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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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Coach Pat Scott says that when they play well his Glad gals can play with anybody


The Gladiators eye success, despite a youthful and inexperienced lineup

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Gladstone players listen intently during a timeout in an early-season game with Sisters. Gladstone coach Pat Scott has his Gladiators believing they can be successful this season, despite their youth and inexperience in varsity-level play.Gladstone High School’s girls basketball program has a new head coach and four players with starting experience expected to return from last year’s team have elected not to return. But the Gladiators still expect to be competitive in girls basketball this winter.

“I feel like we are going to be pretty good,” said Gladstone junior co-captain Nichole Peterson. “La Salle has some good experience and Madras has their top player back. But I think we’ll be one of the top teams in the league, and hopefully make it to [the 4A State Tournament in] Corvallis.”

“Not hopefully make it to Corvallis, we will make it to Corvallis,” said senior co-captain Alisa Bradshaw.

“We have 18 new plays we have to learn and pretty much a whole new team and all new coaches,” said junior co-captain Megan Kirchem. “We’re playing pretty good now, but we’re going to get better as we learn the plays and learn to play together. Coach [Pat Scott] is a really good teacher.”

“Most people thought we wouldn’t be very good [because of the players who elected not to return],” Bradshaw said. “But we’ve put in a lot of time and effort, and we’re more of a team than last year. We play as a team, and everyone contributes.”

“Our roster is so deep,” Kirchem said. “Everyone has the same amount of skills and [Coach Scott] has faith in all of us, so everyone plays a lot.”

“We go 100 percent, whether it’s a practice or a shoot-around,” Petersen said.

The Gladiators have been competitive in preseason, winning three of their first five games.

They opened with a 61-33 win at Astoria and followed that up with losses in close games with eighth-ranked Philomath (42-37) and fourth-ranked Sisters (39-31). After falling behind Sisters 18-6, they closed to within three points, at 32-29, before the Outlaws salted the game away with free throws.

More recently they defeated Scappoose 40-36, and on Dec. 18 they won at Yamhill-Carlton 53-41. The win at Yamhill was a confidence-builder, because last year’s team had eked out a 41-37 win over the Tigers in the play-in round of last season’s state playoffs.

Among players who started for Gladstone last year but elected not to play this year are seniors McKenna Hopkins (5-8 guard), Taylor Plunkett (5-9 post), Amber Jensen (5-6 guard) and Madi Cronin (5-7 guard). Hopkins and Plunkett were first-team all-conference selections last year and Jensen made the Tri-Valley Conference’s second all-star team. Hopkins has transferred to Oregon City.

Still, the Gladiators’ success this preseason was not totally unexpected, even with the loss of the veterans. Many of the players on this year’s varsity played for a jayvee team whose only loss all season was to Banks in preseason.

Bradshaw (6-0 guard/forward) is the only senior on this year’s varsity roster. Other varsity players include: juniors Nichole Petersen (5-9 guard), Fiona Burrell (5-9 guard), Kendall Schumaker (5-6 guard) and Megan Kirchem (5-9 guard); sophomores Molly Webster (5-10 guard), Melisa Campos (5-3 guard), Mikaela Simac (5-8 guard), Alicia Feb (5-10 guard/forward), Presley Braun (5-6 guard) and Micala Delepierre (6-2 forward); and freshmen Jessica Petersen (5-8 guard) and Ashley Henry (5-3 guard).

Webster and Bradshaw are the only full-time varsity players returning from last year, although several other athletes swung between varsity and jayvee a year ago.

One of the most impressive things about the Gladiators’ play in preseason has been their depth in talent. Coach Scott has played at least 10 players in every game and he substitutes frequently, giving each player a near-equal amount of playing time.

Part of his game plan is to wear opponents down, through depth and aggressive defensive play. It worked at Yamhill-Carlton when the Gladiators outscored the Tigers 29-19 in the second half; and it nearly worked in the game with Sisters.

The Gladiators have had balanced scoring, with a different player stepping up to lead the offensive charge in nearly every game.

Kirchem (12 points) led nine players who put points on the scoreboard in the rout of Astoria. Bradshaw scored a team-high nine points against Philomath; and Webster scored a team-high 12 points at Yamhill-Carlton.

Webster, who missed three games while recuperating from a soccer injury, was leading the team, averaging 11 points, through Gladstone’s first five games.

“I like the girls’ enthusiasm,” Scott said. “They’re really short on [varsity] experience, but they’re learning and improving in every game. And we’re getting contributions from everybody....

“The girls have shown streaks of brilliance. All they need is a little more consistency. When they play well, they can play with anybody.”

The Gladiators are at Cascade this Friday and Saturday, playing in a tournament.

They entertain Seaside on Jan. 5, Tillamook on Jan. 8 and Banks on Jan. 10, in their final tuneups for the 2013 TVC league season. They open league play Jan. 15, at La Salle.