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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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Teens 'Experiment' with their voices


Thirteen local teens are ready to step into the spotlight, and they are hoping the community will support them by attending a one-night-only performance of “The Experiment,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, at Rex Putnam High School.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Lauren, a Rex Putnam High School intern, and Oscar work on a scene from 'The Experiment,' presented by Youth Theatre for Change.The play is the result of a multi-agency partnership that includes the Clackamas County Arts Alliance, Youth Arts for Change, Youth Theatre for Change, and the Clackamas County Juvenile Department. Five of the students involved are teen mentors, who have ties to the RPHS drama department, and the remaining eight teens were referred to the program from the juvenile department. Not all of the eight at-risk youth will be in the play, but they all have been part of the process.

Their goal: to share ideas with resident playwright Debbie Lamedman, come up with a script that expresses their point of view, then, working as a team with director Kelley Marchant, produce a play for the community.

Marchant, the drama teacher at RPHS, said, “There is room for theater to be used in a therapeutic format. It is a form of self-expression that a lot of people never experienced before, and this program exposes these kids to that.”

The playwright came in and listened to the youth talk about their lives and feelings, and one theme emerged — that of “being trapped, of being pigeon-holed by others’ perception of them,” Marchant said.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Director Kelley Marchant, center, chats with Robbin, left, and Ethan, as they take a break from rehearsing The Experiment.Lamedman then came up with a script, and the 11 teens began rehearsing in earnest for their upcoming performance.

Positive teamwork

The teens met twice a week for several hours during this eight-week process, and “the focus has been on teamwork, getting to know themselves and getting to know the views of the world,” Marchant said.

When they first came in, the young people said they felt like no one listens to them or understands them, and throughout this process, “they feel for the first time that somebody listens,” she said.

Marchant said she and the teens hope that members of the community will attend the performance “because this is an example of teens doing something positive.”

Ethan, 16, one of the participants, said being involved with the play has made him a little happier, and he has enjoyed “meeting new people who aren’t judgmental.”

“We can be ourselves here, and it is fun to work with people our age,” Robbin, another participant, said.

Shelby, 15, is one of the RPHS interns. She said her job was to make the participants feel welcome, so they would open up more.

Elita, another intern, is a recent graduate of RPHS who has worked with the program before.

“Last year, at the end of the program, I felt really proud of the people who performed. I created bonds with the kids. What I like best is seeing them change through the program” she said.

People should come see the show “because it is a great way for kids to express themselves and they have put in a lot of effort,” Elita said.

Youth Theatre for Change

Two key people who have watched this process take place over the summer are Kim Menig, Youth Arts for Change project coordinator, and Marla Conser, a juvenile court counselor with the Clackamas County Juvenile Department.

The Clackamas County Arts Alliance is the umbrella organization for both Youth Arts for Change and Youth Theatre for Change. This is the second year that Marchant and RPHS have participated in the program, which was made possible by three grants, Menig said.

Marchant received a grant from the Clackamas Cultural Coalition, “specifically to enhance the program by integrating a professional playwright,” Menig said.

The arts alliance then was given two grants by the Meyer Memorial Trust and the Oregon Arts Commission, she said. The North Clackamas School District and Rex Putnam High School also are partners for the project.

A major part of Menig’s role will be surveying the young people and audience members “to demonstrate the value of the program and to get a good picture of the impact of the program on the youth participating,” she said.

“The purpose of the program is to help connect youth with the opportunities to have their voices heard and to get a positive experience creating something as part of a group. Then we share it with the community and have it valued by the community,” Menig said.

An advantage to partnering with the juvenile department is the chance to give the youth “the chance to participate in something meaningful and to be proud of what they are doing,” she said.

Because the program provides youth with a supportive environment, a new skill set, and an opportunity to share and communicate with others, Menig has “seen the growth of the participating youth. They are more cohesive as a team, and they have developed a sense of pride, which is a new experience for many of them.”

And, “everyone gains from this sort of thing — being a valued member of a team and developing a creative product that has their voices,” Menig said.

“I want to say how proud we are of these youth who are taking a positive risk and giving their energy and willingness to try something new. They are doing something unique and challenging, and they have gained something valuable for themselves and their communities. I appreciate their courage to get up there on stage and share their stories,” she said.

Juvenile department

Conser and one other court counselor are acting as liaisons between the county justice department and the program, problem solving and communicating with participants.

“I see tremendous value in connecting kids with positive activities exposing them to endeavors they have never had exposure to, in widening the lens,” Conser said.

She added that statistical research has revealed what youths need to succeed and those include activities outside of school and exposure to adults who are passionate about something.

She said: “We want to restore the community connection. We want them to be pro-active in their own community. We want them back in their own community with self-sustaining interests.”