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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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Workshops offer kids performance opportunities


Summer theater workshops through an organization that provides pre-professional training to young people will be “a true summer camp experience, an experience like none other, and there will be ice cream,” said Chanda Hall, artistic director of Staged!

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Chanda Hall works with two young students doing some basic sword play.This is the first year that summer workshops for youth have been held in Oregon City, and Hall would love to fill those slots with kids from Clackamas County to show people you don’t have to drive into Portland to get good training and see stellar theater productions.

And, because she is an OC resident, Hall can walk to work, since the workshops will be held in the Barclay Auditorium at Marylhurst School at 12th and Madison streets.


There are three workshops taking place in Oregon City: Summer Stock, for ages 12 to 18; Staged! Kids!, for ages 6 to 11; and Theatre Leadership Incubator, for ages 18-22.

In Summer Stock, students will spend the morning doing Shakespeare, and the afternoon “diving into ‘Shrek.’ It will make their brains explode in a lovely way, as they learn two shows,” Hall said.

Younger students will enjoy fun activities related to both “Shrek” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and then will have the opportunity to perform with the Summer Stock teens at the end of the camp.

Meanwhile, college students interested in directing, choreography, arts education, and arts administration may apply to be part of the internship program, which Hall will oversee. The older students will work with the younger ones in both workshops.

And then there is the faculty she has assembled for the summer.

“These are the most amazing teaching artists; they are all working professionals, involved in the Portland theater world.”

Special guest artist Andres Alcala has experience teaching Shakespeare to young people, Lizz Brown has choreographed all over town, and John Quesenberry, a well-known conductor in Portland, will be the musical director for “Shrek,” Hall said.

Handling the acting duties will be Paul Angelo, associate artistic director for Staged!, and Kacey Manning, who teaches at West Sylvan Middle School.

The workshops will culminate in performances of both “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Shrek the Musical” on Aug. 2 and 3.

“We will present two free Shakespeare in the Park performances for the community on both Aug. 2 and 3 at 2 p.m. in Atkinson Park, an unsung little gem of a sun-dappled park in Oregon City, and then ‘Shrek’ will be at 7 p.m. both nights in the Barclay Auditorium. Stamina will be needed and adrenalin will push them through,” Hall said.

Advantages of theater

“Extensive research has shown there are so many benefits to being part of a theater production; there is collaboration, developing creative and critical thinking, and learning effective communication skills. That is why we do a theater-education program,” Hall said.

“It really is open to everyone and is a great entry point” for anyone interested in theater, since they will get both backstage and onstage experience, she added.

Hall said she is grateful for a grant from the city of Oregon City, which will allow her to offer some scholarships to neighborhood kids, hoping that the ability to pay is not a deterrent to those interested in participating.

And it will be fun, as well, Hall said.

“There will be ensemble building and friendships developing — the performing community is such a supportive environment,” she said, noting that students will learn stage combat outside the school in a meadow, sing songs under trees, and build a paper-mache dragon.

Hall added, “Kids will say this is the highlight of their year. It will allow them to stretch themselves and engage in something they are passionate about. The quality of the teaching staff is huge and no kid will be overlooked. This will be the ideal camp experience.”

Act up!

What: Staged! summer theater workshops

Where: Marylhurst School, inside Barclay Community School, 817 12th St., Oregon City

When: Workshops begin July 14, visit stagedpdx.org or call 971-322-5723 to register and see dates of specific workshops.

Details: Summer Stock is for ages 12 to 18; Staged! Kids! is for ages 6 to 11; and Theatre Leadership Incubator is for ages 18 to 22.

Performances: See performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” at 2 p.m. on Aug. 2 and 3, outdoors at Atkinson Park, 160 Jackson St., Oregon City. Performances of “Shrek the Musical” will take place at 7 p.m. on Aug. 2 and 3 in the Barclay Auditorium at Marylhurst School.

More: Staged! also will hold a musical-in-one-weekend workshop in Portland and during the school year offers the S! Conservatory, a comprehensive training program for young people ages 14-18 who seek to pursue theater as a vocation. Auditions for the Conservatory are by appointment only on June 22, 23, 29 and July 1. Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve a spot.