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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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Milwaukie coeds aim high


They believe a repeat of last year is not out of the question

by:  JONATHAN HOUSE - Milwaukie senior guard Alexis Noren (2), pictured on the attack in the Mustangs season opener with Oregon City, has been  a sparkplug for the Mustangs this season, averaging 15 points, 4.8 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 4.4 steals in Milwaukies first five games.It would be difficult to match or top last year, when Milwaukie High School’s girls basketball program had a school-record season. But the Mustangs aim to do just that.

“We’re definitely going back to [the eight-team Class 5A State Tournament in] Eugene,” said Milwaukie senior co-captain April Meads.

“And we want to be league champs again,” said senior co-captain Alexis Noren. “Only this time we’re going to take the ‘co’ from league champions. We’re going to be league champions, not co-champions.”

Last season was a year of firsts for the Mustangs. In 2011-12 they earned fourth place at the Class 5A State Tournament, defeating Wilsonville 42-35 in the trophy game, after going 13-1 in the Northwest Oregon Conference and tying the Wildcats for the conference championship.

It was the first time since 1980 that a Milwaukie girls basketball team had won at least a share of a league title, the first time that a Milwaukie girls team had ever advanced to the final eight in postseason play, and the first time a Milwaukie girls team had won a trophy at state.

The Mustangs finished the 2011-12 season with an overall record of 24-5, setting a school record for most wins, and going a perfect 11-0 on their home floor.

The Mustangs have been playing one of the toughest preseason schedules in Class 5A this preseason, keeping pace with some of the top Class 6A programs in the state. Their first five opponents — Oregon City, St. Mary’s, Glencoe, Jesuit and Tualatin — all made the sweet 16 in Class 6A last season. Oregon City beat St. Mary’s in the 2012 Class 6A fourth-place final; Glencoe made the eight-team state tournament and lost to eventual champion South Medford in the first round. Jesuit lost to St. Mary’s in the round of 16, and Tualatin lost to South Medford in the round of 16.

In postseason play through last weekend, the Mustangs (3-2) had beaten St. Mary’s (51-47), Glencoe (41-34) and Tualatin (50-34). They lost to Jesuit (49-43) in overtime and they lost to Oregon City 65-51, although they were within eight points of the Pioneers in the third quarter, after tailing 10-0 to start the game.

“I’m not surprised [we’ve been able to compete with top 6A programs],” Meads said. “We’re not a bad team....”

“I think it’s good that we’re playing really tough teams,” senior Lorissa Martine said. “It helps us realize how good we are and it gives us confidence.”

“We like the tough schedule,” Noren said. “It’ll help our RPI rankings, and if we win some of these games we’ll get a higher ranking, which should mean home games in the play-in and play-off rounds.”

The Mustangs have graduated two key players from last year in 6-0 wing Nicole Hannifan and 5-11 wing Kendal Kirschenman. But they are not without talent. They start five senior lettermen and three of the five are seeing their third year of starting action.

The Mustangs return six lettermen from last year: seniors Noren (5-10 guard/point guard), Meads (5-10 wing), Martine (5-7 point guard), Emily Downs (5-10 forward/post) and Taylor Cunningham (5-6 forward/post); and junior Shelby Enevoldsen (5-10 forward/post). Noren saw starting action when she was a freshmen and Meads and Martine are third-year starters. All three earned conference all-star recognition last season.

“We’ve lost some height and athleticism, but right now our guards are better than last year...,” said Milwaukie coach Kevin McElroy.

“We’ve become much more of a perimeter team,” Noren said. “So far it hasn’t been too detrimental.”

“We’re stepping it up on defense because we don’t have anyone six-foot or over,” Meads said.

“And rebounding, we want to limit opponents to one shot,” Noren said.

“And we’ve got to play as a team.”

Noren, Downs, Martine and Meads were the Mustangs’ scoring leaders in their first five games. Noren averaged 15 points a game, scoring a game-high 20 points against Oregon City, a game-high 22 points in the win over Tualatin, and a team-high 11 points at Glencoe.

Downs averaged 9 points a game, scoring in double figures against Oregon City (12 points) and in the Tualatin game (11 points). Martine (8 ppg) led the Mustangs with 17 points in their win over St. Mary’s; Meads (7.6 ppg) scored a team-high 12 points in the overtime loss at Jesuit and she tallied 10 points at Glencoe.

“The girls are playing with a lot of confidence now, and they’re playing well,” McElroy said.

Rounding out this year’s roster are: senior Hana Whisman (5-4 guard), junior Breena Webb (5-6 guard), sophomore Chloe Hester (5-6 wing), and freshmen Breena Webb (5-6 guard) and Merrily Jones (6-2 post). Jones is undergoing rehabilitation from a knee injury and McElroy said it was unknown whether she would be able to play this season.

“She would help us out right away,” McElroy said.

The Mustang coach added: “We’ve got the most seniors playing since I’ve been here and that’s helped a lot. [Having a good year] means the most to seniors because it’s their last year.”

Based on last year, McElroy says he believes that Parkrose and Sherwood will be his charges’ toughest opponent in conference.

“From what I’ve seen so far, I’d say Parkrose [will be our toughest opponent in the NWOC],” Martine said. “I played with three of their girls on a tournament team and all three are solid players.”

“Wilsonville has lost their three best players, including the league MVP,” Noren said.

Next up for the Mustangs in preseason is a home game with Pendleton this Friday.