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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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Practices aim to keep tap dancing alive across nation


There was torrential rain outside, but inside Gladstone’s Grand Finale Dance Studio, members of Beat BangerZ, a professional tap-dance troupe, were burning up the floor with their tap shoes, practicing a routine they hope to perform at the Oregon Fair Association’s January 2014 convention in Salem.

If they are chosen to perform, they will entertain representatives from all 36 Oregon fairs at the week-long convention, said Lisa Garner, an agent with Dancer’s Corner.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The Beat BangerZ, a professional tap group based in Gladstone, show their style. Pictured left to right, back row: Jennifer McKay, Alicia Schuler, Erin Lee and Hillary Hart. Front row, left to right, Mikaeyla Pool, Pamela Allen and Damon Keller.Garner, a Rex Putnam High School graduate, is a studio-trained dancer and dance instructor at Grand Finale. She has performed tap, jazz and musical theater her whole life.

Now she is trying to nurture the careers of other dancers, and is in a position to do so, since she and business partner Shannon Wilcox have formed Dancer’s Corner, a dance retail shop and dance agency, based out of the Grand Finale studio.

“We help dancers with what they are wearing, and we get them jobs. We have placed teachers in studios and dancers in film and print projects and in live performances,” Garner said.

The group, affectionately known as the BBZ, was formed three years ago “with the hope not only to bring tap back to the mainstream, but to also put Portland on the map as having one of the most innovative hoofing crews in the country,” Garner said.

The group originated with five members, all local teachers, choreographers and performers, and has since continued to grow in number. They have auditioned for “America’s Best Dance Crew” in Texas, and were the only hoofing crew to make it to callbacks.  

They recently created a junior BBZ company with young local talent, with the goal of “keeping the art of tap alive in the Northwest and the nation by performing, and also passing down their knowledge to the younger generation,” Garner said.

Keeping tap at forefront

Damon Keller has been with Beat BangerZ since its conception in 2010 and is the only man in the seven-person group. Like the other adult members, he is a dance instructor, currently teaching at Billings Dance Center in Beaverton.

What he likes best about tap dancing and performing “is the connection I can give people that watch me or BBZ through music, rhythm and sound. The dancers dedicated to this company share the same mentality.”

He added, “I want to perform at the convention event to be an inspiring avenue through tap dance. It has been my goal through BBZ to be Portland’s first professional tap company in a downtown theater, like OBT is to the Keller Auditorium; like the Oregon Symphony is to The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall; and like the White Bird Series is to the Newmark Theatre.”

The six female members of the BBZ are Pamela Allen, Hillary Hart, Erin Lee, Jennifer McKay, Mikaeyla Pool and Alicia Schuler.

Hart teaches at Cami Curtis Performing Arts Center in downtown Portland and has been in the BBZ for three years.

Like the others, she wants to perform at the convention to share the group’s love of tap and spread the art form.

“I love to tap, and my favorite part about it is the rhythms. It’s like another language, and this is my way of expressing myself. Performing is a way to show others my passion and sharing this language,” she said.

Lee is a BBZ founding member who teaches all over the Portland area, primarily at Studio One Dance Academy.

“Performing the art of tap is a love and passion of mine. I look for opportunities to share it whenever I can,”Lee said. “Tap dancing is all about joy — to enjoy and love the dance.”

Pool also is a dance teacher at Studio One Dance Academy and has been with the BBZ for three years.

She wants to perform at the convention event to help “bring tap dancing back up to the forefront of dance, so that tap dancing can have the same love and following as the many other styles that have became popular over the years.”

Pool added that she enjoys being able to create her own music, using her feet as her instruments and her voice. 

Schuler has been tapping with BBZ for a little more than two years, and just started teaching at the KAD Performing Arts Centre.

“I think it will be refreshing to the audience to see that tap is not a dying art, and it has such a rich history,” she said.

Younger dancers embrace tap

The junior BBZ crew just started this year, because “these aspiring pre-professional dancers wanted an outlet and avenue to perform,” Keller said.

The younger dancers include: Alexandra Beneloga, 17, Grace Hankins, 11, Tearzah Harrell, 12, Morgan Jansen, 16, Madelyn Johnson, 13, Taylor King, 15, Aisha Lakshman, 13, MaKenzie Pool, 14, Olivia Poyser, 16, Rebecca Reynolds, 14, and Jessica Wethessen, 12.

Beneloga attends Milwaukie High School and trains at Grand Finale in Gladstone. She started with tap and is continuing with tap because she just loves it, she said.

Hankins also trains in Gladstone, is the youngest in the group, and has been tapping since she was 2 because she likes all the different rhythms of that style.

Feeling that rush before and after a performance keeps Harrell going, the Cascade Heights Public Charter School student said, while Jansen said her favorite part of a routine is the fact that “you can’t do anything wrong.”

Watching the two groups rehearse, Garner said, “Tap dancing is not only fun to do, but is fun to watch and listen to. This art form of creating music with your feet is not an easy task. Classic tap styles, hoofing and each individual style of the BBZ members are merged in their pieces.”

She added that she is grateful to Becky Hankins, owner of Grande Finale Dance Studio on Portland Avenue in Gladstone, for providing rehearsal space to the BBZ on Sunday nights.

To book a show with the BBZ, call Garner at 503-260-8266.