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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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Theatre announces its happiest season ever


by: PHOTO BY TRAVIS NODURFT - CRT company member Jayson Shanafelt communes with his friend, a 6-foot-tall rabbit, in the light-hearted comedy 'Harvey.'David Smith-English calls Clackamas Repertory Theatre’s ninth season “a happy season,” and for a number of good reasons.

Smith-English, the artistic director of CRT, announced the new lineup of plays Feb. 2, just after the performance of “Dirty Work at the Crossroads,” the group’s big fundraiser event.

The 2013 season begins June 27 with “Harvey,” Mary Chase’s light-hearted comedy about Elwood Dowd, a lovable eccentric, and his invisible best friend, Harvey, a 6-foot tall rabbit, whom he introduces to everyone. Company member Jayson Shanafelt plays the lead, with Amanda Valley as Veta and Tobias Andersen as Dr. Chumley. “Harvey” runs through July 21.

“Harvey” is a show that Smith-English said he has wanted to do for a long time, but wasn’t interested in doing unless he had the cast to make it work.

“I had Jayson in mind, even though he might seem a bit young. When he said he would be available I became very interested,” Smith-English said. “Then Doren Elias expressed interest in directing, in fact, more than just interest; he really wanted to direct ‘Harvey,’ and I liked his concept for the show.”

CRT’s annual musical, Aug. 3 through Aug. 25, is Cole Porter’s classic “Kiss Me Kate,” about a second-rate theater company’s musical production of “The Taming of the Shrew.”

“I wasn’t willing to even consider it without the male lead and a bunch of dancer/singer performers that I could identify,” Smith-English said. “Leif Norby agreed to do the show, and many of the ‘Cabaret’ cast from last year were committed to doing another show with us. That has given me courage to try it. ‘Kiss Me Kate’ is a show that I played the male lead in many years ago when there used to be summer theater in the outdoor space at Washington Park. I liked the show then, and I like it today.

“This show is an example of just pure fun in the theater with great music and wonderful dancing, and we plan to exploit that concept as much as we can. Someone probably should be there to tell me when I have gone over the top.”

The final offering of the season is a mixture of a Hitchcock masterpiece, a juicy spy novel and a dash of Monty Python called “The 39 Steps.” It will be staged from Sept. 19 through Oct. 6.

This play “is a grand farce which I believe will fit nicely with the rest of the season,” Smith-English said. “It also is an opportunity to showcase some of the unique talents of our CRT company and, with Tim True’s direction, I think it will be a barnburner of a show.

“The cast is made up of three men and one woman who play 151 characters. Bringing Tim’s talent and perspective into a CRT production was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Staged readings

In addition to these three productions, CRT is continuing its staged reading series called “Sundays at Three,” featuring new works by American playwrights.

The first of this year’s plays is “Good People,” on March 17. It is a play about the insurmountable class divide between those who make it out of Boston’s blue-collar Irish neighborhood and those who are left behind. It is by David Lindsay-Abaire, and will be directed by Doren Elias.

Next up on April 14 is “A Small Fire,” by Adam Bock and directed by Smith-English.

The play follows a long-married couple whose lives are upended when the wife falls victim to a mysterious disease that strips away her senses. She resolves to remain engaged, relying on her husband, whose devotion she has taken for granted.

The final offering, on May 5, is “Lonely I’m Not,” a play combining suspense and quirky charm. It is by Paul Weitz, and will be directed by CRT company member Travis Nodurft.

All play readings are at 3 p.m. in the Osterman Theatre on Sundays, for one day only; tickets are $10 for one, or $25 for all three performances. Plays contain adult language.

“The people who have come to the readings really want to be exposed to these new and edgier plays,” Smith-English said. “We have begun to establish a following of people who look forward to this unique kind of experience in the theatre. The after-show discussions with cookies and coffee have been delightfully spirited.”

He noted that some people still don’t understand that a staged reading has blocking, costumes, lights, sound and a set, but the actors have only had three rehearsals and carry their scripts.

“It never ceases to amaze me how much can be accomplished in such a short time,” Smith-English said. “There is always a bit of danger in the air, an edgy energy that you might not experience in a more extensively rehearsed production.”