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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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Local storytellers entertain, share insights


Guild to showcase art form with two nights of tales

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Milwuakie residents Concetta Antonelli and Ken Iverson get ready to share their storytelling skills at two upcoming events in Portland.Think storytellers are people sitting on the floor with picture books on their laps, reading to a rapt group of toddlers? Think again.

For those who practice the art of storytelling, it is so much more.

“Storytelling is incredible nourishment for the spirit and entertainment for the mind. It is a shared experience and an intimate art form; a multidimensional experience. It moves you, inspires you and makes you realize what is important in life,” noted Concetta Antonelli.

“It is a wonderful art form, filled with humor and insight,” added Ken Iverson.

Antonelli and Iverson, both Milwaukie residents, will participate in the second annual 2013 Annual Festival of Stories, presented by the Portland Storytellers Guild on June 14 and 15 at the Hipbone Studio on East Burnside in Portland.

Stories for adults

Although storytelling is associated with parents telling tales to their children just before bedtime, the kind of event that Antonelli, Iverson and nine other tellers will participate in will be aimed at adults.

Older children may enjoy the stories, Iverson said, but “some of these will be grim, dark stories with disturbing images; some resolve well, but some don’t.”

The title of the June 14 event is “The Gambit — Stories for Adults,” and Antonelli will present a personal narrative about “when I was going through a difficult time in my life as a young woman, breaking free from my family and finding gifts that I couldn’t in a family context.”

This kind of story can “build a lot of intimacy, as everyone can relate; there is always that common denominator,” she said. She does have a concern with tellers who tell personal stories about events that they have not resolved in their lives.

People should not “use telling as personal therapy,” she added.

Iverson will tell three short tales on June 15, during his event, entitled “Tales from the Dark Side: A Celebration of the Brothers Grimm.”

He has not quite made up his mind as to which stories to tell, but noted that some of the Brothers Grimm stories do contain “horrific images,” and some of the tales are “pretty true to life,” in that they may not get completely resolved.

No ‘fourth wall’

Both Antonelli and Iverson note that audiences should be aware that they are not attending a play.

“In theater, the actor memorizes lines and is faithful to the script and the director’s interpretation; that is not how it works in storytelling. You familiarize yourself with the story, but then you get away from the text and find language of your own to tell the story,” Antonelli said.

In theater there is usually a fourth wall, an invisible barrier that separates the audience from the actors on stage.

“But in storytelling, it is paramount that the tellers connect with the audience. My story may change, depending on the audience’s response. I’ll have the core of the story, but I have the freedom to make a split-second decision,” Iverson said.

Imagination also plays a huge role in storytelling the two noted.

If you see a movie, you are hit with images, but when you hear a story, you may have an image in your head, that may not match the image the storyteller has.

“You get to create the one in your head,” Iverson said.

When people are “bombarded” with visual images, “we lose our imaginal intelligence. My imagination revived in me when I started to go to storytelling events,” Antonelli said.

Storytelling events

Iverson and seven others started the Portland Storytellers Guild 27 years ago, to support each other’s growth, he said. The group is welcoming to others, and from September through May holds free storytelling workshops and potlucks at the Kennedy School on the first Friday of the month, Iverson said.

“People can come and just listen or tell — we do what we can to help,” he added.

Antonelli said she was surprised that the group has been around so long, and yet people still are not aware that the guild exists.

Portland is rich in storytelling activities, Iverson noted, encouraging people to visit portlandstorytellers.org to check out upcoming events.

Antonelli, a massage therapist and body-centered counselor, said she can trace her interest in storytelling to the time, years ago, when she attended the Pete Seeger Clearwater Festival on the East Coast.

“I went to the storytelling tent and I was mesmerized,” she said, noting that she has been active with the Portland Storytellers Guild since 2000.

Iverson said he first began telling stories as a teenager 33 years ago, and has even taught storytelling workshops to children in the Boston Public Schools.

Both said that people should attend the June 14 and 15 events in Portland, because they will see a wide variety of telling and styles and talents.

Many people are familiar with personal tales, but traditional tales “really carry a fundamental weight that is very essential. They have archetypal themes that have been relevant throughout history,” Antonelli said.

And, Iverson said, even if the tellers are telling grim stories, “it will be lots of fun.”

“After every storytelling event, people want to stay and talk to the tellers. Storytelling forms community on the spot — something we don’t experience enough,” he added.