Featured Stories

INSIDERS (Sponsored Content)

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


Other Pamplin Media Group sites

New Urban protests proposed move to Schellenberg


by: PHOTO BY MARTIN WINCH - Ameena Amdahl-Mason makes her own face part of her student art projects at New Urban High School. The North Clackamas School Board may decide on March 21 to move the school out of Oak Grove and send it to the Sabin-Schellenberg Career and Technical Center in Clackamas.Walk into New Urban High School and you’ll see a “path to graduation” board game-like poster on the wall, students laughing in the hallways and art — tons of student projects — everywhere, lining most of the walls.

by: PHOTO BY: MARTIN WINCH -  Bayleigh Connors, a current student at New Urban High School, shows off an array of artwork in the hallway of the alternative magnet option for North Clackamas School District residents.You’ve also, just under the surface, entered a war zone where a community is fighting to remain in Oak Grove and retain its independent identity.

Students, alumni and teachers have become just as passionate as supporters of the magnet program at Sojourner Elementary School after the North Clackamas School District proposed moving its programs out of Oak Grove two years ago.

District officials announced on Feb. 28 that relocating New Urban at the Sabin-Schellenberg Career and Technical Center’s South Campus (the part simply known as “Schellenberg”) would save $540,000 during the next school year.

School board members also may decide to close Riverside Elementary on March 21, sending enrollment either to Oak Grove or Concord schools, but the proposal regarding New Urban has garnered the larger uproar so far.

Dozens of New Urban students testified at the school board meeting on Thursday. Among them were alumni who had gone on to become college class presidents or join the U.S. military. They spoke of their diverse reasons for choosing the alternative high school: Some wanted to graduate early, and some want to escape the cliques of traditional high schools.

But once they chose the New Urban campus in Oak Grove, they frequently found a community that became like a supportive family to them.

Jennifer Woolf, a “proud” 23-year-old graduate of New Urban, feared beginning at Clackamas High School when she was finishing up eighth grade at Sunrise Middle School.

“At such a large school, I felt like I was drowning,” she said. “I struggled in class, I struggled with being teased, had teachers that hardly knew my name, and I didn’t feel like I was learning to the best of my ability.”

When a friend told Woolf about the opening of New Urban, she ran to the counselor’s office to get more information.

“Small classes and alternative ways of learning — this sounded like a school I could finally thrive in,” she said. “In short, I applied, I got accepted, and I didn’t realize until a few years later that I had just made the smartest decision of my life.”

‘Rocky start’

by: PHOTO BY: MARTIN WINCH - Kat Snyder, art teacher at New Urban High School, is viewed by many students not just as a great teacher, but also as the most important adult in their lives.Woolf had a strong sense of urgency when she heard of the possibility of her alma mater being forced to move back to the Schellenberg building in Clackamas. She started attending New Urban when it first opened there in 2003, experiencing firsthand the difference that being in the Oak Grove community made to create a environment that benefited students and staff. She remembered first two years at New Urban as “rocky,” while hardworking staff figured out how to make the school’s “wonderful idea” become a reality in a distracting environment.

“We had to create classrooms in a gym with walls we could stand up to see over,” she said. “There was no place to really feel at home, as we shared the building.”

In 2006, her junior year, Woolf was excited to hear that New Urban was moving to its own building. She saw opportunities open up from “a real location” and the necessary staffing to make it happen. While there, for example, she and a small group of students went to Salem to talk to representatives about the benefits of school-based health centers.

“It felt like we were taken seriously as an educational establishment,” she said. “We had a place that was ours. We were able to increase our staff, have more electives to choose from, more space, an art room and halls to fill with our projects, eventually a music room, and a community to work with. We had our chance to prove what New Urban would eventually become, and once we had that opportunity and space, we flourished as a school.”

New Urban has 13 classrooms, as well as a gym, a cafeteria, an auditorium, a music studio, a pottery room, its own main office, a meeting room, a counseling center with six offices, a shop, a stage, and an enclosed courtyard with chicken coops, gardens and greenhouses. At Schellenberg, there was no cafeteria, the gym (for New Urban’s PE classes or current basketball team) was used for classrooms, and there was no designated art room.

Martin Winch, a part-time English teacher who had last year been a frequent substitute art teacher at New Urban, pointed out that teachers, students and taxpayers have invested in their campus.

“The proposed move would be the end of New Urban as we know it, and the beginning of something completely different,” Winch said.

District seeks efficiencies

In announcing the proposal last month, district officials acknowledged that moving New Urban’s community would be challenging. If the school board decides to relocate the school, however, district leaders pledge to work with the New Urban community to make the transition as smooth as possible.

“We’re not going to say, ‘Go do this;’ we’re going to say, ‘Let’s build this together.’ Let’s look at all the options and see what’s best for students,” said district spokeswoman Leslie Robinette.

Although there’s a block of currently empty classrooms at Schellenberg, much of the technical equipment there cannot move, and New Urban students would likely have to walk past specialized classrooms. This could actually be great for New Urban students, Robinette added, where technical education teachers could spend some time working with them.

Currently, New Urban students don’t have access to programs at Sabin-Schellenberg, where participating students graduate at a rate exceeding 90 percent, if they take career-tech classes for two or more years. New Urban’s graduation rate has hovered around 30 percent over the past four years, and its current 146 enrollment has never achieved its goal of 200.

“At Schellenberg, the possibilities are limitless in terms of the opportunities for New Urban students,” she said.

Most of the details are yet to be determined over the spring and summer, assuming the school board authorizes a move. The $540,000 in savings would largely come from cutting New Urban’s principal, school secretary and custodial staff.

Although the district expects to save $180,000 by cutting two certified teaching positions as part of the move, it’s still up for discussion where those positions would come from. Depending how integrated staffing becomes, it may be difficult to determine whether those teachers would be “New Urban’s” or “Schellenberg’s.”

Winch hasn’t been alone in suggesting that some New Urban teachers would retire rather than face a “forced” move.

“It would be a devastating step back in the growth of such a wonderful school,” he said. “If you choose to switch locations, you’re not just cutting jobs of several wonderful teachers, you’re taking away the value of what so many staff and students, like me, have worked for.”

Oak Grove community

At the location on Johnson Road, New Urban wasn’t involved with the community as much, Woolf remembered from her days as a student there. She worries that New Urban would lose its alliances with the Oak Grove community, which the school relies on because of budget cuts.

“At the Sabin-Schellenberg location, it was difficult to prove to the community that this isn’t just a school full of problem kids,” she said. “New Urban is full of kids that need a different opportunity and access to the resources to help them be successful. Our attentive staff recognized that.”

Seniors complete internships with local businesses, and many students help with Oak Grove events, including a weekend outdoor market.

“Obviously, we can’t take this community to the new location,” Winch said.

Since district budget is calculated based on enrollment, New Urban community members are raising the specter of the school board’s decision backfiring. If New Urban students leave the North Clackamas School District, the district could lose more than they propose to save.

Robinette sees no reason that students wouldn’t be able to continue their involvement in the community with New Urban’s Youth Take Action class through canned food drives, picking up trash on Oak Grove Boulevard, volunteering at local schools and other community work. Also, she said, the Sabin-Schellenberg Center partners with businesses throughout Clackamas County and would work to maintain relationships with Oak Grove businesses that help students transition to life post-graduation.