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

Journey with cast of 54 in 'Fiddler on the Roof Jr.'


For those who love groundbreaking musicals, complete with hummable, familiar tunes and a storyline revolving around love, tradition and taking a step into the unknown, Oregon City Children’s Theatre founder Michelle Leigh has just the ticket.

by: PHOTO BY MICHELLE LEIGH - Three of Tevye's daughters are portrayed by, from left, Alexis Davis, as Chava, Melanie Erickson, as Hodel, and Leah Kemeny, as Tzeitel.She is directing the upcoming production “Fiddler on the Roof Jr.,” complete with a cast of 54, ranging in age from 5 to 73. And as for that “junior” designation, Leigh said that the musical, opening Thursday, April 10, still contains the major plotline, and all the songs audiences love.

“Music Theatre International has taken a lot of Broadway shows and made those scripts shorter and more accessible for schools and small theater companies, and there are lower royalty rates,” she said.

‘Phenomenal cast’

by: PHOTO BY MICHELLE LEIGH - Alec Martinez, as Tevye, shares a quiet moment with his wife, Golde, played by Lacy Redmond.OCCT has an open-casting process, Leigh said, and that means she will find a place for anyone who walks through the door for auditions. In the case of ‘Fiddler,” the perfect combination of people came together.

“I am blessed with a phenomenal cast and an amazing show. We started by learning ‘Tradition,’ and there was commitment on that stage from Day One, and that has continued with excitement and drive,” she said.

“Fiddler on the Roof,” set in Czarist Russia in 1905, opened on Broadway in 1964 and was nominated for 10 Tony awards, winning nine of them.

The story centers around Tevye, who has five daughters of marriageable age; he attempts to maintain the strong Jewish religious traditions of his family, while at the same time dealing with outside events that are out of his control.

At the heart of those events is the fact that the Jews in Tevye’s village are being forcibly evicted from their homes.

Leigh said she walked the cast through one of the centerpieces of the show, the traditional Jewish wedding.

“We talked about why they drink out of a cup; why the ceremony is conducted under a canopy. It took three hours to stage the wedding, while I explained what was going on.”

‘Jaw-dropping moment’

One of the most famous scenes in the musical is a dance number featuring five actors performing “complicated and intricate” choreography with real bottles balanced on their heads.

“I put out the challenge to the kids — if they wanted to be bottle dancers they had to watch a video of the dance, and they had to walk around at home with a bottle balanced on their heads. There are no gimmicks,” Leigh said.

Adding that she purchased “plenty of bottles” to practice with, Leigh noted that the five dancers, three under the age of 15 and one almost 20, will provide the show with a genuine “mind-blowing, jaw-dropping moment.”

As for the pivotal role of Tevye, Leigh noted that Rex Putnam High School senior Alec Martinez caught her eye five years ago when he auditioned for an OCCT show.

“When I first met him, he was a shy boy with a phenomenal voice; three years later, something snapped and he became an unstoppable personality on stage.”

Several years ago, Martinez told Leigh that it was his dream to play Tevye, and she told him his turn would come.

“A lot of kids will grow and thrive, and I want to allow them that final moment,” Leigh said.

Love stories

As she prepares to open her 22nd musical with OCCT, Leigh said that she is excited to get this piece on stage and out to an audience.

“We have a beautiful set, designed by a grandparent who is in the show, along with his wife, daughter and granddaughter. We have a sunrise, and a sunset, and the choreography is impressive. All the kids and adults have pulled together.”

There have been some teachable moments on stage, Leigh said, especially with the love stories of the three oldest daughters.

“One of the younger kids was just blown away by the idea of arranged marriages; and then we see that Tevye and his wife, whose marriage was arranged, have truly grown to love each other,” she said.

“There is one moment in the play when everyone is aware of a sense of powerful love, of innocent love. Every young girl in the room went ‘ooh.’”

Leigh originally founded OCCT at her daughter’s request about 10 years ago. Her daughter graduated from OCHS last June, but Leigh is still up for the challenge of running the theater group.

“I’m not done; theater is my passion. This exists because I make it exist. I am so thankful that I have been allowed to produce 22 shows, with enough community and school district support,” she said.

Originally started as a children’s theater group, several years ago Leigh encouraged adults to audition, and their stories bring tears to her eyes.

“This has made a huge difference to adults, who sometimes don’t get to live out their passion. They may have a 9-to-5 job, but that is not their outlet. With OCCT, the old spark is back,” she said.

“That is exactly the reason I do this; for the changes in kids and families and for the opportunity for anybody who walks through the door to be a part of this.”

People should come to see the show, Leigh said, because “both visually and emotionally it is an amazing show. I encourage families to come as a family.”

She said that with her staging of “Fiddler,” audience members will not just sit back and watch, but will feel like they are part of the wedding scene and the tradition.

Leigh added, “Come and take a journey with us. At the end of the show, Tevye, his family and villagers are taking a step forward toward hope, but still the unknown. They are taking a step toward something that is not black and white, but they keep stepping, and keep hoping.”

Raise the roof

What: Oregon City Children’s Theatre presents “Fiddler on the Roof Jr.”

When: 7 p.m. April 10 and continuing at 7 p.m. April 11, 12, 17 and 18, and at 1 p.m. April 19

Where: Oregon City High School's Jackson Street Theatre, 1306 12th St.

Tickets: $7 for adults; $5 for seniors and children 12 and under. General admission tickets will be sold at the box office prior to each performance. The box office opens one hour before the show, and doors open 30 minutes prior.

Website: For more information, visit occtheatre.org.

Coming up: Auditions for "Stuart Little" are from 5 to 8 p.m. June 5. For information, visit the website. Oregon City Children’s Theatre is a nonprofit organization committed to providing the opportunity of performing and learning stagecraft to any child who expresses the desire to learn it. The theater is organized and run primarily by volunteer parents, family and friends. What makes the program unique is that all aspects of the show, both onstage and off, are handled completely by the children.