you. And it’s fun. It’s a lot of fun.”

Cates stumbled again at this year’s state tournament, losing to the No. 2 seed, 2013 state semifinalist Chandler Oliveira in his opener, 6-1, 6-1, played at the Portland Tennis Center on May 22.

But Cates was not at all discouraged by his first-round loss to one of the top high school players in the state.

“I did alright,” Cates said. “I missed some shots, but he’s a really good player. [The loss to Oliveira] made me want to play all year instead of just the high school season, because he does that. And I can do that now, because I don’t have any injuries, which is really nice.”

Cory Grove, a tennis instructor who gave Cates some lessons a couple of years ago, says of Cates’ potential: “If Jacob puts the work in, he’ll have the opportunity to play college tennis somewhere. But there’s a lot of kids who play the year around, so he’s going to have to work at it. I’m happy that he’s had the success that he’s had so far, because he’s a super-nice kid.”

Grove said he credits Cates’ success, despite his limited playing time, to his athleticism and his coachabilty.

“Jacob’s a good athlete and a quick learner,” Grove said. “He listens and he picks things up quickly. Where with most kids you have to work on something over and over again before they get it, with Jacob you show him once, and most times he’s got it....

“If Jacob does join a club, goes to tournaments, and works on it, he’s just going to get better and better. It’s going to be fun watching him improve and seeing how far he can go.”