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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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Movie filmed in OC premieres


Mary Knight's work screens again March 1 at The Joy Cinema -

Mary Knight has spent more than a decade with a story in her head.

She’s now sharing it with the world.

by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Mary Knight self financed her movie Sister Marys Angel, about two sisters, one who is a nun and the other a lingerie model.The Tigard filmmaker will present her first feature-length film “Sister Mary’s Angel,” on Saturday, March 1. The film had a well-attended premiere at The Joy Cinema on Pacific Highway this weekend.

by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - 'Sister Marys Angel,' is a dramatic comedy about two sisters, a nun and a lingerie model who switch places. The film will have its world premiere Saturday in Tigard.“Sister Mary’s Angel” tells the story of estranged twin sisters, a Catholic nun and a lingerie model, who swap places after one comes down with breast cancer and requires urgent medical treatment.

“They see each other’s lives,” Knight said. “They were both hiding out in their own ways. But by switching places, they experience life differently and get what they need from being somewhere else.”

Although it’s actually Unitarian, Atkinson Memorial Church in Oregon City was used as the convent in this film.

“Some convents are in churches, and it’s a big church, so it seemed believable,” Knight said.

When she lived in Oregon City, she worked on the script in a Clackamas Community College writing class that included a former nun.

The story first came to Knight 15 years ago, when she was working as a social worker. And it hasn’t gone away.

“It started as a drama, but the situation has so much humor to it,” she said.

The story was something Knight felt compelled to tell, she said. She was never much of a writer growing up, but loved the idea so much that she wrote the story as a screenplay and shopped it around to filmmakers. When no one took on the project, she decided to make the film herself.

She took film classes at the Northwest Film Center to learn how to tell her story.

“I didn’t set out to be a filmmaker,” Knight said. “It was that I needed this story to be told, and the only way to do that was to make the film.”

Knight served as a writer, director and producer of the project, hiring most of the cast and crew through Craigslist. The film’s stars, sisters Kris and Alix Angelis, are professional actors who were living on opposite sides of the country when filming began.

Filming began in May 2010, using locations in Tigard, Sherwood, Canby, Oregon City and Portland. It has taken Knight the past four years to finish the film, working with three different editors to perfect her project.

About a third of the film was shot in her husband’s business, Northwest Forestry Services on Greenburg Road. Jerry Witler’s office was transformed into the lingerie model’s apartment, complete with a king-size bed.

“They had to work around us,” Knight said, laughing. “The UPS man walked in and said, ‘Oh, I’m in the wrong place.’”

The film cost Knight about $50,000 to make, small by Hollywood standards, but huge when you consider Knight and her husband funded the project.

“We put a lot into this,” she said. “And so did so many others. I couldn’t have made it that cheap without all the people who volunteered their time.”

Comedy, with weight

A recipient of the Clackamas Women’s Services 2013 Triumph Award, she explored her own verbally abusive former marriage in the short, “One Man’s Anger, One Woman’s Love,” which is viewed nationally by survivors of domestic violence and professionals who work with them. A social worker for more than 20 years, Knight has made “Sister Mary’s Angel” her first feature film.

The dramatic comedy is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material and some sexual content.

The film does share some elements with her past work. The sisters took different roads after a traumatic childhood involving abuse, but the film is really a comedy about sisters, Knight said.

“It is comedic, but also has some weight to it,” Knight said. “It deals with serious topics, but in a way that is fun to watch.”

“To me, this is about the main characters healing,” she added. “It’s about them coming into their own good place with themselves and with each other.”

Knight retired from social work after shooting wrapped on the film, dedicating herself full-time to filmmaking.

She said the film has some thematic parallels with her own life.

“The movie is about doing what you really want to do in life,” Knight said. “They were hiding out from life in their own ways. They want to live life to the fullest, which is what I am doing now with my life.”

Catch the show

What: “Sister Mary’s Angel,” a dramatic comedy about a lingerie model who trades places with her identical twin sister, a Catholic nun, in order to receive medical treatment.

Rated: PG-13

Where: The Joy Cinema, 11959 S.W. Pacific Highway

When: 5 p.m. Saturday, March 1

Cost: $4

More: sistermarysangel.com