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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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Mystery unfolds in 'Dead Double Trouble'


by: PHOTO BY ERIKA SANDBERG - Terry Lybecker, front, as David Bowie, and Brad Bolchunos, as Andy Warhol, will rock out at the upcoming performance of 'Dead Double Trouble.'Danger and intrigue will swirl through the air during “Dead Double Trouble,” the latest murder-mystery dinner theater offering from the New Century Players on April 20 — and the audience will be responsible for much of the drama.

“So much of what the play is about has to do with the audience that comes to see it. The audience becomes part of the show, and what the audience says and does helps the actors,” said Donna Sellman-Pilorget, NCP custom show coordinator.

Much of the play is improvised by the actors, so the two performances will be different.

“I’ve worked hard to assemble a group of amazingly talented improv actors who are exceptional at creating a character and living in that character for hours at a time. They will sit at your table and make you laugh until your sides ache, using just their own wit,” Sellman-Pilorget said.

She and her group of actors have been doing custom murder-mystery shows for more than four years, for various organizations and corporations.

“We’ve been doing it for other nonprofits to raise money, so we decided to do it for New Century as a fundraiser,” Sellman-Pilorget said.

Celeb impersonators

The plot of the play revolves around a group of celebrity impersonators who have agreed to do a fundraiser for New Century Players.

“But the impressive impersonators don’t show up, so emergency substitutes are called in. There will be a little bit of entertainment, a little bit of dialogue and a mystery will slowly be revealed as the audience members question the performers,” Sellman-Pilorget said.

In the course of the show, Erika Sandberg will perform as Adele; Sara Benner will sing a Dolly Parton song; and Sellman-Pilorget, as Lucille Ball, will present a comic skit.

Other impersonators include Terry Lybecker as David Bowie, Brad Bolchunos as Andy Warhol and Ray Armstrong as Al Pacino.

NCP Artistic Director Kelley Marchant and Arlene Daugherty, the group’s secretary, will play themselves, and Elisabeth Goebel, managing director, will sing with the band, the Second Wind All-Stars.

Historic setting

Two showings of “Dead Double Trouble” will take place at the historic Ainsworth House and Gardens in Oregon City. Sellman-Pilorget advises audience members to arrive early and stroll through the gardens before the show begins.

Chef du Jour Catering will provide the food, and there will be a no-host bar with beer, wine and inexpensive cocktails.

What will audiences like best?

“The chance to be a part of the show, the camaraderie of solving a mystery with the actors, and the food, which will be stellar,” Sellman-Pilorget said.

New Century Players encourages people to support the group by purchasing 2013-14 season tickets. The lineup of plays will be announced at the event.

Sellman-Pilorget said: “This is our 10th year and, like any theater group, we are struggling. We’ve done a wide variety of shows, from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ to ‘The Laramie Project’ to ‘Hairspray,’ and we want to continue doing a good job providing Clackamas County residents with entertainment close to home.”

Fast Facts

New Century Players presents “Dead Double Trouble,” an interactive, murder-mystery dinner theater and fundraiser.

When: Saturday, April 20; the first sitting is at 4:30 p.m., the second at 7:30 p.m.

Venue: Ainsworth House and Gardens, 19130 Lot Whitcomb Drive, Oregon City

Tickets: $45 for dinner and show; $80 per couple. They are available online at newcenturyplayers.org.

For more information, call 503-367-2620.

Chef du Jour Catering will provide the dinner. A Northwest salad with wine-poached pears, crumbled blue cheese and nuts, dressed with hazelnut balsamic vinaigrette will make up the first course. Dinner buffet choices are beef brisket, braised with tomatoes, carrots and mushrooms in white wine, or pasta primavera with fresh garden vegetables, with optional grilled chicken. Side dishes include roasted-garlic mashed potatoes, a sautéed vegetable medley and rolls and butter. Diva-licious cupcakes and Death-By-Chocolate brownies will be served for dessert.